South Africa’s middle class is in deep trouble

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Eighty20’s latest Credit Stress Report shows the middle class in South Africa is in a very deep hole.

Although South Africans are starting to see a slight improvement in their financial circumstances, the middle class is still drowning in debt.

Despite the positive signs, the report noted that South Africans are still financially strained – with the middle class especially in a very deep hole. Overdue balances increased by 1.4% QoQ to R77 billion, driven primarily by a 2.7% QoQ increase in unsecured loan overdue balances. In contrast, the Mass Credit Market pays 39% of their income towards debt, with Comfortable Retirees at just over 45%. All of these figures have been rising since 2021 Q3.

To cope with this financial strain, people have increasingly turned to retail loans for clothing and homeware purchases, relying on unsecured loans and credit cards for other expenses.

Source: Loan Digest (


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