Current policies bring little change in SA’s poverty & inequality levels – study

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A study conducted by the NDA and the University of Johannesburg has found that policy documents intended to eradicate poverty were not in short supply.

FILE: A homeless man from Doornfontein who is physically challenged struggles to lift some of his belongings which he will take to a shelter in Hillbrow. Picture: EWN

JOHANNESBURG – University of Johannesburg and Stats SA researchers said that research showed that current policies did little to bring change in the levels of poverty and inequality.

The two organisations have released the outcomes of a study commissioned by the National Development Agency (NDA).

Stats SA’s inequality report has found that in 2015, 13.8 million South Africans were living below the food poverty line.

It said that more than a quarter of the population of South Africa still lived below the food poverty line.

These were families with an income of R585 per person per month and who could not afford adequate food.

Yet a study conducted by the NDA and the University of Johannesburg has found that policy documents intended to eradicate poverty were not in short supply.

Sophie Plagerson was one of the researchers.

“For example, in outcome three on safety and security, the vision put forward in the NDP is that if crime is reduced, business will thrive and poverty will decrease is repeated but then the indicators only focus on crime prevention but not on poverty impact.”

The NDA said that the next step was to engage all levels of government to ensure that more practical and measurable policies were developed.

The study also showed that spending by the richest 10% of the population was eight times that of the bottom 40% of the population.

Stats SA said that poverty in South African is still driven by factors including unemployment, years of schooling, access to basic services, among others, and inequality was still most prevalent among the black population and this is evident in spending statistics.

Stats SA’s Nosipho Shabalala: “Almost half of the black African-headed households fell within the lowest two expenditure quintiles, about 85% of the white population are in the highest expenditure quintile. The top 10% of the population’s expenditure was 7.9 times that of the bottom 40% in 2015.”

The NDA said that these figures showed that policies must incorporate targets and monitoring to eradicate poverty and inequality.

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