On 5th April CPLO hosted a roundtable discussion on ‘Hidden Economic Burdens’. The guest speakers were Ayabonga Cawe, co-founder and chairperson of Rethink Africa; Pippa Green, journalist and media consultant to the Research Project on Employment, Income Distribution and Inclusive Growth (REDI); and Andrew Kerr, senior researcher at DataFirst, UCT. The three panellists spoke to the issues of household debt (formal loans and informal loans), ‘black tax’, spatial inequality, and transport costs.
Mr Cawe talked on household debt and the informal and formal loan sectors, as well as the topic of ‘black tax’ – the expectation that employed family members will contribute to the maintenance of the extended family, and shoulder the cost of funerals and other rituals. He also noted that a lot of households in South Africa are in debt, and that what keeps us indebted are our asset deficits and conspicuous consumption. Ms Green addressed the issue of rural and urban spatial inequalities in South Africa. Critical problems in this regard are fragmented planning and the different land tenure policies across both rural and urban areas. Dr Kerr spoke on the issue of transport cost in South Africa. Post-apartheid cities still have very low densities, with poorer people often located far from employment and employment opportunities, thus having to spend an average of 17% of their monthly salaries on traveling to and from work.
Back Row, L-R: Ms Elaine Pypers, (Research Assistant, CPLO) and Adv Mike Pothier (Research Coordinator, CPLO. Seated: Ms Pippa Green and Dr Andrew Kerr.
Mr Ayabonga Cawe