Poverty, social and health issues

This research seeks to explore how poverty causes food insecurity through constraining purchasing behaviour amongst rural shoppers in the Klipplaat area of the Eastern Cape. Purchasing behaviour in this instance refers to where one shops and the quantity one shops for: occasionally purchasing large quantities of food in bulk from large retail outlets, versus frequently purchasing small quantities of food from local shops. Low-income consumers are unlikely to be able to buy many items when they are on special in shops because of a limited income and generally cannot afford to purchase in bulk (Du Plessis & Rousseau, 2003:442). This is the departure point of this study- does being unable to purchase larger quantities of products, transport and store these products affect household food insecurity?

The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of the United Nations defines food security as “ensuring that all people at all times have both physical and economic access to the basic food that they need”. Food insecurity is defined as the state in which “people do not have adequate physical, social or economic access to food” (FAO, 2003).

This Chapter of the scientific assessment focused on potential health impacts of four different shale gas development (SGD) scenarios. The status quo represents Scenario 0 (Reference Case), exploratory drilling representing Scenario 1 (Exploration Only), moderate drilling representing Scenario 2 (Small Gas), and lastly high gas production representing Scenario 3 (Big Gas). The scope of the study is to assess potential human health risks in the study area. International experience and scientific evidence was used to predict the potential health impacts. The following had to be done for the impact assessment: identify potential chemicals to be used, assess the potential health impacts of these chemicals, assess the potential population that could be exposed, and consider the potential pathways through which the population might be exposed.


This document, as well as the full CSIR report can be accessed at http://seasgd.csir.co.za/scientific-assessment-chapters/

Sheona Shackleton “The significance if the local trade in natural resource products for livelihoods and poverty alleviation in South Africa” (2005) Department of Environmental Science Faculty of Science RHODES UNIVERSITY



What role can the commercialisation of natural resource products play in the efforts to reduce poverty and vulnerability and how can this be enhanced? With poverty alleviation at the top of the global development agenda, this is a question posed by many scholars, practitioners, donor agencies and government departments operating at the environment-development interface. However, recent commentary on this issue is mixed and ambiguous, with some observers being quite optimistic regarding the potential of these products, while others hold a counter view. This thesis explores the livelihood contributions and poverty alleviation potential of four products traded locally in the Bushbuckridge municipality, South Africa; namely traditional brooms, reed mats, woodcraft and a beer made from the fruits of Sclerocarya birrea. A common approach, employing both quantitative and qualitative methods, was used to investigate the harvesting, processing and marketing arrangements, sustainability and livelihood contributions of each product. The results illustrate that any inference regarding the potential of the trade to alleviate poverty depends on how poverty is defined and interpreted, and on whether the role of these products is assessed from a holistic livelihood perspective that includes notions of vulnerability, alternatives and choice, diversification and the needs of rural producers themselves. Overall, the products studied were key in enhancing the livelihood security of the poorest members of society, forming an important safety net and assisting in raising household incomes to levels equivalent to the wider population, but generally were unlikely, on their own, to provide a route out of poverty. However, there were notable exceptions, with marked variation evident both within and across products. Incomes often surpassed local wage rates, and a minority of producers were obtaining returns equivalent to or greater than the official minimum wage. Other benefits, such as the opportunity to work from home or to diversify the livelihood portfolio, were also crucial, with the trade representing different livelihood strategies for different households. When viewed within the context of rising unemployment and HIV/AIDS these findings assume greater significance. While the trades were complex and growth limited, livelihood benefits could be improved on a sustainable basis if the sector was given the attention and support it deserves.


Click here to download



Atkinson, D and Marais, L (2006), “Urbanisation and the future urban agenda in South Africa” in Democracy and Delivery: Urban policy in South Africa, edited by Richard Tomlinson and Udesh Pillay, Human Sciences Research Council, Pretoria.

The book can be downloaded for free at: http://www.hsrcpress.ac.za/product.php?productid=2153


Democracy and Delivery: Urban Policy in South Africa tells the story of urban policy and its formulation in South Africa. As such, it provides an important resource for present and future urban policy processes.

