Cape Town boasts ‘highest quality of life’ in Africa, Twitter disagrees

cape town khayelitsha tor lindstrand flickr

Great news, Cape Town.

According to a report (pdf) by Deutsche Bank, the city ranks 17th out of 47 major cities in terms of quality of life.

The survey conducted by the German financial institution using crowdsourced data from cost index aggregator Numbeo looked at indices including the likes of purchasing power, healthcare, cost of living, property to income ratio, traffic, pollution, climate and safety.

The city ranked highly in terms of climate and property prices, propelling it to a position above Johannesburg. That also makes it the highest ranked city in Africa on the survey.

‘The highest quality of life for whom? Certainly not the majority of its citizens’

The world’s top city was found to be Wellington, New Zealand, with Edinburgh, Scotland, and Vienna, Austria rounding out the top three.

Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille tweeted the news (linking an article from The Independent) on Saturday, likely pretty delighted with the city’s performance.

The tweet has since racked up over 70 replies, 154 retweets and over 230 likes. But replies from Twitter users highlighted a rift between the survey itself and the reality of living in the city.

Users were quick to point out the latent inequalities still present within the metropole.

“The vast majority of us are just avoiding getting shot doing normal things in this Utopian city of yours !” another tweeted, hinting at the city’s current spate of gang violence.

In terms of safety, Cape Town ranked 44th — it’s worst overall score of the eight indexes.

Does Twitter have a reason to be upset?

Even though Patricia de Lille received the brunt of the social network’s users, this isn’t the first time the question of inequality has been raised by Capetonians.

Viral footage taken from a drone surfaced in the latter half of 2016, outing the structural, spacial inequality of the city from above. The State of South African Cities Report (SoSACR) released in 2016 also shed light on the balance of formal and informally housed residents within Cape Town (pdf).

11% of Capetonians in 2011 lived below the poverty line while around 21% were unemployed.

The city also boasts some of the most expensive properties in South Africa, and Africa as a whole. A report by Nested suggests that the average three bedroom house in the city retails for over US$250 000.

According to the Deutsche Bank survey, the average monthly salary of Capetonians in 2017 is US$1210 — an increase of just 5%. However, property prices in Cape Town in 2016 increased by 12.6% across the metropole.

Feature image: Tor Lindstrand via Flickr (CC 2.0, resized)

Andy Walker, former editor


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