22 March 2022

Written by Beverley Bartlett  - School of Commerce - Lecturer | SABPP | HR Professional, Learning & Development

21 March in South Africa is designated as Human Rights Day. It is a public holiday, so it is a good opportunity to pause and reflect on the fundamentals of universal human rights.

As an Academic lecturing on the Milpark BBA Human Resources qualification, I encourage you to reframe your thinking to focus not only on historical atrocities and human rights violations, but also on the future and on how you can contribute to a world where basic human rights are respected.

The theme for the Milpark Education Human Resources Assignments in 2022 is the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. The first Sustainable Development Goal aims to “End poverty in all its forms everywhere”. Goal 1 – No Poverty aims at eliminating poverty in all its forms, including extreme poverty. The 2030 Agenda acknowledges that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development (United Nations, 2022).

According to the 2030 United Nations Agenda, poverty is one of the greatest global challenges, and alleviating it is a cornerstone to achieving sustainable development. Another aspect to this goal is the eradication of inequality.

According to a 2022 report by the World Bank, South Africa remains the most unequal country in the world. The report found that the top 1% of South Africans own 70% of the country’s wealth, while the bottom 60% control only 7% of the country’s assets.

“Based on Gini coefficients of consumption (or income) per capita, South Africa, the largest country in Sacu, is the most unequal country in the world, ranking first among 164 countries in the World Bank’s global poverty database,” says the report, which was released on 9 March.

You may ask, how do we eradicate poverty? The late President Nelson Mandela was a strong advocate for the role of education in society

Education is an incredible weapon to wield in the war on poverty. Poverty affects all of us, as we are part of communities where there are high levels of unrest, rampant unemployment, crime and hungry people begging on the streets.

Another way to reduce poverty in South Africa is to increase employment. One of the causes I support in this regard is Work 4 a Living (Northmead), part of an NPO called Siya Sebenza.

WORK 4 A LIVING is a skills development centre that is passionate about breaking the cycle of poverty in South Africa. Work4 a Living has branches in all the main centres in SA. www.work4aliving.org

As a small step towards breaking the cycle of poverty, I would like to advocate for all job seekers to enrol at a local branch of Work4 a Living, at a nominal cost. If you would like to help, you can sponsor a student by donating. You can make a difference today to build a world where people have access to education and to work.


Stoddard. E. 2022. South Africa the world’s most unequal country – World Bank report.
Daily Maverick. Available online: https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2022-03-13-south-africa-the-worlds-most-unequal-country-world-bank-report/#:~:text=%E2%80%9CBased%20on%20Gini%20coefficients%20of,was%20released%20on%209%20March. Date accessed: 16 03 2022

United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development 2022. https://sdgs.un.org/goals. Date accessed: 16 03 2022