Fin24

Cosatu: Rich list shows SA inequality

2011-09-05 17:40

Johannesburg - South African workers will be even more determined to fight for a living wage after the publication of the rich list by the Sunday Times showed an increase in assets among the country's wealthiest, said trade union federation Cosatu on Monday.

The list showed that SA's 20 wealthiest people, who were collectively worth R112.2bn, had seen their wealth jump 58.96% over the past two years, while the wealthiest 100 people had seen their wealth shoot up 62.19%.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said the list confirmed that the world's most unequal society is growing more unequal by the day.

Top earners in 2010 included Shoprite CEO Whitey Basson, who took home R627.53m in salary, perks and share options, BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers, who received a total of R77.53m, and Bernard Kantor, Investec's MD, with R56.69m.

"These figures make nonsense of the argument that companies need to pay such vast amounts in order to retain top skills, because more than 20 of the top 100 highest-paid executives in 2010 are no longer in their positions today," said Craven.

Craven said that Cosatu was forging ahead with its living wage campaign, which aimsd to raise "the pathetic levels" of workers' wages and start to narrow the huge gap between rich and poor.

The latest figures for the rich, Craven added, proved that SA was a rich country, but that the distribution of the wealth left just 20 people owning R112.2bn, while 48% of South Africans, about 24 million people, were living on below the poverty level of R322 a month.

"16% of employed workers earn less than R500; 33.4% earn less than R1 000, and 60% earned less than R2 500. Yet employers want more 'flexible' labour laws so that they can find ways to pay even less, as many are already doing by using labour brokers or employing workers on a casual basis," Craven said.

"Workers will certainly not stop fighting for real increases in their living standards while such grotesque levels of inequality remain," Craven said.

Comments
  • David - 2011-09-05 18:17

    nice reporting, to my recollection the top earners and movers were Black business men, yet you only list 3 white names.... ;-)

  • Hugh - 2011-09-05 18:21

    Geez Cosato - no Patrick the mine boss nor Ramaphosa.

  • 106SA - 2011-09-05 18:27

    It's the rich list that employs South Africa,other than the state!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Take away capitalism and the masses will be even poorer.

  • tryanything - 2011-09-05 18:28

    Unfortunately in a capitalist society this tends to happen....However a bit of good governance could improve the situation.....I work six months of the year to support a government thats hell bent on making the situation worse...No good just taking from the rich to feed the poor Rather teach them to feed themselves and then they can also become taxpayers...But let the Cosatus go cutting off the legs and arms of the people that want to work then we have nothing..Educate people and they will start to think....thats the real danger...to the rich.... We have 100 years to go still ....

  • vanwyk.petronel - 2011-09-05 18:28

    Now where does Julius Malema fits in this picture???

  • BugsyJamesy - 2011-09-05 18:31

    Lets take a look at the productivity of SA's workers, I think you'll see they are actually over payed.

  • nobs - 2011-09-05 18:33

    Not to mention some of the wealthiest people were ex union bosses :)

  • CGlass - 2011-09-05 18:45

    What utter bollocks! I'm white, self employed, and believe me, its a battle every single day. Ask ITC.

  • Ex-employer - 2011-09-05 18:47

    Where does eveyone come with this "WE ARE THE WORLD'S MOST UNEQUAL SOCIETY" concept, visit India and let me know where we stand. Don't run the guilt thing with me, it no longer works, the masses voted, masses must reap what they sow. People with bad teeth think that those with good teeth are happy. The poor think the same of the rich.

      hafezhamza - 2011-09-05 22:01

      i sallute your sentiments

  • Colin - 2011-09-05 18:52

    What did the Black multi-billionaires earn why only show the white millionaires?

      hafezhamza - 2011-09-05 22:03

      i am not an afrikaner,but i concur your view

  • Agent Bastad - 2011-09-05 18:53

    Why no mention of the guy at the top of the list, Patrice Motsepe?

      Express007 - 2011-09-06 08:17

      Stop being ignorant- earnings like to like are R11.7 million for the 2010 financial year to Motsepe as ARM chairman. The article talks about earnings not total wealth. Simple logic is to compare like with like, duh!!!

      chat-chat - 2011-09-06 14:09

      @Express007 Read the article again. The list that was published in the Sunday Times, and to which Cosatu refers, was the Richest people list.

  • hennie.buys1 - 2011-09-05 18:57

    Typical...take figures from the biggest businesses with super rich CEO's and then draw a line through the whole business community. SMME's are ignored and they employ the most people. Keep going COSATU you will turn into a non-employed union.

