Province trashed as worst region in country to live in

THE Eastern Cape has been labelled the worst province in the country in which to live, based on factors ranging from it having the highest unemployment rate to having the lowest incomes.

The findings have been published in the South African Institute of Race Relations’ latest Fast Facts report.

“The key finding is that, on aggregate, Gauteng is the best province in South Africa to live in, followed, in descending order, by the Western Cape, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, the Free State, the North West and the Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and the Eastern Cape,” report author Thuthukani Ndebele said. Based on the expanded definition of unemployment‚ in the second quarter of this year 44.4% of Eastern Cape residents were unemployed‚ against 29% in Gauteng and 25.4% in the Western Cape, the report found.

One factor taken into consideration was economic rankings based on indicators ranging from economic growth rates to unemployment levels.

Another factor was social rankings, based on indicators from malnutrition levels to matric pass rates, while education rankings, based on indicators from early childhood enrolment to the proportion of adults with a degree, were also considered.

Service delivery rankings drew on data ranging from access to piped water to the presence of regular refuse removal services while crime rankings were based on murder, robbery and assault rates.

The Eastern Cape placed last in all of these rankings, apart from crime – a surprise considering that earlier this year it was identified in police figures as the most murderous province for the sixth consecutive year.

But before there is a rush of “semigration” to other provinces, other factors should be considered.

For instance, the Western Cape has the country’s second-highest rate of sexual offences and secondhighest residential burglary rate (after Gauteng).

The Western Cape also has the second-highest rate of serious assaults (after the Northern Cape) and has more than five times as many drug-related crimes as any other province.

Gauteng is way ahead of all provinces in its motor vehicle theft rate‚ at 813 compared with the Western Cape’s 244‚ which is the secondhighest.

Overall, though, Gauteng ranks top on economic factors with a score of 92 out of 100‚ followed by the Western Cape with 78.

This category includes the fact that annual income per head in Gauteng is R66778 against the Western Cape’s R62619, and the Eastern Cape’s R29965.

In the Eastern Cape, 20% of gross domestic product comes from general government services, while 17.8% of Gauteng’s GDP is from government‚ compared with only 9.7% in the Western Cape.

The Western Cape’s main contributor to GDP is its finance sector‚ which stands at 24.5%.

In Gauteng‚ 90.1% of households have municipal waste removal at least once a week‚ against 91.2% in the Western Cape.

In the Eastern Cape‚ only 35.2% of households enjoy this service‚ according to the institute.

ANC provincial secretary Oscar Mabuyane did not disagree with the statistics, but he believes the province is well on its way to turning things around.

Projects to “turn the statistics on their head” included fracking in the Karoo, Coega, industrialisation, promoting smaller industries, and giving more attention to agriculture, Mabuyane said.

But UDM provincial chairman Mongameli Bobani said: “Corruption is the reason the stats are the way they are.

“It is time for the residents of the Eastern Cape to wake up. If they want to change these figures, the ANC needs to be replaced by a government who can effect these changes.” – Additional reporting by BDlive – Tremaine van Aardt and Charlotte Mathews

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