1994 - 2014
This Twenty Year Review is dedicated to the first
President of a democratic South Africa,
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela
A soldier, a strategist, a statesman,
A son of the soil.
A prisoner, a president.
The fugitive, the friend, the father,
the forgiving freedom fighter.
A revolutionary, a reconciler
a herdsman, a hero
our leader
our legend.
Qhawe lamaqhawe
Akekho ofana nawe!
Lala uphumule ngoxolo
Tata Madiba
Siyohlala sikukhumbula njalo!
The cover photo was captured on the second day when former President Nelson Mandela was lying in state at the Union Buildings.
South Africa is a much better place to live in
now than it was in 1994. Indeed, we have a
good story to tell. As a country, we have made
remarkable progress in dismantling the oppressive
apartheid system and we have created a thriving
constitutional democracy with well-functioning
arms of state – a representative legislature, the
executive and an independent judiciary.
Following the 1994 elections, recognised
worldwide as free and fair and reflecting the will of
the people of South Africa, Nelson Mandela took
the oath at the Union Buildings and became the
first black President of our country. As he indicated in his inaugural speech, this historic
day marked the decisive end of the brutal apartheid era, with a promise of democratic
freedom to the nation:
“Never, never and never again shall it be that this beautiful land will again
experience the oppression of one by another and suffer the indignity of being the
skunk of the world. Let freedom reign. The sun shall never set on so glorious a
human achievement! God bless Africa!”
Almost 40 years earlier, on 26 June 1955, the Congress of the People had formally
adopted the Freedom Charter, following wide consultation with hundreds of thousands
of people about the South Africa they would like to live in. The Charter rejected the
oppressive and exploitative apartheid system and called for a new order based on the
will of the people. It boldly proclaimed that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it,
black and white” and that one day “The People shall Govern”, thus laying the basis for
democratic thinking that inspired and propelled the struggle for democracy for another
four decades.
On 8 May 1996 all political parties in our democracy unanimously adopted a Constitution
whose preamble encapsulated the belief that “South Africa belongs to all who live in
it, united in our diversity”. Heralded as one of the most progressive in the world, our
Constitution has sought to address many of the demands in the Freedom Charter.
As the supreme law of the country, the Constitution is built on a culture of reverence
for human rights and an identity founded on the values of non-sexism, non-racialism
and equality.
Democracy has brought freedom of movement and of association, the right to own
property, freedom of expression and freedom of the press, the equality of women,
religious freedom, workplace freedom and the right to strike and protest, all in an attempt
to restore the human dignity that was stripped away from us in our colonial and apartheid
past. Much has been done to address the systematic violence and land dispossession that
was a characteristic feature of the apartheid era. Even more has been done to actively
empower previously disadvantaged people through employment equity, affirmative
action, and business empowerment.
One of the most active arenas of change has been to shift the programmes of the state
towards the reconstruction and development of our country, with a particular focus on
the poor and marginalised – to eliminate poverty and provide access to housing, water,
electricity, sanitation, education, health, social protection support to the millions deprived
of these basic rights under apartheid. Over time, we have received worldwide recognition
for our work in tackling poverty.
New constitutional institutions have also been put in place, ensuring human rights,
public protection, independent monetary policy and independent audit, among others.
Simultaneously the economy has grown from an average of about 1.5% per annum in the
run-up to democracy to over 3% per annum on average in the democratic era.
Despite this remarkable progress, much more still needs to be done to address poverty,
unemployment and inequality. Following our proud tradition of unity in action, we
must continue to plan and act to work together as a nation, to address these three key
challenges. Akin to the Freedom Charter process in democratic approach and magnitude,
South Africa’s long-term National Development Plan (NDP) has received thousands of
inputs and submissions from across the full spectrum of society over an extensive period
of consultation during the current term of office. The plan has been completed and
adopted by all major political parties in South Africa. In its conception and consultation,
the NDP carries the hopes and dreams of all South Africans from all persuasions, for a
better life and outlines a broad plan and our vision for the South Africa of 2030.
The Twenty Year Review does not duplicate the country’s long-term plan. Instead
it reviews government’s performance through a 20-year lens, elaborating on the
achievements and progress made in the democratic era, and painting a picture of the
journey we have travelled in getting where we are today. It is honest and frank in its
approach and it identifies problems we have encountered along the way, shortcomings
and remaining challenges. The Review also points out how, over time, we have proactively
sought to address problems and work towards the realisation of the strategic objectives
we set for ourselves. The Twenty Year Review will be used to inform and shape our
initiatives and operational plans going forward, as we give effect to the long-term NDP
in an effort to achieve by 2030, the South Africa that we had envisioned when we all first
voted in 1994.
H.E. President JG Zuma
President of the Republic of South Africa
President Jacob Zuma
Minister Collins Chabane
Deputy President
Kgalema Motlanthe
Minister Trevor Manuel
Deputy Minister
Obed Bapela
Director-General: The
Presidency, Dr Cassius Lubisi
Director-General: DPME
Dr Sean Phillips
The Presidency is delighted to publish the Twenty Year Review on how South Africa has
progressed since we first attained democracy in 1994.
The Presidency would like to extend its gratitude to the members of the Inter-Ministerial
Committee for the Twenty Year Review and to Cabinet as a whole for the political oversight
and guidance provided throughout the compilation of this document. The Review also draws
on inputs from national departments, all nine provinces as well as the South African Local
Government Association, and we wish to thank them for their valuable inputs. I wish to thank the
Director-General in the Presidency, Dr Cassius Lubisi, for his technical oversight of the process,
as well as the Director-General of the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation,
Dr Sean Phillips, for his management of the drafting process. My gratitude also goes out to
all the officials in the Offices of the President and the Deputy President, the Department of
Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, the National Planning Commission Secretariat and in
many other government departments who contributed to the production of this document.
A range of stakeholders, including academic and research institutions, civil society organisations
and the business community, actively participated in 20 roundtable discussions that we hosted
as part of the process. The reflections and discussions we had in these roundtable discussions
have significantly enriched the document.
1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 An overview of South Africa’s past 1.2 The democratic transition
1.3 The 20 years in brief
2. GOVERNANCE AND ADMINISTRATION 2.1 What democratic South Africa inherited
in 1994
2.2 Developments since 1994
2.2.1 Representative democracy
2.2.2 The three spheres of government
2.2.3 Local government
2.2.4 Deepening participatory democracy
2.2.5 Traditional leadership
2.2.6 Representivity of the public service
2.2.7 Coordination and planning
2.2.8 Performance of the public service
2.3 Conclusion and way forward
3.1 What democratic South Africa inherited
in 1994
3.2 Developments since 1994
3.2.1 Income, poverty and inequality
3.2.2 Social protection measures
3.2.3 Human capital
47 Education and skills
47 Health
3.2.4 Rural transformation
62 Land and agrarian reform
63 Food security
65 Services in rural areas
3.2.5 Urban development
3.2.6 Inner city regeneration
3.2.7 Sustainable human settlements
68 Housing and human settlements68 Basic services
3.2.8 Women and gender equality
3.2.10People with disabilities
Vulnerable groups
3.2.12Social cohesion and nation-building 77
3.3 Conclusion and way forward 79
What democratic South Africa inherited
in 1994
6.2 Developments since 1994
6.2.1 Environmental legislation
and regulation
6.2.2 Water resource management
6.2.3 Air-quality management
6.2.4 Energy
6.2.5 Climate-change mitigation and adaptation
6.2.6 Conservation and biodiversity
6.2.7 Waste management
6.2.8 Regional and international
6.2.9 Business and civil society
6.3 Conclusion and way forward
4.1 What democratic South Africa inherited
in 1994
4.2 Developments since 1994
4.2.1 Economic outcomes
86 Economic growth
86 Investment and savings
88 The balance of payments,
trade and tourism
89 Employment
91 4.2.2 Fiscal and monetary policy
94 Fiscal policy
94 Monetary policy
4.2.3 Trade and industrial policy and industrial restructuring
7. SAFETY AND SECURITY 135 Trade policy
7.1 What democratic South Africa inherited Industrial policy
in 1994 136 Competition policy
7.2 Developments since 1994
136 Small, medium and micro
enterprise support
7.2.2 The administration of justice
137 Broad-based black economic 7.2.3 Reducing crime
empowerment 98
7.2.4 The efficiency of the criminal Labour market policy and
justice system
institutions 99
7.2.5 Correctional services
143 Innovation, research and
7.2.6 The role of society in combating crime 144
100 7.3 Conclusion and way forward
4.3 Conclusion and way forward 101
5.1 What democratic South Africa inherited
in 1994
5.2 Developments since 1994
5.3.3 Water and sanitation
5.3.5 Industrial development zones
5.3.6 Social infrastructure grants
5.3.7 Public-private partnership projects
5.4.1 Integrating policy, planning and
delivery across sectors
5.4.2 Market structure, regulation and
5.4.3 Financing mechanisms
5.4.4 Capacity constraints
5.4.5 Backlogs, rehabilitation and new
infrastructure 5.5 Conclusion and way forward 8. SOUTH AFRICA IN THE GLOBAL ARENA
8.1 What democratic South Africa inherited
in 1994
104 8.2 Developments since 1994
104 8.2.1 Strengthening the African Union
106 8.2.2 The New Partnership for Africa’s 106 Development 149
108 8.2.3 The African Peer Review Mechanism 150
112 8.2.4 Strengthening SADC and regional 113 integration
115 8.2.5 The Southern African Customs Union 152
115 8.2.6 South-south cooperation
116 8.2.7 North-south cooperation
116 8.2.8 African multilateralism partnerships 156
8.2.9 Multilateralism and institutions of
116 global governance
8.2.10Promoting peace, security and
117 stability
118 8.2.11Trade and investment
118 8.3 Conclusion and way forward
African Union
broad-based black economic empowerment
Commission for Gender Equality
Convention for a Democratic South Africa
United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
early childhood development
Expanded Public Works Programme
European Union
Foreign direct investment
further education and training
Group of Eight countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Group of 20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors
gross domestic product
Industrial Policy Action Plan
Justice crime prevention and security cluster
Living standards measure
Millennium Development Goals
National Development Plan
New Partnership for Africa’s Development
non-governmental organisation
National Prosecuting Authority
Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development
Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa
research and development
Reconstruction and Development Programme
Southern African Customs Union
Southern African Development Community
South African Human Rights Commission
South African National Roads Agency
small, medium and micro enterprise
Truth and Reconciliation Commission
Megavolt amperes
Million tons
Figure 2.1: Public opinion of delivery of basic services compared to number of service delivery protests,
Figure 2.2: Improved representivity of the public service, 1995–2013
Figure 2.3: Increase in the representation of women in senior management positions in the public service, 1995–2013
Figure 2.4: Improvements in revenue collection, 1996/97–2012/13
Figure 2.5: Decline in negative audit opinions in government and public entities, 2000/01–2012/13
Figure 2.6: Perceptions of corruption in South Africa, 1998–2013
Figure 3.1: Sources of household income
Figure 3.2: Comparison of income distribution by decile in 2005/06 and 2010/11
Figure 3.3: National Senior Certificate overall pass rate, 2008–2013
Figure 3.4: Access to sanitation, 1994/95–2011/12
Figure 3.5: Access to potable water, 1993/94–2011/12
Figure 3.6: Access to electricity, 1994/95–2013/14
Table 3.1: Poverty rate and poverty gap, 1993 and 2013
Figure 4.1: South African GDP compared to world GDP growth, 1982–2012
Figure 4.2: Average annual percentage change in value add in volume terms, 1994–2012, by sector
Figure 4.3: Composition of GDP by major industries, 1994 and 2012
Figure 4.4: Investment as a percentage of GDP, third quarter 1983 to third quarter 2013
Figure 4.5: The balance of trade, payments and transfers and the total current account deficit as a
percentage of GDP, third quarter 1983 to third quarter 2013
Figure 4.6: Foreign tourist arrivals, 1966–2012
Figure 4.7: Labour force status of working-age population, 1994–2013, in millions
Figure 4.8: Percentage of working-age adults in employment Figure 4.9: Employment by industry, September 2001 and third quarter 2008 and 2013
Figure 4.10: trend in the budget balance since 1994
Figure 5.1: Public and private-sector capital investment as a share of GDP, 1960–2010
Figure 5.2: Public-sector infrastructure expenditure estimates, 2000/01–2013/14
Figure 5.3: Combined Eskom and municipal Electrification Programme connections
Figure 5.4: Transnet capital expenditure, 2000–2012 (R billion)
Figure 5.5: Total vehicle pool and new registrations, 1990–2012
Figure 5.6: Percentage of households with access to telecommunications, 2001–2011
Figure 6.1: Area added to the terrestrial conservation estate, 1994–2013 (hectares)
Table 6.1: Protected areas in South Africa according to the Register of Protected Areas
Chapter 7
Figure 7.1: Serious crimes, 1994/95–2012/13
Figure 7.2: Contact crimes rate (per 100 000 of population)
Figure 7.3: Total reported sexual offences cases
Figure 7.4: Total reported drug-related cases
Table 7.1: Case finalisation and convictions between 2002/03 and 2011/12 139
Figure 8.1: South Africa’s inward foreign direct investment stock, 1980–2012 (current prices)
Figure 8.2: Total exports of goods and services, 1980–2012 (current prices)
Table 9.1: Millennium Development Goals (selected indicators)
Inside back cover
historic milestone of South Africa’s 20 years of freedom
and democracy. On 27 April 1994, for the first time,
South Africans of all races, gender and creed cast their
votes in the country’s first democratic election. Until this
momentous occasion, South Africa could not speak of
one nation. The first democratic election in 1994 made it
possible for people to stand together and begin to build
one country that belongs to all who live in it. For the
majority of South Africans who had never voted before,
their dignity was restored as they determined who would
lead the country and fundamentally transform it from an
apartheid state to a democratic state.
This chapter provides an overview of the colonial and
apartheid past, the democratic transition and a summary
of South Africa’s journey over the last 20 years. The
other chapters provide more detailed descriptions of the
legacy of apartheid and its impact on the economy, the
environment, social services, infrastructure, safety and
security and international relations.
Under colonialism and apartheid, black people were
oppressed, dispossessed of their land and other means
of livelihoods and systematically stripped of their basic
human rights including the right to vote and freedom of
movement and association.
Following the mid-1650 warfare between Dutch settlers
and the indigenous Khoikhoi population, the latter
were dispossessed of their land and forced to work for
the settlers who had been allotted farms in the arable
regions around the Cape. From the mid-1830s the
Great Trek occurred and the British entered the rest of
South Africa. Despite the Thembu, Sotho, Xhosa, Zulu
and other tribes fiercely resisting being conquered and
winning some battles, such as the Anglo-Zulu War of
1878, they were later stripped of their independence
and subjugated to white rule.
Freedom of movement of the black person was
controlled in the Cape Colony, Natal, and the Boer
Republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State. At all
times, black people had to carry pass documents that
were used to control where they lived, their movement
within the country, and where they could work. Through,
for example, the Glen Grey Act of 1894, the number of
black people who could live on and own their land and
the size of land they owned were drastically reduced,
dramatically changing people’s livelihoods and rendering
many poor. Furthermore, the law laid the basis for racially
based spatial segregation through land dispossession. By
introducing stringent property requirements to qualify for
the vote, the Act used land (and dispossession thereof)
to systematically reduce black people’s right to vote, thus
protecting white rule and domination.
Black people faced further subjugation when diamonds
were discovered in the vicinity of present-day Kimberley in
1867 and when gold was discovered on the Witwatersrand
in 1884. The white mine and land owners sought to
consolidate their wealth while excluding black people from
economic activity apart from providing cheap labour.
Following land and livestock dispossession and
deprivation of the opportunity to earn sustainable
livelihoods, many black people were forced to migrate
towards white-owned mines and farms to work as cheap
labour under appalling working conditions. Workers
had no rights, were paid very low wages, housed in
compounds, controlled by pass laws and separated from
their families. They were held criminally responsible for
strikes and any breaches of work contracts. In 1918,
through the Industrial and Commercial Workers’ Union
and other formations, there was protest action against
low wages, poor housing and passes. The Bantu
Women’s League also launched a campaign against
passes for black women in 1918.
In 1906 the Natal government had introduced a £1 poll
tax on each male in Zululand. The tax placed further
financial burden on black families who had already been
dispossessed of land and cattle and were unable to ensure
sustainable livelihood. Chief Bhambatha kaMancinza
refused to accept the introduction and collection of the
poll tax and waged a fierce rebellion against the colonial
administration, through what has since become known as
the Bhambatha Rebellion.
The purpose of this Twenty Year Review is to reflect
on the legacy that democratic South Africa inherited,
how the country has progressed in realising the
objectives it set for itself in 1994, the challenges
which still remain and how we could best address
these as we enter the third decade of democracy.
The Review has built on research undertaken for
the Ten and Fifteen Year Reviews, the National
Development Plan (NDP), commissioned work
and inputs received from national departments,
provinces and local government. In developing
the Twenty Year Review, 20 roundtable discussions
were held with a range of stakeholders, including
academic and research institutions, the business
community and civil society.
When the First South African Wari (1880–
1881) occurred, followed by the Second
South African War (1899–1902) and the signing
of the Treaty of Vereeniging on 31 May 1902,
the Boers lost their independence and agreed
to be placed under the British Crown and
government, paving the way for the formation of
a Union. Despite numerous appeals to the British
government by black leaders, black people
were excluded from political participation in
the Union, further eroding their political rights
and aggravating their plight. The government
of the Union of South Africa, established on
31 May 1910, formally introduced legislation that
entrenched racially based discrimination and
oppression. There was no universal suffrage and
the multi-racial franchise with stringent property
and literacy requirements that had existed in
some provinces was gradually removed.
Through the Mines and Works Act of 1911
and related amendments, an employment
colour bar was established in the workplace,
and blacks were prohibited from competing
for skilled work that was reserved for whites
only. A black person was not allowed to keep
a job if it could be given to a white person and,
if there was a shortage of jobs, government
had the power to compel employers to lay off
blacks and provide jobs to whites1. The Act
weakened incentive and affected the standard
of work, reduced labour mobility, limited
training and development and contributed to
serious skills shortages that are still being felt
to this day. The Act also had a damaging effect
on race relations, labour relations and reduced
the efficiency of industrial firms and negatively
affected the general economy.
The Native Land Act of 1913 was one of the
first major pieces of segregation legislation
passed by the Union and it formalised the
systematic dispossession of black people’s
land and livestock resulting in further
impoverishment and marginalisation. Through
the Act, 87 percent of the land was reserved
for whites and only 13 percent reserved for
black people. Africans were stripped of the
rights to purchase, own, lease, or use land,
except in “reserves” for African people.
The Act resulted in large-scale, racially based
expropriation of land without compensation,
as black people were evicted, lost land that
had previously belonged to them, and were
forcibly removed to the reserves, which were
often areas with no prospects for economic
development. Many black people lost their
possessions and became extremely poor.
While government provided low-interest
loans to white farmers, African farmers
received no aid and increasingly found it
hard to compete with white farmers. Rights
of access to natural resources such as water
and minerals were reserved in perpetuity for
a select few.
Land dispossession, the lack of universal
suffrage, and other forms of racial
oppression generated growing black
political resistance and led to the formation
of a range of organisations amongst African,
Coloured and Indian communities, including
the African Peoples’ Organisation and the
South African Indian Congress (which was
formed by merging the Natal, Transvaal
and Cape Indian Congress). On 8 January
1912, the South African Native National
Congress (SANNC) was formed (renamed
the African National Congress (ANC) in
1923). At the core of the formation of the
SANNC was unity for all African people,
striving for universal suffrage, African rural
land ownership, equality before the law,
equal access to skilled work and the plight
of farm labourers, mine workers and other
forms of employment. Pan-Africanism was
another key area of focus. These political
organisations were united in their opposition
to racially discriminatory and oppressive
policies and increasingly collaborated with
each other in this regard.
When the National Party came into power
in 1948, it formally introduced apartheid
and determinedly enforced it. Building on
the Native Land Act of 1913, it established
10 homelands under the guise of ultimately
providing “independence” to black people.
The real intention was to deprive black people
of their South African citizenship and enable
the creation of a white Republic of South
Africa. Through this system, the apartheid
state would have no responsibility towards
African people as citizens of South Africa.
