• Mankwane Makofane Associate Professor, University of Limpopo, Turfloop, South Africa
  • Mel Gray Social Work, University of New Castle, New South Wales, Australia


Limpopo Province occupies 10% of South Africa’s land mass and has 11.9% of the population. It is one of the poorest of the nine provinces in South Africa, second to KwaZulu-Natal. It is predominantly rural in nature. According to the estimates based on the South Africa Survey (South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), 2003-2004), its population is 5.5 million and almost 90% of residents live in rural areas with 60% (3.3 m) of the population living in poverty. The abject poverty that characterises many rural communities in Limpopo, as well as in the rest of South Africa, poses an enormous challenge to the developmental welfare system given its avowed mission to eradicate poverty. The government remains committed to improving the quality of life of South Africans through the initiation of poverty-alleviation projects, especially in rural communities. While rural development remains on the country’s agenda, accessing government funding for community development projects is complex, particularly to rural dwellers as a detailed business plan is required. Brown (1999:148) made a similar observation in Transkei (East Cape Province) and concluded that the “most backward and needy areas are less likely…to make a successful application.”


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