Make 2016 your year to save

As the drought and economic outlook worsens, it’s becoming more essential to start saving.

The year ended on a grim note with the worsening drought and as the rand weakens, economists like Rian le Roux, Old Mutual Investment Group’s chief economist predict a bleak year for consumers. Despite the negativity among South Africans and experts in the various fields, locals should see this as a challenge to make 2016 their year to save.

Saving water should be at the top of the list, urges the Mbombela Local Municipality and Inkomati-Usuthu Catchment Management Agency.

There are some areas in the country that have had no water for several weeks and farmers have lost their entire crops and stock, and residents should take care to some ensure that Hazyview does not suffer the same fate.

Although the Sabie River isn’t as badly affected as the Crocodile River, restrictions have been put in place and water allocation has been cut down to the bare minimum.

“Both businesses and individuals are urged to conserve water and turn to recycling to help ease the impact of the drought locally.”

This can be done by reporting leaks you spot around your home and place of work, using buckets instead of hosepipes when cleaning vehicles and homes, and to close taps when you’re not using them.

Farmers have also been various techniques to ensure that they have enough water to irrigate at least part of their crops and can provide quality products, says AgriKiepersol chairman Moorrees du Toit. Farmers who need assistance in these techniques can turn to AgriKiepersol, the local agricultural organisation, for advice and support from farmers who have weathered other droughts.

There is already a shortage of certain products such as fruit and vegetables and chain stores have put up notices to let consumers know that these won’t be available any time soon. Over the holidays, residents would have noticed a shortage of meat at certain shops due to high demand, and prices are expected to rise sharply in the next few months as suppliers struggle to meet their demand.

A local in the hospitality industry remarked that she had seen a definite shift in eating patterns of locals due to the rising food cost. People are starting to cut out luxury items and some are entirely dependent on what they can grow in their vegetable gardens.

Due to the rising cost of living, consumers are also advised to start saving money.

“Instead of increasing their debt by depending on a credit card to pay for purchases, consumers should rather pay off existing debt as fast as they can and only purchase what they can afford.”

People that are struggling to pay off their debts should get advice and assistance from debt counselling services such as Debt Rescue. These organisations help to consolidate debt into monthly repayments the specific consumer can afford.

Hazyview has a thriving business industry and residents are urged to keep the local economy healthy by supporting local businesses and industries. Informal traders, who are abundant in town, are also receiving a helping hand thanks to the Hazyview Chamber of Business and Tourism, local businesses and the municipality in the form of the hawker registration and relocation project.

There are many exciting developments and projects in the pipeline for Hazyview and surrounds this year like the ongoing construction of the Hazyview Junction shopping centre. Locals are urged to support the various initiatives and community organisations aimed at making it a great place to live in and visit.

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