The homelands mainly served as labour
reservoirs for “white” South Africa, housing
African people and releasing them into
white areas/towns when their labour was
required. Through this system, the apartheid
government sought to serve the mining
industry’s labour requirements as well as
those of farmers and other white-owned
businesses, while at the same time retaining
white political dominance in South Africa.
Previously known as
the Anglo Boer Wars.
The homelands were largely characterised by
marginal lands with low production capacity,
were unable to develop local economies and
were dependent on the apartheid state for
funding. Due to a lack of resources, coupled
with issues of corruption and a lack of
legitimacy of the homeland administrations,
huge backlogs of basic services such as water,
electricity and health and education facilities
built up in the homeland areas. The impact of
this legacy is still being felt to this day.
The creation of the homelands resulted in
the black population again being subjected
to massive forced relocation. Between 1960
and 1983 alone, the apartheid government
forcibly moved 3.5 million black South Africans
(including Africans, Indians and Coloureds)2.
To enforce race-based residential segregation
through the Group Areas Act of 1950, hundreds
of thousands were dispossessed of land and
homes where they had lived for generations
when the areas in which they lived (such as
Sophiatown in Johannesburg and District Six
in Cape Town) were designated as part of
“white” South Africa. Furthermore, through
the Reservation of Separate Amenities Act of
1953, public premises, vehicles and services
were segregated by race.
The apartheid state’s planned consignment
of all African people to homelands was only
partially successful, as many African people
lived in townships and informal settlements
on the outskirts of South African cities. Most
remained isolated in the underdeveloped
homelands, trapped in a vicious cycle of
abject poverty and unemployment. The
impact of apartheid spatial patterns also
continues to be felt to this day.
Most blacks were not provided with access to
basic municipal services such as clean water,
sanitation, refuse collection and electricity. In
the homelands these municipal services were
often non-existent. In black urban areas, if
they did exist they often did not meet basic
needs and were often intermittent in nature.
The lack of basic services contributed to
high incidences of water-borne diseases
such as diarrhoea and cholera. The absence
of electricity resulted in people using coal
stoves that contributed to high incidences
of respiratory diseases. While most black
people had to travel long distances to get to
work because of apartheid spatial patterns,
the state did not provide adequate safe,
reliable and affordable transport.
Following the Bantu Education Act of 1953,
government entrenched racially segregated
education and kept per capita spending
on black education at only one-tenth of
spending on white education3. The apartheid
state deliberately and explicitly sought to
make black students only fit for unskilled and
semi-skilled occupations. Black schools had
poor facilities compared to white schools,
usually without electricity, water, sanitation,
libraries, laboratories or sports fields. Black
teachers were often under-qualified and
poorly trained. There were few qualified
maths and science teachers at black schools.
African students had limited access to quality
higher education and were prohibited from
attending “white“ universities except the
University of South Africa and the Natal
Medical School. The legacy of the apartheid
education and training system is still with
us today, in the form of skills shortages and
the immense challenge of transforming
the education and training system to one
capable of producing the skills required by a
rapidly growing economy.
Health services were also racially segregated
and black people were provided with an
inferior public health service compared to
their white counterparts. Black people had
limited access to public health facilities,
particularly in rural areas, where people
often had to travel very far to access a health
facility. The limited public health service
that was available to blacks was often of
poor quality, with inadequate facilities
and shortages of health professionals
and medical supplies. In 1990 the infant
mortality rate amongst Africans was six
times higher than that of whites4. In 1993,
the incidence of tuberculosis, a disease of
poverty, was more than 10 times higher
amongst Africans than amongst whites5. Life
expectancy amongst white South Africans
was 69 years for males and 76 years for
females in 1990. By contrast, life expectancy
amongst Africans was 60 years for males and
67 years for females.
The institutionalisation of apartheid by the
National Party generated resistance and
activism. In 1955, a gathering of South
Africans representative of all races adopted
the Freedom Charter as a vision for a
democratic, non-sexist and non-racial South
Africa. On 9 August 1956, more than 20 000
women of all races, representing different
political formations marched to the Union
Buildings to demand the abolition of pass
laws. Building on women’s struggle for
freedom and equality over time, including
the resistance campaign by the Bantu
Women’s League, the march called for an
end to the carrying of passes and an end to
discriminatory laws.
The apartheid state was brutal towards those
who resisted its policies, with many detained
without trial, sentenced to imprisonment,
or killed. The Communist Party of South
Africa, later renamed the South African
Communist Party (SACP), had been banned
in 1950. Leaders of political organisations
were arrested, charged with treason and
imprisoned. On 21 March 1960, during a
peaceful Sharpeville protest against pass
laws, police opened fire, leaving 69 people
dead and 180 people seriously wounded.
Following the Sharpeville massacre and
increased resistance in other areas like
Langa, the apartheid state declared states
of emergency and used these to detain
thousands of people without trial. In 1960,
other political organisations such as the
African National Congress (ANC) and the
Pan African Congress (PAC) were also
banned. Continued state oppression and
brutality resulted in the formation of armed
wings of the banned political organisations
and renewed commitment to overthrow the
apartheid government.
The apartheid state adopted a hostile foreign
policy stance towards African countries that
were in the frontline of resistance against the
oppressive apartheid system, particularly
such as Angola, Botswana, Mozambique,
Lesotho, Swaziland, Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Namibia was occupied and used as a base
for attacking other countries. South Africa
invaded Angola on several occasions.
It carried out frequent military attacks,
including bombing raids and land-based
incursions, against the other neighbouring
countries. It organised and provided arms
and training to opposition groups in these
countries, thus fuelling civil wars, particularly
in Angola and Mozambique. Millions of
people are estimated to have died as a result
of this destabilisation, and the economies of
the neighbouring states were devastated6.
In addition to military force, economic
blockades were also used to undermine and
weaken the neighbouring states and thus
reduce their ability to support the struggle
against apartheid.
Internationally, South Africa had become a
pariah state, with the United Nations General
Assembly condemning South African
racial discrimination as “reprehensible and
repugnant to human dignity” by a vote of
95 to 1. The country was isolated diplomatically
and excluded from almost all multilateral
institutions. It was also economically isolated
through more than a decade of effective
sanctions and disinvestment, with about
90 percent of South Africa’s merchandise
exports subjected to restrictions on trade and
sanctions. The country’s rising inflation rate
and stagnating growth rate exacerbated
matters. Many firms were unable to compete
in global markets.
Opposition to apartheid grew within South
Africa and across the world when images of
police firing on peacefully demonstrating
students were shown. Many more countries
declared that they would not recognise the
government of South Africa because of its
apartheid policies and imposed diplomatic
and economic sanctions on the country. The
Organisation of African Unity (OAU) had always
expressed strong opposition to apartheid. In
addition to advocating for the United Nations
and other bodies to expel South Africa, on
21 August 1989, the OAU issued the Harare
Declaration, which reiterated its view that
apartheid was an obstacle to justice, human
dignity and peace, which are all critical for the
stability and development of Africa. It called
for all necessary measures to be adopted to
bring a speedy end to the apartheid system
and tabled a framework for negotiation
towards a democratic South Africa.
By the mid-1980s, South Africa was reaching
breaking point. The apartheid state had
The 1970s were marked by turbulence and
insecurity as mass mobilisation and resistance
increased in opposition to oppressive and
brutal apartheid policies. There was an
upsurge of protest strikes in communities,
later resulting in a generalised culture of
resistance. Through the Black Consciousness
Movement, there was increased emphasis
on black pride and victory over oppression.
Labour unrest increased. The 1976 Soweto
student uprising against the imposition
of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction
profoundly changed the socio-political
landscape of South Africa. Demonstrating
students were met by heavily armed police
who fired teargas and live ammunition, killing
many. The uprising later spread to the rest
of the country and many students left the
country to continue the struggle against
apartheid from exile.
intensified repression and resistance had also
intensified to the extent that it could no longer
be repressed. There were increasing armed
actions by the military wings of the liberation
movements. The United Democratic Front
had become a powerful force capable of
mobilising mass protest and resistance.
Black townships had become increasingly
dysfunctional and ungovernable through
civil protests and rent and service boycotts.
The Congress of South African Trade Unions
(COSATU) and its affiliates had become
a strong trade union movement capable
of mobilising labour against both specific
workplace issues and the broader oppression
workers experienced under apartheid.
As a result of the work of the Anti-Apartheid
opponents of apartheid, South Africa was
politically, diplomatically, culturally and
economically isolated from the rest of the
world. The economy was under severe
pressure – economic growth had slowed,
the state had run up a substantial debt and
was running a high budget deficit, foreign
exchange reserves were low, foreigners were
disinvesting and there were large outflows of
capital by South African residents.
Across most of the political spectrum, there
was acknowledgement that apartheid could
neither be maintained by force nor overthrown
without considerable suffering, and there
needed to be a shift to the negotiating table.
Recognising that the apartheid system had
become indefensible and unsustainable,
President FW de Klerk unbanned the ANC
and other liberation struggle organisations
in February 1990 and unconditionally freed
political prisoners including ANC leader
Nelson Mandela, who had been jailed for
almost three decades. The release of political
prisoners, marked a critical turning point
in South Africa and signalled the start of
formal negotiations for a peaceful end to
apartheid and transition to democracy. To
get to this point, there had been years of
informal negotiations between the apartheid
government and both imprisoned and exiled
leaders of the ANC.
Between 1990 and 1991, there was a
series of bilateral negotiations between the
government and the ANC. Three agreements
were signed, namely the Groote Schuur
Minute of May 1990, the Pretoria Minute of
August 1990 and the D.F. Malan Accord of
February 1991. The agreements signalled a
commitment by the ANC and government to
resolve the climate of violence and intimidation
that existed at the time and remove practical
obstacles to negotiations, including immunity
from prosecution for returning exiles and the
release of political prisoners.
While the negotiations were taking place,
there was widespread violence throughout
the country, with reports of politically
motivated killings in townships, hostels and
in taxis. The violence mostly occurred in
KwaZulu-Natal, the East Rand and the Vaal
Triangle, where thousands of people were
killed, threatening to derail the negotiations.
The negotiating process sought to reduce
the levels of violence and normalise the
political process. The government lifted the
state of emergency and the ANC suspended
combat operations by its military wing,
Umkhonto we Sizwe.
Negotiations were then broadened and
27 political organisations, national and
homeland governments, trade unions,
religious and civic organisations signed the
National Peace Accord in September 1991.
The accord emphasised peace mediation
and monitoring, outlined a code of conduct
for security forces and political parties,
established the Goldstone Commission of
Inquiry into the prevention of public violence
and intimidation and helped to deal with
escalating violence in the townships.
The Goldstone Commission revealed the
extent to which political violence was fuelled
by a “third force“ and confirmed that statesponsored violence had sought to destabilise
South Africa by fomenting paramilitary
violence in order to halt the democratic
transition. The commission also reflected
on the violence between the Inkatha
Freedom Party (IFP) and the ANC and made
recommendations to investigate past and
ongoing conflicts and violence. The accord
contributed to the building of understanding
regarding how to mediate solutions to
community violence rather than resorting to
counter-violence. Furthermore, the accord
contributed to the transformation of agencies
responsible for public order.
Following the signing of the National Peace
Accord, the Convention for a Democratic
South Africa (CODESA) was convened over
two days in December 1991. CODESA
played a critical role in facilitating discussions
between political organisations that had
previously been opposed to each other.
In addition to representing their political
parties, women were also represented
under the auspices of the Women's National
Coalition. CODESA had working groups
that focused on the creation of a climate for
free and fair elections; the development of
constitutional principles and guidelines for
a constitution-making body; consideration
and investigation of transitional mechanisms
including the formation of an interim/
transitional government; the inclusion of
the former TBVC state into South Africa;
and processes and timeframes. Nineteen
of the 20 delegations to CODESA – the
Bophuthatswana government declined to
sign – agreed to a Declaration of Intent
committing them to “a united, democratic,
country. There was a brutal massacre of 46
residents of Boipatong in June 1992.
The ANC temporarily suspended CODESA
negotiations following the Boipatong
massacre. Vested interests created in the
homelands resulted in some resisting
transition towards a democratic South Africa.
In Bisho, in September 1992, soldiers of
the Ciskei government massacred people
engaged in rolling mass action against the
homeland government. In March 1994, there
was a coup in Bophuthatswana, followed by
a mutiny of the Bophuthatswana Defence
Force, and the invasion of that territory by
armed paramilitary members of the white
supremacist Afrikaner Weerstandsbeweging
(AWB). Many lives were lost in KwaZuluNatal in the intensifying violence between
supporters of the ANC and the IFP and in
the East Rand, where there were reports
of apartheid security forces orchestrating
conflicts and violence in migrant workers’
hostels and townships.
non-racial and non-sexist state in which
sovereign authority is exercised over the
whole of its territory”.
To determine whether the political
negotiation process retained the support
of the white electorate, President De Klerk
called a referendum in March 1992 in which
white voters were asked whether they wished
the reform process aimed at negotiating a
new constitution to continue. A majority of
68 percent voted “yes”, and the ultra-right
wing, which had contributed to the violence,
was thrown into disarray. The results of the
referendum indicated that most white South
Africans were committed to building a new
democratic South Africa, founded not on
apartheid policies, but on national unity,
non-racialism, non-sexism and democracy.
CODESA reconvened in May 1992 but
ended without any significant progress being
achieved, largely as a result of a deadlock
on issues related to the constitution-making
process. In the meantime, violence spread
and led to much loss of life in parts of the
To avert further violence that could escalate
into a bloody civil war, the ANC and
government urgently resumed negotiations,
intent on resolving any deadlocks and
ensuring a peaceful transition to democracy.
In September 1992, two weeks after the
Bisho massacre, the ANC and government
signed a Record of Understanding, entailing
compromises on both sides. The parties
recognised the right of all parties and
organisations to participate in peaceful mass
action, in accordance with the provisions
of the Accord and Goldstone Commission.
As part of this, the parties agreed to ban
the carrying of cultural weapons at public
occasions and introduced further measures
to control violence between the residents of
hostels and surrounding townships.
Under the Record of Understanding the
parties committed to a constitution-making
body or Constituent Assembly that would be
democratically elected and would draft and
adopt a new constitution. The parties also
agreed to the formation of a Government
of National Unity for the first five years that
would have a president and two deputies
and include all the parties that obtained
over 5 percent of the vote in democratic
elections. This served to calm fears about the
transition and was a compromise between
the ANC’s wish for transition in a single stage
to majority rule and the National Party’s wish
for a two-phase transition, with a transitional
government and a rotating presidency. The
ANC also committed to respecting existing
employment contracts and retirement
compensations in any future restructuring of
the civil service.
The pace of negotiations accelerated
following the compromises made on both
sides. Although the murder of ANC and
SACP leader Chris Hani in April 1993
nearly derailed the negotiation process and
brought the country to the brink of civil war,
it proved to be a critical turning point, after
which the negotiating parties accelerated
the completion of the negotiation process.
Nelson Mandela appealed for calm, peace
and a focus on concluding the negotiations
towards a democratic South Africa.
The negotiation process was intense and the
negotiators were under extreme pressure
to find a solution against a backdrop of
increasing violence, which could easily have
escalated into a full-scale civil war. Parties
from opposing sides sought to manage
fundamental differences and find common
ground, following centuries of colonial and
apartheid oppression and separation. A
common thread throughout this difficult
process was the negotiating parties’
unwavering commitment to a democratic,
peaceful and prosperous South Africa.
On 18 November 1993, following months
of negotiations, the Multiparty Negotiating
Forum (MPNF), which had first met in April
1993 and had replaced CODESA, ratified
the Interim Constitution, which established
the parameters of South Africa’s institutional
and governance architecture. The Interim
Constitution included key constitutional
principles through which basic freedoms
would be ensured and minority rights
protected. The new Parliament, which would
serve as a constituent assembly, had to
oversee the drafting of the final constitution,
ensure that the principles were conformed to
and adopt the final constitution. The parties
agreed to proportional representation rather
than a constituency-based system. For the
first time in South Africa, a Constitutional
Court would be formed to be an arbiter for
constitutional matters. It was agreed that
an interim electoral commission would be
established to conduct the first democratic
elections and ensure that they would be free
and fair.
“We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation.
We pledge ourselves to liberate our people from the
continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering,
gender and other discrimination. We succeeded to
take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative
peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a
complete, just and lasting peace. We have triumphed
in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the
millions of our people. We enter in a covenant that we
shall build a society in which all South Africans, both
black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any
fear in their hearts, assured of their inalienable right to
human dignity – a rainbow nation at peace with itself
and the world”.
President Mandela, Inauguration Speech, 10 May 1994
A Transitional Executive Council (TEC),
consisting of representatives of the
participants in the multiparty negotiations,
then oversaw preparations for and transition
to the first democratic election. The powers
of the TEC included creating a climate
for free political activity, eliminating any
impediments to legitimate political activities
and any form of intimidation, and ensuring
that no government or administration
exercises any of its powers in such a way as
to advantage or prejudice any political party.
Parallel and complementary to the
political negotiation process, civil society
organisations, academic and research
organisations and the private sector, which
had all placed significant pressure on the
apartheid government and contributed to the
democratic transition, embarked on multifaceted negotiations throughout society. Key
in these negotiations was the facilitation of
communication, the building of relationships
and the promotion of reconciliation across
different groups. Civil society groups also
prioritised political education for the building
of an active citizenry.
South Africa held its first democratic non-racial
election on 27 April 1994. Nineteen political
parties participated and 22 million people
voted. Contrary to fears of political violence,
the elections were relatively peaceful and
widely hailed as a success. Although the
ANC gained a majority of the vote, minority
parties obtained sufficient votes to enable
the formation of a Government of National
Unity, headed by the ANC’s Nelson Mandela,
who became the first black president of
democratic South Africa.
The successful transition from apartheid
to non-racial democracy is internationally
recognised as a remarkable feat. It serves as
an inspiration to people seeking resolution
of other seemingly intractable conflicts
elsewhere in the world.
1.3 THE 20 YEARS
The advent of democracy in 1994 ushered
in a new social order. A new constitutional,
policy and legislative framework was put
in place. Through the Constitution of 1996
(see box overleaf), the apartheid system was
dismantled and the foundation laid for a
democratic and inclusive state founded on
the values of human dignity, human rights,
freedom, non-racialism, non-sexism and the
rule of law. To achieve this, the democratic
state had to work towards reconciliation and
social cohesion and ensure that mechanisms
were put in place to deal with the legacy of
apartheid and redress of past imbalances.
The state also faced challenges of integrating
the country into a rapidly changing global
Recognising that gross human rights
violations and atrocities had been committed
during the apartheid period, the Government
of National Unity established the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The
TRC sought to uncover the truth about
past violations of human rights, facilitate
reconciliation and grant amnesty, provided
that perpetrators fully disclosed politicallymotivated crimes and provided evidence
that led to investigations and prosecutions.
The Commission also recognised that there
had to be reparation in acknowledgement
of what people had endured and a
commitment to ensuring such violations did
not occur again. Following public hearings,
reparations were paid out to victims of gross
violations, programmes and scholarships
were established in honour of people who
had lost their lives, counselling and other
forms of support was provided and amnesty
was granted where appropriate.
There are varying views about the transparency
of the amnesty process, the adequacy of
the reparations and the completeness of
investigations and prosecutions, as well
as the overall impact of the TRC in forging
reconciliation. Nevertheless, there is broad
consensus that, together with CODESA
and other negotiation processes, the TRC
made an important contribution to nationbuilding, reconciliation and reconstruction.
Internationally, many countries have drawn
inspiration from the TRC’s structured
environment and process that enabled victims
to voice their experiences without resorting
to retributive justice.
The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa 1996, hailed
as one of the most progressive in the world, set the foundation
for the ambitious task of transforming the apartheid state into
a democratic and inclusive state. The Constitution underscored
the importance of universal adult suffrage and to achieve this, a
national common voters’ roll, regular elections and democratic
government system should be in place. The Constitution has
three essential features:
❚ A Constitutional democracy with all arms of the state subject
to the Constitution
❚ A rights-based framework for all citizens based on equality
before the law
❚ Socio-economic or second generation rights such as the right
to education and a legal framework for the state to reverse
the effects of apartheid.
