The distribution of income and wealth in South Africa is among the most unequal in the world. Many households have unsatisfactory access to basics like education, health care, energy and clean water. Such situation tends to affect the social and political stability of any country, and poses dilemma for analysis in Development Economics. The fundamental problem is poverty, the inability of individuals, households and communities to command sufficient resources to satisfy a socially acceptable minimum standard of living. Poverty in South Africa can be classified in degrees of affection. There is absolute poverty that has to do with the deprivation of individuals relative to scarcity of providing for minimal necessities of life; as well as relative poverty and subjective poverty. Victims of the poverty scenario in South Africa are the rural poor, female-headed households, people with disabilities, the elderly, retrenched farm workers, HIV/AIDS affected and orphans, and the street homeless.
The responsibility to securing the well-being of the people of the Republic is the task of the three spheres of government, in terms of provision in the Constitution of South Africa under Co-Operative Government. Yet, due to its nature as government closest to the people, local government, and for that matter municipalities, are constitutionally tasked to provide services to communities in a sustainable manner, to promote social and economic development, and to achieve a safe and healthy environment. A number of legislation gives effect to the manner in which such functions to help address the poverty syndrome can be undertaken by municipalities. Yet, living standards of the poor do not seem to be improving, largely due to an apparent lack of capacity on a number of fronts that confront municipalities.
This article examines the nature of poverty that afflict sections of the South African populace; the kind of structural problems that confront municipalities to fighting poverty, and recommends coordinated effort to strengthening municipal capacities through implementation of total quality management, capacity-building schemes, and the realignment of projects through Local Economic Development.
|Keywords:||Poverty, Globalization, Capacity-building, Government, Municipalities, Total Quality Management, Local Economic Development|
Head of Department, Department of Public Management and Administration, North-West University, Vanderbijlpark, Gauteng, South Africa
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