We need to talk more about economic legacy of apartheid – Ben Turok

2018-06-16 17:53
Ben Turok (File, Netwerk24)

Ben Turok (File, Netwerk24)

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African National Congress stalwart and former member of parliament Ben Turok says South Africans need to have more discussions on the legacy of apartheid.

He was speaking on Saturday at the Kgalema Motlanthe foundation’s inaugural inclusive growth forum, which is taking place in the Drakensberg, KwaZulu Natal over three days.

Turok said the real legacy of apartheid needs to be emphasised if South Africa is to truly move forward from its past.

“We don’t sufficiently emphasise the legacy of apartheid we like to talk about human rights, the political dispensation and so on but there’s an economic legacy which is terribly important and for this meeting we have to face as the president did, the economic legacy of apartheid,” he told guests at the conference.

The struggle veteran said there were five instances that he had observed that continued to exacerbate some of the challenges South Africa was battling.

“The huge inequalities of income and wealth… the media and researchers often talk about the inequality of income somehow we are very shy to talk about the inequality of wealth yet the Gini coefficient for that indicator is .95 while the Gini for income is .67 our wealth inequality is not only the highest in the world but beyond comparison with any country in the world that’s the legacy of apartheid,” said Turok.

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Turok discussed the state of South Africa’s economy and complained of how only specific sectors were massively concentrated and that it had high profits and low investments.

“We have a financial sector that floats on top of the economy and is not rooted in the real economy. Whereas the media often talk about the importance of inflows and outflows and so on. That is at a micro level of the economy but it’s not about the real economy,” explained Turok, who said this showed the disconnect between the financial sector and the real economy in South Africa.

‘Monopolies blocking black players’

He also said the monopolies which had populated some sectors were also working to block not only new but mostly black players from entering the different markets.

The former parliamentarian also said South Africa had moved from a period where money and power were in the hands of wealthy families like the Oppenheimers or the Rupert’s but instead global countries which were hard to regulate.

“We have a high degree of international institutions investing in our financial sector and that financialises the economy, the commanding heights and so on,” said Turok,

“When you have international agencies controlling the large chunks of your stock exchange, how do you as president intervene in that economy,” he asked, saying it made it difficult to point out centres of power.

He said this was a problem which not only needed to be discussed but tackled through lots of research and working with people who had the know-how.



Read more on:    ben turok  |  politcs  |  economy

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