Guided by the Constitution, government was divided into
national, provincial and local spheres, which are distinctive,
interdependent and interrelated. The Constitution provided for
institutions of representative democracy, including Parliament,
provincial legislatures and municipal councils. Apartheid laws
were repealed and a Bill of Rights in the Constitution guaranteed
all citizens both socio-economic and basic human rights.
Beyond ending political violence, establishing
and maintaining a social compact and
negotiating a new Constitution, President
Mandela set out the key challenges of the
democratic government in his first State of the
Nation Address on 24 May 19948:
“My government’s commitment to create
a people-centered society of liberty
binds us to the pursuit of the goals
of freedom from want, from hunger,
freedom from deprivation, freedom from
ignorance, freedom from suppression
and freedom from fear. These freedoms
are fundamental to the guarantee of
human dignity. They will therefore
constitute part of the centrepiece
of what this government will seek to
achieve, the focal point on which our
attention will be continuously focused.
The things we have said constitute the
true meaning, the justification and the
purpose of the Reconstruction and
Development Programme…”
The Reconstruction and Development
Programme (RDP) was the policy framework
for the fundamental transformation of
South Africa. At the heart of the RDP was
a commitment to addressing the problems
of poverty and gross inequality evident
in almost all aspects of South African
society9. This could only be achieved if
the South African economy, which was in
crisis at the time, could be significantly
transformed and placed on a path of high
and sustainable growth. Active partnership
between government, civil society, business
and labour would be critical to improve the
quality of life of all the people and bring
about the change the country had voted for.
As will be explained in more detail in the
chapters that follow, the key objectives of the
RDP have continued to define public policy
since 1994. In some areas, the emphasis may
have changed, but the broad objectives of
eradicating poverty, creating employment
and reducing inequality remain.
By the early 2000s, South Africa had
succeeded in transforming the governance
landscape and building institutions critical
to a constitutional democracy. The National
Assembly, National Council of Provinces,
provincial legislatures and municipal councils
were all in place. Balkanised apartheid-era
administrations and homelands had been
amalgamated and rationalised into a unified
and decentralised governance system with
national, provincial and local government
spheres. The composition of the public service
was also transformed to better represent the
entire population. Following these changes,
over the last decade attention has shifted to
improving the capacity of the state and to
improving the quality of administration and
service delivery, particularly at provincial
and municipal level. There is also a focus
on improving the management of the
intergovernmental system and improving
coordination within and between the three
spheres of government.
A Constitutional Court was set up as the apex
court. Constitutional structures, such as the
South African Human Rights Commission,
the Public Protector and the Auditor-General,
were established to enhance accountability.
These institutions have been robust in
looking after the public interest and holding
the executive and bureaucracy accountable.
An independent judiciary that adjudicates
matters without fear, favour or prejudice has
been established.
As mentioned earlier, the democratic
government prioritised extending basic
services to the majority of the population,
which had been deprived of these services
under apartheid. However, the government
also had to stabilise its finances by reducing
the budget deficit. The government therefore
had to be prudent in its expenditure plans.
There was also a need to stabilise the economy
and to get it onto a positive growth path to
generate employment and increase incomes.
On average, the economy has grown at
3.2 percent a year from 1994 to 2012, despite
the global setback of the 2008 recession.
In constant 2005 prices, gross national
income per capita increased from R28 536
in 1994 to R37 423 in 2013. While this is a
marked improvement over pre-1994 growth
rates, it is modest compared with other
emerging economies, and has not been
adequate to meet the objective of reducing
unemployment. South Africa will need to
sustain higher economic growth rates in
order to substantially reduce unemployment
in future.
The Constitution has established justiciable
rights such as freedom of speech and
assembly, enabling citizens to pursue their
political views and ideals freely.
A credible, independent Reserve Bank
has been established and an efficient tax
administration put in place. The budget
process has become highly transparent, with
South Africa ranking first in the Open Budget
Index in 2010 and second in 201210.
Since the first democratic elections in 1994,
South Africa has had regular elections every
five years. Unlike many other countries with
a longer post-colonial history, the country’s
electoral institutions command enormous
respect, and electoral results are accepted
as free and fair. Despite an inevitable decline
in turnout after the landmark 1994 elections,
turnout levels have remained good and,
following declines in 1999 and 2004, actually
increased with the 2009 elections.
5.6 million between 1994 and 2013, or by
60 percent. The 2008/09 crisis was a setback,
with the loss of approximately one million
jobs between the end of 2008 and the end
of 2010. Employment only recovered to 2008
levels in 2013, when a total of 15.2 million
people were employed. While there has been
a large increase in the number of people
employed, this has been offset by a larger
increase in the number of people looking for
work. The reasons for this include population
growth, increasing urbanisation (which in turn
was partly a result of the dismantling of the
homeland system and the removal of the
pass laws) and increasing numbers of women
looking for work, due to advances in gender
equality. Youth unemployment remains a
particular concern.
Positions of power in the economy have
become more representative, encouraged by
government’s black economic empowerment
and affirmative action policies. These policies
will need to continue until the structural
characteristics of apartheid in terms of
inequitable ownership, work organisation
and pay have been addressed.
The growing economy and rising standards
of living have resulted in increased demand
for road, rail, port, water, electricity and
telecommunications infrastructure. In the
second decade after 1994, demand for such
infrastructure exceeded supply and shortages
in electricity generation, in particular, became
a constraint to further economic growth.
Since the mid-2000s, government has placed
increasing emphasis on economic infrastructure
and investment has increased markedly, and
is planned to increase further. Major areas of
infrastructure investment include new ports,
expansion of container capacity, new national
roads, new airports and improvements to
international airports, new public transportation
systems, new dams and new power stations.
An important achievement in the past
20 years has been the modernisation of
the telecommunications sector, with huge
investment in cellular infrastructure and greatly
increased access to telephony, television,
postal services and, more recently, data
Prior to 1994, the labour market was
and oppressive workplace relations. The
democratic government introduced a number
of initiatives to improve industrial relations.
The National Economic Development and
Labour Council (NEDLAC) was formed to
enable consultation between social partners
on key legislation. The labour laws were
deracialised, modernised and extended
equally to all workers. This led to a more stable,
safe, fair and equitable workplace. Despite
these improvements in the labour market,
some challenges remain. Since the late
2000s, strike levels have risen again, posing
risks for growth and investment. In addition,
there are negative investor perceptions about
some aspects of the regulatory frameworks
for labour relations.
In line with an increased global focus on
sustainable development and mitigating
climate change, the democratic government
needed to ensure that economic growth
and poverty-reduction objectives could be
achieved while simultaneously ensuring the
long-term sustainability of natural systems and
the environment. The necessary legislation
has been put in place and commitments
have been made to reducing pollution,
improving the quality of the environment and
addressing the impacts of climate change.
Going forward the emphasis will need to
be on implementation, monitoring and
enforcement of these commitments.
Since 1994, government has prioritised
funding for the social sector, which, coupled
with pro-poor policies, has resulted in a
reduction in poverty and a range of advances
towards racially integrated and equitable
provision of services. As will be described in
Chapter 3, the reduction in poverty is confirmed
by a range of methods of measuring poverty.
Social assistance through grants has been
the democratic government’s most effective
poverty-reduction tool. In comparison, social
assistance was limited under apartheid,
particularly for black people. The number
of grant beneficiaries increased from
2.7 million people in 1994 to more than
16 million people by 2013.
Recognising that the apartheid legacy would
weigh heavily on sectors of society that were
most discriminated against12, the democratic
state has put particular focus on women,
children and orphans, young people, people
with disabilities and the poor. A range of
laws, policies and programmes have been
developed to ensure increased representation,
ensure the provision of basic services, create
jobs, reduce poverty, eradicate violence, and
promote and protect the human rights of these
groups. As will be described in more detail in
the chapters that follow, this has resulted in
major advances in gender equality.
There has been a huge increase in access
to early childhood development (ECD),
including Grade R, and there now needs to
be more focus on widening ECD to cover the
period from conception to Grade R, with a
more comprehensive set of services including
home-based and community-based ECD
programmes. Primary school enrolment rates
are good at approximately 98 percent. Over
8 million learners are now benefitting from
no-fee policies, and this has contributed to
an increase in secondary school enrolment
from 51 percent in 1994 to around 80 percent
currently. South Africa is also achieving gender
parity in school enrolment. Approximately
9 million children are benefitting from the
school feeding scheme and this has ensured
that learners no longer have to study on an
empty stomach. While backlogs in school
infrastructure remain, thousands of schools
have been built and connected to water and
electricity supply since 1994.
The school curriculum has been made
uniform and modernised. Racist, sexist,
tribalist and historically incorrect content
from the apartheid era has been removed.
A new school governance system has
been put in place, which provides for a
high level of parent participation in school
governance. Increasingly this should lead
to more accountability of schools to local
communities and better performing schools.
In the last five years, the Annual National
Assessments (ANA) system was introduced
to enable objective assessment of the
education system below Grade 12 for
the first time. While the generally poor
ANA results point to the terrible legacy of
the apartheid education system and the
challenges that remain to improve the
quality of learning and teaching, the results
also indicate that the system appears to be
starting to improve at Grade 3 and Grade 6
level. These improvements have been due
to targeted teacher support programmes
and initiatives such as the introduction of
workbooks to assist teachers and learners
to cover the curriculum and to understand
the assessment standards. Improvements in
literacy and numeracy in the lower grades
should flow through to improvements in
results in the higher grades in the coming
years. As will be discussed in Chapter 3,
a range of initiatives have led to an
improvement in the matric pass rate, which,
for example, increased from 61 percent in
2009 to 78 percent in 2013. Going forward
there will need to be a focus on reducing the
drop-out rate, particularly between Grade 9
and Grade 11, and increasing the number of
Grade 12 learners passing Mathematics with
a mark above 50 percent, which has not yet
improved substantially.
After 1994, a new training and skills
development system was put in place with
the aim of increasing the number of skilled
people to meet the needs of the growing
economy. The new system increased the
range of available pathways for learners
to obtain skills and increased the degree
to which learners could move between
these pathways, thus broadening access
to skills development opportunities. Tens
of thousands of learners are now being
put through learnership programmes each
year. An unintended consequence of the
new system was a drop in the number
of qualifying artisans, but this has since
improved as government has corrected the
system. There have also been challenges
in placing learners in experiential learning
and sustainable employment, partly due
to issues with the quality and relevance of
some of the qualifications, and partly due to
the economic downturn since 2007/08.
University enrolment has almost doubled
since 1994, and there have been huge
increases in enrolments at further education
and training (FET) colleges. The racial and
gender composition of the student body
has been markedly transformed since 1994.
Government has been working on challenges
in the FET sector, including very low
throughput rates and industry perceptions
of problems with the quality of FET colleges.
Despite the huge increases in enrolments in
post-school institutions, the education and
skills development systems have not yet
been able to meet all the increased demand
for skilled workers and professionals resulting
from the growing economy, leading to skills
shortages in some areas.
In the health sector, the focus has been
on the transformation of a predominantly
curative and hospital-based health system
to a unified national health system founded
on the primary healthcare approach, which
emphasises the prevention of disease and
the promotion of good health. There have
been great improvements in access to
healthcare services since 1994, following
the removal of user fees, and a large-scale
infrastructure programme that saw more
than 1 500 healthcare facilities being built
and existing ones revitalised. Community
service, scarce skills allowances, community
healthcare workers and mid-level workers
have also been introduced, mainly for the
benefit of under-resourced rural areas.
One of the major challenges that confronted
the democratic government was the rapid
rise in the HIV epidemic. While government
policy regarding HIV and AIDS was ambiguous
for some time, significant progress has since
been made in accelerating interventions
to turn the tide against the epidemic in
collaboration with civil society, business
and other key stakeholders. Over the past
decade, the country’s response to HIV and
AIDS and TB has resulted in improvements
in health outcomes such as increased
life expectancy, reduced infant and child
mortality rates, and TB treatment outcomes.
For instance, the average life expectancy
of South Africans improved from 51.6 years
in 2005 to 59.6 years in 2013, although life
expectancy levels are still below those in
1990, due to HIV and AIDS. South Africa’s
HIV and AIDS response has now received
international recognition and has made the
vision of an HIV and AIDS free generation
possible. There has also been a significant
reduction in malaria cases and deaths due
to malaria. Severe malnutrition has also
significantly declined. Despite this progress,
challenges remain with the quality of care
in the public health sector, spiralling private
healthcare costs and the country’s quadruple
burden of disease, and these challenges are
the current focus areas of government.
Over the past 20 years, remarkable
achievements have been made in increasing
access to a basic level of essential municipal
(sanitation: from 50 percent of households
in 1994/95 to 83 percent of households
in 2011/12; water: from 60 percent of
households in 1994/95 to over 95 percent
of households in 2011/12; electricity: from
around 50 percent of households in 1994/95
to 86 percent of households in 2012/13). The
focus is now on reaching those remaining
communities without access to basic services,
particularly in informal settlements in urban
areas and in remote rural areas. There
have been challenges with the quality and
functionality of municipal services in some
municipalities due to poor operation and
maintenance. This has been a contributory
factor in the rise in municipal service delivery
protests in recent years. These challenges
relate to institutional and governance
weaknesses and a lack of capacity in some
municipalities. Government interventions to
address these challenges are discussed in
Chapter 2.
There have been improvements in the quality
of some services offered by national and
provincial government since 1994. Notable
amongst these have been improvements in
some of the services offered by the South
African Revenue Service, the Department of
Home Affairs and the South African Social
Security Agency. However, there have also
been many challenges with the quality of
service delivery, such as excessive queues
and waiting times, long turnaround times,
shortages of supplies such as medicines,
and problems with the timeous delivery of
textbooks to schools. These challenges are a
source of frustration for citizens who expect
their government to be more responsive.
There are also ongoing administrative
weaknesses in government, as illustrated
by poor audit outcomes, non-payment
of legitimate invoices within 30 days and
the large debts owed by national and
provincial departments to municipalities.
These shortcomings point to a lack of
administrative and managerial capacity in
some government departments. Initiatives
to improve this capacity are also discussed
in Chapter 2.
The new government committed itself
to ensuring that the country develops
sustainable rural communities by focusing
on land reform, agrarian reform, improving
rural household food security and rural
services, improving access to education and
creating employment in rural areas. Since
1994, the government has redistributed
9.4 million hectares of land12, benefiting
almost a quarter of a million people.
Going forward, the focus will need to
be on realising the potential of land
reform to stimulate economic growth and
employment, especially in the agricultural
sector. Many land-reform beneficiaries are
not yet using the land productively, partly
due to inadequate infrastructure, inputs and
technical support after they were settled.
Over the past 20 years, about 2.8 million
government-subsidised houses and over
875 000 serviced sites were delivered,
allowing approximately 12.5 million people
access to accommodation and an asset.
Fifty-six percent of all subsidies allocated
have been to woman-headed households.
Public investment in housing for the very
poor has facilitated a wave of investment in
housing by beneficiaries, other households
and the private and not-for-profit sectors.
The proportion of people living in formal
housing increased from 64 percent in 1996 to
77.7 percent in 2011. The value of the formal
housing market has increased 13-fold from
R321 billion in 1994 to R4.036 trillion in 2014.
The estimated value of the state-subsidised
housing market is about R300 billion,
representing a threefold increase in the value
of investments by the state since 1994, as a
result of increasing property values.
There has been good progress in terms of
the racial integration of cities and towns, but
more needs to be done to reverse apartheid
urban spatial development patterns, and to
provide more affordable housing closer to
places of work. Although there was a rapid
growth in the number of informal settlements
in the first 10 years after 1994, the number
has remained stable over the last 10 years
and the government is now focused on
upgrading informal settlements as well as
building new low-cost houses.
Since 1994, the levels of serious crime and
property crime have declined. Despite this
progress, crime levels remain unacceptably
high, particularly crime against vulnerable
groups such as women and children. Access
to justice by all, especially those who were
previously marginalised, has been greatly
enhanced through the establishment of
more police stations and courts as well as
through the increased provision of legal aid.
Over the 20 years, a range of interventions
has been put in place to address corruption
in both the public and the private sectors.
This has included, among others, the
passing of the Prevention and Combating
of Corrupt Activities Act, the creation of the
Anti-Corruption Hotline under the Public
Service Commission, the introduction of
disclosure requirements for senior managers
in the public service, the establishment of
the Office of the Public Protector and the
establishment of special anti-corruption
investigating units in the criminal justice
system. These interventions have resulted in
an increase in the number of reported and
publicised cases of corruption, which in turn
could be contributing to slightly worsened
public perceptions about corruption. While
the actual levels of corruption are difficult
to measure, there is a general consensus
in society that corruption poses a serious
threat to many of the gains that have been
made since 1994.
South Africa has gone from being a pariah
state to a widely respected member of the
international community. It has managed
its entry into the international community
tactfully, building new relationships and
partnerships while maintaining sovereignty
over domestic economic and social policy.
It has benefitted from its re-entry into the
international community in areas of trade,
education, health, technology, culture, sport,
literature, politics and human rights.
South Africa has made major contributions
to initiatives to strengthen governance and
to promote peace and development on the
African continent. It contributed significantly
to the transformation of the continental
political architecture with the transition from
the OAU to the African Union (AU) and the
adoption of the New Partnership for Africa’s
Development (NEPAD). It has also contributed
to resolving conflicts on the continent and
the adoption of the AU policy of no longer
tolerating military coups. South Africa has
actively promoted African interests through
its roles in multilateral and other global
institutions. Increasing peace, democracy and
economic growth on the African continent has
provided significant opportunities for South
African firms and investors to grow markets
and generate sustainable economic returns
for both the investor and the host countries.
In addition to creating opportunities, South
Africa’s entrance into the international
community has increased risks, such as the
2008 global financial crisis and economic
downturn. Since the early 1990s, there have
been profound shifts in global and regional
politics and economics that have impacted
on South Africa’s development. The rise of
China and other emerging economies has
provided South Africa with large new markets
for its commodity exports, as well as a source
of competitive manufactured imports.
Various measures have been put in place
to provide a basis for a common national
identity and greater social cohesion,
including the recognition of 11 official
languages in the Constitution, new national
symbols, the flag and a national anthem.
Apartheid-era museums and monuments
have been protected and a range of new
heritage sites and legacy projects have been
completed. Sporting events, such as the
Rugby World Cup in 1995, the Africa Cup of
Nations in 1996 and the FIFA World Cup in
2010, have made an important contribution.
Over the 20 years, there has been a sharp
decline in politically and racially motivated
violence. The role of civil-society bodies has
changed from one of resistance to apartheid
to one of engaging in and lobbying for
improved service delivery. This helps
the voiceless to have a voice, which also
contributes to social cohesion and inclusion.
Nation building and social cohesion remain
work in progress. Public opinions on race
relations, pride in being South African, and
identity based on self-description all show
little improvement or a decline13. This could
be due to a number of reasons. Opportunity
is still generally defined by race, gender
and class, although there have been
improvements in this regard, compared with
pre-1994. Inequity in employment, incomes
and patterns of ownership could also be
playing a role.
The diagnostic report of the National
persistence of poverty, unemployment and
inequality as the key challenges that South
Africa needs to overcome. The National
Development Plan (NDP), developed through
extensive consultation with a broad range of
stakeholders and adopted by government in
2012, spelt out a vision of South Africa in 2030
and built on the diagnostic report by setting
out the steps that South Africa needs to take
to overcome its challenges and achieve the
2030 vision. This Twenty Year Review uses the
NDP as its main reference point for making
recommendations regarding the way forward.
In summary, in 1994 the country embarked
on an ambitious project of democratic nation
building and socio-economic transformation.
Twenty years later, South Africa is a
markedly different place to the South
Africa of 1994, in almost every respect. In
the chapters that follow, we track South
Africa’s journey with regard to governance
and administration, social transformation,
economic transformation, infrastructure,
sustainable development, safety and security,
and international relations.
Hepple, A. (1963). “Job reservation
– cruel, harmful and unjust.” The
Black Sash.
Platzky, L. and Walker, C. (1985).
“The Surplus People.” Ravan Press.