In a series of essays written by leading academics and practitioners, Democracy and Delivery documents and assesses the formulation, evolution and implementation of urban policy in South African during the first ten years of democracy in rigorous detail.

The contributors describe the creation of democratic local governments from the time of the 1976 Soweto uprising and the intense township struggles of the 1980s, the construction of ‘developmental’ planning and financial frameworks, and the delivery of housing and services by the new democratic order. They examine the policy formulation processes and what underlay these, debate the role of research and the influence of international development agencies and assess successes and failures in policy implementation. Looking to the future, the contributors make suggestions based on experience with implementation and changing political priorities.

Academics, students, policy-makers and government officials, as well as an informed public, will find this book an enlightening read.



Schoeman, K and Van Schalkwyk, C (2013), Klein plattelandse gemeentes as ruimtes om brûe na die hele gemeenskap te bou: ’n Prakties-teologiese ondersoek (Small rural congregations as spaces where bridges can be built to the rest of the community: A practical-theological inquiry), Litnet Akademies, vol. 10, no. 3.



Klein plattelandse dorpies bestaan gewoonlik uit verskillende gemeenskappe wat nie noodwendig veel van mekaar weet nie. Gewoonlik is dit politieke, sosio-ekonomiese en rasseverdelings wat tot hierdie skeidslyne aanleiding gee. Die politieke mag is aan die een kant van die dorp en die ekonomiese mag aan die ander kant. Geloofsgemeenskappe is aan beide kante van hierdie verdeling te vind. Die doel van hierdie artikel is om die moontlikhede te verken om brûe tussen die twee “aparte” gemeenskappe te bou deur gebruik te maak van die geestelike en sosiale kapitaal wat binne klein gemeentes op die platteland beskikbaar is. Die fokus val veral op ’n studie wat in die Suid-Vrystaat gedoen is. In ’n ondersoek wat in die ring van Fauresmith onder NG gemeentes onderneem is, is ’n semigestruktureerde vraelys aan predikante van die agt gemeentes in die ring gestuur. Uit die reaksies van die predikante is dit duidelik dat daar, soos hulle die saak sien, oor die afgelope vyf jaar wesenlike veranderings in die gemeentes en gemeenskap plaasgevind het. Verder word ook aan ’n gevallestudie wat in die gemeenskap van Philippolis onderneem is, aandag gegee. Die hantering en reaksie van die gemeenskap op die Vigs-epidemie word bespreek. In Philippolis se geval was daar nie sprake van die politieke wil, ekonomiese krag of ’n betekenisvolle aantal persone om die MIV/Vigs-epidemie te hanteer nie. Almal was lamgelê, maar die kerk het die draer van hoop geword. Die gevallestudie dui ’n weg aan om die krisis te hanteer en die gemeenskap te help om nuwe waardes en praktyke te vorm. Die beskikbare geestelike kapitaal in die geloofsgemeenskappe het die taal en praktyke help skep om nuwe moontlikhede oop te maak.


Click here to download



Ingle, M (2011), Ammunition for the ‘War on Poverty’ in South Africa, African Journal of Business Management 5(30):11749-11755.



Poverty is a multi-faceted phenomenon that goes beyond mere paucity of income. The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) reflects an understanding of poverty as human deprivation by including indices for health and education in its Human Development Index (HDI). This article reflects on South Africa’s chequered HDI performance. It cites China’s record in reducing poverty and hazards the suggestion that a similar economic approach, if adopted locally, could have the effect of freeing the business sector from regulations that have inhibited entrepreneurship, and by extension, pro-poor growth. South Africa has haemorrhaged skills at an unacceptable level and, where this is attributable to post-apartheid legislation, this legislation needs to be revisited.


Click here to download



Walsh, C, van Rooyen, F (2015), Household Food Security and Hunger in Rural and Urban Communities in the Free State Province, South Africa, Ecology of Food and Nutrition, vol. 54, Issue 2.