  • Jan Groenewald - 2011-09-05 19:02

    O maar die ander name sal mos nou nie genoem word nie, kom ons kyk: Patrice Motsepe (African Rainbow Minerals and Sanlam) – ZAR23.5bn ($3.3bn) kyk by http://www.therichest.org/nation/richest-people-in-south-africa/ EN LET WEL HY IS N BILJOENER EN NIE MILJOENER NIE. Daar is vele ander wat genoem kan word. Self Malema is 'n miljoener. Nee man, as jy iets wil sê noem al die feite. Moenie halfpad met 'n storie kom nie.

      Express007 - 2011-09-06 08:16

      Jan, that's his wealth not earnings for the year- compare like with like!!!! Motsepe earnedR11.7 million for the 2010 financial year as ARM chairman.

      Tolerant - 2011-09-06 12:45

      He probably earned some interest also on his money, easily a Billion per year?

  • SaintBruce - 2011-09-05 19:03

    Can we see the Black rich, Indian rich and Coloured rich members of the list as well Mr Craven? Your bias is showing!! What are the ratios now since the BEE money grabbing and other deals are counted in? Objective please with fairness.

  • hafezhamza - 2011-09-05 19:10

    zakat is one of the 5 pillars of islam.If all the wealthy people of the country had to pay 2.5%of their wealth annualy to the poor and needy ones,then this problem would not exist.but alas every man is only worried how he can fill his own pocket.and many a times people dont care how they earn their money.weather it maybe stealing,fraud,robbing,they dont care.we live in nasty world outside

      Fred - 2011-09-05 22:17

      I can assure you that all thes people pay far more than 2.5% of their packages in tax, which is supposed to benefit the poor, but unfortunately most of it gets creamed off the top by a corrupt government who are not concerned about the poor. So instead of bleating about top executives who are building up the country, rather bleat about the corruption in government that is tearing the country down.

      RoyoF - 2011-09-06 07:44

      Great idea this zakat but it is something we all do through tax,charity ,tipping,etc. If we gave 2-5% today ,there will be a flood from the rest of Africa tomoro..."umkhla ya wa money for free ya weko South Africa "--wheeeeew lets go ...all the way from Malawi pal.They would come in droves till the zakat can was empty and then youll be needing zakat.Even if all us well off folk emptied our bank accounts (and brought down the banks ) sold off our assets (plummeting property values) and gave it to the poor (skyroketing inflation ) Whiey Basson and pals would be 100 times richer coz guess where all the zakat peepS would go ..... thats right to the Hot meals and chicken que at sHOPRITE .

  • Colin Dovey - 2011-09-05 19:12

    The best attitude to adopt, is that there will always be rich and poor in any society. Instead of trying to bring successful, talented people down, rather just start working to get there. The old adage applies - empty barrels makes the most noise.

  • johan - 2011-09-05 19:17

    why do you have it against the rich, dont they think, plan and let others work each on their own level of expertise, do you think by say taking all that money then all who dont have will now well settled for the future?,its in the planning and executing of that planning that brings in the money

      Hangman - 2011-09-05 22:02

      It is because cosatu thinks the fruit picker can run the organisation, because that is how cosatu is run. Jokes aside I respect cosatu, I mean what other organisation can get the poorest of the poor to give over a portion of their measly wages and still get them to smile about it. The people should take the stance I take with car guards, when they actually do something constructive then pay them. Let's see what they will do for the people that don't pay. Bunch of hypocrites.

      Tolerant - 2011-09-06 12:42

      When last did someone asked how much does Cosatu leaders earn? 5 years ago Tony E earned R50 000 p/m, probably double now.

  • Hardtail - 2011-09-05 19:22

    agree with cosatu on this. Those dogs who act as CEO's who earn such salaries are sick examples of why this country is in crap. On average a CEO earns a few hundred times what the lowest paid worker earns, this is wrong.

      Hangman - 2011-09-05 21:53

      Really, so go tell that to Bill Gates or Murdock who have created more jobs and paid more tax than most developed countries GDP. Top people make top money. If it wasn't like that nobody would ever have the drive to be successful. People is this country live in lala land, there is probably 0.001% of people in this country capable of running those organisations successfully, yet we compare those special few to the mass of illiterate box packers/maids and gardeners. Please get your head out the sand. One thing is for sure, none of those people would have the time to waste writing on this stupid forum.

      Hangman - 2011-09-05 22:13

      Also tell that to the richest 400 on Forbes list. http://www.forbes.com/wealth/forbes-400#p_1_s_arank_-1_ ... I know alot of white faces but if you can look past that and actually see the industries, jobs, etc these families have created, you would wish for more CEO "dogs" as you put it. If we could have 400 like that in SA, everyone would be benefitting.

