The study of inequality in South Africa presents something of a paradox. Post-apartheid South Africa is one of the most unequal countries in the world in terms of income and wealth. The richest 10 per cent of the population earns 60 per cent of national income and owns 95 per cent of all wealth and assets. These high levels of inequality have been sustained, and in some cases have deepened in the post-apartheid era. However, the country has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, one which is underpinned by a radical Bill of Rights which foregrounds expanded socio-economic rights. The parallel existence of these apparently contradictory phenomena is what we call the South African inequality paradox. We present three examples from the South African workplace where progressive policy instruments and legislation exist alongside persistent and widening inequality. We suggest that a dependence on Black Economic Empowerment, as one of the ANC government's most important attempts to transform the racialised economy of the past has resulted in the capital relations which produce and reproduce inequality remaining largely intact.


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pp. 11-35
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