Statistics South Africa published an inflation comparison, highlighting what R100 would have bought you 60 years ago.
Research shows that the same basket of goods and services you could get in 1961 for 100 Rand would have cost almost 9,700 Rand by the end of 2020, with consumer prices rising almost 97 times.
The 1960s were a period of generally low inflation, peaking at 4.6% in November 1966. Inflation spiked during the 1970s and 1980s to its highest level on record of 19.7% in September 1986. Annual inflation has averaged 8% since the introduction of the rand.
The household fuel and lighting and transportation categories were the main drivers of inflation in 1961, both registering annual rates of 3.5%. Food inflation was 2.1% and there was no increase in clothing and footwear in 1961.
As Stats SA does today, the Bureau of Census and Statistics has released average prices for a range of consumer goods.
Although the currency became decimal in 1961, the imperial system of measurement was still in operation until 1974.
For simplicity, StatsSA converted a pound to 500g – although it’s closer to 450g. The comparison is further complicated by changes in the quality and packaging format of the goods.
1961 vs 2021 property prices
|Item||Average cost in 1961||Average cost in 2021|
|15kg of mielie meal||90c||R49.27|
|1kg of white bread||9c||R15.21 (700 g)|
|1kg of fresh chicken||70c||R40 / kg (approximate)|
|1kg of apples||23c / kg||15.76 R / kg|
|1kg of tomato||20c / kg||20.74 R / kg|
|340g canned corned beef||29c||R27.21 (300 g)|
|570 ml of beer||16c||R14.56 (330 ml of blond beer)|
Using data from StatsSA, the national debt advisers also established a basket of products with price comparisons from the 1980s.
The group looked at the change in prices from the country’s record unemployment rates and the fact that many South Africans are no longer earning an income at all.
“There is no miracle recovery from the financial carnage that Covid has caused around the world. The best thing anyone can do is take control of their financial situation and get rid of their existing debt, before taking on new debt, ”said Sébastien Alexanderson, Managing Director of National Debt Advisors.
“Unfortunately, due to the stress and panic, many people have turned to high interest loans in the hopes that it will ease their financial distress – but it is only a short-term solution, which is why makes the problem worse, ”he said.
1980 vs 2021 property prices
|Item||Average cost in 1980||Average cost in 2021|
|Rolls per dozen||R2.40||€ 15.99|
|2 liters of milk||R1.72||€ 24.99|
|Lamb chops||6.69 R / kg||191.67 R / kg|
|2kg of rice||R1.19||€ 29.99|
|Simba chips (large)||R0.99||€ 14.99|
|Cornflakes Kellogs||R1.49||€ 38.99|
|250g mushrooms||R1.19||€ 21.99|
|Cheese||5.99 R / kg||117.95 R / kg|
Read: The truth about wages in South Africa