Byrnes, R.M. (1996). “South Africa:
A Country Study.” Washington: GPO
for the Library of Congress.
Health Systems Trust, (1996).
“South African Health Review.”
Health Systems Trust, (1996).
“South African Health Review.”
Solomon, H. “Towards a common
defence and security policy in the
Southern African Development
Community.” Centre for
International Political Studies.
The Presidency, (2003). “Ten-year
South African History Online.
“Freedom Day: 27 April (online).”
Accessed January 2014. Available
from <
Parliament of the Republic of South
Africa, (1994). “White paper on
Reconstruction and Development.”
Notice no. 1954 of 1994.
International Budget Partnership,
(2013). “Open Budget Survey
Country Information (online).”
Accessed January 2014. Available
from <>.
The Presidency, (2008).
“Fifteen-Year Review.”
Department of Rural Development
and Land Reform, (2013).
“Programme of Action Core
Indicators – Outcome 7 (online).”
Available from <
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation, (2013).
“Development Indicators 2012.”
governance and
South Africa’s first democratic government inherited
a fragmented, unaccountable and racially divided
administrations (sometimes also referred to as
“Bantustans” or “self-governing territories”), national
and provincial administrations, as well as separate
administrations for certain racial groups. The homeland
administrations were poorly organised and resourced,
largely without local government, and the services they
provided were determined by the apartheid state. Those
municipalities that were well capacitated were mostly
in the urban areas and served the needs of the white
minority. These balkanised apartheid-era institutions
had to be amalgamated into a single democratic, nonracial system.
Before 1994, the frameworks governing the public service
were highly centralised and regulated, resulting in a
bureaucratic, unresponsive and risk-averse public service.
In addition, the public service lacked transparency and
accountability, providing space for abuse of power
and corruption. Post-apartheid South Africa needed a
reformed governance system that would allow all South
Africans to claim political and social ownership of the
country. This meant changing the systems of governance
to be geared towards transformation by addressing the
legacy of apartheid. There was a need to modernise
the public service, to make it more efficient, effective,
accountable and people-centred, so that it would be able
to fulfil its transformative role.
The country’s governance landscape has been significantly
transformed since 1994. The Constitution of the Republic
of South Africa (1996) provided the foundations for
building a democratic and inclusive state and is hailed
as one of the most progressive in the world. Apartheid
laws were repealed and a Bill of Rights enshrined
in the Constitution, guaranteeing all citizens’ socioeconomic and human rights. Independent institutions
were established under Chapter 9 of the Constitution
to strengthen accountability, safeguard democracy and
build a responsive statei. An independent judiciary and
the constitutional freedom of speech and assembly were
legally established. This has enabled citizens to pursue
their political views and ideals freely and to trust the
decisions of the judicial system.
The integration of the former administrations and
Bantustans into a unified public service, operating in the
national and provincial spheres, was a daunting task. In
addition, a comprehensive network of municipalities now
covers the entire country. The nature, scale and pace of
change since 1994 have been phenomenal. Few parallels
exist elsewhere in the world.
The extension of access to basic services such as water,
electricity, education, housing and social security (see
Chapter 3 for more detail) has been a major achievement
of the post-apartheid era. However, despite this
dramatic expansion, access to quality services remains
uneven. These disparities result from apartheid spatial
and governance systems, compounded by institutional
weakness in some provinces and municipalities. In short,
the state’s capacity is weakest where socio-economic
pressures are the greatest.
As described in the National Development Plan (NDP),
there is unevenness in capacity that leads to uneven
performance in the public service. This is caused by
a range of factors, including tensions in the politicaladministrative interface, instability of administrative
leadership, skills deficits, insufficient attention to the role
of the state in reproducing the skills it needs, weaknesses
in organisational design and low staff morale. Other
causal factors include the lack of a culture of continuous
improvement, insufficient attention to operational
management and a lack of management accountability.
The last part of this chapter identifies the steps that are
being taken to overcome these challenges and build a
capable and developmental state that can drive the
country’s development and transformation.
2.2.1 Representative democracy
Unlike many other countries with a longer post-colonial
history, South Africa’s electoral institutions command
enormous respect, and electoral results are accepted
as free and fair. Since the first democratic elections in
1994, South Africa has had regular elections every five
years. Despite an inevitable decline after the landmark
1994 elections, turnout levels have remained good and,
following declines in 1999 and 2004, actually increased
with the 2009 elections.
The proportion of women in the legislatures and in the
executive shows a steady upward trend from 1994. As
reported in the Presidency’s Fifteen Year Review, the
proportion of female members of Parliament (MPs) after
the 2004 elections was one of the highest in the world.
Similarly, over 40 percent of Cabinet members were
women, as were four out of nine provincial premiers.
This pattern was carried through after the 2009 elections
with 43 percent of MPs and 42 percent of members of
provincial legislatures being female. After the 2009
elections, 42 percent of Cabinet ministers and five out of
nine provincial premiers were women.
These Chapter 9 institutions are the Public Protector, the South African Human Rights Commission, the Commission for the Promotion and
Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, the Commission for Gender Equality, the Auditor-General and the
Electoral Commission.
SINCE 1994
Compared to the apartheid era,
where the majority had no political
rights and parties opposed to
apartheid were banned, all South
Africans now have the right to
freedom of association and are
free to make political choices and
campaign for any political party
or cause.
Whereas the majority of South
Africans were denied the right
to vote during the apartheid era,
every adult citizen now has the
right to participate in free, fair and
regular elections, the right to vote
and to stand for public office and,
if elected, to hold office. All South
Africans have the right to assemble,
to demonstrate, to picket and to
present petitions, provided this is
done peacefully and unarmed.
South Africans now have the
right to freedom of expression.
The press and other media can
express themselves freely and
there is academic freedom and
freedom of scientific research.
The Bill of Rights also makes
provision for the right to access
any information that is required
for the exercise or protection
of any rights. The freedom of
expression does not extend to
propaganda of war, incitement of
imminent violence or advocacy of
hatred based on race, ethnicity,
gender or religion.
Compared to the apartheid era,
all South Africans are now equal
before the law and have the right
to equal protection and benefit of
the law. Whereas during apartheid
people were detained without trial,
mainly for their political beliefs,
all citizens now have the right
to freedom and security of the
person, which includes the right
not to be detained without trial and
not to be treated or punished in a
cruel, inhuman or degrading way.
Everyone who is detained has the
right to be informed of the reason
for being detained and to legal
representation. Everyone who is
arrested for allegedly committing
an offence has the right to remain
silent and to a fair trial or hearing
before a court.
While the apartheid state sought
to deprive the majority of South
Africans of their citizenship and
controlled their movement through
oppressive pass laws and other
means, no citizen may be deprived
of citizenship and everyone has
the right to freely move through
the Republic, reside anywhere and
hold a passport.
Whereas the apartheid state
reserved skilled jobs for white
South Africans, all citizens now
have the right to choose their
trade, occupation or profession.
All citizens have the right to fair
labour practices, to form and join
a trade union and participate in
its activities and programmes and
the right to engage in collective
bargaining. No one may be
subjected to slavery, servitude and
forced labour.
While access to education was
apartheid, all South Africans now
have the right to basic education
(including adult basic education)
and to further education, which the
state has sought to progressively
make available and accessible,
through reasonable measures.
All South Africans now have the
right to access health care services,
water and social security and
appropriate social assistance if they
are unable to support themselves
and their dependants. No one may
be refused emergency medical
treatment. Every child, regardless
of race, has a right to basic nutrition,
shelter, basic health services and
social services. Every child also
has the right to family care or
parental care and to be protected
from maltreatment, neglect, abuse
or degradation and exploitative
labour practices.
Compared to the apartheid era, all
citizens have the right to freedom
of sexual orientation, conscience,
religion, thought, belief and
opinion. All marriages concluded
under any tradition, or a system
of religious, person or family law
are now recognised. Compared
to the further oppression and
discrimination they experienced
during the apartheid era, women
have equal rights before the
law, including the right to make
decisions regarding reproduction.
Global rankings of the percentage of women
parliamentarians in national parliaments put
South Africa in the top 10 out of 188 countries,
ahead of many developed countries1.
The institutions of representative democracy,
such as Parliament, the provincial legislatures
and municipal councils, are generally well
established, with representation of women
in municipal structures and ward councillors
at approximately 40 percent after the 2005
and 2009 local government elections. The
focus is now on strengthening the ability of
the institutions of representative democracy
to fulfil their oversight roles and to contribute
to the building of an accountable and
responsive state. Independent oversight
bodies reporting to Parliament (the Chapter 9
institutions) have been robust in holding the
executive and bureaucracy to account.
While the establishment of independent
institutions supporting democracy, together
with a free press, has resulted in independent
information about the performance of
government being readily available, this
has not been matched with a sufficiently
uncompromising system of consequences
for poor performance. There are recurring
debates on how to address this and shift
the culture of the public sector towards one
of greater accountability, linked to greater
sanctions for poor performance and unethical
conduct. Some of the suggestions emanating
from these debates include increasing the
public accountability of members of the
executive, heads of department and municipal
managers, increasing the effectiveness of
parliamentary oversight, reviewing the pros
and cons of the proportional representation
system vis-à-vis a constituency-based system,
and greater inclusion of citizens in governance
processes and decision-making.
2.2.2 The three spheres of government
The Constitution established national,
provincial and local spheres of government,
which are distinctive, interdependent and
interrelated, and are required to work together
in the spirit of cooperative governance. Many
of government’s activities depend on effective
cooperation between the different spheres.
constitutionally responsible for implementing
many of the key objectives of government.
For provinces, this relates particularly to areas
such as education and health, on which a large
proportion of provincial budgets is spent.
Municipalities are primarily responsible for
providing quality, cost-effective municipal
services. As set out in the White Paper on
Local Government, they should also focus on
transforming unequal and inefficient use of
space, identifying priority business areas and
improving the built environment by developing
and maintaining appropriate infrastructure.
National government is expected to provide
legislative and policy frameworks and to
In the apartheid state multiple structures existed to perform
the equivalent functions to the current Department of Home
Affairs. For the purposes of comparison, those structures and
functions can be described collectively as the “old” or pre-1994
Home Affairs. The revolutionary difference between the “old”
and “new” Home Affairs is revealed sharply in a story told by
a white staff member who joined the “old” Home Affairs in
1973. Working at the birth registration counter, she describes
how a baby was typically brought to the office by the mother
and was taken by staff to a tea room. They locked the door
while they unclothed the child and examined it to determine
the race according to the Population Registration Act of 1950.
In difficult cases, specialists from Social Services were called
in. The process disturbed her at the time and still gives her
troubling thoughts. The entire life of the child depended on the
racial identity the child was given in that office or through the
Bantu Administration System. In the case of Africans, there was
a denial of citizenship and of every one of the other 27 rights set
out in the Bill of Rights in the Interim Constitution of 1994, such
as freedom of movement and political rights.
Since 1994, in total contrast, the registration of the birth of
a South African child by the Department of Home Affairs
guarantees that the child has an inalienable right to the status of
being a citizen and to all the equal rights and responsibilities set
out in the Constitution. The same white staff member reported
that, as a woman, she suffered severe discrimination and had to
resign and later reapply as a temporary worker every time she
became pregnant, as there was no maternity leave. She was
paid less than men for doing the same job, and she was never
promoted until the new government came into power in 1994.
This story reminds one of the isolated, patriarchal and unjust
society in which the “old” Home Affairs was embedded. Since
1994, the state has been committed to playing a leading role
in transforming this society for the benefit of all South Africans.
At the heart of the apartheid state and economic system was
the denial of citizenship and self-determination through racial
and ethnic classification based on law and administered by state
machinery created for that purpose. The Population Registration
Act required each person to be classified and registered in
accordance with his or her racially defined characteristics.
Pass laws and influx control were administered through a vast
bureaucracy that controlled every aspect of the life of black
South Africans. The main department responsible for the pass
system took on different names at different times, such as Bantu
Administration and, lastly, Development and Cooperation.
It functioned at provincial and local levels. This rule-based
bureaucracy was notorious for the complexity of its regulations,
for corruption and for its arbitrary and callous decisions. The
“old” Home Affairs was at the centre of this inhumane system,
although it mainly served those classified as “white”.
provide support to provincial and local
government to enable them to fulfil their core
The overlapping and concurrent responsibilities
between spheres mean that effective
coordination is essential. The Intergovernmental
Relations Framework Act of 2005 provides
for the creation of structures and institutions
to facilitate inter-governmental cooperation
and coordination. The coordination and
collaboration problems facing the various
spheres of government are complex and
context specific and legislation can provide
a guiding framework, but it cannot resolve all
coordination issues. This makes it important
to distinguish those issues that need to be
resolved through legislation from those that are
best addressed by proactive engagement and
intervention on a case-by-case basis.
The challenges of managing concurrent
functions have led to calls for a review of the
constitutional responsibilities of the different
spheres of government. However, national
government has increasingly focused on
improving the management of concurrent
functions within the existing constitutional
framework, and there is growing evidence of
the effectiveness of this approach.
The Constitution makes provision for
minimum norms and standards to be set,
and for intervention where these norms
and standards are not being met. National
government is increasingly making use of
these provisions and setting norms and
standards for concurrent functions, either
through legislation or through negotiation.
For example, the national Department of
Health recently established the Office of
Health Standards Compliance through an
Act of Parliament to ensure minimum levels
of quality of service in the health sector. The
national Department of Basic Education
recently negotiated minimum standards
for the procurement and delivery of school
textbooks with its provincial counterparts.
Together with close monitoring by the
national department, this has resulted in a
marked improvement in the timeous delivery
of textbooks to schools.
Other ways in which national departments are
increasingly supporting provincial and local
government are described in detail in the
other chapters of this review. These include
sector skills plans, a range of initiatives to
support infrastructure and housing delivery,
and transversal contracts to obtain better
prices for medicines.
Until 2005, the administration of social
grants was done separately by each province
and was beset by a number of problems,
including delays in the approval and
payments of grants, fraud and corruption
in the system, inhumane pay-point facilities
and high administration costs. To address
these problems a single national South
African Social Security Agency was created
through an act of Parliament, resulting in
marked improvements in the distribution of
social grants. While this centralised agency
approach has worked relatively well for the
payment of social grants, it would be less
well suited to more complex areas of service
delivery. The optimal approach to managing
concurrency varies depending on the nature of
the function being fulfilled. The constitutional
and legislative framework provides space
for this flexibility but, regardless of the
specific approach, effective management
of concurrent functions requires proactive
engagement guided by the principles of
cooperative governance.
One of the challenges in managing the
unevenness in the capacity of provincial
and municipal administrations. Provinces
administrations were weighed down by high
levels of poverty and by the incorporation
of dysfunctional homeland administrations.
Similarly, municipalities operate with very
different levels of capacity and some have
major infrastructure backlogs to overcome.
The Constitution and policy frameworks
are designed to take account of this
variation by allowing for differentiation
in how responsibilities are allocated to
municipalities. The creation of the district
system outside metropolitan areas was
also intended to address this variation by
allowing for skills to be shared across several
local municipalities.
There is scope to improve the management
of the intergovernmental system by
applying this principle of differentiation
more effectively. More responsibilities
could be devolved to municipalities where
capacity exists. In particular, assigning
the housing function to large cities would
help facilitate a more integrated approach
to urban planning. Municipalities with
fewer resources need to be able to access
focused support to enable them to fulfil
their core responsibilities and build capacity
to take on more responsibilities in future.
The application of differentiation needs
to extend beyond a broad categorisation
of municipalities towards a greater
responsiveness to the needs and constraints
of individual municipalities.
At both provincial and municipal levels, major
benefits can be achieved where national
government is proactive in how it manages
the intergovernmental system, so that it
detects potential problems early and works
with the other spheres to address specific
issues on a case-by-case basis.
2.2.3 Local government Significant advances have been made in
establishing a single local government
system from the fragmented, undemocratic,
unaccountable and racially divided apartheid
system. Building on the Constitution, the
1998 White Paper on Local Government2
paved the way for a modern local government
system with clear developmental objectives.
The number of municipalities was rationalised
from 843 before 2000 to 283 just before the
2011 municipal elections, and a new fiscal
framework was instituted that guaranteed
local government a share of national
revenue. Policies and support structures were
put in place with the intention of building
the capacity of local government to deliver
municipal services.
In the past two decades, municipalities
have delivered basic services to millions of
households that did not receive them before.
Given that a number of municipalities had little
or no pre-existing institutional foundations on
which to build, and where these existed, they
were geared towards serving the needs of a
minority, this is a remarkable feat. However,
local government is still in the process of
transformation and many challenges remain
for local government service delivery.
Remaining backlogs and unevenness in
quality of service delivery contribute to deepseated dissatisfaction in some communities,
as evidenced by the steep rise in service
delivery protests. Figure 2.1 shows a significant
decline in public opinion of government’s
performance in delivering basic services,
together with an increase in the number
Figure 2.1: Public opinion of delivery of basic services compared to number of
service delivery protests, 2001–2013ii
% respondents
2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Performing well
Number of major service delivery protests
against municipalities
The data for public
opinion on the delivery
of basic services is based
on Markinor surveys. The
data for service delivery
protests is based on
data from Municipal
IQ. It only covers major
protests staged by
community members
against a municipality, as
recorded by the media,
raising issues that are
the responsibility or
perceived responsibility
of local government.
Issues falling outside
local government’s
service delivery mandate
are excluded from the
data. The 2013 value is
estimated based on data
up to October 2013.
Service delivery protests
Sources: GCIS based on Markinor survey and Municipal IQ
of major service delivery protests. These
trends highlight the importance of effective
engagement with citizens in order to ensure
that concerns are heard and addressed, as
well as the need to maintain and strengthen
government’s focus on improving the quality
of service delivery.
In recent years significant effort has been
directed towards refurbishment and routine
maintenance, particularly of water and
sanitation infrastructure. The Department
of Water Affairs has identified over 600
projects, of which 288 and 166 have been
selected for implementation in 2013/14 and
2014/15 respectively. Of the 288 projects for
2013/14, 122 are focused on refurbishment
of dilapidated infrastructure.
Many municipalities have been affected by
a shortage of technical skills, resulting in
difficulties in delivering on their mandates. To
this end the Municipal Infrastructure Support
Agency was established in 2011 to support
municipalities with planning, management
and other technical expertise to roll out
infrastructure more efficiently and effectively
– especially in weaker municipalities. MISA
is currently providing technical capacity
support to 107 municipalities, with a total
of 77 technical experts (engineering and
planning professionals) assigned to support
these municipalities. Signs of improvements
in project implementation, spending of
allocated conditional grants (e.g. Municipal
Infrastructure Grant) and infrastructure
maintenance and refurbishment are evident
in the municipalities that are being supported.
substantial funds to building municipal
capacity since 1994. The Siyenza Manje
Programme spent some R933 million in
the period 2006/07 to 2009/103. Almost
R5.8 billion has been allocated for
municipal capacity support between
2013/14 and 2016/174. Going forward,
this support will need to be continued
and improved as some municipalities are
still struggling to build, refurbish, operate
and maintain the infrastructure needed for
reliable and sustainable service delivery.
Management and operational capabilities
in key areas (including development
planning, service delivery, human resource
community engagement and governance)
will need to be strengthened. This is
especially true in some rural municipalities,
which have a weak rates base and are
often unable to recruit and retain critical
skills. Vacancies are highest in the B4 and
C2iii (mainly rural and former homeland)
municipalities, with the percentage of
Category B4
municipalities are mainly
rural with communal
tenure and with, at
most, one or two small
towns within their
jurisdiction. Category C2
municipalities are district
municipalities, which are
water service authorities.
total posts filled averaging 64 percent and
69 percent respectively.
Poor recruitment practices and political
interference in appointments have further
complicated matters at municipal level. In
response, national government has recently
developed minimum competency requirements
for senior managers in local government.
Rigorous implementation of these regulations
will help ensure that municipalities recruit the
right skills for the job. As is identified in the
next section, municipalities also need to focus
on improving the way they engage and work
with local communities.
