Machel backs Mbeki in poverty dispute

South Africa's former first lady Graca Machel yesterday joined President Thabo Mbeki in refuting claims that more South Africans are now poorer than they were in 1996.

South Africa's former first lady Graca Machel yesterday joined President Thabo Mbeki in refuting claims that more South Africans are now poorer than they were in 1996.

Speaking in Cape Town at a meeting of anti-poverty NGOs organised by the African Monitor, Machel, pictured, said while there was room for improvement, the ANC-led government had done exceptionally well in the fight against poverty.

"The ANC liberation movement has done extremely well compared to any other liberation movement in the Southern African Development Community (SADC)," she said.

On Friday, Mbeki railed against the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR) for making "the startling claim" that more South Africans were now poorer than they were in 1996.

In its report published last week, the SAIRR claimed that using the globally accepted measure of poverty, of people living on less than one US dollar a day, poverty had increased in South Africa, both in absolute numbers and proportionally. - Sapa

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