John Steenhuisen on inequality in SA: 'It can be addressed based on poverty instead of race'

John Steenhuisen says using race as a proxy for disadvantage has failed many 'ordinary black South Africans'.
John Steenhuisen says using race as a proxy for disadvantage has failed many 'ordinary black South Africans'.
Image: Veli Nhlapo

Apartheid has left SA with many pockets of spatial segregation, inequality and exclusion. 

John Steenhuisen believes inequality can be addressed based on poverty instead of race.

According to the interim DA leader, trying to address past imbalances based on race failed “ordinary black South Africans” and excluded the majority of needy South Africans.

In an interview on Cape Talk, he said: “What you have to look at is the intervention taken by the current government over the past quarter of a century ... we now have 30-million citizens who live in poverty and black households are 10% poorer now than they were before.

“There's been nothing broad-based or economically empowering by just simply layering over race-based policies,” said Steenhuisen.

 

In an interview on Newzroom Afrika in November, Steenhuisen said: “Race-based policies of the past 25 years have failed to lift people out of poverty and to opportunity.

“Black households are 10% poorer than they were at the beginning of BEE, unemployment queues have grown massively from 3.7 million in 1994 to more than 10-million.”

Steenhuisen, who is on his “Real state of the nation” tour, said the DA would try to lift people out of poverty.

The current system was inherently corruptible because it ignored financial means, he said.

“That's why you see a very small group of politically linked people who are billionaires and millionaires, and continue to benefit, while 30-million people remain locked out of opportunities and 99% of them are people who were discriminated against before.

“So we have got to break down that inequality and give people more opportunities, but you don't do it by layering race-based policies. You should be focused on poverty, which is easy to measure across the board.”


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