Pretoria – Great strides have been made towards improving the lives of South Africans living in rural areas and townships between the period 2001 and 2011.
“The plight of the household in both rural and urban nodes is changing for the better,” Statistician General Pali Lehohla said on Thursday.
He released a report titled ‘Quest for nodal development: Evidence from Census 2011’. In 2001,government identified 13 district municipalities (that were later increased to 18) and eight townships for accelerated development. The 18 district municipalities are referred to as rural nodes and the eight townships as urban nodes.
The nodes were selected in 2001 based on their high poverty levels. They are characterised by inadequate infrastructure, poor means of communication, poor access to basic services, poor living conditions, high levels of unemployment and lack of adequate facilities.
The report provides a detailed analysis of the plight of citizens in the nodes over a 10-year period. It compares development in the nodes relative to development in the areas that were not selected as nodes in 2001.
It found, among others, that there has been an increase in the percentage of households using flushed toilets in both rural and urban nodes between 2001 and 2011.
Overall, the results indicate nominal improvements in the education profile of the population in both nodal and non-nodal areas. However, these improvements are not statistically significant, except for improvements in tertiary qualifications in the urban nodes and non-nodes.
For instance in the City of Johannesburg, Diepsloot’s multidimensional poverty headcount was estimated at 30.7% in 2001 and was not identified as a node, whilst Alexandra, which had a poverty level of 13.2% in the same year, was identified as a node.
Lehohla said the report showed that the population in the rural nodes increased by 4.8%. There was a decrease in the population in urban nodes by 0.5% between 2001 and 2011.
In terms of education, in the rural nodes, an increase from 92.7% in 2001 to 94.2% in 2011 in the proportion of children aged 7 to 15 years attending an educational institution is observed.
“Overall, the results indicate nominal improvements in the education profile of the population in both nodal and non-nodal areas. However, these improvements are not statistically significant except for improvements in tertiary qualifications in the urban nodes and non-nodes,” read the report.
Lehohla said the increase in the proportion of the employed in the rural nodes is encouraging. It suggests positive outcomes of rural development programmes regarding job creation. However, there was an increase in the proportion of households living in formal dwellings between 2001 and 2011 in both rural and urban nodes.