Former politician, and vice-chancellor at the University of Cape Town, Mamphela Ramphele says that white South Africans should apologise for the wealth they have acquired.
In an interview with JacarandaFM on Tuesday (25 April), the former activist said: “White people have to acknowledge that the colour coded system of the past, privileged them, gave them advantages which the majority of the people don’t have.”
“Now the issue is not to take away what’s there, but to acknowledge, and then to work together to deal with the consequences of a country where the majority of people are unskilled.”
According to Ramphele, 60% – 65% of the country’s wealth is currently in the hands of 10% of the population. “And 80% of that 10% is white,” the former politician said. “We need to start with the fact base, and then we say, how do we bring that down.”
Ramphele founded political party Agang South Africa in February 2013, but withdrew from politics in July 2014.
The businesswoman also defended her own wealth accumulation – reported at R55 million. “I have spent 50 years working in this country. That R55 million is nothing compared to what you collectively have.”
When interviewer Rian van Heerden said that Ramphele was a beneficiary of Black Economic Empowerment, she said: “So, what’s wrong with that? I worked for it and I don’t have any guilt.
“Wealth distribution is not about people who have worked hard like me, being asked to distribute, when people who inherited wealth just simply aren’t making a contribution.
“White people need to apologise for the wealth they have acquired without having to work for it,” Ramphele said.