According to National Debt Advisors, 65% of their female client base faced a reduced income during the pandemic, having to spend 50% of their income towards debts.
While the world recently celebrated their mothers, research has found that 70% of single mothers end up in a vicious cycle of debt as their income does not last throughout the month.
According to an analytics consultancy, 60% of South Africa’s households are fatherless – with all financial responsibilities falling solely on the mother.
But a recent analysis by National Debt Advisors found that 70% of the 80% of women who budget their income, run out of money before the month ends.
This leads them to seek unsecured debt, often from unregistered money lenders, said National Debt Advisors managing director Charnel Ernstzen.
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“When we consider that 60% of South African households are fatherless and all financial responsibilities fall onto the mother, the implications for these single breadwinners and their families have heightened.”
The pandemic has seemed to worsen finances for single mothers, with the 2021 PriceWaterhouseCoopers Women in Work Index showing that progress for women in the workplace could go back to 2017 levels by the end of the year.
According to Ernstzen, 65% of their female client base faced a reduced income during the pandemic, having to spend 50% of their income towards debts as opposed to before the pandemic.
“The research also showed that not only were women’s salaries the most affected, but many had to take on additional domestic responsibilities, resulting in exiting the workforce. South Africa’s latest employment figures echo vulnerable black women being the most negatively affected in terms of jobs and income.”
“Every mother that we’ve engaged with, noted that adjustments had to be made to their household budget, with most having to cut back on not only perceived luxuries, but necessities.
A single mother to a 6-year-old boy, Relebogile Msiza was one of the millions of South Africans who lost her job during lockdown when her company retrenched workers.
Since then, she has had to find others means of taking care of her child.
“After I lost my job, I had some savings but it has all depleted and I’m all dry. I have to find means to pay my child’s creche and UIF money takes long to be paid but it’s not that it will last. I don’t even have hope that I’ll get a job by the end of next year and my child needs to start Grade 1 next year.”
However, single mothers did not have to deal with creditors “harassing” them as there was help.
“If you’re struggling to make ends meet, get in touch with a registered and reputable debt counsellor to get guidance to a debt free future. Your National Credit Regulator registered debt councillor will handle any and all correspondence,” said Ernstzen.