As the new year began, a report by Oxfam SA demonstrated how inequality had worsened in 2016, with just 3 South Africans having more wealth than the bottom half of the population combined – a far cry from what we all dreamed for our Rainbow Nation.
That these three men – Christo Wiese, Stephen Saad and Ivan Glansenberg – are all white is no surprise. Speaking at the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, Thomas Piketty explained that 80% of South Africa’s 1% remains white, two decades after the fall of apartheid.
Oxfam SA added that between 1988 and 2011, the poorest 10% saw their incomes increase by just ZAR40 a year.
What does this mean for health in South Africa?
Researchers from the American Public Health Association recently assessed health disparities across South Africa, looking the richest, predominantly white provinces, and comparing them to the poorest, predominantly black provinces.
They found that South Africa’s richest province of Western Cape, where just 32% of its residents are black (compared to an 80% black population nationally), had substantially greater investments in its health infrastructure.
With a total population of just 4.8 million, Western Cape has 60 private hospitals, 55 public hospitals and 1246 doctors.
Comparatively, the country’s poorest province of Limpopo, where the black population stands at 97%, has just 6 private hospitals, 44 public hospitals, and 882 doctors for a population of 5.7 million.
Additionally, whilst health spending in Limpopo was US$101 per person, in Western Cape, it was US$155 per person.
Consequently, it is little surprise that residents of Western Cape live a full decade longer than those of Limpopo.
Time for change
With figures this staggering, isn’t it therefore right for the ANC to have vowed to focus more on health inequality in 2017?
Simple Yes or No: Don’t the residents of Limpopo deserve to live just as long as those of Western Cape?
The comment section is your stage – Let us know!