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ANC promises to act with urgency to deal with poverty

A Stats SA report shows that more than 55% of the population is effectively living below the poverty line.

FILE: A shack dweller's washing dries in the wind in the Langrug informal settlement outside Franschhoek. Picture: EWN.

JOHANNESBURG - The African National Congress (ANC) says it's gravely concerned about the latest poverty figures and has promised to act with urgency to deal with the crisis.

Stats SA released staggering figures on the latest poverty trends in the country, showing more than 55% of the population is effectively living below the poverty line, with 47% of black Africans living on less than R647 per person per month.

ANC Treasurer General Zweli Mkhize said: “The main issue right now is to make sure that government and the private sector work together to ignite the economy. So the issue of building confidence becomes very important and, therefore, we need more urgently to address more areas of policy difference that have risen.”

But labour analyst Mamokgethi Molopyana says policy makers are not doing enough to address the crisis.

“Not only are they not doing enough, we’re seeing an economy that’s not creating jobs and so we’re having more people having to do away with the basic quality food so that they can have transport money for work.”

STATS SA REPORT SHOWS INCREASE IN PEOPLE LIVING IN EXTREME POVERTY

Yesterday Stats SA released a Poverty Trends report that showed the number of people living in extreme poverty increased to nearly 14 million between 2011 and 2015.

The report released by statistician general Pali Lehohla looked at poverty trends over a 10 year period between 2006 and 2015.

The 2015 food poverty line was R441 per person per month, which is the amount of money needed to buy the bare minimum of food for adequate nutrition.

Stats SA’s poverty trend report found that in that year, 13.8 million people were living on less than that every month.

The figure was an increase of 2.8 million people from the 11 million people living in extreme poverty in 2011.

Overall, the report found that about half of South Africans survive on less than R992 per month.

Additional reporting by Barry Bateman.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)