Although income-based poverty focuses on an important dimension of poverty, it only gives a partial picture of the many ways in which human lives can be blighted. This study focuses on deprivations in terms of the most basic needs, such as access to safe water and sanitation. Policy makers and other people usually ask, 'With the new government in place, has poverty become worse or are we winning the fight against poverty?' The study seeks to investigate if there have been improvements in the situation in South Africa between 1995 and 1999. The October Household Surveys conducted in 1995 and 1999 are used in the study. The t-test is used to assess the statistical significance of the changes.