Social grants keep poverty at bay - Stats SA

JOHANNESBURG - There are four million fewer South Africans living in poverty than there were eight years ago.

Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says about 20 percent of the population still live below the poverty line.

A report released on Thursday shows that poverty levels reduced between 2006 and 2011 despite the global financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

Statistician General Pali Lehohla says had South Africa not had a social grant system, poverty levels would&39;ve been a lot higher.

"The situation in South Africa is that one of structural unemployment, and with that no access to agricultural land. In other countries like Brazil, the one thing is that agriculture is very productive and well distributed among the poor.

"In SA, it&39;s a different story. So the structural unemployment in South Africa that exists, exacerbates the conditions for poverty. Social grants are cushioning that...," said Lehohla.

The study also found that unemployment remains the greatest cause of impoverishment. And while poverty has decreased, inequality hasn&39;t.

The gap between rich and poor remains among the highest in the world.







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