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NC households struggle to afford food

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27.6 percent of households in the Province ran out of money to buy food in the 12 months preceding the survey

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THE MOST recent Community Survey, conducted by Stats SA, has painted a bleak picture of poverty levels and access to basic sanitation in the Northern Cape, with the Province recording the highest prevalence of households that ran out of money to buy food in the country.

The Community Survey 2016 (CS 2016) is the second largest sample survey undertaken by Stats SA after CS 2007, but this time around the data were collected electronically using the computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) system as opposed to the paper collection method used in CS 2007.

The survey has indicated that 27.6 percent of households in the Province ran out of money to buy food in the 12 months preceding the survey.

Almost 20% of households in South Africa ran out of money to buy food in the 12 months preceding CS 2016.

The Western Cape (13.2%), Gauteng (15.7%) and Limpopo (18.1%) are the three provinces with the lowest prevalence of households that ran out of money to buy food as compared to all other remaining provinces.

The province with the highest prevalence was the Northern Cape at 27.6%, (97 169 household out of 255 514), which is also higher than the national average of 19.9%.

In the John Taolo Gaetsewe district in the Northern Cape the picture was even more bleak, with 39.5% of households running out of money to buy food in the 12 months preceding the survey and 28.7% in the Pixley ka Seme district.

The survey also indicated that 17.5% of households skipped a meal in the 12 months prior to the survey because the household did not have enough food.

The district with the highest proportion of households who skipped a meal is John Taolo Gaetsewe (25.5%), while Namakwa has the lowest proportion at just 11.1%.

Relative to the number of households in the municipality, both Joe Morolong (31.9%) and Siyathemba (29.5%) municipalities have a higher number of those who skipped a meal in the past 12 months, while Karoo Hoogland remains the lowest with only 1.9% of households skipping a meal.

The survey further showed the five leading problems or challenges facing municipalities in the Northern Cape. The main challenge that has been reported by many households across the Province is lack of safe and reliable water supply services, followed by the cost of electricity.

Additionally, the lack of employment opportunities is the third biggest problem, the fourth biggest problem is inadequate roads, while inadequate housing completes the list of the top five challenges facing municipalities in the Province.

Almost 89% of households in the Northern Cape have access to safe drinking water.

Results further showed that at district level, over 90% of households with access to safe drinking water were found in both the Namakwa and Pixley ka Seme districts. However, in the Magareng Local Municipality, 33.5% of households did not have access to safe drinking water, which is the highest percentage in the Province.

The municipality where almost all households (99.3%) have access to safe drinking water and which recorded the highest number for the Province is Khai-Ma.

The survey has also indicated that 5.5% of households in the Northern Cape have no toilet facility (19 453 households), followed by 10 201 (2.9%) of households using bucket toilets collected by the municipality and 1.4% using bucket toilets emptied by households themselves.

In Gamagara and Tsantsabane a staggering 11.9% of households reported having no toilet facilities at all.