  • Dambuza - 2011-09-05 20:34

    wow that is a lot of money indeed! But you know trade unions sometimes make it difficult for the economy to absorb more unemployed people and they also contribute to some extent to inflation through their wage hike demands. What the goverment needs to do is: 1.to provide incentives for business to grow or introduce tax codes that wil allow it(the govt) to re-invest to the sectors that are labour-intensive so as to create more jobs. 2. Set the reasonable conditions that wil form ground for wage hikes, our labour is so expensive it actually excedes s.korea, russia and others 3. For heaven's sake be radical on corruption! 4. Let the public know what the gvts objective are and how we can contribute 5. Make bursaries available and please scrap OBE, it doesn't work, so many people do not have access to educational facilities, eg computers and/or internet. Empower the people and let come with their own initiatives then u wil be able to redress inequality

      sjkranenburg - 2011-09-06 00:21

      good points.

  • Greg - 2011-09-05 21:07

    Are the CEOs mentioned even based in South Africa? Marius Kloppers is a naturalized Australian and the extent of his involvement in the country is probably an occasional visit. His Australian or UK salary is probably consistent with executives at his level in world business and looks extravagant because of the ZAR conversion. This is not a relevant comparison to South Africa. What are BBBEE executives and government officials earning relative to their qualifications?

      sjkranenburg - 2011-09-06 00:20

      marius klopper or bee executives should not be earning these vast sums regardless when 48% of south africans are earning less than R322. im sorry but its vulgar.

  • Richard Butler - 2011-09-05 21:17

    Here's some advice - go to work (on time); while you are there, work hard; don't steal; be useful (you'll get regular increases); develop yourself and be valuable to your employer. If you do this you will earn a wage that will grow and, if you save, you will develop a capital base. Pass this capital on to your future generations and maybe, just maybe, they will have a better life. This is the way of the world. Envying those who have more will not improve your lot in life. Hard work will.

      sjkranenburg - 2011-09-06 00:16

      a living wage is a human right. simple.

      Tolerant - 2011-09-06 12:39

      I agree with Richard, hard work and save will help. If you do not like your wage, get another job and then resign.

  • DoublySalmon - 2011-09-05 21:27

    These workers better start working if they want more money. If they also work hard, they can be CEOs. People are paid what they are worth, this is how the demand and supply for labour works, especially at the high end of the scale. How can an employee who can barely read and write and add numbers only as long as they're both smaller than 10 demand a salary of a Western counterpart with a 4 year degree?

      Fred - 2011-09-05 22:13

      You will also notice that this report totally ignores the fact that a black man, Patrice Motsepe is the richest man in South Africa, dwarfing those mentioned in this report !!!!! I assume that these same workers who have made white men rich also made Motsepe rich, but no-one complains about this. Bit one-sided, isn't it? Frankly I think they are ALL too rich, but as I am a white man who can't even find a job, what do I know?

      sjkranenburg - 2011-09-06 00:16

      "How can an employee who can barely read and write and add numbers only as long as they're both smaller than 10 demand a salary of a Western counterpart with a 4 year degree?" - blatant lie minimum wage per month (any job) at the age of 23 in the Netherlands for example is €1400. that is R14000. this excludes benefits and housing subsidy. R322 a month is an insult to all of us. don't you want to live in a country where people get a proper living wage and therefore not fall into criminality or whatever other vice you would quickly criticise.

      DoublySalmon - 2011-09-06 09:19

      sjkranenburg Do you happen to know the cost of living in Netherlands? I live in the pacific region, let's call it Australia. My rent alone is R5403.84 per month and I rent a single room, a room I rented in South Africa cost me R1200 per month. In South Africa I had a much better house with braai facilities and a carpark. Sure you can argue Netherlands provides housing, but so does the South African government (RDP houses, welfare, taxation of the rich). South Africa is a divided country, you have people who are unemployable who are employed because the company carries inefficiencies and highly qualified skilled people who can work elsewhere if South Africa or the company or whatever doesn't suit them. These companies paying big bucks would hire the cheaper CEO if such a person existed.

      DoublySalmon - 2011-09-06 09:22

      Some people are only worth R322 and are a net tax loss and a loss to the economy as a whole. Lets not mince words, these people have been bred to make crosses every 4 years and other than that serve society no use. It would be better had their parents used birth control or if their parents didn't burn down their children's schools.