2.2.4 Deepening participatory democracy
South Africa has made great strides in creating
mechanisms for citizens to participate
on an ongoing basis and not just during
elections. This is evident in the policy and
legislative framework and the establishment
of numerous statutory bodies, structures
and programmes. The 1997 White Paper on
Transforming Public Service Delivery (Batho
Pele White Paper) focused on ensuring that
government is responsive to the needs of its
citizens. Legislation such as the Promotion
of Access to Information Act of 2000 and
the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act
of 2000 are designed to enable citizens to
access state information and administrative
advisory structures, consultative forums and
grievance mechanisms have been established
to enable citizens to participate in and inform
governance processes.
Turning these formal structures into
dynamic mechanisms that elicit meaningful
challenge. Participatory processes are often
run as isolated events without effective
feedback mechanisms or are outsourced to
consultants, raising questions about their
credibility. There is a perception that the
state does not always take these structures
seriously. In poor communities, limited
resources, social inequality and prevailing
power relations can present obstacles
to meaningful citizen engagement. The
increase in service delivery protests provides
visible evidence that the state is struggling
to ensure that poor communities feel that
they are being heard. Protests are typically
prompted by a range of concerns including
access to services, the quality of services
and the perceived non-responsiveness
of local government. The priority is
therefore to ensure that mechanisms for
promoting participation, accountability
and responsiveness are used effectively.
The discussion of public service ethos and
culture later in this chapter identifies some
of the steps that are being taken to improve
public sector responsiveness.
Attention needs to be given to improving
accountability mechanisms for routine dayto-day interactions between citizens and the
state, particularly at the point of delivery. This
includes enabling citizens to provide direct
feedback on the quality of services through
citizen-based monitoring, and ensuring that
frontline public servants and their managers
are given adequate authority to address
issues as and when they arise. More emphasis
needs to be put on engaging citizens in their
own spaces rather than only expecting them
to use forums and structures established by
the state.
At local government level, there is a
particular need to ensure that participation
in the integrated development planning (IDP)
processes is deliberative, with citizens being
involved in identifying and resolving tradeoffs rather than simply developing shopping
lists of needs. Chapter 4 of the Municipal
Systems Act obliges a municipality to create
the systems, mechanisms and enabling
conditions for meaningful participation of the
community in the affairs of the municipality
beyond the IDP process, including in
performance. The Act requires councillors
and officials to play a key role in fostering
community participation. However, while
structures such as ward committees have been
created to enable councillors and officials to
engage with communities, these have not
worked in the manner intended. Interactions
are often formulaic and symbolic rather than
meaningful and have generally not helped to
strengthen links between communities and
councillors. On the contrary, many councillors
have become estranged from communities
and their critical concerns. The link between
councillors and citizens via the ward
committee system needs to be improved. This
could be addressed through the translation
of IDPs into ward-level service improvement
plans that respond to the specific needs of
each ward. Additionally, greater emphasis
needs to be placed on ensuring two-way
communication and interaction that enables
citizens to express their needs and concerns
as well as for citizens to be kept informed by
councillors of key issues and developments
that are underway in the ward.
2.2.5 Traditional leadership
In addition to the institutions of representative
and participatory democracy developed since
1994, many citizens’ lives are also affected
by institutions of traditional leadership. The
British colonial government sought to co-opt
traditional leaders to legitimise the colonial
system of indirect rule and the apartheid
government sought to use traditional leaders
to legitimise the homeland system, awarding
leaders limited powers and salaries to secure
their allegiance to the apartheid regime.
Nonetheless, some traditional leaders played
a prominent role in opposing colonialism and
apartheid and challenged the legitimacy of
the homeland system.
Studies suggest that traditional leaders play an
important role in a community’s heritage and
culture and impact on the lives of people living
in areas covered by traditional leaders through
their role in local governance, with many
citizens having contact with both traditional
leaders and public sector institutions. The
result, which is not unique to South Africa, is
overlapping systems of governance between
traditional leaders and the three spheres of
government. Recognising the complexities
posed by this dualism, the democratic
government embarked on a process aimed at
correcting the wrongs of the past within the
institution of traditional leadership.
Chapter 12 of the Constitution recognises
traditional leadership and states that
national legislation may provide a role for
such leadership. Since 1994, government
has developed legislation and policy
frameworks to give effect to Chapter 12 of
the Constitution, including the Traditional
Leadership and Governance Framework
Act (2003), the White Paper on Traditional
Leadership and Governance (2003) and the
National House of Traditional Leaders Act
(2009). The National House of Traditional
Leaders was established in 1997.
One of the objectives of the White Paper
on Traditional Leadership and Governance
was to ensure that traditional leadership
structures are in line with the principles of the
Constitution. This has included a focus on
improving gender representivity in traditional
leadership structures. The development of
policy and legislation has not fully resolved
the challenges in ensuring constructive
relations between traditional leaders and
government, or the democratisation and
transformation of traditional leadership to
ensure alignment with the principles of the
Constitution. Debates about traditional
leadership focus on a range of issues,
including gender relations, the principles of
the Constitution, and the rights of individuals
to opt out of traditional systems.
The Presidency’s Fifteen Year Review
highlighted the need to assess “whether the
exercise of traditional power and authority
reflects the letter and spirit of the Constitution,
without the emergence of two classes of
citizens: those ruled by democratically elected
institutions and those ruled by unelected
traditional leaders”. In 2004, after consultation
with the traditional leadership institutions in
the country, the government established an
independent commission, commonly known
as the Nhlapo Commission. The purpose of
the commission was to address disputes and
claims on traditional leadership.
In 2009, the Department of Traditional Affairs
was established to support the institution
of traditional leadership. In addition, the
Traditional Affairs Bill (2013) has been drafted
to consolidate national legislation dealing
with traditional leadership and make statutory
provision for the recognition of the Khoi-San
communities and leaders. The National KhoiSan Council, consisting of 30 members drawn
from the five main groupings of Khoi-San
society, was also established.
The Traditional Courts Bill, which was
intended to affirm the recognition of the
traditional justice system and its values and
to regulate the role of traditional leadership
in the administration of justice, faced strong
opposition from a range of civil society groups
and ordinary citizens, especially women
in rural areas, resulting in its withdrawal in
December 2012. The Bill is perceived by some
as undermining equal citizenship rights and
imposing a segregated legal system on those
living in the former homelands. As a result,
the statutory deadline of 30 December 2012,
by which the Bill should have been enacted
into law, has not been met and consultations
on the Bill are ongoing. The debates around
these Bills indicate that the scope of influence
of traditional leadership remains highly
contested. There is a need for society to reflect
on the Constitutional provisions on traditional
leadership and how they are being interpreted
through legislation so as to ensure protection
of the rights of all citizens.
2.2.6 Representivity of the public service
Significant progress has been made since
1994 in addressing this Constitutional
imperative, as the composition of the public
service and local government has been
transformed to better represent the entire
population. Overall, national and provincial
government combined employed 1.3 million
people by the end of 2011/12. Of these,
57 percent were female and 43 percent
male. Furthermore, 80 percent were African,
9 percent white, 8 percent Coloured and
3 percent Asian. This is a remarkable shift from
The apartheid public service was a major source
of employment for the white population and was
used as a tool to empower Afrikaans-speaking
whites. To address this legacy, the Constitution
stipulates that “public administration must be
broadly representative of the South African
people, with employment management and
personnel practices based on ability, objectives,
fairness and the need to redress the imbalances
of the past to achieve broad representation”.
Figure 2.2: Improved representivity of the public service, 1995–2013
Source: PERSAL
Figure 2.3: Increase in the representation of women in senior management
positions in the public service, 1995–2013
Source: PERSAL
the skewed demographics that characterised
the apartheid public service.
coordination and a strengthened planning
system can help to resolve.
The improvement in the representivity of
the public service is particularly striking at
senior management level. In 1994, senior
management in the public service (i.e.
Director to Director-General level) was
94 percent white and 95 percent male. By
2011, 87 percent of senior management was
black (African, Coloured and Asian)5.
The Fifteen Year Review highlighted the
absence of comprehensive medium-term
planning, an effective, ongoing system for
monitoring service delivery, and a system for
ensuring government accountability for poor
service-delivery performance. To address
these challenges, the National Planning
Commission (NPC) and the Department of
Performance Monitoring and Evaluation
(DPME) were formed within the Presidency in
2009. The NPC was tasked with developing
a long-term vision and plan for the country.
The resulting National Development Plan
was published in 2012, providing South
Africa with a common vision and strategy for
eliminating poverty and reducing inequality
and providing a common framework to guide
more detailed medium- and short-term
planning in government.
The representation of women (at senior levels)
and people with disabilities (throughout the
public service) still needs to improve further.
Although women make up 57 percent of
the public service, and a substantial number
of women occupy leadership roles, their
numbers are nonetheless concentrated at
salary levels 1 to 10, while the proportion of
men increases from levels 11 to 166. Only
38 percent of senior managers in provincial
and national government are female. Similarly,
the 2 percent target for employing people
with disabilities has not been met, with the
figure standing at 0.4 percent7.
2.2.7 Coordination and planning
Coordination is a perpetual challenge for all
governments. The Presidency’s Fifteen Year
Review noted the progress made since 1994 in
establishing the necessary structures to foster
greater integration and cooperation within
and across the three spheres of government.
These include clusters of ministers,
corresponding clusters of directors-general
and the Forum of South African DirectorsGeneral (FOSAD), the forums for ministers
and members of the Executive Council
(MinMECs) and the Presidential Coordinating
Council (PCC). As highlighted in the NDP,
these formal coordination mechanisms need
to be supported by a greater focus on routine
day-to-day coordination through regular
communication and interaction among midlevel officials.
Effective coordination between departments
also helps improve coordination with other
arms of the state, the private sector and society
at large. For example, municipalities and stateowned enterprises sometimes receive mixed
messages from different departments, while
businesses often complain about a lack of
policy clarity due to the way responsibilities are
divided between government departments.
These are issues that more focused
This increased focus on long-term planning
helps address a number of weaknesses in
our planning system. In particular, it focuses
attention on long-term priorities and how
the decisions we make today impact on the
country’s future trajectory. The existence of a
long-term plan also helps bring about a greater
degree of policy certainty. As was highlighted
in the NPC’s diagnostic overview, progress
in improving implementation has sometimes
been undermined by overly frequent changes
in policy approaches and organisational
design. While such changes are sometimes
necessary, they are also destabilising and can
divert attention from the steps needed to
achieve longer-term objectives.
After 2009, government also introduced
an outcomes-based system to strengthen
deliverables in the government’s priority
policy areas were set and ministers signed
performance agreements with the President
to meet these targets. These agreements
were used as the basis for delivery agreements
between departments and spheres of
government. Existing coordinating structures,
such as the clusters and Cabinet committees,
were tasked with ensuring that the targets
were achieved. A rigorous system for
evaluating major government programmes
at both national and provincial level was
also introduced. As a result, government has
become more focused on results and how its
actions are affecting society.
With these monitoring structures in place, the
focus for the next period will be on ensuring
that medium-term planning (in the form of the
Medium Term Strategic Framework, delivery
agreements and departmental plans, as well
as provincial and municipal plans) form the
first of a succession of five-year plans towards
achieving the NDP’s vision for 2030.
The NDP places particular emphasis on the
need to improve the quality of implementation.
This will require improvements in mediumand short-term planning, as well as a sustained
focus on improving performance.
2.2.8 Performance of the public service
The NDP states that government’s ability to
achieve its developmental objectives requires
an effective public service. In the first decade
after the transition to democracy, government
focused on restructuring, intensive policy
development and comprehensive legislative
reform, including the wholesale revision and
modernisation of the legislation governing
the public service. New legislation introduced
during this period includes the Public Service
Act and the Public Finance Management Act
(PFMA), as well as the Municipal Systems
Act and the Municipal Finance Management
Act. The frameworks that governed the
public service before 1994 were based
on highly centralised decision-making
and detailed regulation, and tended to
result in a bureaucratic, unresponsive
and risk-averse public service. The new
frameworks sought to empower managers
to take decisions by making provision
for decentralised decision-making within
broad policy frameworks. This legislative
reform process was largely completed by
2004, and since then the focus has shifted
to improving implementation.
Improving operational management
Poorly maintained or dirty service-delivery
sites, excessive queues and waiting times,
long turnaround times for processing permit
applications, shortages of supplies such as
medicines, and under-expenditure of budgets
for social infrastructure such as schools and
clinics, are all usually symptoms of managerial
weakness rather than budgetary constraints.
Poor audit outcomes, non-payment of
legitimate invoices within 30 days and the
large debts owed by national and provincial
departments to municipalities are also
examples of ineffective management.
Over the past decade, substantial progress
has been made in improving government
performance and service delivery in some
areas, particularly where attention has been
given to improving operational management.
Improvements in the South African Revenue
Service, as well as the identity document
and passport functions at the Department of
Home Affairs, show what can be accomplished
when there is standardisation and continuous
improvement of work processes, when
productivity levels are set, measured and
monitored, and when there are improvements
in information technology. They also highlight
the importance of managers working closely
with frontline staff to ensure there is clarity
about how their work contributes to meeting
departmental objectives.
Improvements in operational management
translate into an improved working experience
for staff, as well as dramatic improvements in
the quality of service delivery. As a result of
such operational management improvements
in the Department of Home Affairs, the
average time taken to process applications
for identity documents decreased from
127 days in 2006 to less than 45 days in 2011.
The new smart ID cards can be issued within
three days of application.
Other examples of operational improvements
that have been achieved include reducing the
average reaction time for the police responding
to serious crimes in progress from 22 minutes
in 2010 to 18 minutes in 2013; increasing
the response rate for calls to the Presidential
Hotline from 39 percent in 2009 to 94 percent
in 2013; and reducing the percentage of
vacant funded posts in the public service from
18.7 percent in 2011 to 8.6 percent in 2013.
The Department of Social Development and
the South African Social Services Agency
reduced the average turnaround time for
processing social grant applications from
30 days in 2010 to two days in 2012.
Moving forward, government will need to
build on these examples in order to replicate
these successes in other areas of the public
service. The Department of Health has
recently put in place minimum competency
requirements for hospital managers and
established an Office for Health Standards
Compliance, which is now monitoring
indicators such as the availability of
medicines and supplies, cleanliness, patient
safety and waiting times. The Department
of Public Service and Administration and
National Treasury are developing measures
to improve the oversight and support
available to ensure that departments
improve the standard of financial, human
resource and operational management. The
Department of Performance Monitoring
and Evaluation is carrying out assessments
of the quality of management practices in
national and provincial departments and
municipalities, and is making these public to
increase managerial accountability.
Instability in administrative leadership
Over the past 20 years, South Africa has
experienced high levels of instability in the top
levels of administrative leadership. This has
been a particular challenge during transitions
between administrations, when the arrival of
new ministers and members of the Executive
Council (MECs) can lead to sudden changes
in senior management as new ministers and
MECs often prefer to appoint their own
heads of department. An assessment of the
quality of management practices in all 156
national and provincial departments in 2012
indicated that there is a strong correlation
between the performance of departments in
terms of meeting their targets in their Annual
Performance Plans and the stability of their
senior management8.
The Public Service Act of 1994 allocated
responsibility over appointments in the public
service to the executive. This approach was
necessary to manage the transition. However,
it has created a perception that some public
servants have been appointed based on their
connections to a particular political principal
rather than their level of expertise. It has also
had the unintended consequence of creating
high levels of turnover in the top levels of the
bureaucracy. A high level of instability works
against the longer-term task of building
state capacity. It tends to result in frequent
changes in policy approach and, ultimately,
undermines efforts to build state capacity
and improve the quality of service delivery.
Skills and skills development
The creation of a representative public
service resulted in many talented and
committed people entering the public
service. However, it also created the need
for rapid promotions, meaning that
some young black professionals were
promoted to senior roles before they
had developed the necessary experience
in managing large departments. In
addition, a worrying trend has developed
where, in many departments, junior and
middle managers are no longer assigned
significant responsibility or meaningful
tasks, partly due to poor management and
an increased reliance on outsourcing. If
this is not reversed, it will undermine the
ability of the public service to develop
much-needed skills. In response to these
challenges, increased attention is now
being given to the skills needed to carry
out particular roles. For example, the
Department of Health has recently put in
place minimum competency requirements
for hospital managers.
The NDP highlights the need for a longerterm approach to skills development in order
to develop the technical and professional
skills needed to fulfil core functions in the
public service. It also highlights that most
learning takes place on the job, and that staff
members at all levels need to be stretched,
supported and mentored to develop their
skills and expertise. This requires paying
attention to the role of recruitment, human
resources and management practices in
promoting ongoing learning alongside the
provision of training.
Skills development programmes in the public
service have tended to operate in isolation
from broader human resource management
practices. Entities tasked with human resource
development in the public service – the Public
Service Training Institute, the South African
Management Development Institute and then
the Public Administration Leadership and
Management Academy – have struggled to
provide focused, quality training programmes.
As a result, substantial financial resources
were invested in training programmes that
had limited impact on the efficiency and
effectiveness of the public service.
The establishment in 2013 of the National
School of Government, which replaces
the Public Administration Leadership and
Management Academy, aims to address
past weaknesses in the training of public
servants. In addition, sector departments,
such as Basic Education, Health and Higher
Education, have been putting mechanisms
in place for anticipating and addressing
shortfalls in scarce skills in their sectors,
while the Department of Public Service and
Administration has introduced occupationspecific employment dispensations to
help departments attract and retain scarce
specialist and technical skills.
Public service ethos and culture
In 1997, the government introduced the
Batho Pele (“people first”) principles and
campaign, signalling its commitment to
creating a people-centred public service that
is impartial, professional and committed to
the public good. These principles sought to
encourage public participation and promote
citizens’ ability to know and claim their rights.
The Presidency and Offices of the Premiers
monitored frontline service delivery at more
than 300 state service centres between 2011
and 2013. Overall, it was found that frontline
staff generally treated the public with dignity
and showed commitment to Batho Pele
principles, indicating a degree of success of
the Batho Pele campaign. The monitoring
found challenges with complaint management
systems, cleanliness, maintenance of facilities,
waiting times and queue management.
These are largely attributable to weaknesses
in operational management.
Significant attention has been given to
developing mechanisms through which
citizens can raise complaints about specific
issues. The government information website
lists over 60 hotlines for national and provincial
government. The Presidential Hotline, which
was launched in September 2009, provides
citizens with a mechanism for raising issues
that they have been unable to resolve
elsewhere. By June 2013 the Presidential
Hotline had logged over 200 000 cases and
had a response rate of over 90 percent.
While the attitudes and motivation of staff are
important factors in shaping the public service
ethos and culture, these are heavily influenced
by the work environment, including the
effectiveness of management and operations
systems. Badly managed, poorly organised
and under-resourced work environments make
it harder for staff to respond to the needs of
citizens, and ultimately undermine staff morale.
The improvements in the identity document
and passport functions at the Department
of Home Affairs flowed from improvements
in operations systems, as well as from
managers working closely with frontline staff
to ensure that they are aware of how their
work contributes to meeting departmental
objectives. This has translated into an
improved working experience for staff and
dramatic improvements in the quality of
service delivery. Going forward, strategies for
improving the public service ethos and culture
need to address shortcomings in operations
and management systems so that staff at all
levels have the authority and support they
need to fulfil their responsibilities.
Management of financial resources
Since 1994, South Africa has successfully
restructured public finances and built a
highly efficient tax administration that
ranks number one among the BRICS (Brazil,
Russia, India, China and South Africa)
countries for efficiency and ease of use.
Total tax revenue grew from R114 billion
in 1994/95 to a projected R895 billion9
in 2013/14, while the number of
registered individual taxpayers grew from
approximately 3 million in 1996/97 to
approximately 18 million in 2012/13 (see
Figure 2.4). The rapid improvement in
domestic revenue mobilisation is a major
achievement and provides a sustainable
resource for financing development and
avoiding dependence on aid. The budget
process has also become highly transparent,
No of taxpayers on
income tax register
Other tax types
Value Added Tax (VAT)
Number of taxpayers (million)
Revenue collected (R billion)
Figure 2.4: Improvements in revenue collection, 1996/97–2012/13
Corporate Income Tax (CIT)
Personal Income Tax (PIT)
Source: South African Revenue Service
Figure 2.5: Decline in negative audit opinions in government and public
entities, 2000/01–2012/13
Percentage of the total annual audit opinions
that are either qualified, adverse or disclaimer
00/01 01/02 02/03 03/04 04/05 05/06 06/07 07/08 08/09 09/10 10/11 11/12 12/13
National departments
Provincial departments
Public entities
Source: Auditor-General South Africa
with South Africa ranking first in the Open
Budget Index in 2010 and second in 201210.
