Eastern Cape poorest province: study

27 July 2011 - 08:47 By Sapa

The Eastern Cape is fast becoming entrenched as South Africa's most poverty-stricken province, a Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) study has found.

According to The Herald Online, this was because of an increasing burden on women as the sole household breadwinners despite earning much less than men.

Not only are growing gender imbalances leading to women in the province securing more menial jobs than men, or being paid less for doing the same work, but the province also led the way in "out-migration" as skilled workers -- mostly men -- left for greener pastures.

According to the study released on Tuesday, the "disproportionate economic burden on women and subtle forms of gender imbalances ... in the province remain issues of major concern".

Commissioned by the department of social development, the study titled "What is happening in the Eastern Cape: Population dynamics and policy" was the most recent done on the state of affairs in the province.

The Eastern Cape and Limpopo led the nation as the poorest provinces.

"More than a decade into our successful democracy, the Eastern Cape remains trapped in structural poverty that negatively affects the province's health and socio-economic profile," the report stated.

The report recommended that the department provide better support to families and institute measures to retain skilled workers.

"The report is very good in guiding us in ensuring how we come up with a strategy to fight poverty," department spokesman Gcobani Maswana said.