How Johannesburg’s suburban elites maintain apartheid inequities

Ideas

How Johannesburg’s suburban elites maintain apartheid inequities

By hoarding taxes and undercutting development boundaries, developers and owners have undermined the city

Benjamin H Bradlow

Days before his death (https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/national/2021-07-09-joburg-mayor-geoff-makhubo-dies-of-covid-complications/) in July, ANC mayor of Johannesburg Geoff Makhubo wrote an article (https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/opinionista/2021-06-30-johannesburg-is-not-falling-apart-it-is-in-the-process-of-rebirth-after-the-demise-of-a-white-city/) responding to critics of the city’s managers. The critics said Johannesburg is in decline and falling apart (https://www.politicsweb.co.za/opinion/joburg-is-dying). He emphasised the legacies of apartheid in the continuing inequality in SA’s “city of gold”.

His short essay envisioned a future Johannesburg as “a site where one tax base for one city will be used to ensure that people ... know they have as good a chance of success regardless of whether they are from Diepsloot or nearby Fourways”.

It would be absurd to argue against the view that apartheid bequeathed SA a highly unequal society (https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2021/09/23/unpicking-inequality-in-south-africa). But to identify the historical roots of injustice is quite different to identifying how it is reproduced or reduced...

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