      Together - 2011-09-06 10:03

      Are you absolutely sure that no executive in the Netherlands earns as much (if not more) than SA execs? And, with their stable civil service and zero-tolerance policies regarding corruption, are you sure you'd like to compare SA to the Netherlands? What do civil servants in the Netherlands earn? Compare tulips with tulips - this lack of reasoning is shameful. If you really want to put out useful propoganda, it has to be subtle - not hamfisted like this. This just sound envious, bitter and badly-researched.

      The Captain - 2011-09-06 11:02

      @sjkranenburg - Most of the EU is so deep in the dwang they dont know where the money is going to come from and are sitting with begging bowls out.Greece, Italy, Ireland, Iceland and the list goes on. You cant compare South Africa with the Netherlands, they are poles apart in so many ways that you cannot begin to comprehend.They have a higher employed population with more money in the economy ( its called money supply,M1, M2 and M3- google it ). So they can afford to have slightly higher wages. what you do not mention at all is their productivity levels, how much do they contribure to their companies to justify their wages? It's not a myth, I have worked overseas and their average worker is simply more effective. Its a very simple economics- you get paid for what you are worth, ifyou are not happy, leave and find another job where you can earn more. But whats that I hear - there are no jobs- but alass there are jobs out there- for people who took the time to skill themselves and work. and there are plenty of training opportunities out there. I am afraid that everyone in this life is exactly where they should be - it's all personal motivation. Mt Mosepe is exactly where he should be- and whity Basson as well, they had a vision and through sheer guts and vision built an empire, created thousands of jobs and changed the way that we live. In summary what have you done?.......not much...... I thought so... otherwise you would also change the world

  • David - 2011-09-05 22:27

    Based on the above, wealth has increased by around 50-60%. Um, yes stock markets did crash in 2008 and the growth experienced is the recovery from that. How about some responsible stats and show their asset growth by category and over say 5 years. People love to cherry pick statistics.

      sjkranenburg - 2011-09-06 00:11

      they have demonstrated the wealth gap between the rich and the poor in this country. neo-liberal policies adopted by the state have increased this divide. point taken. you dont have to agree, just see the truth in the fact.

      Together - 2011-09-06 10:00

      The shrinking job market which means less access to promotion and higher benefits with good service and increased experience is what is widening the divide. You could get rid of every top-earning executives and have an even BIGGER bloc of unemployed. Weird reasoning.

  • dagwood4455 - 2011-09-05 23:17

    for attention of Craven , Ehrenreich and other communists I want to say two things: 1. You cannot create wealth by dividing it 2. The more rich people a country has, the better it is going with the other normal people PS: when there are still people earning that kind of money it motivates me to work harder (and create more jobs)

      sjkranenburg - 2011-09-06 00:07

      point 1 needs clarification please. point 2 has any examples it can give? please provide. PS: people deserve a living wage. simple.

      RoyoF - 2011-09-06 07:32

      Ja people do need a living wage and alot of people work hard but thats not a reason that we cant have rich people in South Africa . Income equality is a direct function of education and thereafter access to resources.Its also about not having 4 kids before you are 21 years old ..a ommitted fact in everysingle one of these COSatu/Patrick mumblings and stirrings.If you look at Norway,Sweden,Finland...small educated populations ,with a high taxation rate (WHich everyone pays!!!) and but they still do have rich people who dont get criticized and shouted at .Stop being insecure about poverty and start being proactive. AND DONT have ANY NORE KIDS!!Stop Breeding .

      Greg - 2011-09-06 09:06

      1. Yes we can!! 2. Rubbish!!

      Phiwe - 2011-09-06 10:24

      Dagwood makes a very very good point. Rich people are the creaters of wealth. You basically count on them to creat jobs for the average joe. So the more rich people there, the better for everyone because we'll have more wealth creators. But the most important class is the middle class because they are the spending class. The more people we have in the middle class category, the better for the economy. The wonderful thing about capitalism is that is relatively fluid, unlike Fuedalism for example. So anyone can have a crack at the big time, you just need a really good idea and no amount of governemnt help will make you have good ideas. There are so many creative people in SA, even the people who sell fruits on the streets. They could increase their most sellable stock and sell, if you need spare hands then recruit someone. Use your money to buy more stock (not all of it because a person has to eat) and sell like you've never sold before. Eventually your venture will grow, you can get off the streets and open a little shop in a busy place and your business grows and you open another branch. This is how you make money in the capitalist world. Some people have done with just ice cream and their ice cream trucks. The start with one truck and end with 100 trucks and sell the business for R80 miilion. Then you can be the man, instead of hating the man for having money.

      Tolerant - 2011-09-06 12:30

      I agree with Dagwood, rich people let theire money work for them, the poor spends all money they get. The big difference between rich and the rest poor / middle class is that the rich save some money every month while the others spend all money and more than they earn.

