Poverty Alleviation: Baseline data for the R85 Million Rapid Anti-Poverty (RAP) ProgrammeThe National Department of Public Works (NDPW) implemented a Rapid Anti- Poverty Programme in KwaZulu-Natal, Northern Province and Eastern Cape in 1997/98. The programme was a 'fast-track' one, aimed at alleviating poverty in the rural areas of the three provinces.
In an effort to maximise the alleviation of poverty, the Department commissioned Strategy and Tactics to undertake a baseline study in Ugu in KwaZulu-Natal, prior to the implementation of the programme.
The brief study was meant to compile data on the poverty level among households in the Ugu District Council. This was critical to gain an understanding of the socio-economic profile of the targeted areas.
According to the 1995 October Household Survey, the Ugu District Council is a relatively under-developed, impoverished area, compared to the other District or Metropolitan Council areas in South Africa. It ranks as the seventeenth poorest among the 48 District or Metropolitan Council areas in the country.
According to the qualitative interviews in the Shobashobane area, the majority of people listed their immediate development needs as the provision of clean water, the provision of health services in the form of a clinic and the provision of electricity. In some areas, however, others saw the provision of new classrooms as important.
In addition, the role of key stakeholders involved in the area was cited as central for development projects to succeed. For example, people viewed the involvement of the 'amakhosi' as important for development initiatives to succeed and for these projects to be owned by the local communities.
The baseline compiled by S&T serves as a quantitative measure against which development in the area can later be gauged. It also proved important for the Department of Public Works as they were able to understand the political dynamics in the area before they began implementing their poverty alleviation programmes.