More than ten per cent of South Africans live in extreme poverty, ie, under 1.25 US dollars (R15.90*) per day; this is according to Oxfam’s recent report.

The report titled: Is South Africa operating in a safe and just space; also claims that over half of South Africans live below the poverty datum line.

Katherine Trebeck, policy and research adviser at Oxfam told CNBC Africa that Africa’s second largest economy was not operating in a safe and just space adding, the country’s social foundation was dire.

The report looks at about 20 different dimensions of social justice attainment and environment stress that the South African economy is putting on the global and local environment.

“At a headline level, South Africa is transgressing four domains that we look at when we describe a safe place and in several others except two, the country is in a grave state of breaking that environmental ceiling,” Trebeck said.

“Poverty is not just income; it includes housing, quality of water and access to energy,” she added.

However, the report said this gloom picture could be addressed through the creation of a million jobs in the green jobs space.

“South Africa could create an estimated 816,000 ‘green’ jobs by 2025 across the areas of natural resource management, energy generation, energy efficiency and pollution management,” read Oxfam report.

The report also exposed the gross inequalities that continue to persist in the country.

“South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world: the wealthiest four per cent of households receive 32 per cent of total income, while 66 percent of households receive only 21 percent of all income,” read the report.

Oxfam says the economic development model in South Africa needs to be re-examined in order to build an economy which fits within the ‘safe and just space’.

The country’s National Development Plan aims to create six million jobs by 2020 and 11 million by 2030, resulting in ‘near full employment’.

“Poor-quality education for the majority and slow economic growth that has produced few jobs have both contributed to very high rates of unemployment and youth unemployment.”

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