The country has established a credible
independent Reserve Bank.
An important indication of how public resources
are used comes from the Auditor-General’s
reports. Figure 2.5 indicates that the number
of audits with poor results (qualified, adverse
or disclaimer opinions) has generally declined
since 2000/01. There has been a particularly
marked improvement at provincial level.
Adherence to the two key pieces of
legislation that govern financial management
– the Public Finance Management Act for
national and provincial government and
the Municipal Finance Management Act for
local government – remains a challenge.
The Auditor-General has identified the
failure of political and administrative
leadership to act on negative audit opinions
as the main reason for the remaining poor
audit results and high levels of irregular or
unauthorised expenditure.
Fighting corruption in the public service
Corruption impedes service delivery and
undermines public confidence in the
state. Figure 2.6 is based on Transparency
Index. The graph suggests that public
perceptions about corruption in the public
sector in South Africa increased slightly
and gradually between 1998 and 2013 (a
lower score indicates higher perceptions
of corruption). It should be noted that an
increase in perceptions of corruption does
not necessarily mean that corruption has
increased – it could mean that more incidents
of corruption are being exposed, thereby
increasing public awareness. Based on these
scores, South Africa’s ranking compared to
other countries has not changed significantly
over the last 20 years. In 2013, South Africa
was ranked 72 out of 177 countries (where 1
is the least corrupt), compared with 32 out of
85 countries in 1998. Nevertheless, it is clear
that perceptions of corruption are sufficiently
high to impact adversely on public confidence
in the state and strong efforts are needed to
tackle this issue.
Corruption is partly a symptom of weak
management and operations systems, which
create the space for corruption to thrive.
In this regard, a number of mechanisms
have been put in place to limit the scope
for conflicts of interest since 1994. Among
these mechanisms is the compulsion for all
senior managers, as well as officials working
in procurement, to declare any financial and
business interests. Recently, there has been
an improvement in timeous submission of
disclosure forms by senior managers to
the Public Service Commission (PSC), from
47 percent in 2009/10 to 84 percent in
2013/14. The PSC has been developing
Figure 2.6: Perceptions of corruption in South Africa, 1998–2013
Highly corrupt
1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Source: Transparency International
the capacity to analyse these disclosures,
including cross-checking with information
on the database of the Companies and
Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) to
identify potential conflicts of interest.
from doing business with the state. The
Department is also strengthening its capacity
to provide support to departments to
investigate alleged cases of corruption and
to manage related disciplinary processes.
The National Anti-Corruption Hotline was
put in place to enable members of the public
to report cases of alleged corruption to the
PSC for investigation. Since the inception of
the Hotline in 2004, government recovered
about R330 million from offenders, and a total
of 17 110 cases of alleged corruption were
generated. Of the cases reported through
the hotline, 2 638 officials were found guilty
of misconduct, 491 were suspended, 1 600
dismissed, 210 prosecuted, 31 demoted,
256 fined three months' salary and 541
received written warnings. The feedback rate
from departments to the public on reported
cases improved from 40 percent in August
2011 to 59 percent in September 201311.
The finalisation of cases reported improved
from 23 percent to 40 percent during the
same period. Although this is a significant
improvement, lack of feedback and
finalisation of reported cases by departments
has a negative effect on public confidence
in government’s commitment to fighting
corruption, and improving the performance
of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline needs
to remain an area of focus.
More recently, the Department of Public
Service and Administration has developed
draft legislation to prevent public servants
South Africa has made significant progress
in transforming the apartheid state into a
democratic one founded on the values of
human dignity, non-racialism and non-sexism,
the rule of law, and universal adult suffrage,
as enshrined in the Constitution.
Effort has been put into building a modern
state capable of meeting the developmental
objectives of creating a better life for all.
South Africa’s progress in achieving this has
few parallels elsewhere in the world. The
South African state of today is utterly different
from the racially fragmented administrative
structures of the apartheid era. Although
the foundations for an effective, capable
and developmental state have been laid,
there is still a need to address weaknesses
in how some state structures function. The
NDP identifies key steps that need to be
taken to build a state capable of playing
a transformative and developmental role.
These are currently being incorporated into
the Medium Term Strategic Framework for
2014–2019 as the first five-year building
block of the NDP. In particular, the NDP
has identified the following key areas for
sustained and focused action:
the political-administrative
interface to ensure a clearer separation
between the roles of the political principal
and the administrative head, as well
as reducing the high turnover in top
management positions.
❚ Stabilising
❚ Making the public service and local
government careers of choice so that
recruitment is based on experience
and expertise, especially in leadership
positions, and ensuring that the
public service plays a proactive role in
reproducing the skills and ethos it needs
by providing a conducive environment for
staff to develop their skills and expertise
over the course of their careers.
❚ Improving interdepartmental coordination
professional skills that are essential for
fulfilling the state’s core functions.
to ensure that most issues are resolved
through day-to-day interactions between
officials. This will enable the cluster system
to pay greater attention to strategic issues.
The Presidency also has a vital role to play
in mediating the resolution of the more
intractable coordination challenges, as well
as providing overall strategic direction.
❚ Ensuring that procurement systems deliver
Improving relations between the three
value for money. This priority is currently
being taken forward through the creation
of the role of Chief Procurement Officer in
National Treasury.
spheres of government to ensure a better
fit between responsibilities and capacity,
through the effective implementation of the
principles of differentiation and targeted
support. A more proactive approach is
also needed to resolve intergovernmental
coordination problems on a case-by-case
❚ Developing the technical and specialist
❚ Strengthening operational management.
processes, setting, measuring and
monitoring productivity levels, and
improvements in information technology.
❚ Strengthening delegation, accountability
oversight and public accountability, an
active citizenry in governance processes
and decision-making and robust Chapter 9
institutions (such as the Public Protector,
the Auditor-General and the Electoral
Commission) will be crucial in achieving this
goal. Improved accountability to citizens
will require a greater focus on day-to-day
accountability at the point of delivery, as well
as ensuring that participatory mechanisms
allow for meaningful citizen engagement.
local government to
ensure the realisation of the vision of
a developmental local government,
particularly focusing on those municipalities
that are performing poorly.
❚ Strengthening
Inter-Parliamentary Union, (2013).
“Women in national parliaments
(online).” Accessed January 2014.
Available from <
White Paper Political Committee,
(1998). “White Paper on Local
Genesis & the Project Shop (2010).
“Evaluation of the Siyenza Manje
Programme: Lessons from the First
Three Years of Operation.”
National Treasury (2013).
“Presentation on 2014 Medium Term
Expenditure Framework.” Pretoria
Public Service Commission, (2011).
“Fact Sheet on the State of the
Public Service 2011.”
Department of Public Service and
Administration, (2012).
“Public Service Affirmative
Action and Employment Equity
Report 2012.”
Department of Public Service
and Administration, (2012). “Public
Service Affirmative Action and
Employment Equity Report 2012.”
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation, (2012).
“MPAT: State of Management
Practices 2012.”
Minister of Finance, (2013).
“Medium-term Budget Policy
Statement 2013.”
International Budget Partnership,
(2013). “Open Budget Survey
Country Information (online)”.
Accessed January 2014. Available
from <>.
Data obtained from the Public
Service Commission.
The democratic state inherited a divided nation, with high
poverty levels, inequalities, discriminatory practices and
inequitable distribution of income. The inequalities that
persist today have largely been attributed to apartheid
policies limiting access to quality education and formal
labour market participation, which served to keep people
trapped in poverty. Opportunities for black people
(African, Coloured and Indian) to secure management
positions or become owners of companies were minimal.
Service provision was also distorted. In rural areas in
particular, black people were denied access to clean
water, sanitation, electricity and safe transport. In urban
areas, services for black people barely met basic needs.
Power outages were common and the supply of critical
services was intermittent.
Before 1994, welfare policy was designed to entrench the
socio-economic privileges of the white population, which
already enjoyed preferential access to education, low
unemployment rates and low exposure to vulnerability
and risks. The welfare system was fragmented, inefficient
and ineffective. Fourteen different departments serviced
different racial and ethnic groups.
Under apartheid, education was based on race. The
apartheid education system deliberately and explicitly
aimed to ensure that Africans remained a source of
unskilled labour for the economy. Former Prime Minister
Verwoerd stated that: “The Bantu must be guided to serve
his own community in all respects. There is no place for
him in the European community above the level of certain
forms of labour”1. At the height of apartheid, white per
capita funding was 10 times that of African learners2.
Democratic South Africa also inherited a racially
differentiated education system, with 19 different
departments of education, each maintaining different
standards and administrating its own examinations. There
was also a huge backlog in public school infrastructure.
There were not enough classrooms, and most black
❚ Matriculation pass rate of 53.4 percent
❚ Adult literacy rate below 70 percent
❚ 7.1 percent had a tertiary education
❚ 99 percent of white teachers were qualified,
93 percent of Indian teachers, 71 percent of
Coloured teachers, and 54 percent of
African teachers
❚ Professional staff in the higher education system
comprised 80 percent white people, 12 percent
African, 4 percent Coloured and 4 percent Indian.
schools did not have libraries, laboratories, sportsfields or
access to water, electricity and sanitation. Very few African
children benefited from early childhood development
services. It was estimated that in 1994, 28.7 percent of
children under the age of five were undernourished3.
The healthcare system was biased towards curative
services. Primary services were largely underdeveloped.
Historically, white and urban areas had better healthcare
resources. The burden of disease in South Africa
mirrored racial and socio-economic inequalities. Due
to the divided nature of the healthcare services before
1994 – with 14 health departments, including homeland
administrations – health outcome indicators were not
assessed systematically or regularly. Despite this, there
are indications that the life expectancy of white South
Africans in 19904 was 69 years for men and 76 years for
women. By contrast, the life expectancy of Africans was
60 years for men and 67 years for women. Access to
quality healthcare was especially limited in African and
rural areas.
The Natives Land Act of 1913 and apartheid policies
in subsequent decades resulted in widespread, racially
based dispossession of land ownership rights. About
3.5 million people were forcibly removed from their
land to designated homelands. In 1994, 87 percent of
commercial arable land was owned by white farmers and
businesses. Black people in rural areas lived either on
commercial farms (as farmworkers) or in communal areas
under the communal tenure system.
As a result of apartheid policies, in 1994,
60 percent of South Africans were living in rural areas
characterised by poverty, joblessness, weak institutions
and gross inequality. The migrant labour system
inherited in 1994 meant that former homelands had
disproportionately large populations of women, children
and pensioners. Fewer than 30 percent of adults of
working age had a primary school education. Employment
levels were very low in rural areas5, with just one adult out
of every four being employed, compared with two out of
four in the metropolitan areas. Rural infrastructure was
inadequate and basic services were severely limited.
Apartheid planning consigned the majority of South
Africans to live in places far away from places of work,
where services could not be sustained and where it was
difficult to access the benefits of society or participate
fully in the economy. Towns and cities were highly
fragmented, imposing high costs on households and the
economy. Inefficiencies and inequities in South Africa’s
settlement patterns are deeply entrenched as a result
of apartheid.
Housing was also delivered through a fragmented
system of 14 race- and ethnicity-based administrations.
Opportunities for black people to purchase and own land
were limited. This created a highly distorted
property market system, with a functioning
housing market for a white minority, coupled
with housing in public rental urban black
ghettoes. There was no proper housing in
what were effectively rural ghettoes.
❚ The social grant programme has resulted in a reduction in
poverty levels
❚ No-fee schools have been introduced to make it easier for
the poor to send their children to school and has resulted in
improved school enrolment
❚ Virtually all the learners from poor households are receiving a
government-funded school lunch
❚ In the health system, user fees were abolished for primary
healthcare services and indigent and very poor users are not
required to pay for hospital services
❚ The low-income housing subsidy provides access to housing
for the very poor
❚ Municipalities provide municipal rates rebates to the indigent
and free basic water and electricity to the poor
❚ Agricultural support programmes are provided to rural
households engaged in subsistence and small scale farming
❚ Minimum wage levels were introduced for low-paid workers
such as agricultural and domestic workers
❚ A regulatory environment was put in place to enable access to
banking for low income and poor households
❚ Public employment schemes have created more that 4 million
work opportunities since 1994.
By the 1980s, housing for black people was
overcrowded and costly, with deteriorating
municipal services and the growth of illegal
informal settlements. Civil protests and rent
and service boycotts made black townships
increasingly dysfunctional and ungovernable.
In 1994, the housing backlog was estimated
to be 1.2 million. The 1996 census showed
that 1.5 million households were living in
informal houses in urban areas.
Within this context, women, young people
and people with disabilities were further
excluded and marginalised. Disruption of
family life is another legacy of apartheid,
a consequence of the pass laws, forced
removals, the migrant labour system and the
establishment of homelands.
3.2.1 Income, poverty and inequality
discussed in Chapter 4. South Africa’s
relatively low employment ratio, compared
with international norms, suggests that
comparatively few people, especially in
the lower income deciles, rely on wages as
their main source of income. As illustrated
in Figure 3.1, the poorest 40 percent of
Figure 3.1: Sources of household income
Imputed rent on
owned dwelling
Other income
Income from
Pensions, social
insurance, family
Income from
Percentage of household income
Because they were so deeply entrenched,
the inequities of apartheid continued
to reproduce themselves after 1994. To
significantly transform South African society,
government’s main focus has been on
programmes that address income, human
capital (education, skills and health) and asset
poverty, and inequality. New policies and
programmes have been introduced to address
the needs and vulnerability of children, people
with disabilities and the aged through social
assistance grants and other developmental
social services. Labour market interventions
have been introduced to address inequality
(affirmative action policies) and poverty (such
as public works programmes). Measures have
been put in place to address asset poverty,
such as land reform and the provision of
housing and basic services.
Source: Statistics South Africa, Income and Expenditure Survey 2010/11
households (the first four bars in the graph)
derive more than half of their income from
non-wage sources of income. Social grants
are an important source of income for those
households. More than half of all households
in the former homelands depend mostly on
remittances or grants, compared with under a
quarter in the rest of the country5.
Percentage of household income
The Gini coefficient
ranks countries
between 0, indicating
complete equality,
and 1, indicating
complete inequality,
in that one person
has all of the income/
consumption while
others have none.
South Africa remains one of the most
inequitable countries in the world. When
using the Gini coefficienti measurement,
inequality increased from 0.64 in 1995 to 0.69
in 2005, but improved to 0.65 in 2010/116.
The share of wages in national income has
been decreasing, from just below 55 percent
in 1994 to a low of 49 percent in 2008. It
then increased to 51 percent in 2012. This
could be the result of real wages stagnating,
at least for the median worker. According to
Post-Apartheid Labour Market Survey data,
real earnings for the median worker have
remained almost unchanged since 1995.
Median earnings in constant 2000 prices
have consistently remained below R2 000 a
month since 1995, in contrast to those above
the median wage, which have seen real wage
gains since 19957.
An ongoing concern is the disparity between
men and women in earned income. In 2001,
the average annual income of households
headed by women was R27 864, compared
with R63 626 for households headed by men8.
By 2011, despite an increase in the average
income for females, households headed by
women still earned less than 50 percent of
households headed by men.
As mentioned in Chapter 4, in 2012, the
median earnings for a white man was six times
as high as for an African woman. The disparity
was mostly not a result of unequal pay for the
same kinds of work, although that remained
a factor. The main reason for pay differentials
was that Africans, and especially African
women, were more likely to be employed in
lower-level jobs. As a result of this disparity in
employment, the average income for females
remains far less than their male counterparts’
salaries9. Inequalities in access to work and
pay are also reflected in household incomes.
In 2012, the median income for an African
household was under R3 000. For Coloureds
and Indians, it was just over R7 000, while for
whites it was around R20 00010.
The past decade has seen the rise of the black
middle class. There was a significant shift in
the country’s LSM (Living Standard Measure)
distribution between 2001 and 2010. The
LSM is a tool to group populations in terms
of their living standards, based on the
goods, services or luxuries available to them.
The ranking ranges from 1 (poorest living
standards) to 10 (highest living standards).
Specifically, between 2001 and 2010:
Although inequality remains high, poverty
levels have decreased. Studies conducted by
the Economic Policy Research Institute, the
Development Policy Research Unit and the
Southern Africa Labour and Development
Research Unit at the University of Cape Town all
indicate a reduction in poverty levels since 1994.
❚ The LSM 1–4 bracket shrank by 4.6 million
❚ The LSM 5–6 group grew by 5 million
❚ The LSM 7–10 group swelled by 4.7 million
Despite rising average income levels and
the rise in the black middle class, levels of
inequality have remained high, with the
richest 10 percent of households capturing
over half of the national income.
The recent decline in inequality is largely
due to the share of household income for
the highest income decile declining from
54.4 percent to 50.6 percent between 2005
and 2010, as illustrated in Figure 3.2. The
poorest 40 percent of households also saw
their share of income fall from 6 percent of the
total to 5.6 percent. By contrast, households
between the 40th percentile and the 89th
percentile increased their share of income,
from 39.7 percent to 43.8 percent12.
The study by the Economic Policy Research
Institute13, conducted in 2013, examined the
effect of social grants on poverty using three
definitions of poverty – food poverty, which
takes into account average energy intake (set
at an income of R88.71 in 1993 and R336.18
in 2013), a lower poverty line (set at R131.27
in 1993 and R497.45 in 2013) and an upper
poverty line (set at R193.61 in 1993 and R733
in 2013). Table 3.1 indicates that the poverty
rate decreased from 45 percent in 1993 to
38 percent in 2013, with social grants for the
lower poverty line. Using a food poverty level,
poverty levels declined from 33 percent to
25 percent between 1993 and 2013.
The Development Policy Research Unit study
used per capita expenditure data to show
a reduction in both absolute and relative
poverty between 1995 and 201014. (Absolute
poverty means the inability of people to meet
basic needs, such as food, clothing, housing
and medical care. Relative poverty refers to
a lack of income in relation to the average
standard of living.)
Figure 3.2: Comparison of income distribution by decile in 2005/06 and 2010/11
Source: Statistics South Africa, Income and Expenditure Survey 2005/06, 2011/12
% Share of household income
Table 3.1: Poverty rate and poverty gap, 1993 and 201315
Poverty line
(nominal Rand)
Poverty rate
without social
Poverty rate
with social grants
Poverty gap
Reduction as
1993 Food
2013 Food
Source: Economic Policy Research Institute, 2013
The Southern Africa Labour and Development
Research Unit at the University of Cape
Town’s study attempted to take into account
the effect of improvements in social and
municipal services on poverty, rather than just
the effect of money transfers and earnings16.
The study used a multidimensional poverty
index that covers improvements in health,
education, municipal services and assets to
come up with a headcount poverty ratio.
According to the study, there has been a
significant reduction in headcount poverty,
from 37 percent in 1993 to 8 percent in
2010. The Multidimensional Poverty Index
headcount measure thus shows a more
substantial reduction in poverty than the
money-metric measure does.
on fundamentally transforming the social
protection framework by deracialising access
and ensuring a shift towards a developmental
economic empowerment, inclusion, poverty
alleviation, equitable access to basic services
and community-based programmes.
Evidence indicates that there has been
progress in reducing poverty since
1994, whether using a money-metric or
a multidimensional measurement. This
reduction in poverty is an important
milestone achieved by the democratic
state. It has largely been due to tax-based
redistribution to poorer households through
social assistance grants, education, health,
labour market interventions, as well as
increased economic participation. Despite
gains in overall poverty reduction, women,
children and people with disabilities remain
especially vulnerable to poverty.
Although not aimed at meeting individuals’
total needs, social protection measures were
designed to lift recipients out of poverty
and deal with the absolute deprivation of
the most vulnerable sectors of society. They
were also designed to deal with the security
needs of the currently non-poor in the face of
shocks and life-cycle events.
