We can address social inequality: Stephen van Coller


Barclays Africa’s Chief Executive for Corporate and Investment Banking Stephen van Coller has called for a more robust approach in dealing with inequalities saying the solution was within reach.

“Everyone should have an equal opportunity and because of our apartheid past we need to redress that so as to make sure there is a [level field],” he said during a National Development Plan debate.

He added there was need to move with speed warning that “every day was a wasted day” if we are not addressing inequality.

(READ MORE: Social contracts as a way to further an inclusive economic agenda)

“There are certainly parts of the country that should start moving forward. We are doing what corporate South Africa should be doing to drive the process,” he added.

He also called on the privileged members of society to help the less fortunate ones.

“If every corporate and every privileged person helps nine other under-privileged [people] then we will solve the social inequality problem in the world.”

Yacoob Abba Omar, Director of Operations at Mapungubwe Institute for Strategic Reflection (MISTRA) said more than 65 per cent of parties in parliament were committed to the National Development Plan hence the need to make progress in its execution.

“There is realisation that we need all components of the society to commit to the social compact and take it forward,” he postulated.

Omar however cautioned that there is a split in some elements of the tripartite alliance.

“The trade union movement is split and there is also ideological differences within the ruling ANC which is dragging the process of addressing the social compact,” he noted.

Khanyisile Kweyama, CEO of Business Unity weighed in saying it was time to go beyond talks and start execution.

She also called for a business friendly environment: “In business what is important is having stability in place. People and businesses need assurance from both security perspective and assurances of returns in the long term.

“Let’s burn the dust in ensuring that development takes place.”

Michael O’Brien Onyeka, Greenpeace Africa’s executive director warned against endless talks without much activity.

“We are having too many discussions, just do it, this thing has been floating around for too long,” he warned.

“The pyramid (business, labour and government) need to be engaged, it should not be an ad-hoc or an addendum to the main discussions,” he added.