Vavi: Segregation is the new apartheid

2010-10-14 17:57

Johannesburg - The apartheid of racial segregation is being replaced by the apartheid of economic segregation, Congress of SA Trade Unions general secretary Zwelinzima Vavi said on Thursday.

"We buried apartheid that was based on legalised racial segregation, only to maintain a new kind of apartheid of economic segregation largely still based on racialised exclusion but increasingly based on pure class exclusion," he told delegates at the Xstrata seminar on constructing an ethical society.

The wealth of the elite is at a shocking level, he said.

"South Africa has spawned an uncaring, self-absorbed and indifferent elite whose major sport is an ostentatious display of wealth and power.

"Crass materialism threatens the spirit of selfless service that characterised our democratic movement."

Vavi said the packages given to CEOs in major companies was "way out of kilter" with their productivity.

It was scandalous that in 2008 the top 20 paid directors on JSE-listed companies earned 1 728 times more than the average worker and directors in state-owned enterprises earned 194 times more, he said.

About 71% of black female-headed households earned less that R800 a month and 59% of them had no income.

"When workers demand even as little as a R200 per month increase they are told that they are threatening the stability of the economy," Vavi said.

"This is what makes my stomach turn. For as long we have this situation we are far from achieving the promises of the Constitution for a more equal society.

"It is not workers who undermine this vision but those with power."

The widening inequality in South African society threatened the country's democratic gains, Vavi said.

  • Nico - 2010-10-14 18:24

    I am so sorry Vavi but I am a hard worker , studied 'till what time at night (and day). Only have one child.Have peace with myself and don't have a inferior complex about myself. I EARNED my way of life.Did not come easy,neither free.

  • listen up - 2010-10-14 18:26

    Dont you just love the way his criticism is aimed atthe business sector,but fails to mention his ANC comrades or his own lifestyle? Vavi get real.

      wmutahi - 2011-05-27 07:39

      be objective.

  • Free - 2010-10-14 18:37

    It is obvious that Vavi and his ilk fail to understand the concept of a free-world. if you run a business succesfully (more so if you are succesful based on merit and not a ternderpreneur) you have the right to pay yourself as much as you like, as simple as that. Yes, your lowest paid employee will earn less, but at least you have provided a job for him (something that the Govt fails to do on a large scale). As long as a company complies with the law (minimum salary, UIF etc) one cannot force them to pay more.

  • Al - 2010-10-14 18:43

    Start with educational equality, and then economic equality will follow. The ANC has been in charge of education for over 20 years. Produce more black maths and science students and the picture will change at all levels.

  • valentino - 2010-10-14 18:43

    i agree, but whose's fault is that vavi? i mean, R50 billion for arms, R40 billion for a swc, hundreds of billions of investments down the drain due to stupid labour laws, corruption you name it!! make this country investor friendly, stop your ancient communist ideas and create an efficient workforce. how much tax money did zuma spend on his ranch - R65 million!! that money alone can create 10 top schools!

  • Henry - 2010-10-14 18:46

    Vavi, you stand for the new working class elite...what about the poor? they are lost and forgotten because of your shenanigans.

  • tp - 2010-10-14 18:51

    Its all about productivity,enterpreneurship, guts, hardwork and balls, that make things happen. Not apartheid broederbonders, or "previously disadvantages", where most of both groups only see and use/misused positions on the gravy train. My setup: 1 x MD (BLACK), 1 X DIRECTOR (WHITE), OTHERS 120 BLACKS for which we create employment in tough competitive hard economic times. Bottom line: Work hard and reap the benefits for all.

  • National Disgrace - 2010-10-14 18:53

    I fully agree with Mr.Vavi. But the argument qually applies for polititians and the Top Managements in the public service and parastatals. How can these highly paid people live with their conscience, that is to say if they have a conscience? But ask yourself: the pleb voters were prior to 1994 promised a utopia. The unemployed poor and hungry plebs are not that stupid. Eventually the wheel will turn ... The chickens will come back to roost.

