Now, let’s look at the stats:

Combining the numbers, Census 2011 results reveal that in Khayelitsha and Hanover Park, 3.9% of the households in these areas have no access to toilets, only 52,49% completed matric and live below the poverty line, with an overall household income of R2,400 per month.

Key threads in poverty discourse in Khayelitsha and similar areas are the lack of resources people need to survive, that which preserves dignity and allows communities to achieve their full potential.  For the majority of households here, the decision between buying a loaf of bread or a pack of sanitary towels is a real predicament for families.  A dilemma between maintaining the dignity of a young girl and feeding the family exists.  This is a heartbreaking reality, and is not unique to South Africa.

In 1997, the Department of Welfare released a White Paper on Social Welfare in South Africa which highlights the basic needs that must be met to ensure that citizens participate fully in society.  The basic needs connect an “absolute core” across the basic dimensions of poverty, living environment, health, education, material, human capital, social capital and employment.

“Endemic and widespread poverty continues to disfigure the face of our country. It will always be impossible for us to say that we have fully restored the dignity of all our people as long as this situation persists. For this reason the struggle to eradicate poverty has been and will continue to be a cornerstone of the national effort to build the new South Africa.” (former President Thabo Mbeki, 2004)

If we truly want to flourish as a country, dignity for the vulnerable must be restored to enable all citizens full participation in society.

return to perspectives