Poverty alleviation is one of the means of eradicating poverty and establishing ideal sustainable livelihoods. Since most poverty alleviation programmes are delivered within the public service institutional set up, the pursuit for sustainable livelihoods can only be realized if the public service delivery system is sustainable. This article discusses poverty alleviation and service delivery in the South African context. In so doing, it draws on three major poverty surveys in South Africa the findings of which have been documented in the First Carnegie Commission’s Report of 1932, the Second Carnegie Commission Report of 1984 and the 1998 Poverty and Inequality Report. Against this backdrop, a conceptual framework linking poverty alleviation to service delivery is developed. The article then provides a discussion on sustainable service delivery as a pre-requisite for successful poverty alleviation programmes and concludes with recommendations on how this could be translated into practice and the role of NGOs in this regard.
Key words: Poverty alleviation, sustainable livelihoods, sustainable service delivery, South Africa
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