Wage gap a time bomb

THE vast wealth gap illustrated by the list of the 100 wealthiest South Africans - coming as it does in the wake of our officially being the most unequal society - is a ticking time bomb.

THE vast wealth gap illustrated by the list of the 100 wealthiest South Africans - coming as it does in the wake of our officially being the most unequal society - is a ticking time bomb.

No society can afford celebrating the wealthy so nonchalantly when the vast majority of its people live in desperate poverty. It would be asking for too much from the poor to remain unmoved by the revelation that there is indeed so much wealth in their country but that they have no way of accessing any of it. It is the stuff of revolutions.

Having said that, we should be careful not to throw the baby out with the dirty bathwater.

It is here that our paths and that of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa diverge.

Numsa has called for the "nationalisation and eventually the socialisation of the massive and privately owned wealth in the hands of the Motsepes, Sexwales, Macozomas, Mittals and Oppenheimers of this world".

While there might be merit in the argument that present patterns of wealth accumulation and ownership have only served to increase the wealth gap, we should be careful not to stigmatise being wealthy.

South Africa's problem is not so much that there are a few too rich, it is that there are too many that are poor.

Instead of focusing on how we can bring the wealthy down, we should agitate and demand from our elected public representatives policies and timelines that take them out of the generational curse of poverty while a few keep getting rich.

X