Johannesburg - The huge income-distribution gap will always hang over South Africans’ heads like the Sword of Damocles.
Various steps are required to tackle poverty and inequality, Trevor Manuel
, Minister in the Presidency in charge of the National Planning Commission, told the AHI conference in Skouzas.
One needs a standard to address poverty, but inequality is more difficult and arises out of complex issues – including history, education, skills and labour relations.
Manuel explained the Commission’s approach to solutions in terms of proposals regarding the rural economy.
They begin with setting out the vision for rural areas; the emphasis is on opportunities for full participation. The Commission accepts that infrastructure needs augmentation for full participation, he said.
A series of proposals for farm-worker empowerment and labour relations have also been made. Land reform can be implemented by creating committees on a district rather than a national level, which comprise commercial and newly established farmers, agricultural and trade organisations as well as government representatives. These committees can identify land, working together with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
Manuel said the possibility of creating around 643 000 jobs in agriculture virtually immediately is also set out in the plan and agricultural organisations believe this could work.
All that is now required is initiatives, he said – people or organisations to come forward who will be accountable for what they do.
He said we ourselves are the only people who can make a difference in our lives. He referred to a recent article that described South Africa as “Over the Rainbow”. But no matter how difficult the circumstances, we have to keep believing in our ability to make a difference, he said.
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