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SAIRR: White South Africans doing well

Comments made by Gwede Mantashe regarding "Economic Apartheid" are, statistically, justified

ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe addressing a media conference at Luthuli House on 12 June, 2011. Picture: Taurai Maduna/EWN

JOHANNESBURG - After what appeared to be contradictory statements by Minister Trevor Manuel and President Jacob Zuma regarding the legacy of apartheid, Gwede Mantashe weighed in on the discussion in support of President Jacob Zuma

Mantashe, the African National Congress' (ANC) Secretary General, made the following comments regarding the ongoing legacy of "economic apartheid": "If you are white and you graduate, you are likely to have an uncle in the furniture business. If you are an African young graduate, you have to battle to enter the labour market because the likelihood is that you have no uncle in the furniture business."

Having sought to determine the accuracy of Mantashe's statements at Luthuli House on Wednesday, 567 CapeTalk and Talk Radio 702's Stephen Grootes spoke to the deputy chief executive officer of the South African Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR), Frans Cronje.

VAST DIFFERENCES IN LIFE CHANCES

Cronje stated that South Africa continues to see immense differences in the life chances between young black people and young white people.

"The data is unambiguous on it. White South Africans are in fact doing extraordinarily well in South Africa's post-1994 economy. While the odds are that if you are a young black South African, you will likely be badly educated and unemployed."

Last week, the SAIRR reported that white men remain on top of the pay scale.

According to SAIRR's latest South Africa Survey, "South Africa's highest-paid employees are, on average, white men who live in Gauteng, work in the community and social services industry (including government) in skilled jobs, belong to a union, and are between 55 and 64 years of age."

Additionally, "median wages of white earners are four times as high as those of African earners".

The lowest paid employees are "black" females living in Limpopo, who do not belong to unions, are between the ages of 15 and 24 years old, and are working in private households.

In 2011, the South Africa Survey reported the "median monthly wage for African earners was R2380, for coloured earners R3030, for Indian earners R6800, and for white earners R10000".

Statistics South Africa's Quarterly Labour Force Survey (Quarter 4, 2012) (Stats SA Q4:2012) findings on the unemployment rate by population group indicates that annual comparisons show an increase in the unemployment rate among the black African, so-called Coloured and Indian/Asian population, while decreasing among white South Africans.

Meanwhile, students remain the largest shareholders of the country's economically inactive population.

LOCATION AND EDUCATION

Whilst race remains the most influential factor economically, where you grow up in South Africa is another.

"The flow of people from rural to urban areas...is an established trend over the last 15 years," says Cronje.

"Your chance of finding employment, seeing some income growth, improving your standard of living through your own work and efforts are much higher than if you are sitting in a small, rural, backwater where the odds are that you and the community that you are in are wholly dependent on the service delivery and welfare efforts of the state," continued Cronje.

According to Stats SA Q4:2012, the province experiencing the biggest increase in unemployment rate was observed in the Free State (3.8%) whilst the biggest decrease in unemployment rate was recorded in Gauteng (1.4%).

In regards to tertiary education, Cronje reports that the top section of our economy has experienced vast transformation - but only the top.

"If you look at tertiary output of universities, the number of black graduates has increased quite dramatically. In fact over 20 years, in the early 1990's, there were 20 white business graduates for every black business graduate. Now there is a relative measure of parity, a one-to-one ratio," says Cronje.

However, the case of the majority of black South Africans, indeed South Africa's majority population group, the seeds of transformation is yet to bear any meaningful fruit.

"We estimate that only four out of 10 black children, maximum, are going to pass Matric as opposed to probably 98% or above of white children. So your life chances are very much determined by what happens to you in the education system and if you are young and black, you are disadvantaged in your early years in the South African school system"

In the period October to December 2012, for the profile of those not in education and not in employment, Stats SA found that black South Africans remained the most afflicted group, followed by so-called Coloureds, Indians and whites respectively.

THE ELITE AND EMPLOYED

In 2012, preliminary research by Chandler & Associates indicated that black South Africans held approximately 21% of the top 100 companies listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange.

Most are held through empowerment stakes.

White South Africans held approximately 22%.

Thus, transformation has indeed seen positive output amongst certain parts of the black population but, again, that applies only to the elite at the top of the economy.

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