Home News More than half of Northern Cape’s population live in poverty

More than half of Northern Cape’s population live in poverty

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... but the Province is still the fourth richest in the country

More than half the population in the Northern Cape - which is the fourth richest province - are living in poverty. File image

WHILE more than half of the citizens of the Northern Cape languish in poverty, the Province is still the fourth richest in the country – behind the Western Cape, Gauteng and the Free State.

This is according to the latest “Poverty Trends in South Africa” report, released yesterday by Statistics SA.

The report shows that more than half of South Africans were poor in 2015, with the poverty headcount increasing to 55.5 percent from a low of 53.2 percent in 2011. In the Northern Cape 59 percent of the residents are classified as poor.

Approximately 30.3 million people in South Africa were living below the upper-bound poverty line (UPBM) of R992 per person per month in 2015 – an increase of 3.1 million from 2011.

Stats SA said that the South African economy, in the last five years, notably between 2011 and 2015, has been driven by a combination of international and domestic factors such as low and weak economic growth, continuing high unemployment levels, lower commodity prices, higher consumer prices (especially for energy and food), lower investment levels, greater household dependency on credit, and policy uncertainty.

“This period has seen the financial health of South African households decline under the weight of these economic pressures and, in turn, has pulled more households and individuals down into poverty.”

Females remain more disadvantaged than their male counterparts, consistently recording higher headcount, gap and severity measures, although the difference between the sexes is narrowing.

“In general, children aged 17 years and younger, black Africans, females, people living in rural areas and those with little or no education are the main victims in the ongoing struggle against poverty,” the report states.

Approximately 64.2 percent of black Africans were living below the UBPL in 2015.

The report also found that levels of poverty differed significantly across provinces, with the Eastern Cape (72.9 percent), Limpopo (72.4 percent) and KwaZulu-Natal (68.1 percent) recording the highest levels of poverty in 2015, while the Western Cape (37.1 percent) and Gauteng (33.3 percent) had the lowest levels.

The Northern Cape’s level of poverty in 2015 was 59 percent – down from 74.5 percent in 2006 and 69.2 percent in 2009, although it was slightly up from 58.2 percent in 2011.

According to the report, the poverty levels tend to drop for adults, increasing only after the age of 55 years.

The Northern Cape has one of the highest percentage of older persons receiving grants, with 94.7 percent of older poor persons receiving an old-age grant. (The Eastern Cape was the highest with 95.4 percent).

The Northern Cape (40.1 percent) also had one of the highest percentage of poor households with children receiving child support grants compared to other provinces. The highest was the Eastern Cape (42.8 percent).

A person’s educational level was also found to be closely related to poverty; 79.2 percent of individuals with no formal education were poor as compared to only 8.4 percent of individuals who had a post-matric qualification in 2015.