Wealth inequalities are huge in SA

By Drum Digital
05 December 2013

Inequalities in the ownership of wealth are massive in South Africa

The highest-paid director in South Africa, Mondi CEO David Hathorn, earned a salary of more than R76m last year which is 1484 times as much as his lowest paid employee.

, the Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) said.

"The richest 100 South Africans now own a collective total of R198.6bn," said Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven.

This means a mere 100 people, in a population of 51.91 million, owned the equivalent of 6% of the country’s gross domestic product.

According to the Sunday Times's annual rich list, Shoprite and Pepkor chairperson Christo Wiese's personal wealth amounted to R27.4bn.

He changed places with last year’s richest man Patrice Motsepe, whose wealth amounted to R22.6bn, an increase of R2.6bn on last year.

"We hear business leaders, politicians and expert commentators bemoaning the excessive and unrealistic wage demands by workers, and deploring the rising number of strikes in support of those demands," said Craven.

He said that of Shoprite and Checkers' 73 000 workers, only 35% were full-time staff, 5% worked a 40-hour working week on flexitime, and 60% were casuals or worked variable time.

"They are now in the second year of a three-year wage agreement, under which the minimum wage is just R2 300 a month [R27 600 a year]."

But the  firm’s CEO Whitey Basson, who placed eighth on the latest list of big earners, made R40,m, 1484 times as much as his lowest paid employee.

"The rich complain when workers demand double-digit increases, so why are they silent about his huge triple-digit increase. Is that not to be condemned as excessive?"

- SAPA

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