      The Captain - 2011-09-06 16:12

      @ sjkranenberg and Greg - let me explain - read this slowly- you might understand it 1) you cannot create wealth by dividing it. In other words taking money from the "rich" and distributing it does not make everyone richer. They may have more money for a short while but it will soon dissapear. the "rich" will stop working so hard as they are not reaping the benifits of their hard work. And thus productivity will deacrease. To put it another way gaive a man a fish and you feed him for a day- teach him to fish and you feed him for a lifetime. To put it yet another way- you can transfer wealth (for a short period) but not the capacity to generate wealth. That capacity comes from hard work, inginuety, guts and sheer determination. 2) The more rich people has the better- well the rich will spend and invest more - stimulate the economy, build bigger houses (employing builders ) etc. Every country has the very rich and the very poor, think of it as a pyramid. ( with the rich at the top). The taller the pyramid the bigger the gap. Spending money stimultes economies - simple. While we are on the subject " the right to a living wage" what on earth is that. The right to life - yes, the right to freedom - yes, the right to protest - yes, freedom of speech . Think about it- if everyone gets let say R10 000- then money will lose its value as everyone will spend which will drive up prices. Econ 101 - nope its about building capacity ( personal and infrastructure) and hard work.

  • James - 2011-09-06 00:00

    No one single person - in particular someone who supposedly is selling foodstuffs to the 40+ million poor people in a country can possibly look in the mirror and say "I am worth R1200 per second, every second of every day" Whitey, you are a greed driven disgrace and you board and remuneration board are just as guilty!!! Shame on you

      Isabella Meyer - 2011-09-06 08:24

      Agree on this. The discrepancy between high and low earners in this country is scandalous.

      Together - 2011-09-06 09:40

      Um, you'll find many people (Mugabe, most basketball players, singers, soccer stars, government officials in SA, Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, Motshepe, Kenny Kunene, Khanyi Mbau...) that think they are worth MORE than R1200 per second. Racial profiling and racism is the easy and cowardly route..

      Together - 2011-09-06 09:58

      Um, you'll find many people (Mugabe, most basketball players, singers, soccer stars, government officials in SA, Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, Motshepe, Kenny Kunene, Khanyi Mbau...) that think they are worth MORE than R1200 per second. Racial profiling and racism is the easy and cowardly route..

      Together - 2011-09-06 10:07

      Um, you'll find many people (Mugabe, most basketball players, singers, soccer stars, government officials in SA, Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, Motshepe, Kenny Kunene, Khanyi Mbau...) that think they are worth MORE than R1200 per second. Racial profiling and racism is the easy and cowardly route..

      Together - 2011-09-06 10:12

      Could this comment stay up long enough for someone else to comment on it , please? Um, you'll find many people (Mugabe, most basketball players, singers, soccer stars, government officials in SA, Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, Motshepe, Kenny Kunene, Khanyi Mbau...) that think they are worth MORE than R1200 per second. Racial profiling and racism is the easy and cowardly route..

      Together - 2011-09-06 10:15

      I have also emailed this comment to Fin24 so someone can explain why it's considered offensive enough to have deleted it 6 times? Um, you'll find many people (Mugabe, most basketball players, singers, soccer stars, government officials in SA, Paris Hilton, the Kardashians, Khanyi Mbau...) that think they are worth MORE than R1200 per second. Racial profiling and racism is the easy and cowardly route..

      Together - 2011-09-06 10:27

      No problem - have blogged the link and the comments - it'll get more airtime on Wordpress.

      Tolerant - 2011-09-06 12:26

      At least Whitey have given work for thousands and thousands of people over his time as a boss. Zuma promised 500 000 in 2010, but we lost 1000 000 jobs, Whitey for President.

  • James - 2011-09-06 00:44

    who is author of this clearly selective reporting article? where are the Motsepes, ramhaposa, zumas etc? Nice work author- you seriously think that ALL South Africans are as thick as pig #$%^?

      Express007 - 2011-09-06 08:01

      The article says nothing about White or Black wealth! It speaks about INEQUALITY. The Motsepes, Ramaphosas and Zumas earn nothing near to R627mill per annum. Where's your selective understanding and grasping of the facts at hand?

      Isabella Meyer - 2011-09-06 08:25

      James, that was my question exactly. Seeing that Motsepe is number 1 on the list. What about Tokyo Sexwale..... The discrepancy between rich and poor is scandalous, but why just mention the rich white people. Rather sickening bias for a newspaper which should be reporting on facts.

