Poverty alleviation remains a pressing concern for South African policy-makers. Implementing effective anti-poverty policies requires a clear understanding of the nature and extent of poverty. The extant literature on South African poverty dynamics shows a decline in the headcount ratio over the first decade of the twenty-first century. However, the prior research largely adopts a narrow money-metric approach, or uses multi-dimensional indices that include welfare indicators based on private assets (e.g. television sets) or those that are provided publicly (e.g. access to water). This paper uses multiple correspondence analysis to measure non-income poverty trends for the period 2005–12. The novelty in this undertaking lies in an attempt to include a measure of the perceived quality of public assets and services to complement the standard indices. This provides some measure of ‘success’ of public service delivery, accounting for both changes in access and quality.