Summaries Elite perceptions of poverty in South Africa are affected by the distinctive character of social segmentation there. The huge size of segments and the immense distances (social, economic and psychological) between elites and the poor within segments, discourages elites from assisting poor people within their segments. They look instead to government to help the poor in general. The ruling ANC elite, unlike most elites, is fully prepared to tackle poverty. But it faces a cruel choice between pursuing growth and redistribution. It seeks both, but the emphasis has been on growth – so far to little effect.