  • Ivanovich - 2011-09-06 06:59

    So, if Whitey Basson were to reduce his compensation to, say, a mere R27 million (does he really need much more than that?), then the funds could have been re-deployed to increase wages of 100,000 staff by R500 per person per month.

      letsee - 2011-09-06 08:29

      The point is that those that you propose to earn the extra R 500.00 will never create a job never mind how rich they would be. Whitey Basson can create thousand of jobs, the unions, the gvernment and political parties can't create one single job outsde their organization and they themselves earn very high salaries for doing little to create jobs. For as much as I dislike the idea of the very rich people (I'm not rich at all) countries with entrepeneurs (rich people) are the most successfull of them all and countries where the rich people are those bribed for tenders, etc. do not develop at all and South Africa is now part of the latter. If the unions are serious about fighting corruption they will do more for the country than taking from the rich. Nevertheless the 5% of South Africans (the rich) already pay 90% of the tax in this country.

      Together - 2011-09-06 09:31

      I think that it's short-sighted and a real threat to employment to have people this biased and inexperienced looking at things they clearly can't unpack. They build a list of the country's most highly paid execs leaving out all the black billionaires, and racially profiling it to one group only. They do not factor in that these execs have not hidden their earnings - there are people in government and municipalities all over SA who have taken home more in bribes and corrupt tenders - and they have NOT declared it to SARS and paid HUGE amounts of tax on it. In addition, the "shadow" rich do not 'get' their money for steering their companies to success and being granted a salary agreed on by a board - they 'get' their money from stinting and ripping off the poor. And now, to stop this all, Cosatu would like to punish the legitimate earners who head up companies that ensure employment for hundreds of thousands of South Africans - also generating tax revenue. No-one is fooled by this - we're bored, alarmed, frustrated, annoyed, bored again - but not fooled, Cosatu.

      Charmaine McBride - 2011-09-06 10:37

      Whitey and the like can create more jobs, but they won't because it may affect their bottom line. Why employ 2 people when you can employ one and pay him less leaving more money to add to the higher job titles.

  • Nicholas - 2011-09-06 07:50

    This is the most retarded text I've ever read so far today, I think COSATU needs a workshop that's mainly based on the definition of 'equality in the 21st century' because it clearly hasn't registered in their thick skulls. Go to any country in the world, top earners and low low earners will always be there, it's inevitable! one equal society is highly impossible, perhaps after 1000 years. They can strike as much as they want, however at the end of the day, who are the ones running after the other party for jobs, especially with our not so delighting unemployment rate? Equal wealth is a fairy-tale which we'll tell our grandchildren and great-grandchildren and shall remain a fairy-tale for decades, there will always be people above and people below and how you get yourself up... is entirely upto you! Every human was blessed with a brain, it seems that they're failing to read their brains' manual before activating it, they wouldn't know how if they failed to firstly comprehend the manual. #OutcryForBrainActivation

      Charmaine McBride - 2011-09-06 10:35

      I would like to see getting yourself up if your parents and your parents parents had earned less that R1000 a month and you couldn't stay in school because they can't afford to feed you...

  • Stella - 2011-09-06 08:24

    yesterday was reported that the top earner is a black person so why today is the name not mentioned in this artical. Instigating?

      Susan - 2011-09-06 13:21

      My thoughts exactly.

  • p123 - 2011-09-06 08:50

    If you take the combined wealth of R122.2 B and divide it by 50 000 000, each person in SA will get aeound 2250. You cannot actualy do very much with that. Ultimately, economiecs is function of supply and demand driving prices up or down. You have one Basson or Motsepe (who was left out of this article) but a couple of million with no education. So the one is goint to get big salary and the other R500. Education is the key to unlock thism but it seems that nobody understands that. South Africa is the biggest wellfare state in the world (5 million tax payers support 14 million people on grants) and on top of this the unions expect more.

      Together - 2011-09-06 09:28

      I think that it's short-sighted and a real threat to employment to have people this biased and inexperienced looking at things they clearly can't unpack. They build a list of the countrie's most highly paid execs - but they focus clearly on one group only. They do not factor in that these execs have not hidden their earnings - there are people in government and municipalities all over SA who have taken home more in bribes and corrupt tenders - and they have NOT declared it to SARS and paid HUGE amounts of tax on it. In addition, the "shadow" rich do not 'get' their money for steering their companies to success and being granted a salary agreed on by a board - they 'get' their money from stinting and ripping off the poor. And now, to stop this all, Cosatu would like to punish the legitimate earners who head up companies that ensure employment for hundreds of thousands of South Africans - also generating tax revenue. No-one is fooled by this - we're bored, alarmed, frustrated, annoyed, bored again - but not fooled, Cosatu.

