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Sasolburg - Half the residents of the Metsimaholo local municipality, where Zamdela is located, earn less than R400 a month, the SA Institute of Race Relations said on Tuesday.
Residents from the township, in Sasolburg in the Free State, were protesting against plans to merge Sasolburg with the Ngwathe local municipality, under which Parys falls.
The SAIRR compiled a profile of the ANC-led Metsimaholo local municipality using socio-economic indicators, it said in a statement.
According to the indicators, supplied by The Gaffney Group, the municipality was 84 percent rural and 16 percent urbanised.
Of the 84 000 people of working age who lived in the area only 30 000 were employed. This brought the unemployment rate to 43 percent. The figure included discouraged work seekers.
Most of the residents (55 percent) in the area earned less than R400 a month. The amount included social grants.
Only 24 percent of the people in the area had a matric or higher.
Eighteen percent of the population lived in informal dwellings and 73 percent had piped water in their homes; 88 percent had a flush toilet and nine percent used pit toilets.
Eighty-eight percent of households used electricity for lighting, and 84 percent for cooking.
The institute's Georgina Alexander said: “These indicators are not out of line with those of scores of small towns around South Africa, where service delivery indicators look fairly good.
“However, failures in education and labour market access are blocking socio-economic advancement for large numbers of people resident in these communities.”
Because of this, most small towns in South Africa were vulnerable to the level of protest and violence seen in Sasolburg. - Sapa