This study investigates the causal relationship between poverty reduction and foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in South Africa using time-series data from 1980 to 2014. A trivariate framework is used in this analysis, with the addition of real gross domestic product (GDP) as an intermittent variable. Employing the autoregressive distributed lag (ARDL)-bounds testing approach to cointegration and ECM-based causality tests, the results from this study found a distinct unidirectional causality from poverty reduction to FDI in both the short run and the long run when poverty reduction is measured by life expectancy and infant mortality rate. However, the results failed to find any causality, irrespective of the time considered, when poverty reduction is measured by household consumption expenditure. Based on the results from this study, it can be concluded that the causal relationship between FDI and poverty reduction is sensitive to the proxy used to measure the level of poverty reduction.