In the Media

Samantha Richmond of NIDS Talks to 702 and Smile FM about Poverty in South Africa

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31 October 2017 | SALDRU

National Income Dynamic Study (NIDS) Operations Director, Samantha Richmond, has been on the radio twice in recent days. She was interviewed by Talk Radio 702's Kieno Kammies about the NIDS study on 30 October and by Smile FM’s Benito Vergotine a few days earlier on 25 October.

"We actually have hardcore evidence that things are not improving for many South Africans," Richmond told Talk Radio 702. Listen to the Talk Radio 702 interviwe here.

In her interview with Smile FM, Richmond explained the significance of longitudinal studies. NIDS, which started almost a decade ago, is conducting its fifth wave of surveys. Due to this extended timeframe, policy makers are able to see “cause and effect” more clearly, she said. Longitudinal studies enhance evidence-based policy making. Listen to the Smile FM interview here.

NIDS is a project of the National Department of Planning Monitoring and Evaluation, implemented by SALDRU.

Picture: Ed/flickr


Poor land governance ‘stifles rural growth’ argue Murray Leibbrandt and Pippa Green

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10 November 2017 | Business Day

Nkandla, the ward in KwaZulu Natal that South Africa’s president, Jacob Zuma, hails from, has a poverty rate of 81%, Murray Leibbrandt and Pippa Green wrote in Business Day on 10 November 2017. Key aspects of underdevelopment in rural South Africa can be traced to traditional leadership, especially as this relates to land ownership. Traditional authorities create tenure uncertainty and preside over poor land administration. Both, major blocks to development. "While we have one national framework for traditional leaders, there is no legislation that specifies their power in relation to land administration," argues this article.


New NIDS Video: How Stable Is South Africa's Middle Class?

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7 November 2017 | SALDRU

If the solution to inequality lies in a growing middle class, how stable is the South African middle class? To define an economy-driving middle class in South Africa, we must look for those with some hope of stability. Only people who have an above average chance of not falling into poverty can be considered middle class. But, South Africa has many people who fall into and out of poverty. Less than a quarter of South Africans have an above average chance of not falling into poverty in the next two years. Only top 4% of South Africans have zero percent chance of ever becoming poor.

The National Income Dynamic Study (NIDS) finds that the high level of inequality in South Africa makes choosing a mid-range for inequality unsuitable for defining a middle class. The middle class does not start where poverty ends in South Africa. Only 20% of South Africans are middle class. Watch an animated video explainer on You Tube.

SALDRU implements the National Income Dynamic Study (NIDS) on behalf of the National Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation.


Watch: Five Questions with Francis Wilson on the History of SALDRU

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31 October 2017 | SALDRU

SALDRU’s founding director, Emeritus Professor Francis Wilson, talks about SALDRU’s birth and the challenge of working on the question of inequality at the height of the apartheid era. In 1971, the wage gap between white and black people working in the mining industry was 20:1. Wilson explains how his PhD, a seminal work on wage inequality in the mining sector, inspired SALDRU’s launch and further research into hitherto unexamined aspects of poverty and inequality in South Africa. This interview is a must-see for those who want to learn more about the history of wage inequality in the mining industry. Watch it on You Tube!

Seminar Series

SALDRU Hosts Regular Seminars Covering Important topical Issues

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Join our seminar mailing list!

SALDRU researchers, associates, affiliates and visiting scholars offer insightful seminars based on research on a large number of topics. Join our mailing list for information about SALDRU's upcoming seminars, watch this space. To get your email address on our mailing list, plesase send a request to Amy Jephthah at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Recent Seminars:

Smoking in Sub-Saharan Africa

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22 November 2017: Dr David Reubi from King's College London, Sociologist & Anthropologist trained at London School of Economics, delivered a seminar at SALDRU titled “Problematizing Smoking in Sub-Saharan Africa: Tobacco and the Reconfiguration of Health and Development.” The double burden of disease, both communicable and non-communicable, is set to really take hold in Africa by 2030. More information about this seminar here.

Inequality and Perceptions of Work Disability

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8 November 2017: Declan French from the Queen's Management School at Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland delivered a talk on behavioral economics. There are currently 2.5 million people in the UK receiving sickness related benefits. Given growing hostility towards the disabled, alongside growing wealth inequality, French et al explored the impact of inequality on regional perceptions of work disability and found that areas with higher levels of wealth inequality tended to have more favourable attitudes to work disability. Read the related working paper here. 

Journal Articles

Tax(i)ing the Poor? Commuting Costs in South African Cities
Andrew Kerr, South African Journal of Economics 

Peer Networks and Tobacco Consumption in South Africa
Alfred Kechia Mukong, South African Journal of Economics

Decomposing changes in household measures: Household size and services in South Africa, 1994–2012
Martin Wittenberg et al, Demographic Research

Public disclosure for carbon abatement: African decision-makers in a PROPER public good experiment
Wisdom Akpalu, Babatunde Abidoye, Edwin Muchapondwa & Witness Simbanegavi

Aiming for a Moving Target: The Dynamics of Household Electricity Connections in a Developing Context
Tom Harris, Mark Collinson and Martin Wittenberg

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