3.2.2 Social protection measures
The democratic government redirected policy
and programmes from the racially determined
welfare system of apartheid to one with wide
reach and coverage. There has been a focus
protection measures, vulnerability was
understood to mean the risk of a particular
individual or group falling into poverty or
situations that compromise their wellbeing.
Social protection measures were therefore
implemented for targeted groups, such as
the elderly, children, people with disabilities,
and victims of violence and abuse.
Developmental social welfare
The new government sought to introduce
new approaches to social welfare, based on
helping the poor and vulnerable to become
self-reliant. This would include both social
assistance programmes as well as welfare
services aimed at empowering people17.
Through support and extending government
funding to voluntary organisations and
non-governmental organisations (NGOs),
including those that were previously
excluded from funding, welfare services
have been de-racialised and expanded
to communities that were not serviced or
under-serviced under apartheid.
The government-NGO partnership is
not yet able to meet all the demand for
developmental social welfare services. The
huge expansion of services to previously
under-serviced communities has put strain
on the NGO sector, both in terms of financial
resources and human resources. High levels
of unemployment, HIV and AIDS, and social
ills such as domestic violence, child abuse,
rape and other forms of sexual violence, and
alcohol and drug abuse also put strain on the
In order to increase the reach of developmental
social welfare services further, the NDP
includes plans to address skills shortages in the
social welfare sector, build better partnerships
between government and NGOs, and increase
coverage in rural areas and under-serviced
communities in urban areas.
Social assistance
Social assistance through grants is the
democratic government’s most effective
poverty-alleviation tool. The Social Assistance
Programme has been expanding at an
unprecedented rate, with the number of
beneficiaries increasing from 2.7 million
people in 1994 to 16 million people by
2013. About 2.9 million of these are people
above the age of 60, while 11.3 million are
beneficiaries of the Child Support Grant
and a further 1.1 million are people with
disabilities. The Child Support Grant has
grown the most, expanding from just under
22 000 beneficiaries in 1998 to more than
11.3 million in 2013. Research conducted
by, among others, the Department of Social
Development and the United Nations
Children’s Fund found that the grant system
(in particular the Child Support Grant) has
made a significant dent in the transmission
of intergenerational poverty. Young children
display improved cognitive development, a
lower rate of childhood illnesses, and better
school attendance and educational outcomes.
Adolescents were positively affected and also
less likely to join gangster groups or engage
in transactional sex or substance abuse.
South Africa now spends close to 3.4 percent
of gross domestic product (GDP) on social
grants at a total annual cost of about
The Child Support Grant was introduced in 1998 and initially
targeted children aged 0 to 7 years. The age limit of this grant
was gradually raised to 18 years.
The Old Age Grant was normalised so that blacks would also get
a monthly income like their white counterparts, unlike pre-1994,
when they received it bi-monthly. The age limit for men was
gradually lowered from 65 to 60 to match the limit for women.
The Disability Grant, Foster Care Grant, Care Dependency
Grant and the War Veteran’s Grant were extended to all South
Most grant beneficiaries live in provinces with high poverty rates,
namely KwaZulu-Natal (56.4 percent of beneficiaries), the Eastern
Cape (55.9 percent) and Limpopo (55.2 percent). This reflects
appropriate targeting of the social assistance support programmes.
R120 billion to the national budget. As
mentioned in Chapter 2, there have been
major improvements in the administration
and delivery of social grants. There has also
been concerted action to reduce corruption
in the social grant system.
It is important to note that, while South Africa
has an unemployment insurance system
that provides support for a limited period to
those who have made contributions, it does
not have a comprehensive unemployment
benefit system. In other words, there is no
grant for able-bodied working-age people
who are unable to find work. Therefore
South Africa’s grant system does not provide
a disincentive to people to work. On the
contrary, there is evidence that unemployed
people in households where there are grant
recipients have used part of the grant income
to search for work.
Social security
Retirement schemes have gone through
various reforms since 1994 to encourage
inclusivity, eradicate discrimination and
improve access to provisions. Major gaps in
unemployment insurance coverage inherited
in 1994 were addressed by establishing the
Unemployment Insurance Fund. The fund
was extended to include domestic workers,
seasonal farm labourers and other categories
of workers that had been marginalised in
earlier assistance schemes.
While some steps have been taken to promote
retirement savings, a sizable proportion of the
South African population who are either selfemployed or engage in irregular or unregulated
employment in the informal sector do not save
towards their retirement. In addition, this group
is generally not covered for unemployment
insurance and compensation for injury and
diseases. Effectively, many who hold jobs
will become dependent on the state after
retirement. Many people who have never been
in employment or those who are considered to
be in long-term unemployment are without an
income, but are excluded from the safety net
provided by the social security system.
Public employment programmes
Given South Africa’s high levels of
employment programmes have become an
integral part of a suite of policy interventions
to reduce poverty. The Growth and
Development Summit of 2003 consolidated
public employment programmes under the
Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
South Africa’s approach to public employment
programmes has been relatively unique
internationally, cutting across a range of
sectors, involving all spheres of government
and the non-profit sector, and with an
urban and rural focus. In the environmental
sector South Africa has been a world leader.
Programmes like Working for Water, Working
on Fire and Working for Wetlands have
provided long-term work opportunities and,
according to research by the Council for
Scientific and Industrial Research, rendered
hundreds of billions of rands' worth of
environmental services. South Africa is one
of a few countries in the world with a range
of public employment activities in the social
sector – including homework supervision, and
early childhood and home-based care.
As indicated in the NDP, increased economic
growth and diversification coupled with
improved education and skills development
are required in order to address South Africa’s
structural unemployment problem. The EPWP
is one of many programmes contributing
towards supporting employment generation.
It provides short-term job opportunities for
the unemployed (to unskilled unemployed
people in particular). In addition, the aim
of the EPWP is to provide training for
participants. Due to the short nature of most
EPWP projects, this training has generally
been at a basic level.
In the first five years of the EPWP (2004–
2009), a target of 1 million work opportunities
was set in the infrastructure, environment,
social and economic sectors. This target
was exceeded, with a total of 1.6 million
work opportunities being created by 2009.
Most EPWP work opportunities result from
using more labour-intensive construction and
maintenance methods in public infrastructure
projects. Further upscaling the EPWP resulted
in more than 3 million work opportunities
being created between 2009 and the end of
March 2013. This included the introduction of
the Community Work Programme (CWP) in
2009, with funding for employment creation
projects prioritised by communities.
The EPWP is on track to achieve its target
of 4.5 million work opportunities by 2014.
However, the employment created through
the programme is still small compared
with the number of unskilled unemployed
people. Nevertheless, public employment
programmes are crucial income-supporting
programmes. Both the EPWP and the CWP
have been successful in targeting women, the
youth and people with disabilities.
In addition to providing income, the opportunity
to work provides dignity and meaning in
the lives of participants in public works
programmes. Generally, besides accessing
income, public works programmes help reduce
the negative effects of unemployment, which
include social isolation, erosion of self-esteem,
drug and alcohol abuse, as well as a loss of
knowledge, skills and habits associated with
having a job. Research on the EPWP suggests
that those that have participated have a higher
propensity to participate in savings clubs, to
volunteer in community activities, to use their
personal resources to enhance social services
and community assets, and to use media as
a source of information. EPWP beneficiaries
are also more aware of their socio-economic
rights. CWP workers emphasised that public
employment work differs from employment
on farms because it is work for the community.
They know it has an intrinsic value for the
community, and they therefore do not resent
the relatively low wages in the way they would
if they were working for a private employer.
3.2.3 Human capital and skills
Since 1994, government has implemented
major policy reforms to redress past inequalities
in education, transforming the education system
and increasing the skills and life chances of all
South Africans. Nineteen different departments
of education have been unified into a single
education system18, removing race as the basis
for attending school.
A new funding model was introduced to replace
the race-based, inequitable funding model
of the apartheid era. Overall, the education
budget increased to more than 5 percent
of GDP19, and changed from a race-based
education budget to a pro-poor education
budget. Public spending per learner increased
to about R11 000 per year by 2011. While
there has been an improvement in the equity
of education funding, inequalities in terms of
resources available at public schools remain
due to the disparity in households’ ability to
supplement the funding of public schools and
due to inherited school infrastructure backlogs.
While a range of changes and initiatives
introduced since 1994 are starting to result
in improvements in the education system, it
will take more time for the terrible legacy of
apartheid education to be fully addressed and
for apartheid patterns of school performance
to be removed.
Early childhood development
Early childhood development (ECD) is
critical for improving the results of learners
in the education system. Since 1994 there
has been a significant increase in access to
centre-based care, albeit from a low base. It
is estimated that over a million children under
4 years old are now in an ECD facility or some
form of out-of-home care. Of these, 467 000
children are recipients of the means-tested
subsidy through 18 826 registered centres.
Enrolment in Grade R (a pre-school year at
primary school) has more than doubled,
increasing from 300 000 to 705 000
between 2003 and 2011, nearly reaching
the level of universal access. By 2012,
87.8 percent of learners in Grade 1 in
public schools had attended Grade R. This
is a remarkable achievement, indicative of
South Africa’s investment in the foundation
phase of education.
The ECD programme is currently being
extended to cover the first 1 000 days of life
(from conception to two years old). Few of the
youngest children (under two years old) are in
formal early child care and education centres.
Furthermore, the majority of poor children are
not accessing ECD centres. Among children
in households with a monthly expenditure of
R200 or less, only 22 percent are enrolled in an
ECD service, as against 56 percent of children
in households with monthly expenditure of
R10 000 or more20. Multisectoral coordination
is being strengthened to ensure that a more
comprehensive set of services (nutrition and
food security, antenatal and postnatal care,
and home-based and community-based
ECD programmes) is offered, with greater
focus on improving access for poor children.
In addition, the quality of ECD needs to be
improved at all levels.
Basic education
Gross secondary enrolment improved from
51 percent in 1994 to 89 percent in 201221,
while gross primary enrolment in 2012 was
high at approximately 98 percent. The
learner-to-teacher ratio improved from 33 to
1 in 2000 to 30 to 1 in 201222. As a result of
improved infrastructure, a higher proportion
of younger children are accessing classroom
facilities. Overall, South Africa is achieving
gender parity in school enrolment with a
Gender Parity Index of 1 in 201223, and is on
track to meet the Millennium Development
Goal (MDG) of achieving universal primary
education by 2015. Progress has also been
made in increasing access to schools for
children with disabilities, with more public
special schools being built. More work is
required in this regard because access is
still limited, with less than 40 percent of
children with disabilities accessing formal
education, either through special schools
or mainstream education.
The improvements in access have resulted
from a number of interventions. The burden
of school fees for poor households has been
reduced by introducing no-fee schools.
By 2012, 78 percent of learners (more than
8 million) in 80 percent of public schools
(close to 20 000 schools) benefited from the
no-fee policy24. By providing children with
meals at school, the National School Nutrition
Programme has contributed to regular and
punctual attendance by learners and enabled
them to attend school without being hungry.
By 2012, about 9 million25 learners in 20 905
primary and secondary schools – virtually all
the learners from poor households – were
receiving a government-funded school lunch.
The outcomes-based curriculum, which was
introduced in 2005, proved to be difficult to
implement and was subsequently replaced
by various revisions, including the National
Curriculum Statement Grade R–12 and the
National Curriculum and Assessment Policy
Statement (CAPS) between 2011 and 2014.
The CAPS spelt out what teachers should
teach and assess, how lesson plans should
be prepared, and how teaching should take
place. This was crucial for addressing gaps
that were apparent in the outcomes-based
curriculum. CAPS also introduced English
as a subject in the early grades to ease the
transition to instruction in English for learners
who are not first-language English speakers.
To strengthen teaching and learning, CAPS
was accompanied by the following measures:
❚ A total of 114 million workbooks were
distributed to schools between 2011 and
2013 to increase access to quality written
material and help learners and teachers
to understand the expected assessment
standards and cover the curriculum.
❚ The Annual National Assessments (ANA)
system was introduced to enable the
objective assessment of the education
system below Grade 12. Almost 7 million
learners across more than 24 000 schools
participated in the third cycle of ANA in
2013. ANA tests are set nationally, which
enables all learners below Grade 12 to be
assessed against the same standards. Such
tests did not exist before.
The ANA results for Grades 3, 6 and 9 for 2012
and 2013 are compared in the box on the
next page. The generally poor results provide
an indication of the extent of the remaining
challenge to improve literacy and numeracy
levels among learners. However, the results
also indicate that the system appears to be
starting to improve at Grades 3 and 6, from
a low base. The low Grade 9 results may
be an indication that an improvement in
results at higher grades may first require an
improvement in the foundation provided at
lower grades, which will take time to flow
through. Government will be introducing
ANA assessments in Grades 7 and 8 in coming
years to support performance in Grade 9.
The poor ANA results can be attributed to
inadequate teacher competency, subject and
curriculum knowledge26, as well as weaknesses
in school and district management. To
strengthen the quality of education, the Funza
Lushaka bursary scheme was introduced to
tackle teacher shortages by encouraging
more learners to study to become teachers.
From 2007 to 2013 a total of 62 804 bursaries
were awarded to student teachers at a cost
of over R1.9 billion. The long time it takes
to place Funza Lushaka bursary graduates
in some provinces is a concern that needs
to be addressed. For teachers already in the
system, a teacher development plan with a
RESULTS 2012–2013
Grade 3 ANA results
❚ Average literacy results
decreased marginally from
52 percent in 2012 to
51 percent in 2013.
❚ Average numeracy results
increased from 41 percent in
2012 to 53 percent in 2013.
❚ In 2013, 59 percent of learners
scored above 50 percent for
numeracy and 57 percent
scored above 50 percent
for literacy, compared with
36 percent and 57 percent
respectively for 2012.
Grade 6 ANA results
Grade 9 ANA results
❚ Average results for Mathematics
❚ Results in 2012 and 2013 were
increased from 27 percent in
2012 to 39 percent in 2013.
❚ Average results for Home
Language increased from
43 percent in 2012 to
59 percent in 2013.
❚ Average results for First
Language increased from
36 percent in 2012 to
46 percent in 2013.
❚ Only 27 percent of learners
scored above 50 percent for
Grade 6 Mathematics in 2013
(up from 11 percent in 2012).
❚ An average of 68 percent
scored above 50 percent for
Grade 6 Home Language and
41 percent for First Additional
Language in 2013, compared
with 39 percent and 24 percent
respectively for 2012.
very similar for Grade 9.
❚ The average Mathematics
result for Grade 9 learners was
14 percent in 2013, but only
2 percent scored above
50 percent.
❚ The average Home Language
result for Grade 9 learners was
43 percent in 2013, with only
37 percent scoring above
50 percent.
❚ The average result for First
Additional Language was
33 percent in 2013, with only
17 percent scoring above
50 percent.
multipronged approach has been introduced,
especially in the worst-performing schools.
Through the Teacher Union Collaboration
initiative, 80 000 existing teachers were
trained by the end of the 2013 academic year.
In future, minimum competency requirements
for teachers, coupled with strengthened
teacher-support programmes, may need to
be introduced, to complement initiatives to
increase teacher competence.
International comparisons through the
Southern and Eastern Africa Consortium for
Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ)
confirm that South Africa fares poorly in
terms of learner performance in Grade 6 and
teacher content knowledge when compared
with countries that spend the same or less
on education per capita. In terms of the
SACMEQ tests, South Africa experienced no
statistically significant change in performance
between 2000 and 2007. In contrast, Lesotho,
Mauritius, Namibia, Swaziland, Tanzania and
Zanzibar experienced improvements in both
Mathematics and reading. The 2011 Trends in
International Maths and Science Study (TIMSS)
points to improvements for Grade 9 learners
between 2002 and 201127, especially for
learners attending the poorest schools. These
improvements are off a low base and South
Africa still has a low average in Mathematics
and Science performance, below the level
expected for Grade 9 learners, as indicated
by the recent ANA test results.
As outlined in Figure 3.3, Grade 12 pass
rates increased from 61 percent in 2009
to 78 percent in 2013. This is partly due
to increased matric support programmes
offered by the Department of Basic
Education, NGOs and the private sector.
The support includes intensive post-test
analysis of question papers; self-study
guides in selected subjects; revision
camps for learners; supplementary winter
schools, radio and television lessons in key
subjects; and the availability of examination
exemplars and teacher support. In
addition, the improvements are due to the
stabilisation of the education system, which
is no longer experiencing rapid changes in
curriculum or policies.
The numbers of learners obtaining university
entry qualifications each year (bachelor passes)
has also increased. On average, between
Figure 3.3: National Senior Certificate overall pass rate, 2008–2013
Source: Department of Basic Education, 2013
2010 and 2012, 128 000 learners obtained
bachelor passes, compared with 70 000 per
year for the period 2000 to 2002. The number
of Grade 12 learners passing mathematics
with a mark above 50 percent is not increasing
rapidly enough to meet the country’s skill
needs. This is compounded by the fact that
fewer learners opt for Mathematics rather
than Mathematics Literacy, restricting their
access to programmes such as engineering.
In addition, dropout rates are high, especially
between Grades 9 and 11, meaning that a
large percentage of learners who start school
do not reach matric. This percentage is
difficult to determine because there are some
pupils repeating grades and some move to
FET colleges to complete their matriculation.
With a view to obtaining an independent
account of the state of schools and
recommendations for addressing problem
areas, government established the National
Education Evaluation and Development
Unit (NEEDU) in 2009. NEEDU published
a comprehensive report on the state
of literacy teaching and learning in the
foundation phase in 2012. Findings in the
report included that learning time is being
lost due to late coming of learners, abuse
of leave by teachers, and daily school
disruptions. Furthermore it was found that
learners' performance is affected by limited
subject knowledge of teachers, heads of
department, and subject advisors.
To support the improvements that are
emerging in basic education, better school
management and administration, with a
focus on school performance, are critical. This
includes monitoring teacher absenteeism
and the time spent teaching, improving
performance management of principals,
and strengthening district management over
schools (including monitoring of curriculum
coverage). Teacher utilisation and content
knowledge need to be strengthened through
teacher training, recruitment and effective
support. There also needs to be increased
accountability to the parent community for
the performance of schools by improving the
ability of parents to hold schools accountable
through school governing bodies.
Adult education
The percentage of the population aged 20
years and older that has had no education
decreased from 19 percent in 1996 to
9 percent in 201128. The Kha Ri Gude Literacy
Programme has been a success, with almost
3 million illiterate adult learners having
been enrolled between 2008 and 2012. The
majority of learners are female. While only
48 percent of Africans aged 20 and over had
completed Grade 9 in 1994, this percentage
increased to 64 percent by 201129. Similarly,
the percentage of African adults over
20 years of age who had completed Grade
12 increased from 23 percent in 1994 to
64 percent in 2011.
Post-school education and training
In the two decades since the demise of
apartheid, there has been a transformation
of the post-school education and training
system. The most important change was
the establishment in 1996 of an overarching
National Qualifications Framework. It provided
an organising matrix to direct the upward
accumulation of educational awards, with
multiple entry and exit points. It aimed to
facilitate progression between the three phases
of education and training – general, further and
higher – as well as provide articulation between
academic education and skills training. Sector
education and training authorities (SETAs) were
also established with the aim of linking skills
development more closely to the needs of
economic sectors and providing opportunities
for experiential learning through learnerships.
The 2006 establishment of various quality
assurance bodies was meant to further improve
articulation of qualifications while maintaining
their quality.
The number of unemployed people
completing learnerships reached over
22 000 per annum in 2013, but there
have been challenges in placing learners
in experiential learning and sustainable
employment. In order to address these
challenges, government policy has recently
been changed to require SETAs to spend
more on substantive courses leading to
occupational, vocational and professional
qualifications at public colleges and
universities, particularly universities of
technology. There is also room to further
institutions and industry.
Although enrolment at technical colleges
increased by 70 percent between 1987
and 1994, artisan apprenticeship contracts
dropped by 42 percent between 1984 and
199330. Historically, most of the artisan
training had been carried out by state-owned
enterprises (SOEs), but the commercialisation
of SOEs compromised training, with many
of the artisan training centres being run
down. Under the Accelerated and Shared
Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgi-SA),
government introduced the Joint Initiative
for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) in 2006
to boost the supply of skills needed by the
growing economy. JIPSA was a partnership
with business and labour and produced
detailed research on the projected supply
and demand of skills. JIPSA also introduced
measures to increase the supply of skills where
necessary, such as reviving the apprenticeship
system to address the shortage of artisans31.
