Income Inequality in South Africa

Income Inequality in South Africa

Are you really getting paid for what you’re worth? You could be underpaid and not even know it?

By Chrissie Kafalinji

The after effects of our freedom has brought its benefits, but we can’t deny that a large imbalance still remains. While your pay check isn’t exactly the topic for conversation during lunch, it could be something to consider. How would you feel if you put in your best performance and got paid less due to your race, gender, age or lack of soft skills?
These factors affect a vast majority of the South African population. We have individual’s capabilities being limited and this may be the reason that the country is not doing so well. Development is a way of life. So how do we eliminate these factors in such a way that everyone is at an equal playing field.
Ever heard of the simple equation what you put in is what you get out? Imagine if the working world worked in this manner and all these contributing factors became irrelevant as all that counted was how hard and efficiently you worked. Your performance determined your rewards.
The South African Government may have implemented the B-BBEE and Internship programs to redress some of the inequality and injustices brought by apartheid, but once again others are left on the side lines. It encourages the hiring of black employees and the conducting of business with companies that are black-owned and or making efforts to promote real equality. The government may not be aware that many companies simply use these programs to level up their points on their B-BBEE scorecards therefore the purpose is corrupted. What we need is a methodology that allows everyone to be placed at an equal playing field.
In 2016, a study by data and earnings analytic consultancy firm, Analytico, found that while white males without a professional degree, working in the formal sector, have a median salary of R21,700, black males with a professional degree earned about R12,456 less. Black females find themselves at the bottom of the stack. According to StatsSA, generally speaking, whites earn five times more than blacks.

Black females are indeed the most affected by this predicament:

  • 31 percent of South African companies have no female representation in senior leadership roles;
  • 22 percent of board directors are women, but only 7 percent are executive directors, according to the latest Businesswomen’s Association of South Africa census; and
  • Only 10 percent of South African CEOs are women, and if we look at Johannesburg Stock Exchange companies, this number drops to 2.2 percent.

We need to take the time to actually think about these stats. There is no logical reason as to why a white male earn about five times more than a black person. It is not because blacks have less responsibilities and don’t require the money? Or is it a way of saying some races are more competent than others? Our race, age and gender have somehow become a measuring method rather than our performance. This a disturbing truth to harbour.

According to research done these are the statistic that we all face on a daily basis and it is a shame to think that your 8-12 hours of work are considered less valuable than someone else’s:

Source White Indian/Asian Coloured Black South Africa
Salary R300 498 R215 784 R131 633 R69 094 R100 246
Capital gains R16 184 R2 173 R1 364 R842 R2 451
Pensions, social insurance, family allowances R30 739 R10 028 R12 260 R8 921 R11 378
Income from individuals R5 232 R3 309 R2 430 R2 194 R2 542
Other R6 520 R2 323 R2 265 R1 261 R1 886
Imputed rent on owned dwelling R85 271 R38 005 R22 747 R10 671 R19 665
Total R444 446 R271 621 R172 765 R92 983 R138 16


In my humble opinion, I would rather have my remuneration based on my performance in a nonbiased methodology rather than the predicament many of us unknowingly find ourselves in. It is to the benefit of all stakeholders to implement an efficient and effective system which bases remuneration on performance

iStratgo is an end to end performance management system which helps organisations link remuneration to performance visit https://www.istratgo.co.za/ for more info.


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