Johannesburg -The Afrobarometer poverty survey released on Tuesday showed President Jacob Zuma's handling of the economy needed to be debated in Parliament, the DA said.
According to the survey, South Africans were experiencing increased levels of poverty, Democratic Alliance economic development spokesman Kenneth Mubu said in a statement.
“In terms of Afrobarometer’s Lived Poverty Index (LPI), South Africa now ranks sixth in Africa, down from third in 2009 when President Jacob Zuma and Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel took office.”
South Africa's score on the LPI for 2012 was 0.81 on a scale from zero to four.
Four reflects a constant absence of all basic necessities, while zero reflects no poverty.
In 2002, South Africa scored 0.71, 0.82 in 2005, and 0.89 in 2008 on the LPI.
“The Democratic Alliance believes that job creation should be the number one priority to reduce poverty,” Mubu said.
If the party were elected to national government, it would implement job-creating economic policies such as the youth wage subsidy.
“The DA has repeatedly requested a debate in Parliament on President Jacob Zuma’s handling of the economy,” said Mubu.
“Our requests have been denied by the Speaker (Max Sisulu) on the basis that he did not believe that the subject was of 'immediate concern'.”
With the survey's findings showing South Africans getting poorer, and young people struggling to find jobs, the DA reiterated its call for an urgent parliamentary debate.
“We trust that the Speaker of Parliament will wake up to the realities of ordinary South Africans and allow for this crucial debate to take place.”
The survey indicated that poverty in South Africa increased despite reported average economic growth of 3.6 percent between 2002 and 2012.
Between 2011 and 2013, 60 percent of South Africans never experienced water shortages, while 29 percent did so once, twice or several times. Eleven percent experienced water shortages many times or always.
Medical shortages were always experienced, or many times, by eight percent of South Africans, while 31 percent experienced the same shortages once, twice, or several times.
Most South Africans - 60 percent - never experienced medical shortages, according to the survey.
Regarding cooking fuel shortages, eight percent of South Africans always or many times experienced such shortages, 30 percent once, twice, or several times, and 62 percent never.
Nearly a quarter - 22 percent - of South Africans experienced cash income shortages many times or always.
Thirty-four percent experienced the same shortage once, twice, or several times while 44 percent of South Africans never experienced cash shortages.
When South Africans were asked what they thought of the current condition of the national economy, 47 percent said it was fairly or very bad, 17 percent said neither good or bad, and 34 percent said very or fairly good.
Compared to the condition of the country's economy a year ago, 33 percent of South Africans said the economy had gotten worse or much worse, while 36 said it was the same.
The survey was conducted in 35 countries across Africa (though Ethiopia's data was yet to be released). - Sapa