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2011-07-14: City interventions to address inequality and poverty

Inequality and poverty remain a critical area of focus for Johannesburg and it intends addressing this through substantial interventions of social mobility and human development programmes.

Data released by Global Insight in 2008, stated that 21.6% of the City’s household still lived below the poverty income level. This can be attributed to high unemployment levels that contribute to high inequality levels which are evident in the City’s Gini coefficient of 0.63 in 2009.

Although Johannesburg is comparatively more developed than other cities in South Africa it clearly has its socio-economic challenges that must be addressed to ensure a safety net for the poorest. Almost every city department and entity is obliged to undertake projects and initiatives to create employment opportunities under the City’s expanded public works programme.

Some of these are labour intensive projects, internships with a monthly stipend, skills training and development in various fields as well as an expanded social package that has a basket of service rebates and assistance to other social services offered by provincial government or non government organizations.

In support of developmental local government and particularly job creation and bankable business ideas, Johannesburg recently revised its supply chain management policies and procurement processes to create an enabling environment for Start-ups, Small and Micro Enterprises.

Linear markets are currently being pioneered in the city to create sustainable infrastructure, demarcated trading areas and developmental programmes in support of informal trading. Employment in Joburg is made up of 90.1% formal and 9.9% informal and the City spends about R1.5 million each year on a business management course for informal traders.

None of this can be achieved without a visionary political leadership and a dynamic administration that understands the needs of the City’s population, its demographics and emerging trends. Joburg has a primarily young population of 3.8 million people that is projected to increase to 4.1 million by 2015. The number of households is likely to increase to 1.5 million from 1.3 million in the same period.

Joburg is also the economic hub of Africa with a huge migrant population so remaining at the helm and pulse of matters assists in planning for the anticipated increased demand for services and job opportunities. As the city grows and transforms within an environment where job losses continue, innovative ways have to be found to continue providing support to the poor, improving existing labour force skills, expanding essential services to all communities and maintaining infrastructure.



“Joburg, a City where community development, personal growth and social mobility are enhanced so that challenges of poverty, vulnerability, inequality and social exclusion are fundamentally addressed”.

Issued on behalf of the mayoral committee member for Economic Development, Councillor Sello Lemao


Virgil James
City of Joburg
082 467 9415/011 407 7226