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Combine efforts to reduce poverty - Deputy President

by Kagiso Metswamere
on 14 Mar 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka has called on every member of the community to partner with government in the fight against poverty.

Addressing the final sitting of the National Council of Provinces Govan Mbeki Stadium in Potchefstroom on Friday, the Deputy President said: "Our priority as a developmental state is to reduce poverty and unemployment.

"We firmly believe our mandate is to assist the poor in getting control of their lives and assisting them with resources to improve their lives for the better.

"I would like to urge all of us, to be part of building the war room against poverty that President Mbeki spoke about," said Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka, referring to President Thabo Mbeki's State of the Nation Address.

The Deputy President said the North West province had high levels of poverty and unemployment which needed to be addressed without a delay.

"Poverty comes with gross inequality and as your government, we believe none of us can be free where poverty and inequality persists," she said.

In 2004, the number of jobs increased from 835 000 in 2004 to 913 000 in 2007 in the North West province.

The proportion of poor households in the province decreased from 56 percent in 2004 to 50 percent in 2006.

The Deputy President said the North West province had also shown an improvement with regard to poverty alleviation.

"It is encouraging to see some positive signs in the province with regard to poverty alleviation and job creation even if we still have a long way to go," she said.

The Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka said, however, poverty was still concentrated in female-headed households where there were less economic opportunities.

"You will find that there is a lack of skills and information, and work is largely centred in the informal sector, which does not offer a steady source of income."

She said in some cases men felt they were not discharging their role as significant members of their families and communities when women were breadwinners.

Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka further said government was helping to reduce poverty through increasing economic opportunities to indigent women, disempowered men and the youth.

"Government has extended the child support grant and is geared towards equalising the pensionable age for men and women.

"Beyond government's social grants, we also need the private sector to be part of giving first time job seekers an opportunity for the employed young people," said the Deputy President. - BuaNews

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