Bellville, Cape Town – Serious investment is needed in the education and skills base of young girls if poor black African and Coloured communities are hoping to improve their living standards, says chief economist at the Efficient Group Dawie Roodt.
Speaking at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) on 17 August Roodt also noted that white South Africans are facing a bleak future. “The group is doing excellent at the moment because of their high level of qualifications, their low unemployment rate and the fact that they have few dependants,” he says. “But they are ageing.”
This means the “good times” for whites are over, he argues. The only way in which the situation can be turned around is through an increase in population numbers, but that would need a generation or two before it will make an impact.
About the Indian community he says the group is almost better-placed as whites and the outlook for them over the next two decades seems even more promising as for whites. This group certainly has a bright future, based on their demographics: well-qualified, fewer dependants and a high involvement in the labour market.
Given this picture, Roodt questions why Indians should receive “special treatment” by benefitting from black economic empowerment.
While the outlook for black Africans has somewhat improved in terms of better qualifications, higher income and lower dependency numbers, the picture remains bleak for particularly the Coloured community in all three aspects.
Still, this racial breakdown he regards as artificial and he only uses it to illustrate the living standards landscape because the statistics are available, says Roodt. “The group that truly needs to be supported and empowered is the poor in general and those with low skills levels – in particular poor black African and Coloured girls who has a major impact on their communities,” he says.
Roodt used the following four variables for his research: how many dependants forms part of a specific racial group (both in terms of the aged and the young), the unemployment rate existing in a group and the levels of qualification that a group holds.
Issued by: Jigsaw PR – On behalf of: University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB)