Plight of Hout Bay, Imizamo Yethu high­lights the meet­ing of poverty and abun­dance

The Star Early Edition - - LIFESTYLE - Pali Le­hohla is South Africa’s statis­ti­cian-Gen­eral and Head of Statis­tics South Africa. Pali Le­hohla

AMENTION of Hout Bay in­vokes emo­tions of ex­pen­sive and lux­u­ri­ous houses, while that of Imizamo Yethu raises no­tions of poverty, de­pri­va­tion and strug­gle. Imizamo Yethu has ha­bit­u­ally fallen vic­tim to raz­ing fires and protests from the threat of evic­tion.

In the past week, how­ever, the plight of these neigh­bours was joint and brought in the spot­light by the rav­aging storms and winds of the Cape of Storms.

What are the fea­tures of these neigh­bours? Ac­cord­ing to Cen­sus 2011 Hout Bay has a pop­u­la­tion of 17 000 and Imizamo Yethu has one of 15 000. The den­sity of these set­tle­ments is 631 per­sons and 27 000 per­sons per square kilo­me­tre in Hout Bay and Imizamo Yethu re­spec­tively.

A graph­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion of the qual­i­fi­ca­tions of these neigh­bours shows that Imizamo Yethu has a higher pro­por­tion of its pop­u­la­tion with Ma­tric than Hout Bay, but Hout Bay com­pared to Imizamo Yethu has nine times the pro­por­tion of those with higher ed­u­ca­tion com­pared to Imizamo Yethu.

While the racial com­po­si­tion of these neigh­bours shows that one is pre­dom­i­nantly white at 57 per­cent and the other is al­most ex­clu­sively black at 91 per­cent, the nar­ra­tive of higher ed­u­ca­tion qual­i­fi­ca­tions, as a dif­fer­en­tia­tor in South Africa, dis­tinctly demon­strates its ad­van­tage in terms of employment op­por­tu­ni­ties and in­come lev­els as shown in the next graph on in­come dis­tri­bu­tion by neigh­bour­hood.

When it comes to in­come, Hout Bay has 16 times the an­nual modal in­come com­pared to Imizamo Yethu. The in­come band with the high­est num­ber of peo­ple is R19 000 to R38 000 in Imizamo Yethu com­pared to Hout Bay with this band be­ing R300 000 to R614 000. The modal in­come in Imizamo Yethu cov­ers 29 per­cent of its res­i­dents, a cor­re­spond­ing per­cent­age for Hout Bay for this in­come band (R19 000 to R38 000) is 6.5 per­cent. In con­trast for Hout Bay the modal in­come of R300 000 to R614 000 cov­ers 18 per­cent of its res­i­dents.

The com­mu­ni­ties of these two dis­tinctly dif­fer­ent pro­files have had a sad ex­pe­ri­ence that de­stroyed their prop­er­ties and ex­posed them to el­e­ments and rav­ages of the weather of the Cape. A cen­sus can al­ways pro­vide in­sights on the risk pro­files of com­mu­ni­ties and per­haps di­rect pol­icy on how it may best be placed to re­spond.

When it comes to in­come, Hout Bay has 16 times the an­nual modal in­come com­pared to Imizamo Yethu.


A fire at the Man­dela Park informal set­tle­ment near Hout Bay claimed sev­eral lives. The writer high­lights the in­her­ent in­equal­ity in ed­u­ca­tion and in­come of the res­i­dents in the area.

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