Development indicators

Poverty and Inequality

The share of population in eMalahleni is below the so-called lower-bound poverty line (of StatsSA) declined/improved the last couple of years to 21% in 2015(It declined from 26.0 % in 2014 to 32.4% in 2017 and 29, 8% in 2018. The lower bound poverty line = R575 per capita per month. (The lower-bound poverty line was the third lowest amongst municipalities in Mpumalanga. This is an indication that there was an improvement in 2017, eMalahleni’s share of population was below the lower-bound poverty line was the third lowest (favourable) among the municipal areas. The number of people below the lower bound poverty line was however relatively high at almost 145 255 people in 2017, an increase compared with the figure of 90 494 in 2015.
According to the 2016 Community Survey of StatSA, the so-called poverty headcount (multi-dimensionally) of Emalahleni deteriorated from 8.0% in 2011 to 10.9% in 2016 and second highest in the Province and the so-called poverty intensity also increased from 43.6% to 45.4% in the same period.
The best way to improve and fight inequality & poverty is to improve people’s levels of education and skills and eventually their employability in the labour market. Creation of jobs will impact positively on the reduction of poverty and

Human development index

The Human Development Index (HDI) is a composite relative index used to compare human development across population groups or regions. HDI is the combination of three basic dimensions of human development
  • A long and healthy life
  • Knowledge
  • A decent standard of living
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A long and healthy life is typically measured using life expectancy at birth. Knowledge is typically measured using adult literacy and / or the combination of enrolment in primary, secondary and tertiary schools. A decent standard of livingis typically measured using GDP per capita.

The HDI can assume a maximum value of 1, indicating a very high level of human development. It has a minimum value of 0, indicating no human development. The municipality recorded HDI of 0.63 as per 2011 statistics which is best in the province but deteriorating. However, there was an improvement from 0.66 in 2014 to 0.67 in 2017 and 0, 68 in 2018. Per capita personal income, it is higher than district and is second highest in the province. The HDI is measured using indicators like literacy levels, infant mortality rate, annual household income and
life expectancy.
Table 3: HDI for Emalahleni & Nkangala municipalities, 2011 - 2016 Source: IHS Markit
Victor Khanye
Steve Tshwete
Thembisile Hani
Thembisile Hani
Table 3: HDI for Emalahleni & Nkangala municipalities, 2011 - 2016 Source: IHS Markit


The Gini coefficient of 0.62 was recorded in 2011 which shows slight improvement between 2001 and 2011 & slightly lower (better) than the district but equal to provincial level. The surrounding mines contribute to employment and general economy of the eMalahleni. The poverty gap was R168 million in 2011 which is an increasing trend. The municipality is ranked 7th in the Multiple Deprivation Index of Oxford University.


The unemployment rate of eMalahleni decreased from 27.3% in 2011, 25, 4% in 2015 and 26.6% in 2016. eMalahleni’s unemployment rate was the 5th lowest among all the municipal areas of Mpumalanga.
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In terms of the recent SERO Report unemployment is 28, 2%; which is 1% below the national unemployment, which is 29%. Unemployment rate for females 34.8% and that of males (23.9%) as per the latest Municipal Profile Report. Youth unemployment rate according to the Census figure was 36.0%. Unemployment within females is a challenge, which needs to be planned for.
The largest employing industries in eMalahleni are mining19.6%, Wholesale and trade 17.3% and community service/government services 15.3%. The investment climate of the municipality needs to improve and be conducive so that it can accommodate the new job seekers. The municipality also need to increase the levels of education and skills to improve the employability of young people.
Projects of high labour absorption and intensity as well as viable and sustainable SMMEs and Cooperatives will play a significant. The main sector of employment is mining at 59, 8% in 2015 followed by utility at 8% in 2015.
In terms of youth labour i.e. between ages 15-34, the rate is also decreasing from 50.2% in 2001 to 36.0% in 2011. This is a promising trend indicating which still need to be taken care of. The municipality has to develop strategies and plans of curbing the unemployment challenges especially towards the female youth. The municipality has reviewed the Local Economic Development strategy and there are focus areas, which will be perused to create employment opportunities for the purpose of creating an attractive and conducive environment for sustainable economic development and tourism. Furthermore, as part of job creation the municipality has identify anchor projects. In between 2015 and 2018 there were more or less 2 500 job opportunities that were created per annum. Emalahleni contributes 15, 1% of employment in Mpumalanga Province.

Social Grants

One of the services that the South African government provides for the population is in the form of income grants. These grants are designed to alleviate poverty among vulnerable persons for which the grant is intended for. Each grant has its own eligibility criteria that can be accessed from the Department of Social Development.
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The people that depends on grants have increased from 34,849 to 89 585 people between 2012 to 2017. The grant with the largest recipients is the child support grant followed by old age grant.
Table 4: Social grant beneficiaries in absolute numbers, 2012-2017 Source SASA
Grant Type
Recieving grants (Jan 2019)
Receiving grants (Jan 2020)
Old Age
War Veteran
Foster Care
Care Dependency
Child Support