  • annon - 2010-10-14 18:58

    i agree with vavi that the gap between rich and poor is wide, but the ANC ineffiicencies and bureacracy has done nothing to close the gap. the education policies, healthcare policies, the secrecy policies, hiv and aids policies has all resultedin millions remaining poor. take the NHI. 5 million people will pay the taxes for the NHI. Never, Never has the ANC ever mentioned that blacks will see their incomes rise so that they can get taxed in the future. The ANC is so hopeless they cant create the environment to create jobs. If you reduce the salaries of the rich, or increase the taxes of the rich, this is not going to make a difference to the poor household living in Port Shepstone or Mtata or Mafikeng. The very rich people spend money buying second and thrid homes, second and third cars, shopping etc. if you cut their income , or increase their will reduce the jobs in some sectors. the problems with inequality is not that ceos are overpaid, but that government is inefficient in helping the poor. if government ran the departments in the same way they hosted the world cup, the level of poor people will fall. i respect vavi, but are scaring business and entrepreneurs and diverting attention away from the anc who are in the best position to make things work

  • Patricia - 2010-10-14 19:21

    Would the General Sectretary Zwelinzima Vavi kindly let us know what his salary income is.

  • Burtfred - 2010-10-14 19:21

    The "economic appartheid" that Vavi speaks of is alive and kicking in the form of BEE. Get rid of this racist policy that requires us to continue to recognize race. The corporate fatcats that he speaks of are certainly not all "white"

  • Pothole - 2010-10-14 19:35

    Tired of these talks. If Vavi is serious about making life better for the people he will launch a serious investigation into the 44 BILLION Rand allocated to education and that now disappeared.Sure the thieves will be members of one of the cosatu unions.

  • bollocks - 2010-10-14 19:40

    This is absolute nonsense. Those 59% that don't earn income are those who sit around and don't want to work. Rich people did not become rich by just sitting around. They worked for it. It sounds like you simply want to take money from the rich and just give it to people who sits around all day doing nothing. That is stealing. Work for your money! I had to.

  • Orwell - 2010-10-14 19:52

    Four legs good - two legs better!

  • ian - 2010-10-14 20:01

    Vavi - in some ways I agree with you. A person has a right to a salary proportinate to their contribution and their skill. I, as a white person, and I know this will be mis-construed, battle to get through the month. However, I employ a gardner once a week, and a house person twice a week. I pay them R180/day. Frankly that is ALL I can afford. If this was unacceptable to them, I would have to say "Sorry, I cannot afford you", I will do it myself. Already, I have reduced the time spent to try and ensure that they get more money for time spent. When the situation allows I will increase this, as I feel that R250/day is fair - for a reasonable return, at that level - BUT I cannot afford this NOW. The irony is that I have a small IT business (3 developers) and I only employ young white males. Why? They deliver, and in this country are not offered the opportunities nowdays, and I can send them into Africa, where most of my business is. Surprisngly, Nearly ever African country, outside of SA, views a white person as a person who delivers on their commtments and can be trusted. So?????? Please install in your people the value of delivery - "Value for Money. SA has an extremely low rating in the productivity index - and yes, we do not want to compete with the Chinese who you are presently coddling up to this government BUT THEY are productive. So up the PRODUCTIVITY and we will be able to raise salaries and we WILL WIN.

  • James I - 2010-10-14 20:15

    This is very true and has been a matter of great concern in utilitarian societies pursuing the "greater happiness". The United States is in the same situation. The rich get richer and the poor get poorer. Whilst Mr Vavi represents the people who have jobs and are unionised the major concern is those people who have no jobs and have never had a job. It is a poverty trap. The only way of escape is education which should be free. There is no quick fix. The salaries at the top are obscene. We are over-legislated and therefore over-taxed. It is depressing but good that Vavi shows concern. Nobody in the government does.

  • VivaCommunism - 2010-10-14 20:37

    All true - but what did you expect from programs (like BEE) engineered to enrich a select few. What did you expect will happen if you give a country with an booming economy like SA to a bunch of communist that only care about lining their own pockets, give top jobs to their family and friends. The same people who knows the longer they keep 40+ million SA previously disadvantage on their knees, they will stay longer on top. Any one walking in the streets today complaining about being poor and have nothing in life can only blame themselves and their comrades. To be brutally honest with myself, I most probably would have done the same. No wonder Madiba looks so sad when he talks about SA the last few years. So many lives where lost to get SA to 1994, and their offspring is running this country like they don't care about tomorrow.

