Eric Naki

Eric Naki

Poor households in Johannesburg townships might have access to piped water, toilets and electricity under the democratic dispensation, but the new order has yet to counter people's vulnerability in other respects.

They are still exposed in case of the death of a member of their household, loss of income, severe illness and a lack of food.

The poor are often more vulnerable as a result of life-changing events and many do not prepare for the unexpected.

These are some of the findings of the Johannesburg Poverty and Livelihoods Study released by the Centre for Social Development in Africa at the University of Johannesburg this week.

The study, conducted by the centre's Thea de Wet, Leila Patel, M Korth and C Forrester, focused on eight of Johannesburg's most deprived communities.

The survey covered 1409 households in Diepsloot, Ivory Park, Riverlea, Doornkop, Phiri and Senaoane, Alexandra, Jeppestown and Orange Farm.

The areas are among the poorest 25percent in Johannesburg, where, according to an earlier survey, 51percent of the residents earn less than R1600 a month and one in five people had no income.

De Wet said the study highlighted the gravity of poverty and the ingenuity of people as they struggled to survive in a growing and changing city.

"Local authorities should play a greater role in poverty reduction," Patel said.

With Gauteng set to become one of the top 15 biggest urban centres in the world over the next decade, noted Patel, how it addressed poverty would be critical.