Amonthly wage of R3 500 covers just 69% of a small household’s minimal needs of R5 056. So says the living wage calculator, a tool developed by Code4SA and News24, which calculates the cost of living of a three-member household.
Developers of the tool based the R5 056 living wage on a household with one breadwinner and two school-going dependants.
The cost of food, it calculated, was R2 430 per month based on consumer price index data on food as at April 2014. They calculated that the minimum food cost per household member should be R27 a day, or R815 a month, to ensure that everyone in the home received adequate nutrition.
The average monthly transport cost per household would be R606 – R14 for a one-way trip on public transport – based on an average gleaned from an informal poll of domestic workers in Cape Town.
Developers pegged housing costs for a family of three at R500 a month, including electricity. Anything cheaper was likely to be situated in a risky area where sanitation services were low and crime rates high.
Healthcare costs of an average R120 were also included. The cheapest option was R299 per month, which would push the wage required even higher.
Education costs of R200 – R100 per child per month – were added, which included basic expenses such as stationery, uniforms, textbooks and transport.
Communications costs are also significant – R300 per month and R100 per person – “necessary for staying in touch with families, friends, accessing news and for emergencies”.
Developers also included a R300 budget for recreation and R600 for miscellaneous costs such as “clothing, household items, personal care and emergency expenses”.
– Staff reporter