Moeletsi Mbeki recently said:“White people do not control the economy of South Africa, that is a myth.” Many have found Mbeki’s hypothesis regressive, thin on data and vexing on black emancipation. If 90% of South Africa’s pilots are white, it implies white pilots control the aeronautics economy. Likewise with engineers, medical doctors, scientists, university lecturers, small businesses and so forth. Each of these represents an economic area of influence and control. The JSE CEOs and CFOs are almost all white. Whites hold 90% of arable land; this attests to white control of the agricultural economy and subsistence.
In banks, whites are granted most of the loans, representing their control.
Apartheid was designed to keep political, cultural and economic power in the hands of the 9% white minority against 80% African, 9% mixed race (coloureds) and 3% Indians.
Measures such as black versus white wages, or the Gini coefficient, which looks at an overall measure of inequality in society, reflect this – data show that inequality increased at the acme of apartheid. Recent measures on wages reveal that a ratio of 7:1 persists along racial lines over wages and income where whites earn seven times more than their black counterparts in the same job, and with the same experience and educational background. This, too, represents white control of the economy.
Furthermore, white SA’s jobless rate compares with the best-performing Western nations: whites control the jobs market too.
These economic segments interrelate with full control. Four points Mbeki decontextualises in his hypothesis:
Wealth inequality accelerates because of a multitude of factors, one being what Thomas Piketty identified as the return on capital outpacing the increases in economic output, whereas those who have capital may earn a higher rate of return than prevailing economic growth. White South Africans, by and large, even when they do not have liquid capital as Mbeki professes, own homes in locations where there is capital growth on property. Homes become a key differentiating factor due to a historical misallocation of land rights.
Education without opportunity and free trade does not bring any advantage. The employment equity dataset shows there is reluctance by whites to open up the private sector to blacks. In places where whites control local or provincial government, the same is observed. Even with this clear evidence, Helen Zille has promised to abolish employment equity. Cheap labour is exclusively black.
Systematic oppression of blacks robbed them of land, education, strong family and sound health. These are segments of wealth dominance. Wealth is not just the measure of one’s financial balance sheet. Whites are healthier and culturally dominant.
Both direct and indirect black JSE ownership is not more than 18%. About 42% is white-owned, with the balance held by foreigners. About R2 trillion of cash held by local banks is at least 80% owned by whites.
Why would Mbeki find agreement with one FW de Klerk, who calls for a blanket sunset over apartheid redress?