      Mebob - 2011-09-06 10:08

      Whilst I agree that education is the key for any freedom, not just economic freedom, I disagree that this country's wealth comes from just 5 million people. Yes, the 5 million do contribute a lot more than most, but roughly 30% of our wealth comes from PAYE, 20% comes from companies and a very large portion comes from VAT. So it is my belief that there are more than just 5 million tax payers in all forms of tax.But I understand what you are try to say.These people that earn these ridiculous salaries have earned their right to earn these salaries. Look that the company they work for and see how profitable they actually are. If you want part of their wealth, why not buy shares of said companies and be part of the royalties?It may not be a lot, but it's a start and if invested properly, you could get a bit of wealth from the same company.

      Together - 2011-09-06 10:08

      Actually, in the spirit of transparency, it would be nice to compare SA union leaders' salaries and benefits with union leaders from other parts of the world. Especially considering the devestating effect our unions have had on SA's job market.

      Together - 2011-09-06 10:11

      Actually, in the spirit of transparency, it would be nice to compare SA union leaders' salaries and benefits with union leaders from other parts of the world. Especially considering the devestating effect our unions have had on SA's job market.

      Together - 2011-09-06 10:13

      This is a completely reasonable question, so please don't delete it all the time. Actually, in the spirit of transparency, it would be nice to compare SA union leaders' salaries and benefits with union leaders from other parts of the world. Especially considering the devestating effect our unions have had on SA's job market.

      Together - 2011-09-06 10:26

      no problem - have blogged the link and the comments.

      Charmaine McBride - 2011-09-06 10:26

      Errr, if you look at it, if every person gets R2250 that for 33% OF THE EMPLOYED is a > 200% increase. For 60% of the employed it will equate a 100% increase. And you think that they can not do much with it. How much then do you think they can do with the pittance they earn now??? And this is the employed in South Africa, those people who, judging by the comments below, just need to work harder and they too can earn millions. But you are right, how can they get by on that? They can't, hence a demand for a living wage. The law of supply and demand and capital has those that already have, make sure that those that don't have continue to have less, so that they can have more. Which is why a boss will gain R10 000.00 of labour out of an employee but pay him R2000. Which for a CEO is good business sense and he can earn a lot because of the difference between the wages people earn and their actual output. But I agree with you that education is a key factor, I will even go further and state that I believe the the ANC is deliberately ensuring that the masses stay uneducated so that they can retain the uneducated vote. Education should be a government responsibility, including the payment of extra teachers so that classes are not overcrowded. But it has been after liberation that the ANC brought in the model C system for government schools, the Creation of Governing bodies to "raise funds" for the school and the setting of school fees.

      Charmaine McBride - 2011-09-06 10:33

      see comment below first And with those governing bodies government abdicated it responsibility to see children properly educated. How is a poor community govenring body supposed to ensure that there is enough cash to grant a school a good supply of teachers and materials. It can't, hence it won't and the children suffer, drop out, start to do manual labour and are therefore imprisoned in their circumstances, there is no way out for the majority earning less than R1000 a month. You couldn't live on it, and here is a news flash, neither can they. But the ANC has caused this education imbalance, where the education you have access to is dependent on the wealth your parents can produce. Viva ANC viva, your leaders have entrenched their own positions of power and ensured that their kids get the best while ensuring that their constituents are moved more and more down the inequality scale. I agree with Cosatu that it must be addressed, but maybe you should also look at the ANC policies as well as looking at the Rich that do not pay their workers what they deserve....

  • stephen.cole1 - 2011-09-06 09:05

    The only way top change things in South Africa is EDUCATION ! Start from the bottom !

  • Shrin - 2011-09-06 10:07

    We are always told that farm workers are the lowest paid in the country. The minimum wage for this sector for 2011/12 is R1375 per month and this is enforced by the Labour department country wide. Which sector in South Africa does Cosatu claim only earn R322 per month. I challenge them to make this public as their claim of R322 per month is inflammatory. Also is this for a full months work or maybe only 4 or 5 days of part time work per month? If such a low paid sector exists in South Africa then the government should step in and regulate the minimum wage as they did in the farming sector. Come on Cosatu - who gets paid this amount?

  • Shrin - 2011-09-06 10:08

    We are always told that farm workers are the lowest paid in the country. The minimum wage for this sector for 2011/12 is R1375 per month and this is enforced by the Labour department country wide. Which sector in South Africa does Cosatu claim only earn R322 per month. I challenge them to make this public as their claim of R322 per month is inflammatory. Also is this for a full months work or maybe only 4 or 5 days of part time work per month? If such a low paid sector exists in South Africa then the government should step in and regulate the minimum wage as they did in the farming sector. Come on Cosatu - who gets paid this amount?

