Oxfam conducts research in 94 countries worldwide to find solutions to address issues of poverty and injustice.
According to the Forbes’ 2014 The World Billionaire List, the Rupert and Oppenheimer families are the richest in South Africa having a net worth of $13,8 billion (R150,5 billion) combined.
The wealth of luxury goods tycoon, Johann Rupert and his family, South Africa’s richest family, was valued at $7,2 billion (R78,5 billion) by Forbes. Rupert’s wealth comes from luxury goods companies like Compagnie Financiere Richemont, a Switzerland-based luxury goods holding company that Rupert founded in 1988. The company owns world-class luxury brands like Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Montblanc.
The same list valued the wealth of mining magnate Nicky Oppenheimer and his family, the second richest family in the country at $6,6 billion (R72 billion). The source of the Oppenheimer family’s wealth has for decades been diamonds. Two years ago Nicky Oppenheimer sold 40% of his shares in family-owned business De Beers to Anglo American for $5,1 billion.
The inequality report points out that the inequality gap is not unique to South Africa, but is a world-wide phenomenon.
“. . . the gap between rich and poor is rapidly increasing, and economic inequality has reached extreme levels. In South Africa, inequality is greater today than at the end of Apartheid,” states the report.
“Crucially, the rapid rise of extreme economic inequality is standing in the way of eliminating global poverty . . . We can only improve life for the majority if we tackle the extreme concentration of wealth and power in the hands of elites.”
Graça Machel in her foreword to the Oxfam report says the inequality gap between the rich and poor causes children born in households of low-income earning parents to have their futures held hostage, so to speak. But the picture does not have to be bleak if the inequality gap is addressed.
“The good news is that this growing inequality is not inevitable. It can be resolved. This report contains many examples of success to give us inspiration. I hope that many people . . . [can] reflect on its recommendations and take sustained actions that will tackle the inequality explosion.”
Chairman of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Jay Naidoo, says in the report that rising inequality is likely to cause an economic crisis. “The increasing concentration of wealth in the hands of very few has deepened both ecological and economic crises, which in turn has led to an escalation of violence in every corner of our burning planet.”
Additional Source: Forbes