If SA’s “economic outsiders” ever bothered to follow the metropolitan conversation, it is hard to imagine their being anything but bitter about its wilful evasiveness, its dogged avoidance of what really matters.

This is no small thing. We are, after all, talking about millions of people, fellow citizens who don’t have jobs, or the education to match the economy’s steady shift to high-skills sectors, or the assets that could help make up for not having an income. Among them are the recipients of SA’s more than 17-million social grants, a lifeline threatened by the very same conditions that deny them jobs, a shot at a better education or the chance of gaining assets worth having.

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