Report on the Evaluation of Government's Poverty Reduction Programme


The commitment by the South African government to poverty reduction has been expressed in recent years through various national, provincial and local policy interventions. As such, since 1994, the South African government has introduced a large number of interventions to address poverty in its various manifestations, not least income poverty (lack of income), human capital poverty (lack of education and skills), service poverty (lack of access to services and
amenities), and asset poverty (lack of ownership of land and housing). Interventions have thus varied from child support and disability grants, subsidised water and electricity, housing, land redistribution and restitution, to various inter-departmental programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme.
Until recently, there has been little means of appreciating the overall magnitude or significance of these attempts, which collectively make up what is referred to as the ‘Poverty Reduction Programme.’ However, in 2005 the Public Service Commission (PSC) initiated a research process in which all government projects were compiled into a single database, thus providing for the first time a statistical overview of most of the poverty reduction initiatives that make up the
Poverty Reduction Programme. A definition was proposed for government to consider when describing projects that focus on poverty reduction. Also, a system for categorizing poverty programmes and projects was provided, as well as criteria for the inclusion of programmes into different categories. Using this system of categorisation an integrated database of 40 programmes and almost 30 000 projects were developed.
In this second phase, the aim of the PSC was to evaluate a sample of government’s poverty reduction initiatives in order to develop an overall understanding of their efficacy. In the PSC Audit report, the project database distinguished five ‘programme types’, namely:
(i) Public works (mostly referring to the various components of the Expanded Public Works Programme);
(ii) Land reform (mainly land redistribution and land restitution);
(iii) Income generating projects (including various enterprises in the agricultural, crafts, and service sectors); (iv) Individual services (e.g. home-based care projects); and (v) Social security (mainly comprising the School Nutrition Programme, and notably excluding the social grant system). For purposes of having a manageable scope for this report, the social security programme type was omitted. The PSC will examine this category through other studies. By the same token, for the most part the attention to land reform in this report is restricted to its land redistribution component. Although land restitution also seeks to reduce poverty where possible, its principal objective is restorative justice.


Evaluation Number:
Report Approval:
Monday, 01 October 2007
Wednesday, 18 May 2016
Initiated By:
Public Service Commission
Undertaken By:
Public Service Commission
Evaluation Period:
Evaluation Area:
LED, SMEs & local development projects
Poverty, socio-economic dev, access to credit
National Outcome:
National Outcome 4: Decent employment through inclusive economic growth.
National Outcome 7: Vibrant, equitable and sustainable rural communities with food security for all.
Commissioned By:
Evaluation Type:
Evaluation Subject:
Geographic Scope:

Evaluation Documents

File Name
Evaluation of Poverty Reduction Programme.pdf 75.pdf
75 EQAT 20130320 tm_mb.pdf

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