Poverty blights the lives of millions of South Africans. It represents a daunting challenge that we have done too little to address over the past 15 years.
While South Africa’s high levels of inequality are largely a consequence of apartheid, they persist despite immense efforts by post-apartheid governments to widen the welfare net and redistribute benefits, rewards and opportunities
According to the South African Advertising Research Foundation, in 2005, 41 per cent of the top income deciles were black thus confirming that while race is still a major determinant of affluence, it no longer serves as the sole dividing line between the affluent and the rest of the population.
South Africa’s approach to alleviating poverty must take into account that high rates of economic growth are essential to raising millions of people out of poverty because growth generates new formal jobs and generate resources for improved public services.
Most income inequality can be explained by the unequal distribution of human capital. Consequently, we need to improve dramatically the performance of the vast majority of schools serving poorer South Africans, whose systemic failure is trapping poorer children in a life of poverty.