Eradicate extreme hunger and poverty
Where we are
Using national estimates of poverty and inequality in South Africa, in 2000, 11% of people were living on less than US$1 a day and 34% were living on less than US$ 2 a day. Using expenditure share measures (i.e. the proportion of expenditure for each quintile of households in South Africa, between 1995 and 2000), in 2000 the poorest 20% accounted for 2.8% of total expenditure. In contrast, the wealthiest 20% of households accounted for 64.5% of all expenditure in 2000. Income inequality, as measured by the Gini coefficient, in South Africa was at 0.59 when social transfers are excluded. It declines to 0.35 when including social transfers. There are many on-going programmes and new ones that are aimed at improving the profile of South Africans.Social assistance grants increased from R10 billion in 1994 to R37.1 billion in 2004 with beneficiaries growing from 2.6 million to 7.9 million during the same period.
The proportion of households with access to clean water increased from 60 percent in 1995 to 85 percent in 2003 and by December 2004 10 million people had access to clean water. Access to sanitation increased from 49 percent of households in 1994 to 63 percent in 2003 while 2.4 million housing subsidies were approved and 1.74 million housing units were built between April 1994 and March 2005.
According to the 2010 report, absolute poverty has declined, based on a period of economic growth combined with a series of redistributive measures carried out by the government of the day. Most notable, is the five-fold increase in the number of people benefiting from social grants. An additional area of importance, not captured by the above measures of income inequality, is a variety of pro-poor investments in services such as sanitation, housing and others. Challenges, however, remain in South Africa. These range from a persistently unequal society, although with scope for accelerating declines in absolute poverty specifically for a proportion of the population, living under $2.50 a day. Further attention needs to be paid to malnutrition and child health and the problem of unemployment as a long-term solution that would potentially replace social assistance programmes. In this regard the following recommendations are appropriate.