Inequality tougher to tackle than poverty: Stats SA

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Statistics South Africa (Stats SA) says the way to beat inequality is to stop viewing it as the twin to poverty. This is according to the first of its kind Inequality Trends report.

Stats SA collaborated with the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit (Saldru) and the AFD (Agence Francaise de Development).

Werner Ruch, Director Responsible for research and product development at Stats SA, says, “Inequality is sometimes viewed as a subset of poverty, but I think the two behave in very different ways. I think in the recent past South Africa has made much bigger strides in reducing poverty than it has in reducing inequality and it shows you that inequality is a much more tougher challenge to tackle than poverty is, by itself poverty designed specifically to reduce inequality is probably what this report begins to do and I think that is where the benefit lies.”

The report revealed that Black South Africans earn on average three times less than their white counterparts. The report says the average monthly salary among black people, who account for 80 % of the population, was R6 899 while the figure was R24 646 for white people.

“The main headline would be that overall we do see that the inequality situation is improving in South Africa, although very slowly. The challenge is mainly that we are coming from very high levels of inequality and so even when we make improvements we still remain at very high levels and so South Africa still remains one of the most unequal countries in the world,” says Ruch.