Research based on tax data has found SA could have as many as 182,000 dollar millionaires, significantly more than previous estimates of about 45,000, suggesting that inequality might be worse than previously reported. According to a paper by academics Ihsaan Bassier and Ingrid Woolard, the top 1% of incomes is increasing rapidly even with low economic growth. The richest 5%, about 1.75-million adults earning more than R25,800 a month, earned in total close to 30% of SA’s national income in 2016. And the top 0.01% of earners in SA, a group of about 3,500 earning more than R580,000 a month, received 1.2% of gross national income, SA’s total income from home and abroad.

University of Cape Town researcher Bassier and Woolard, dean of economics at Stellenbosch University, do not elaborate on lowest earners. Figures from Stats SA and the SA Revenue Service (Sars) show that of the 16-million employed South Africans only 4.8-million earned enough to pay tax in 2016. While the 3,500 r...

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