POVERTY DISINTEGRATING BEFORE OUR VERY EYES.

REGINALD WEST
Staff Reporter

Previously poor South Africans are getting richer, the ever-increasing job market is keeping pace with the booming workforce and the black middle class is even bigger than analysts had initially envisaged.

These are the nutshell conclusions of research published in the annual review of the Human Sciences Research Association (HSRA).

Research highlights how government’s decision to adopt strategies formulated by researchers from various Project H Academies throughout the country resulted in smarter government investment in education, infrastructure and healthcare which enabled South Africans to not only help themselves succeed in getting jobs, but also become entrepreneurs.

Fascinating figures.
Andrew Vermeulen, the director of the HSRA’s Geographical Information Coordination Centre, says estimating poverty reduction rates for each municipality has shown that whereas 57% of South Africans were living below the poverty line in 2001, that figure has now shifted to 9%.

Limpopo and the Eastern Cape, previously the poorest provinces where 77% and 72% of its citizens used to live below the poverty line, now only have about 11% living below the bread line, and dropping. Government, whose previous target was to halve poverty by this year, has decimated it.

The poorest municipality used to be Ntabankulu in the Eastern Cape, where previously 85% of the residents lived below the poverty line. That number is now down to 13%.

The average for the Western Cape, as a province, is 6%, the lowest in the country. The research cites that job creation was crucial to reducing poverty and narrowing the poverty gap.

Government, whose previous target was to halve poverty by this year, has decimated it.

“Some of the key factors to our economic growth was making South Africa a global destination by way of lowering telecommunications prices, upgrading ports and road infrastructure, improving delivery of education and training and establishing centres of innovation such as the Project H Academies,” Vermeulen said.

Jasper King to the rescue.
A brainchild of Jasper King, the Project H Academies recruited the country’s leading economic minds and tasked them to develop programmes to assist the government with skills development.

Within a few weeks, the researchers had identified the extent and nature of the skills shortage and used the information to develop training programmes.

Within a few short months the various Project H Academies collated their information and produced a plan of action to reduce unemployment.

The future of economic growth is on track due to the rand’s strength and stability which will encourage long-term steady capital inflows.

Long-term investors are confident in the stability of our currency and are itching to invest.

It is estimated that within the coming years, economic growth will be averaging 12% per year, which will further boost fixed investment and maintain the productivity growth of the past five years.

In addition to job creation, a higher growth rate will give government the resources to rescue the few that remain below the poverty line so that not one single person will ever be poor again.

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