South Africa: Treasury's Economic Paper Fudges the Key Issues


In a state as racialised as South Africa, it is a must to look at the correlation between race and gender in poverty and inequality. In the absence of this, National Treasury's economic paper risks being reduced to an academic exercise that does not address the underlying factors in the country's economic status quo.

The government's quest to make inroads into South Africa's poverty and inequality problems is steeped in contradictions that are marked by giant leaps of progress followed by extended periods of regression.

There is broad consensus that poverty rates went down post-1994. But these inroads have been undermined by deep and persisting structural impediments that reinforce this status quo.

In March 2018, the World Bank, in collaboration with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, released a review report on the country titled "Overcoming Poverty and Inequality in South Africa: An Assessment of Drivers, Constraints and Opportunities".

The review is both illuminating and an indictment on the post-1994 political consensus. It is relevant against the backdrop of the current discussions around the National Treasury's economic paper with reference to job creation and growth.

Furthermore, revisiting the review report is useful because it provides a diagnostic about why...

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