The vast majority of black South Africans remain in deep poverty, and the racially polarized gulf between rich and poor is wider than in any country on record, a recently-published report says.

Pretoria has done away with some of apartheid's more infamous aspects in recent years and often argues that South African blacks are economically better off than other Africans.The new study, "Uprooting Poverty, the South African Challenge" by economist Francis Wilson and doctor Mamphela Ramphele, questions that claim. The authors, both South Africans, found that nearly two-thirds of the country's 25 million blacks scratch by on less than a basic subsistence income.

"Thousands of South African babies are dying of malnutrition and associated diseases; two million children are growing up stunted for lack of sufficient calories in one of the few countries in the world that exports food," the report says.