  • Nasdaq7 - 2011-09-06 10:11

    You're never going to close the gap, rather focus on creating jobs. Which you are pathetic at.

  • Phiwe - 2011-09-06 10:15

    Good on Basson and co. If you have skills and you are the bomb at what you do, you should get paid pucket loads. If Basson made Shoprite billions of Rands then a R600 million salary is just about right. I would be pissed off if I made a company billions and they paid me peanuts, I would go elsewhere where I will be paid fairly. Now I'm all up for the average worker and they could use more than R322 a month, which is not enough to live on for 2 days in South Africa. But the average worker does not make a company billions, they are important to the company but they are not the brains of the company. So to compare CEO's salary to your average worker's salary is worthless because they are incomparable in their role in the company, they expertise and skills.

  • Philip Darne - 2011-09-06 12:35

    Our valiant Cosato commits to making our unemployed even more unemployable by enforcing even more ridiculous labor laws. If you want the economy to grow, you cannot pay people more than the amount of value they add. Our "lost generation" stemming from our ANC-standard-1-in-29-functionally-literate education system simply cannot add as much value as current minimum wages. Hence, they are totally unemployable. Fighting for higher wages will only increase unemployment.

      Hosh_28 - 2011-09-06 23:09

      "If you want the economy to grow, you cannot pay people more than the amount of value they add"- that is the whole point cosatu is fighting for. The so called CEO don't worth that much, this is S.A

  • RIMRIM - 2011-09-06 12:52

    There figures exclude all privately owned business, these figures are only from the JSE listed companies so it means nothing. There are hundreds of black entrepreneurs/ tendrneers that could make the rich list.

      Clint - 2011-09-06 13:16

      Malema included

      erish - 2011-09-06 14:22

      It's all about how the news are displayed: by writing it this why it shows that it's only white people sitting in the "rich list". It makes easier to portray whites as horrible monsters.

      erish - 2011-09-06 14:28

      It's all about how the news are displayed: by writing it this why it shows that it's only white people sitting in the "rich list". It makes easier to portray whites as horrible monsters.

      erish - 2011-09-06 14:29

      It's all about how the news are displayed: by writing it this why it shows that it's only white people sitting in the "rich list". It makes easier to portray whites as horrible monsters.

      erish - 2011-09-06 14:35

      It seems my previous comment got immediately deleted, for some reason. Let's rewrite it in an an extremely politically correct way: news are all about what journalists want the readers to notice, and not necessarily the complete facts.

  • tuzeni - 2011-09-06 13:27

    You guys at news24.com need a math lesson: 16% of employed workers earn less than R500; 33.4% earn less than R1 000, and 60% earned less than R2 500. So here we are talking about 109.4% of employed workers. Get your calculators out! Why publish rubbish... check it first!

      SAinQatar - 2011-09-07 13:43

      No, no ,no you need a math lesson - or a lesson in logic. The 16% is included in the 33.4% which, in turn, is included in the 60%.

  • donns - 2011-09-06 13:35

    These people work and dont strike for anything little thing. Work hard and you will be rewarded- simple

  • chat-chat - 2011-09-06 13:43

    Very interesting that this article and Cosatu make no mention of Patrice Motsepe, who tops the list of South Africa's richest with a good few billion to his name. There were a number of other black people who were within the top 20. Why were the white people singled out?

  • AwakenSA - 2011-09-06 14:14

    Correct, Mr Craven - it is untenable that top execs earn what they do, and then plead poverty when it comes to workers salaries. How does this painfully worn Cosatu platitude benefit your members, however? It is well known by you that to speak of spreading the wage budget equally will only result in job losses, so why do you keep flogging this all too frequently ressurrected horse? Could it be that your job creation imagination ends here, and that populism is all you have to stoke the belly-fires of the unwitting benefactors of your own opulent lifestyle, after all? No comrade, I think not. Well know you that the only way to put an end to this injustice is via the creation of more jobs, by re-igniting this exceedingly wealthy but COMMUNO/ANC/COSATU made stagnant economy, so that the demand for workers is increased, and only through which will workers bargaining power become entrenched. But this would leave the unions out in the cold a little, wouldn't it? How then would we be able to grow in riches ourselves, if we were no longer needed? Again, the big lie of communism is exposed for what it is. For if it were workers rights you were concerned about, you would be banging government doors down, demanding that their naked pilfering from those who you claim to represent would come to an end, and that they would create the conditions for business to thrive. But how come I think that might be a bit uncomfortable for you? How come I think that's not your game, Pat?

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