To purchase this article, click on http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/03670244.2014.964230#.VP2JQek5DIU
or request the item via ResearchGate:

or contact walshcm@ufs.ac.za.



Household food security impacts heavily on quality of life. We determined factors associated with food insecurity in 886 households in rural and urban Free State Province, South Africa. Significantly more urban than rural households reported current food shortage (81% and 47%, respectively). Predictors of food security included vegetable production in rural areas and keeping food for future use in urban households. Microwave oven ownership was negatively associated with food insecurity in urban households and using a primus or paraffin stove positively associated with food insecurity in rural households. Interventions to improve food availability and access should be emphasized.



Van Zyl, S, Van der Merwe, L, Walsh, CM, Groenewald, AJ, Van Rooyen, FC (2010), Risk-factor profiles for chronic diseases of lifestyle and metabolic syndrome in an urban and rural setting in South Africa , African Journal of Primary Health Care & Family Medicine; Vol 4, No 1 (2012), 10 pages. doi: 10.4102/phcfm.v4i1.346.


Background: Chronic lifestyle diseases share similar modifiable risk factors, including hypertension, tobacco smoking, diabetes, obesity, hyperlipidaemia and physical inactivity. Metabolic syndrome refers to the cluster of risk factors that increases the risk for developing type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) and cardiovascular disease.

Objectives: The study aimed to assess health status and identify distinct risk-factor profiles for both chronic lifestyle diseases and metabolic syndrome in rural and urban communities in central South Africa.


Click here to download

or Article can be accessed at: http://phcfm.org/index.php/phcfm/article/view/346



Groenewald AJ, Walsh CM, van Wyk HJ, van Zyl S and van der Merwe LJ (2011),
Staging and haematological abnormalities of HIV-infected persons in the rural Free State Province of South Africa.2011.  African Journal of Primary Health Care and Family Medicine, vol 3, no. 1. Doi:10.4102/phcfm.v3i1.222.



The five countries with the highest HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) prevalence rates in the world are situated in Southern Africa and South Africa.1 The Nelson Mandela Trust and Human Science Research Council (HSRC) study of HIV and AIDS (Nelson Mandela Human Sciences Research Council 2002) was the first to describe the prevalence of HIV infection in the total South African population and to provide a detailed picture of the distribution and determinants of this devastating pandemic.

In a recent national community-based survey3 which included 7249 households and 13 518 individuals, the prevalence of HIV in the general population was 11.4%, with 12.8% prevalence in female participants and 9.5% prevalence in male participants. In formal urban areas, the prevalence in the Black population was 12.9%, 6.2% in the White population, 6.1% in the Coloured population, and 1.6% in the Indian population. Informal settlements in urban areas had a prevalence of 21.6%. The prevalence of HIV in urban formal and informal areas is higher (11.9% and 21.6%, respectively) than in rural formal and informal areas (7.8% and 8.8%, respectively). The peak prevalence occurred in women between ages 20–29 years (24.1%) and in men between 30–39 years (21.3%). The prevalence of HIV infection in the Free State province was reported to be 14.9%.3

In 2006, the prevalence of HIV in antenatal clinic attendees in South Africa was 29.1%, with the peak prevalence (38.7%) in the 25–29 years age group. In the Free State, 31.1% of attendees were HIV-infected, whilst KwaZulu-Natal had the highest prevalence at 39.1%.4

. . .


Click here to download



Marais, L, Ingle, M, Skinner, D, Sigenu, K (2012), An Evaluation of a Family Support Programme incorporating Early Childhood Development, in the southern Free State, Acta Academica, 44(1):86-121.


This article details the evaluation of an NGO Family Support Programme (FSP) that was implemented in the southern Free State’s Kopanong local municipality. The FSP is primarily aimed at strengthening Early Childhood Development (ECD) in what is a very socio-economically deprived environment for small children. The article argues for the critical importance of ECD within the human development paradigm. It then reports on the actual FSP assessment and advances a number of recommendations for how the initiative could be bolstered. It concludes that the FSP methodology is sound in principle and that it warrants replication at scale.


Click here to download