Susan Parnell, Edgar Pieterse
The Cape Metropolitan Council (CMC) embarked on a process early in 1998 to develop a comprehensive economic development strategy for the metropolitan area. It was decided that this could only be done in conjunction with an explicit poverty reduction policy framework that was integrated with the economic strategy. This section of the paper is an overview of the main elements of this municipal poverty reduction framework. The vantage-point of the poverty reduction framework is that there are multiple dimensions to the problem of urban poverty. Building on this, the framework is premised on a definition of poverty that reflects current international development experience and also draws from a local understanding of the particular experience of poverty and inequality in the Cape Metropolitan Area (CMA).
The poverty reduction framework is structured around five broad steps to render it amenable to political decision-making and institutionalisation. The five broad steps are i) understand the rationale for the local authorities working to reduce poverty; ii) agree on a definition of poverty for use by all municipalities in the metropolitan area; iii) conduct a poverty audit; iv) establish poverty reduction targets; and v) mainstream poverty reduction activities within all municipalities.
The following sections of this document provide further information on the above and explain how this can be operationalised within local authorities through the adoption of the poverty reduction framework. This document does not pretend to be a comprehensive or definitive statement on poverty in the CMA, but rather seeks to provide a methodology that is tailor-made for local government in the context of the new local government architecture that is being introduced at national and provincial levels in South Africa.