First of all, I need to get something out of the way. This is not going to be an argument in favour of discriminatory black empowerment legislation, so for those who expected it to be so and looked forward to either praise or vilify me for it, sorry to disappoint you. What I’m going to do is debunk the myth that the white South Africans are, in general, being economically marginalised.
According to the latest Stats SA Living Conditions of Households in South Africa survey, the average annual income from work of white South Africans was R 300 498. The average annual income from work of black South Africans was R 69 094. White South Africans thus earn, on average, 4.35 times more than their black counterparts.
Luckily this gap has been narrowing since 2011, when the average black South African earned 4.78 times less than the average white South African. The total average annual household income of white households was R 444 446 for white households, while for black households it was just R 92 983.
The survey also showed that the average consumption expenditure by white household heads was R 350 937, whilst the average expenditure for black African household heads was R 67 828.
The average consumption expenditure on health by white South Africans was R 4 161, whilst the average consumption expenditure on health by black South Africans was just R 479. The average consumption expenditure on education by white South Africans was R 8 069 per annum, whilst the average for black South Africans was R 1 656.
In 2015, 47.1% of black South Africans lived under the poverty line, compared with just 0.4% of white South Africans.
Another portion of good news that has to be mentioned, however, is that the median age of whites in 2011 was 38 compared with 33 in 1996, whilst the median age of black people was still just 21 years just like in 1996. If one takes into account the young median age for black people, they’ve thus made considerable progress in catching up on salaries, according to economist Mike Schussler.
Schussler explains that the still relatively large gap in average income between white and black households can be explained by differences in skill levels, along with the portion of the ethnic group part of the labour force as well as the difference in the number of white individuals who have their own business (6%) compared with the number of black entrepreneurs who do (3%).
It is quite clear that there is a huge economic gap between white and black South Africans. So, who’s to blame for this staggering inequality between white and black South Africans?
Well, Apartheid initiated the inequality, but the ANC is upholding the status quo through widespread corruption, over-regulation of the market that is costing us economic growth, and large-scale wasting of resources. Only through entrepreneurial empowerment can we uplift the majority of black South Africans so that they can make a living for themselves.
I am not in favour of discriminatory legislation. What I am in favour of is popping our own bubbles of ignorance and to reach out a helping hand to our fellow men and women who are suffering (yes, also the white ones; not all white people benefit from white economic privilege). Ethical altruism goes a long way. Teach a person to fish and you feed them for life.