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Prof Habib addresses inequality at public lecture
2014-08-06

 
One of South Africa’s leading political commentators, Prof Adam Habib, gave a public lecture and launched his latest book on the Bloemfontein Campus on Wednesday 30 July 2014. The event was hosted by the Department of Philosophy in association with Wits University Press and The Southern African Trust.

Prof Habib started his lecture by summarising his book, ‘South Africa’s Suspended Revolution: Hopes and Prospects’. “It is basically about: how did we get where we are today, and how do we get out of the mess we are in?” he said.

His book focuses on South Africa’s transition into democracy and the country’s prospects for inclusive development – which formed the basis of his talk. Prof Habib stressed the issue of inequality facing South Africa and discussed the different approaches to addressing the matter.

“The one approach is that it is simply something we have to live with,” he said. “People who believe this live in a bubble. For example, service delivery protests do not happen because of poverty – it happens because of inequality.”

Prof Habib cautioned against not taking the matter seriously. “Inequality went up consistently in South Africa over the last 20 years. This is however not solely a national challenge, but a global challenge. And South Africa is the frontline of the war on inequality.”

He proposed that the expectations of the rich, rather than the poor, should be addressed.
“We need to moderate expectations. But we can’t moderate the expectations of the poor, if not the rich. We can’t ask the poor to sacrifice what the rich won’t.

“South Africa is once again at a moment of reckoning, where we are forced to make hard choices – in order to make the right choices.”


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