Some alarming statistics were presented at the recent Institute for African Alternatives (IFAA) Confronting Inequality conference. Millions of South Africans cannot afford to buy food or access healthcare, decent sanitation and other essentials of a dignified life. The National Income Dynamics Study shows that 29% of the population are trapped in severe poverty. Over the past few years, 3-million people have joined the ranks of the impoverished. Four-fifths of the rural population live below the poverty line — almost double the rate of poverty in the metros. However, in urban areas too, many face spatial segregation from productive economic activity. The economy suffers from precarious mobility, with those escaping poverty having low probabilities of remaining out of it for long. There is a lack of intergenerational mobility, with 95% chance of children born to parents in the bottom of earnings distribution occupying the same place in the distribution. The entrenched and racialised ...

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