‘Whites earn four times higher than blacks’

A report by the SA Institute of Race Relations has found “glaring racial inequalities” between the earnings of black and white workers.

It found that the average individual monthly earnings of white people were four times higher than that of “black Africans”, it said in a statement today after releasing the report.

The report was based on the performance of black people (black African, coloured and Indian) since 1994.

“The level of relative poverty for black Africans sits at 42% while that for whites is just 1%,” it said, adding that the “widely held” notion that racial transformation in South Africa had failed was not true.

The report found the monthly earnings of black Africans had increased by 90% since 2006, while white earnings increased by 33%.

The number of black African people in employment had doubled since 1994, and the proportion of black people in top management posts had also increased from 13% to 24% since 2000.

The proportion of black judges had increased from 25% to 62% since 2000.

“Many will argue that not enough has been achieved in changing [the] patterns of inequality,” the institute said.

“They will highlight … that less than a quarter of shares on the JSE are black-owned, the fact that 73% of top managers are still white, and the sizeable income gap between whites and blacks.”

But there was another side to the story that showed the rapidly rising standards of living among black South Africans.

“Nobody will be able to deny that in the few decades since apartheid started being dismantled, not all inequalities have been eradicated,” it said.

“Perhaps part of the reason is that it has been too short a time in which to turn around decades of denied opportunities.”

It said future progress might depend less on racial policies like black economic empowerment and more on ensuring access to education to foster a climate for economic growth.

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