SA remains one of the most unequal societies globally in terms of income and wealth distribution, with the bottom half of the local workforce receiving a meagre 12% of all wages. The Oxfam "Reward Work, Not Wealth" report found that the cost of supporting one person's monthly needs in SA is about R6,460, though the minimum wage, as of May 1 this year, is R3,500. The World Bank measured SA's Gini coefficient at 0.63 — the highest internationally. The Gini coefficient measures income inequality ranging from 0 to 1, with 1 being the worst. Poverty levels are also on the rise — the recent Stats SA "Poverty Trends in South Africa" report found that the poverty head count increased to 55.5% in 2015 from 53.2% in 2011, after having declined between 2006 and 2011. Research has unambiguously found that poverty and extreme inequality undermine economic growth and investment. This, alongside rising unemployment, paints a grim picture for the poor and vulnerable in SA, re-energising the policy ...

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