  • JR - 2010-10-15 10:33

    I read through the comments, and, for once it is not just people insulting each other. For once, most of them contain some sense and some truth. The solution lies somewhere between. But yes, change the mentality of people whom believe they are entitled, rather than they have to "earn it", change the mentality of people whom watch TV and believe you earn money by doing nothing productive. Change the mentality that whites stole it all from the blacks (they had nothing when the whites came to Africa), and, yes, schooling MUST be free (or very cheap) – rather let people work-back the fees (like the Zuma year). The bottom line is, I believe that there are a lot of good people in this country, of all races, whom could rise this country to great success, however, therefore we need leaders whom lead by example, unfortunately we have mostly corrupt , useless, arrogant, racist, leaders – from the very top to the lowest level!

  • Nick - 2010-10-15 12:01

    I would like to see Mr Vavi form a SA Labour Party and pose a serious campaign for presidency. Give people an option other than the ANC and the ANC a challenge to improve their governance or lose their jobs.

  • mickey - 2010-10-15 14:23

    As long as africa keep on producing other africans, more that can be fed and absorbe in the jobs creations, Africa will remain with many poors. This is not the fault of apartheid but their own faults. Start taxing the parents for every child that they have. There will never be enough school or houses build for them. India needs a new build city everyday. No country has enough money or recourses for this.

  • Baas'Boerseun - 2010-10-31 16:00

    Some of us are doing well because we are hard working and entrepeneurs. Vavi should be carefull not to look for trouble with those who deserve what they have. It is time, him and his ilk, wake up and start to actually earn their keep. His ANC buddies are the ones who are stealing the riches of RSA and they must be sorted out.

  • Carl Muller - 2010-12-22 18:21

    Pay peanuts and you get monkeys working for you. All these workers make the businesses tick over.

  • Karroo Ostrich - 2010-12-22 19:16

    Ja Mr Vavi, if U + your bunch of communist friends do get it right to put a cap on M.D. + C.E.O. packages in the private sector then we will have massive dis-investment. These guys will just simply shut their operations down + move to another country. How r U then going to handle hundreds of thousands of more job losses? Most of these guys have worked hard + studied hard for degrees to be able to run these companies. This is more than can be said of the current govt. Most of these ministers + sen. managers don't have a clue, that is why the country is in the state that it is. My gut feeling is that U guys want an even bigger welfare state but stop + think where the money is coming from if U chase all these high earners (high taxpayers) out of the country. A recipy for disaster. Zimbabwe here we come!!!

  • jock van wyk - 2011-05-26 22:41

    and you are still blaming the same people after so many years?

  • jetski - 2011-05-27 06:36

    Vavi, you are stating the obvious.. again.., we know this. question is , what are YOU doing about it?. Here is a small tip... RSA has MANY skilled people. Amonst them, are non- affirmative actions, also known as white men. These white men, who are viewed as persona non grata, have a LOT to offer SA. They have good education, skills, knowledge, and know how to get things done. Instead of shunning them, use them to help fight unemployment. Get those rocket scientists at the DTI to get programs running, to transfer this skill and knowledge to unemployed. Everyone wins. It is simple.. use ALL the resources available in the country. We have to build a country together. Right now, the message to white men, from ANC , Government and you, is - "we dont want or need white men", its easy to fix Vavi, you just need to try ... :-)

  • martin.v.niekerk - 2011-05-27 07:43

    I would rather pay myself more, employ less, but skilled employees, than pay myself less, & employ more unskilled people that could potentially run my business into the ground. Furthermore, if you took on the financial burden & initial risk as an enterpreneur, you should be able reap the rewards for your hard work. The ANC created this culture. They only look after themselves & took from those who had & created laws that prohibit skilled white workers to earn what they're worth because of the colour of their skin. I am a vitcem of discrimination due to my gender & the colour of my skin. I am now rebuilding my life from scratch & will be at the top again & when that happens, I will pay myself as much as I possibly can to make up for financial losses incurred because of racists, cominist legislation (BEE being forced on companies by means of duress and/or undue influence). The ANC only look out for themselves & their friends & family, so shall I. Lead by example & people will follow your example...

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