The Institute of Race Relations (IRR) has released a new comfort/deprivation index, assessing 44 municipal and 8 metropolitan districts on standards of living.
The index was launched ahead of the 2016 municipal elections – 3 August 2016 – to give an overview of how municipalities across the country are performing in serving the needs of the people.
“The government has made significant progress in providing services at municipal level, but much still needs to be done to close the gap between South Africa’s most deprived and the more comfortable municipalities,” the IRR said.
To determine how local government is performing, the IRR set up two indices.
The Comfort Index was drawn up on the following five pointers:
  • Attainment of higher education;
  • Owner-ship of a refrigerator;
  • Use of electricity for heating;
  • Having a flush/chemical toilet; and
  • Individual monthly income of R25,601 or more.
The Deprivation Index was compiled using these indicators:
  • People with no schooling;
  • The unemployment rate;
  • No access to piped water;
  • No access to a toilet; and
  • A monthly income of R1,600 or less.
Each indicator was then assigned a weighting – the higher the deprivation score, the more difficult life would be for most people in a specific area. The higher the comfort score, the more comfortable life would be.
“We have not printed the precise points as the scores are best read as rough, general, comparative overviews of living standards in each area,” the IRR said.
However, looking at the overview of each area, it is easy to identify which municipal districts offer the best and worst quality of living across all of the provinces.
19 of the 52 municipal districts have an overall deprivation ranking (balance of the comfort and deprivation indices), with Alfred Nzo and OR Tambo municipalities in the Eastern Cape coming out the worst.
On the other side of the spectrum, 33 municipalities have a net comfort score, showing an overall positive picture for the country.
Notably, metropolitan districts such as City of Cape Town, Johannesburg and Tshwane came out as the most ‘comfortable’, by a large margin.
The table below shows the best and worst municipalities in every province, based on thebalance of the Comfort and Deprivation Index scores.
ProvinceMost ComfortableMost Deprived
Western CapeCity of Cape TownCentral Karoo
GautengCity of JohannesburgWest Rand
Free StateManguangThabo Mofutsanyana
Northern CapeNamakwaJohn Taolo Gaetsewe
North WestDr Kenneth KaundaDr Ruth Segomotsi Mompati
LimpopoWaterbergGreater Sekhukhune
KwaZulu NataleThekwiniuMkhanyakude
Eastern CapeNelson Mandela BayAlfred Nzo
Here is a break down of the index by province.