This paper examines how measuring the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in tandem with other poverty indicators provides an effective means to track and ultimately tackle poverty within the South African context. Tackling poverty in South Africa is probably one of the very few areas where consensus exists across political, racial and other lines of division. But the agreement stops right there – it does not cover how poverty is understood, how it is defined, who is or who isn’t poor, what exactly to do to about poverty, who has what role to play, and so on. This paper, however is concerned less with the debates and disputes over poverty, which have been analysed elsewhere1, than with an attempt to outline the scale and nature of poverty in South Africa. This too has been tackled in various ways and by different authors, but usually relying on official statistics and without gathering new primary data.