• SA's statistical authority monitors the price of 412 goods and services to create a virtual shopping basket meant to typify SA's spending.
  • Changes in the price of those goods and services are used to calculate SA's all-important consumer price inflation figure, currently at 4.4%
  • StatsSA updates the basket of goods and services every 4 year to ensure that it remains relevant.

The consumer price index, typically known just as the CPI, is a crucially important way to measure changes in the cost of living in South Africa – but the way it is calculated has surprising elements.

To arrive at an accurate number, Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) updates its basket of typical household goods every four years.

The current basket from which SA CPI is calculated has 412 products, up slightly from the previous 396.

See also: Fruit juice, low GI bread and bottled water - surprising products set for a VAT increase

Price statistics manager at Stats SA, Marietjie Bennet tells Business Insider South Africa that the basket is made using an income and expenditure survey, to figure out what South Africans are buying – and what they aren't.

These products and services are among thosethe statistical authority has just added to the basket because – weird as they seem – Stats SA found to reflect South African spending habits.

Video games.

Chewing gum.

Sheets and pillow cases.

Car washes.

Driving lessons.

The flip side of keeping the basket relevant is removing items.

Products that Stats SA booted from the basket include electric fans, teapots, blank CDs and DVDs, postal stamps and board games.

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