More South Africans Sink In Debt As Cost Of Living Rises

Written by Kevin Mwanza

More south Africans are struggling with high levels of debt as the cost of living in the Africa’s second largest economy rises.

A recent report released by the National Credit Regulator (NCR) showed that South Africans were burdened by personal debt leaving them trapped with nowhere to turn, except acquiring more debt.

“Statistics show that there are close to 24 million credit active South Africans. 10 million of them are in arrears on their accounts or are struggling to pay their monthly debt repayments,” debt counsellor Wendy Monkley told Africa News Agency

“There has been major uptick in the number of consumers inquiring about and signing up for debt counselling.”

South Africans were the biggest borrowers in the world in 2014, according to a report issued by the World Bank, and they appear to be borrowing even more as income levels in the country dwindle, News24 reported.

A commodity prices rout on the the international markets has affected the mining industry, which is one of the largest employer of mostly low income earners.

Increase in fuel prices, electricity charges, interest rates, sin tax, food prices and transport costs has added to the financial pain of many South Africans, African News Agency reported.

A surge in personal loans, credit-card debt and overdrafts—known as “unsecured credit” because the obligations aren’t backed by assets such as houses—has allowed many working-class South Africans to bridge their earnings and the lifestyles they aspire to have, Wall Street Journal reported.

A FinScope South Africa 2013 financial survey showed that fewer and fewer people in the country were saving with 58 percent of people with bank account saying they were not saving at all, MoneyWeb reported.

Many people showed signs of over indebtedness. Most were considering rescheduling their debt, seeking help from friends and close family members to finance their loans or considering to cancel their insurance policies to pay back debts.

Here is an infographic by Anglo American that gives the indebtedness statistics of South Africans and how it has increased over recent years:

South Africa Debt


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