Cosatu boss slates racial income gap

COSATU president Sdumo Dlamini yesterday said the country's income inequality has deepened within racial groups.

Dlamini was speaking during a Numsa conference in Durban.

He said an average African man earns about R2400 a month, while an average white man earns about R19000 a month.

"The racial income gap is therefore roughly R16800 among males. Most white women earn about R9600 a month, whereas most African women earn R1200 a month. The gap in monthly incomes among women is R8400," he said.

Dlamini said their continued call for decent work and a campaign on the living wage is informed by their observation that post-1994, workers remain confronted with the reality of an attempt by employers to undermine and erode all the gains since the democratic government took over.

He said Cosatu had taken a decision that 2011 will be the year of a showdown with capitalism because they could not be content with the current status quo where their democratic gains are undermined by the continued picture of an unequal society.

"We cannot rest when we are confronted with the reality that 16 years into democracy redistribution of income has not occurred. Besides the decline in the real incomes of African households between 1995 and 2005, income inequality has increased across the board," he said.

"The top 10percent of the rich accounted for 33 times the income earned by the bottom 10percent in 2000. This gap is likely to have worsened, given the fall in the share of employees in national income and the global economic crisis of 2008.

"About 20percent of South Africans earned less than R800 a month in 2002, with the situation worse for Africans. By 2007 about 71percent of African female-headed households earned less than R800 a month and 59percent of these had no income; 58percent of African male-headed households earn less than R800 a month and 48percent had no income."

In 2008 the top 20 directors of JSE-listed companies, the overwhelming majority of whom are still white males, earned an average of R59million a year each, while in 2009 the average earnings of an employee in the South African economy was R34000.

Each of the top 20 paid directors in JSE-listed companies earned 1728 times the average income of a South African worker. On average, between 2007 and 2008, these directors experienced 124percent increase in their earnings, compared to below 10percent settlements for ordinary workers.

Hefty increases were also seen in state-owned enterprises where the top 20 directors experienced a 59percent increase in their earnings, collectively raking in R132223 million. This amounts to R6,6million a director.

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