“The structures of domination and exclusion continue to find expression in our democratic dispensation,” he told the National Union Mineworkers’ central committee meeting in Boksburg, according to a copy of his speech.
“In the private sector, top management is 60 percent white male, 14 percent white female, nine percent African male and four percent African female.”
Coloured and Indian men accounted for an average of four percent while women made up about 1.4 percent of top management.
“In other words 74 percent of top management of the South African economy is drawn from 12 percent of the population.”
He found it a shame that the main benefits of transformation had gone more to white monopoly capital than to workers, and that the working class found itself wearing a “political crown without the economic jewel”.
The working class had been restructured by capital, creating a two-tier labour market system.
The first layer of workers enjoyed most of the rights contained in the Constitution. They were covered by collective bargaining and enjoyed better work security and pay, Vavi said.
“The second layer are... super-exploited workers for whom joining a union is a personal risk and upward job mobility is an illusion.
“It is a large and growing army of workers employed in low-paid, temporary, casualised jobs or employed through the enslaving labour broking system.”
South Africa was the world’s most unequal society and still dominated by race, said Vavi quoting recent figures published by Statistics SA.
“An average African man earns in the region of R2400 per month, while an average white man earns around R19,000. The racial income gap is therefore roughly R16,800 among males.”
Most white women earned in the region of R9600 monthly, whereas most black women earned R1200.
Vavi said health and education remained divided along racial lines. In the main black children’s educational experience was marked by poor learning infrastructure, classroom overcrowding, high dropout rates and unsafe and dysfunctional schools.
There were equally glaring discrepancies in the quality of healthcare, with a first-world service for the wealthy in the private sector and a third-world service for the poor in the public sector.
He said 72 percent of the unemployed in the country were young people between 15 and 34 years of age. Of the unemployed youth, 78 percent were black.
“One thing... we can’t claim that we have succeeded in building a non-racial democracy when apartheid still lives on in the economy and every aspect of our lives.
“As long as the black majority remain largely confined to the former Bantustans and black residential areas, living under conditions of squalor and poverty and no longer under racist laws but the new economic apartheid, to them non-racialism is far removed from their daily reality.”
While the fault lines of the apartheid economy remained largely intact, he also blamed colonialism, apartheid and a “lack of strong, visionary and uncompromising leadership” post-1994 for the situation the country found itself in.
“Today comrades I want to say the situation we find ourselves in arises not only because we are still smarting from the effects of 300 years of colonialism and 40 years of apartheid. Increasingly, all the more so after 16 years, we are also reaping the benefits of a lack of strong, visionary and uncompromising leadership.”
A culture of crass materialism had invaded the public sector and even “our revolutionary movement”.
“Resources intended for the public good are being diverted to individuals’ pockets so that the poor may be forever trapped in inequalities, poverty and unemployment. Crass materialism and greed threaten the foundations of our democracy,” he said.