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Johannesburg - Cosatu on Friday rejected former president FW de Klerk's view that the main inequality divide in South Africa was no longer race, but was between workers and the unemployed.
“The main inequalities remain between a still mainly white and male capitalist class, who form a small, rich minority on the one hand, and a large overwhelming black working class majority, in which the employed and unemployed share poverty,” Congress of SA Trade Unions spokesman Patrick Craven said on Friday.
He said the directors of listed companies still earned about 1735 times what their average workers were paid.
Speaking in Cape Town on Thursday, De Klerk said the main inequality divide in South Africa was no longer between blacks and whites, but between unionised and employed workers on the one hand, and the unemployed on the other.
He criticised the ruling party's affirmative action and black economic empowerment policies, saying they affected only the top 10 to 15 percent of the income pyramid, with little or no impact on the rest of society.
Craven argued that the difference between workers and the unemployed was negligible.
“But what De Klerk scandalously overlooks is that most employed workers support as many as 12 family members from their meagre wages.”
He said 70 percent of unemployed people's meagre income was in the form of remittances from their employed relatives.
Craven said De Klerk insinuated that inequalities between blacks and whites had declined.
“Africans, who constitute 79.4 percent of the population, account for 41.2 percent of the household income from work and social grants, whereas whites, who account only for 9.2 percent of the population, receive 45.3 percent of national income,” he said. - Sapa