• C Strydom School of Psycho-Social Behavioural Sciences: Division Social Work, Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University.
  • ME Tlhojane Social worker, Department of Social Development, North-West Province, South Africa.


There are many ways of looking at poverty. When poverty is measured in absolute terms, itrefers to the financial means necessary for people to survive from day to day. The most basicmeasures of poverty in South Africa are the Minimum Living Level (MLL) and the HouseholdSubsistence Level (HSL). They measure the amount of money necessary to provide ahousehold (of six people) with the very basic necessities, including food, clothing, energy,washing, rent and transport to stay alive (Greeff, 2004:7). The Household Effective Level(HEL), which is the HSL plus 50%, makes provision for some important items not covered bythe HSL, namely tax, medical expenses, replacement of household equipment, education,recreation, personal care, pension and burial contributions. In 1999, for South Africa, thatwould have amounted to R800,00 per month (Greeff, 2004:7).


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