The poor are justified in feeling sense of entitlement

To be poor, black, African, uneducated and unemployed is almost the lowest form of life in the hierarchy of humans.

FILE IMAGE: Sandton skyline seen from Alexandra township. The juxtaposition between the rich and the poor is especially evident in Alexandra, where some of South Africa’s poorest live in the shadow of some of the country’s richest.
Image: Alon Skuy

It surpasses belief that there’s a growing unsolicited and unsympathetic voice that accuses poor Africans of an egregious sense of entitlement.

The question is: what should they do when, in their immediate purview, reside opulence and conspicuous consumption among those whom they have allotted their votes to.

From 1994 they were promised jobs, land, security and all the comforts that come with block voting for one party.

The economic dividend has failed to materialise.

So, let the poor express their anger at the failed institutionalised promises.

After all, they have nothing else between themselves and what is left of their miserable lives before they are buried, in dignity at least, as it is very uncommon to have a no-food funeral among us.

This dignity is the only positive I can safely surmise to be common among the poor.

But what’s the solution?

It is the saintly patience of the rewarding fruits of education.

We are not there yet and I don’t expect it in my lifetime – where every poor person is educated sufficiently to make informed decisions.

Education will bring to life the realisation that auctioning your vote is akin to outsourcing your purpose and thus everything that comes to you is because of you!

That’s not possible at this level of education.

Only when the quality of public education is equal to the quality of private pedagogy can we safely say there is no room for a sense of entitlement.

At our disposal is the brief history that states that the odds are stacked against African education, even with abundant educational space.

Education spend at the beginning of National Party rule in 1948 was 8:1 in favour of the white learner over the black learner.

It peaked at almost 22:1 circa 1972 before gradually decelerating to 2.2:1 by 1994.

It is not the rands and cents that makes the difference but the quantum deficit of knowledge creation suffered by Africans.

For each rand not spent on a black pupil from 1948, it creates an unassailable negative multiplier effect, while at the same time the positive multiplier benefits to white learners are astronomical in comparison.

It is this wide gap that we are still reeling from as a society and we will play catch-up until forever.

So let’s not count the amount of capital we plant into education but rather count the cost of ignorance.

It is the unconscious ignorance that prevails throughout the universe of the poor that ends up eating into their independent thought paradigm.

To ignorance there’s always a ‘freemium’ that is otherwise unbeknown, particularly to the poor.

So yes, until they are employed, have homes, security and education, we should not label their needs as entitlement.

For one, you won’t survive in their world and secondly, you are already a beneficiary because they work for you in one way or another.

So, pay the freemium!

Maleka is a chief economist and portfolio manager: treasury at Eskom

BY Mandla Maleka- DispatchLIVE

Source: Dispatch Live

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