In­equal­ity still rules in South Africa

Pretoria News - - COMMENT -

THE growth of global in­equal­ity is re­versible if gov­ern­ments do more to bal­ance the needs of the have-nots with those who have.

The United Na­tions World So­cial Re­port 2020 re­veals that protests are tak­ing place fu­elled by a com­bi­na­tion of eco­nomic woes, grow­ing in­equal­i­ties and job in­se­cu­rity.

Glob­ally, there are fears that the coro­n­avirus will hit the poor the hard­est, with ac­cess to health care a prime fea­ture of in­equal­ity.

In South Africa, in­equal­ity re­mains a cru­cial in­hibitor to growth and en­abling the dig­nity of all cit­i­zens. There have been gains. Ac­cess to ba­sic ser­vices such as elec­tric­ity, wa­ter, ed­u­ca­tion and health care has im­proved con­sid­er­ably since the ANC came into power, ac­cord­ing to the World Bank re­port.

South Africans who suf­fered un­der the yoke of apartheid hold fewer as­sets, have fewer skills, earn lower wages, and are still more likely to be un­em­ployed, a 2018 World Bank re­port on poverty and in­equal­ity in South Africa found.

Ac­cord­ing to the UN re­port the fu­ture course of th­ese com­plex chal­lenges is not ir­re­versible. Tech­no­log­i­cal change, mi­gra­tion, ur­ban­i­sa­tion and even the cli­mate cri­sis can be har­nessed for a more eq­ui­table and sus­tain­able world. Ei­ther that, or they can be left to fur­ther di­vide us.

Gov­ern­ments are cru­cial in cre­at­ing more eq­ui­table so­ci­eties.

More than two decades have passed since South Africa over­hauled a racist regime.

But while democ­racy has de­liv­ered free­dom for all South Africans, not enough has changed for those who were pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged.

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