For at least a century, the meaning of liberation in SA has been contested. Does it mean equal rights and a more representative ruling class in both the government and business? Or does it mean a more equitable society and economy that give ordinary people a decent life? The past 20 years have demonstrated the gaps between these two visions. There has been progress towards promoting black people into positions of power in the economy and state, yet SA remains one of the most inequitable societies in the world. Today, official data show that black people make up about half the governing class: half of the top 5% of earners are black, as are half of both managers and employers in the formal sector (and a third of commercial farmers). Still, in a country where 90% of the population is black, the glass is definitely also half empty. The figures are even less happy if we unpack them.

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