4 million fewer South Africans live in poverty

2014-04-03 14:53

Four million fewer people are living in poverty in South Africa, Statistician-General Pali Lehohla has said.

“Poverty has indeed been declining in South Africa,” he said. “Indeed, in many ways, it [poverty] is being tackled.”

He was briefing reporters in Pretoria today on StatsSA’s report on poverty trends in South Africa.

Lehohla said three different types of poverty lines were used in the StatsSA report.

These were the food poverty line (R321 a month to buy food), lower-bound poverty line (R433 a month to buy food and clothing) and the upper-bound poverty line (R620 a month to buy food, clothes and provide shelter).

Using the food poverty line, in 2006 about 27 out of every 100 people lived below that line. In 2009, during the recession, it rose to 32, and in 2011 the figure dropped to 20 out of 100.

This translated into 12.6 million, 15.8 million and 10.2 million people respectively.

The lower-bound poverty line in 2006 was 42 out of 100, 44 in 2009 and 32 in 2011.

This equalled 20 million, 21.8 million and 16.3 million people respectively.

For the upper-bound line, from which the four million poverty reduction figure was drawn, in 2006 the figure was 57 out of 100, dropping to 46 out of 100.

This equalled about 23 million people in 2011 against 27 million in 2006.

Social grants had an important impact on reducing poverty – 2.6 million grants were issued in 1993 and 16.6 million in 2011.

Lehohla said the issuing of social grants – especially the child support grant – between 2006 and 2011 rose by 46%.

In 2002, 13.4 million people fell within the self-declared hunger bracket, but in 2011 6.6 million people were in the same bracket.

Regarding the provinces, 23% of households in KwaZulu-Natal, 18% in the Eastern Cape and 16% in Limpopo lived in poverty.

At a municipal level, the top 10 municipalities with the highest levels of poverty were in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.

Msinga municipality in KwaZulu-Natal showed the highest level of poverty at 37%.

Nkandla municipality, where President Jacob Zuma’s homestead is located, had the fifth-highest level of poverty in KwaZulu-Natal.

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