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Monday May 09, 2016

Richards Bay cost of living report 'inaccurate'

Richards Bay has been named South Africa's fourth most expensive city to live in by website Expatistan, but not everyone agrees.

The City of uMhlathuze Municipality, which includes Richards Bay, rejected the report, claiming it was inaccurate.

Expatistan, which compares the cost of living in 1 997 cities in 204 countries makes its calculations based on the cost of food, housing, clothes, transportation and entertainment.

When one compares Richards Bay to Durban, it appears that Richards Bay is 27 percent more expensive to live in than Durban.

Food in Richards Bay was classified as 4 percent more expensive, housing 7 percent more expensive and transport 47 percent more expensive than Durban.

The communications manager for uMhlathuze, Mdu Ncalane, said the report painted a negative picture of Richards Bay and leaned more towards quantitative findings than qualitative.

He told the Sunday Tribune yesterday: "We reject the report because clearly not much research went into it. We do not know how they came to the findings. I am not sure of their intention with it.

"It does not make sense that food is more expensive in Richards Bay than Durban because we have the same retailers. We are below in tariff increases than other cities. However, we are confident our tariffs will speak for themselves."

Economist Dawie Roodt said people should not make decisions based on the findings of a single website.

While he neither accepts nor rejects the claims, he said the report made sense because according to economies of scale the more people using something the cheaper it would be, meaning that because Durban was bigger it could mean lower prices.

"It all depends on who and what you are measuring. One cannot make choices based on a single website because it is just one of many variables used to determine whether Richards Bay is more expensive to live in or not," he said.

One of the items surveyed was cigarettes. In Durban smokers would pay R36 a pack while a pack in Richards Bay costs R43. However, for the City of uMhlathuze, the report goes up in smoke.

Sunday Tribune


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