Since then, there has been good progress in
artisanal training, with more FET enrolments
and increased numbers of qualifying artisans.
The artisan training programmes of the
SOEs have been revived, and the SOEs are
now once again major contributors to the
supply of artisans. Artisan training by SOEs
has received a further boost in recent years
through the Infrastructure Plan under the
PICC. Between 2011 and 2013 the SOEs
trained 4 740 artisans. Both SOEs and the
private sector have been constrained by the
lack of adequate, sustainable, guaranteed
funding from the SETAs and the National
Skills Fund (NSF), as well as the lack of a
single artisan learner administration and
grant disbursement system across the
SETAs. Government has recently addressed
these blockages by directing SETAs, in new
grant regulations, to use 80 percent of their
discretionary grants for pivotal programmes,
of which artisan training is a major part32.
In total, 3 430 artisans successfully completed
trade tests between 2000 and 2006, while
6 030 artisans successfully completed
trade tests between 2007 and 2008. This
number increased further to 15 277 artisan
qualifications during 2011/12 alone.
To address the problem of unemployed
and unskilled youth, the National Senior
Certificate for adults was registered. The
National Certificate Vocational system was
introduced in 2011. These are significant
milestones in developing alternative avenues
for skills development.
The democratic government has focused on
consolidating and increasing access to tertiary
institutions. This included closing or absorbing
120 colleges of education (or teacher training
colleges) that were not producing teachers
with the necessary competencies and
qualifications into universities and universities
of technology (formerly technikons)33.
Between 2003 and 2005, the original 36
universities and technikons were merged
into 23 higher education institutions, with
two more being built now34. For some time
there was a shortage of Foundation Phase
school teachers, and in order to correct this,
a decision has since been taken to reopen
some of the teacher training colleges, with
a revised mandate and curricula to produce
the quality of teachers required. Overall, due
to government bursary schemes, there has
been progress in increasing the number of
graduate teachers. The number of teachers
graduating per year increased from 6 315
in 2009 to 13 708 in 2012. However, some
provinces struggle to place these graduate
teachers in schools that need them because
of funding shortages, which in turn are related
to excess teachers in certain subjects.
University enrolment has almost doubled,
increasing from 495 356 students (universities,
technikons and teachers’ training colleges) in
1994 to 953 373 students (public universities
and universities of technology) in 201235.
Between 1994 and 2012, approximately
1 million university beneficiaries received
National Student Funding Assistance Scheme
loans and bursaries worth approximately
R30 billion.
Bursaries for FET students increased from
R100 million in 2007 to R1.7 billion in 2012,
benefiting 237 908 students between 2009 and
201136. Enrolments in FET colleges increased
from 271 900 in 2000 to over 657 690 in 2012.
The key challenge in the FET sector is to improve
throughput rates at FET colleges. Only 4 percent
of the 2007 intake of FET colleges completed
their qualifications in 2009. Reasons for this
include learners being underprepared when
they enter FET colleges and inadequate lecturer
skills in terms of both pedagogy and content. As
long as the throughput rate remains low and the
reputation of FET qualifications remains poor,
the NDP target for FET colleges to become an
acceptable choice for post-school education and
training will not be realised. The quality of FET
colleges needs to be strengthened by improving
administration and the quality of staff.
By 2012, women made up 58 percent of all
students enrolled in university programmes.
More black students than ever before are
enrolled in higher education institutions,
comprising 81 percent of all students in
201237, indicating the changing face of higher
education institutions. Notwithstanding this
progress, participation rates remain skewed in
favour of white and Indian students, with only
16 percent of African and 14 percent of
Coloured people of university-going age
enrolled in higher education institutions, as
opposed to 55 percent and 47 percent of
white and Indian young people respectively38.
Overall, African and female students are
under-represented in science, engineering,
programmes, which are critical areas needed
in the economy. This will affect the pace of
transformation of the economy and ensuring
representivity in the workforce.
There has also been progress in increasing
the number of honours, master’s and
doctoral graduates. In the longer term, the
means to produce these skills is threatened
by an ageing lecturer workforce. There will
need to be an ongoing effort to grow the
number of graduates from disadvantaged
communities and attract them to academic
careers, replenish the stock of current
lecturers and attract more female and
African lecturers, especially to the science
fields. In this regard, a University Teaching
Development Grant was introduced in 2009
to develop younger lecturers.
Lack of infrastructure and equipment,
particularly at historically disadvantaged
universities, has also been gradually
addressed since 1994. More recently,
decisions have been taken to establish
new universities in Mpumalanga and the
Northern Cape, which will improve access
to higher education. Going forward,
increased funding of universities needs to
translate into better graduation rates, while
still promoting research.
Transformation of the health system
One of the focus areas for the new
democratic government was transforming
the public health system into an integrated,
comprehensive national service, driven by
the need to redress historical inequities
and provide essential healthcare to
disadvantaged people. After 1994, a single
national health system was established by
integrating the previous 14 departments
of health and developing an enabling
policy and legal framework to increase
access to healthcare. This was done against
the backdrop of the Constitution, which
binds the state to progressively realise the
right to health39.
Primary healthcare, delivered through
the district health system, became the
cornerstone of healthcare policy40. This
represented a shift from the earlier hospitalbased curative approach. All user fees were
abolished for pregnant women, children
under six years of age and people with
disabilities. Subsequently, user fees for
primary healthcare services were abolished
for all. Access to primary healthcare
skills allowances, community healthcare
workers organised into municipal ward
based primary healthcare outreach teams
and mid-level workers were also introduced,
mainly for the benefit of under-resourced
rural areas.
Enhancing the availability of human
resources for health
Key steps taken to improve the supply of
healthcare providers over the last 20 years
include mandatory community service for
healthcare professionals and improving
remuneration levels for certain professional
categories. As at January 2014, a total of
44 000 community service health professionals
have been placed in remote, rural and
underserved areas since the introduction of
community service in 1998. This has greatly
increased access to quality healthcare.
services, measured in terms of visits per
year, increased from 67 million in 1998 to
129 million41 by the end of March 2013. The
proportion of households who reported
using public-sector clinics has increased
consistently, from 44.5 percent in 2004 to
59.6 percent in 201242. Correspondingly,
the proportion of people who go directly
to public hospitals (without a referral from
a clinic) decreased from 24.6 percent in
2004 to 10 percent in 2012. This indicates
increased access to and confidence in the
country’s primary healthcare services.
Private health-sector reforms were also
introduced to stabilise the medical schemes
environment and reduce the cost of drugs,
among other outcomes.
Improved access to healthcare
The increase in the community making their
first point of entry the primary healthcare
clinics, is also linked to the fact that
40 percent the current healthcare estate was
built after the advent of democracy in 1994.
The democratic government introduced a
massive infrastructure programme that saw
more than 1 500 health facility infrastructure
projects being completed. This includes
building new facilities and revitalisation of
existing facilities and facilitated access to
healthcare within a 5km radius of where
people lived. Community service, scarce
Through an agreement brokered by then
presidents Nelson Mandela and Fidel
Castro during the first term of South Africa’s
democratic government, 777 doctors have
to date been recruited and placed in remote
areas, bringing stability in health provision
in these areas. From the inception of this
programme to date, 2 760 South African
students from rural areas and disadvantaged
backgrounds have been recruited to study
medicine in Cuba. A further 29 doctors
were recruited from Iran in 2006 and
95 doctors were recruited from Tunisia in
2007, through government-to-government
agreements signed by the respective
governments. An additional 383 South African
doctors were trained through governmentto-government agreements and are now
providing services in this country. In addition
to recruiting doctors from other countries,
training of doctors in South Africa has also
increased, particularly over the last five years.
In the 1990s, medical schools in South Africa
used to accept approximately 1 000 new
medical students annually. Over the past five
years this has been increased by an additional
450 students to enable increased access to
medical professionals to the majority of the
population. By 2013, the number of new
medical students accepted annually had
increased to over 1 400.
Improving access to safe and affordable
In 1994 the pharmaceutical sector was
characterised by lack of equity in access to
essential drugs, with a consequent impact on
quality of care. High drug prices, irrational use
of drugs, and cost-ineffective procurement
practices posed additional challenges.
A number of interventions have been
implemented to address these challenges.
An essential drug list was compiled for the
country by a group of experts for use in public
health facilities, to ensure that appropriate
medicines are available at the appropriate
level of care. South Africa’s essential drug
list is now used as an international model on
the selection and use of medicines at various
levels of care43. This introduced levels of
rigour in assessment of medicine selection44.
In the public sector, the procurement systems
have been amended so that government
can achieve better prices for ARVs and other
medicines, resulting in South Africa now
having the lowest prices for these medicines
in the world. The reforms to the public
sector procurement are now being used as
a benchmark for other procurement agents
In the private healthcare sector a transparent
pricing system has been implemented that
regulates the price of medicines in the
supply chain from manufacturer through to
the patient. This system reduced the cost
of medicines in the private sector by over
20 percent with a compound reduction through
regulation of the annual price increases.
However, government’s efforts to make
medicines more affordable and thus more
available to the public progress have not
gone unchallenged. In February 1998, the
South African Pharmaceutical Manufacturers'
Association and 40 multinational corporations
brought a lawsuit against the government for
its passage of the Medicines and Related
Substances Control Amendment Act No. 90 of
1997, arguing that it violated the Agreement
on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual
Property Rights. As a result of immense
international pressure, the pharmaceutical
companies dropped their case in April 2001
and the resultant lowering in pharmaceutical
prices had an international impact.
Turning around the HIV and AIDS epidemic
One of the major challenges that
confronted the democratic government
was the rapid rise in HIV. Women bore a
disproportionate brunt of the epidemic.
In 1990, less than 1 percent of pregnant
women using public sector health services
was infected with HIV. This figure rose to
30 percent by 2004 when the epidemic
stabilised. The burden of disease per capita
in South Africa increased enormously. This
also placed a huge strain on the capacity of
the health system to respond adequately.
Researchers noted that the main impact of
HIV and AIDS on health services appeared to
be increased hospital admissions, leading to
ward overcrowding and consequent limited
access for HIV-negative patients, a general
increase in mortality, increase in maternal and
child mortality and lowered life expectancy.
Since 2009 there has been significant
improvement in all these negative features
since the launch of a massive HIV counselling,
testing and treatment programme.
In 1990, life expectancy among Africans was
60 years for males and 67 for females45. In
contrast, life expectancy among white South
Africans was 69 years for males and 76 years
for females. Between 1994 and 2005, health
outcome indicators, including life expectancy,
deteriorated as the HIV and AIDS epidemic
spread. Due to the comprehensive response
to the epidemic and TB, this declining trend
was reversed and the average life expectancy
of South Africans improved from 51.6 years in
2005 to 59.6 years in 201346. Life expectancy
has improved for both males and females.
A special group of senior professional nurses
were trained on Nurse Initiated Management
of Anti-Retroviral Therapy (NIMART) to help
While government policy regarding HIV and
AIDS was ambiguous for some time, significant
progress has since been made in accelerating
interventions in collaboration with civil
society, business and other key stakeholders.
In 1992, the National AIDS Coordinating
Committee of South Africa (NACOSA) was
created, which encompassed a national
network of civil-society organisations working
in the areas of HIV and AIDS, TB and social
development. NACOSA produced a national
HIV and AIDS strategy, which focused on
preventing HIV transmission, reducing the
personal and social impact of HIV infection,
and mobilising and unifying provincial,
international and local resources. The
strategy was adopted by Cabinet in 1994 and
subsequently reviewed in 1997. Under the
stewardship of a transformed South African
National AIDS Council (SANAC), national
strategic plans for HIV and AIDS, sexually
transmitted infections (STIs) and tuberculosis
(TB) for 2007–2011 and 2012–2017 were
produced. SANAC also enhanced the rapport
and collaboration between government and
civil society. SANAC was restructured in 2007.
The transformation encompassed 19 sectors,
of which 17 were civil-society formations. The
other two sectors were government and the
business sector.
In April 2010, the healthcare
campaign to mobilise all South
Africans to be tested for HIV. The
campaign resulted in more than
20.2 million South Africans being
tested between April 2010 and
June 2012, compared with only
2 million people being tested
annually before. This indicates
an increase in health-seeking
behaviour among South Africans
and has facilitated better access
treatment, care and support.
The number of patients receiving
antiretroviral therapy (ART) in
South Africa increased from
47 500 in 2004 to 1.79 million
in 2011. A total of 1.09 million
(61 percent) of people accessing
ART in 2011 were women. The
most vulnerable population
benefitted from the treatment
programme. Access to ART in
the public sector subsequently
grew to over 2.4 million patients
by the end of June 2013. The
total number of people dying
from AIDS each year decreased
from 300 000 in 2010 to
270 000 in 2011. Hospital
admission rates due to HIV and
AIDS-related conditions have
decreased significantly. The
capacity of the health system to
respond to other health needs is
the country with the massive roll out of
ART. Government increased the number of
professional nurses trained on NIMART from
250 in 2009 to 23 000 in 2013.
Government’s ART Programme
is slowing the number of AIDS
orphans as parents are living longer
to take care of their children. The
Prevention of Mother-to-Child
Transmission (of HIV) Programme
has also been highly successful,
with transmission rates decreasing
from 8.5 percent in 2008 to
2.7 percent in 2011. In total,
more than 100 000 babies were
protected from HIV during
this period.
The main enabling factors for
the key successes achieved
are a combination of effective
stewardship, improved resource
allocation, improved access to
health interventions and improved
partnerships with key stakeholders.
❚ A 50 percent decrease in the number of
people acquiring HIV infection, from 700 000
in the 1990s to 350 000 in 2011
❚ A 25 percent decrease in the annual mortality
South Africa now has the world’s largest
programmes for providing ART to eligible
people living with HIV, which has served to
reduce new HIV infections and mortality
from AIDS, thus ensuring child survival and
prolonging life. As mentioned earlier, as a
result of improved procurement processes,
the cost of ART drugs has been halved,
ensuring that more people are treated.
South Africa’s bold leadership in turning the
tide against the HIV and AIDS epidemic, as
well as the results achieved and the empirical
evidence, is also acknowledged by the
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV
and AIDS47. The great strides observed by
UNAIDS include the following:
❚ A decrease in the total number of people
dying from AIDS from 300 000 in 2010 to
270 000 in 2011
❚ A 50 percent decline in the number of
children aged 0–4 years who acquired HIV
between 2006 and 2011
rate of infants and children younger than five
years in the past two years.
Combating tuberculosis
Due to South Africa’s huge burden of HIV
and AIDS, the incidence and prevalence of
TB increased exponentially. A combination
of interventions, including household
case finding and rapid TB diagnosis using
the new GeneXpert technology, were
implemented. Teams comprising community
health workers and health professionals
were set up to visit each household of
known TB patients, commencing in health
districts with the largest number of known
TB patients. Between April 2011 to March
2012 alone, over 100 000 households with
known TB patients were visited, and about
160 000 people were screened; 3 000
contacts were diagnosed with TB and 3 200
with HIV infection. Most of these patients
would not have been identified through
routine processes. Furthermore, South Africa
became the first country on the continent to
roll out the GeneXpert technology, which
The Medical Research Council
(MRC) has conducted systematic
studies of mother and baby
pairs to periodically monitor
the effectiveness of the PMTCT
Programme in reducing perinatal
transmission of HIV from mothers
to infants, measured at 4-8
weeks after infant birth. In 2008,
the MRC found the mother to
child transmission rate to be on
average 8.5 percent, nationally.
In 2010, the MRC PMTCT study
found that 31.4 percent of babies
were exposed to HIV, but the
mother to child transmission rate
had decreased substantially to
3.5 percent. In a follow up study in
2011, 32.2 percent of babies were
found to have been exposed to
HIV, and the transmission rate had
decreased further, to 2.67 percent.
The MRC study concluded
that since 2010, there was an
additional 23 percent (95 percent
CI 22-28 percent) reduction in
Option A PMTCT regimens
(MTCT 3.5 percent in 2010
versus 2.7 percent in 2011). This
achievement implies that a total
of 107 000 babies (95 percent
CI 105 000-110 000) were saved
from the HI virus, assuming that
reduces the time of confirmed TB diagnosis
from 5 days to 2 hours. Of the 4.2 million
tests conducted since the invention of the
GeneXpert test, more than half were done
in South Africa. More people have been put
on TB treatment sooner after contracting
TB. Cure rates improved from 57.7 percent
in 200548 to 73.8 percent in 201249, while
defaulter rates decreased from 8.5 percent in
200750 to 6.1 percent in 201251.
The massive HIV treatment programme
linked to a huge TB treatment programme
as well as the global explosion of noncommunicable diseases led to a strain on the
health system that resulted in long waiting
times becoming a norm. It is not unusual to
find people waiting in health facilities for 8 to
10 hours for treatment. This pressure results
in poor staff attitudes, leading to negative
experiences for patients in health facilities.
To address this problem, the health sector
has started to implement a person-centered
chronic dispensing programme, which
involves delivering medicines at designated
pick-up points in the community, as close to
chronic patients as possible.
Malaria control
South Africa has made major strides in
the perinatal MTCT without SA
National PMTCT programme was
30 percent. In 2011, an additional
3 100 babies were saved from
infection compared with 2010
results. The 3.5 percent (2.9–
4.1 percent) perinatal MTCT in
2010 and 2.7 percent (95 percent
CI 2.1–3.2) in 2011 suggested
that South Africa is potentially
on track to reach the 2015 target
of <2 percent perinatal HIV
transmission by 2015. Over
100 000 South African babies will
reach their first and fifth birthdays,
and live beyond. They will receive
care and support from parents
whose lives have been saved
through the massive roll-out of the
ART programme.
reducing malaria morbidity and mortality.
The country has achieved the MDG target for
malaria and is now on the brink of eliminating
malaria. Malaria cases have decreased by
89 percent, evidenced by 6 846 reported
cases in the year 2012, compared with 64 622
reported cases in the year 200052.
Improved child health
South Africa has significantly improved its
child health and reduced its infant and underfive mortality rates53. In 2005, it was one of
only four countries globally with an underfive mortality rate higher than the 1990
baseline for the MDGs. This rate declined
by an average annual rate of 10.3 percent
between 2006 and 2011 – the fourth-fastest
rate of decline globally, with Rwanda being
the only country in sub-Saharan Africa to
achieve faster progress54. This achievement
has largely been attributed to the Prevention
of Mother-to-Child Transmission (of HIV)
Programme55, 56, 57, improved immunisation
rates to protect children against vaccinepreventable diseases like diarrhoea and
pneumonia, and vitamin A supplementation,
which has decreased vitamin A deficiency.
South Africa is one of the few countries that
introduced rotavirus and pneumococcus
vaccines to reduce the incidence of, and
pregnant women experiencing complications,
training and continuing supervision of health
providers in maternal care, and more effective
clinical decision-making.
Addressing non-communicable diseases
In the first decade after 1994, progressive
public health policies and legislation, such as
the Tobacco Products Control Amendment
Act of 2008, were developed, in order to
reduce diseases of lifestyle. Legislation on
tobacco and public awareness programmes
resulted in a decrease in smoking in persons
15 years and older from 33 percent in 1993
to 21 percent in 201063. Health education in
schools, through various media and by health
promoters, was increased to encourage
healthy lifestyles.
death due to, diarrhoea and pneumonia
amongst children.
Addressing maternal mortality
As a result of the impact of HIV and AIDS,
South Africa’s maternal mortality ratio
(MMR) worsened during the first decade of
democracy. MMR increased from 150 per
100 000 in 199858 to 310 per 100 000 in
200859. However, MMR began decreasing
steadily in the second decade, as a result
of government’s interventions, including
the massive HIV Counselling and Testing
campaign, initiation of ART for all pregnant
women living with HIV with a CD4 count of
less than 350, and provision of treatment to
all other pregnant women living with AIDS
at 14 weeks of pregnancy. In 2010, South
Africa’s population-based MMR was 269 per
100 00060 and the facility-based MMR was
146.7 per 100 00061.
South Africa supports the African Union’s
declaration that no woman should die while
giving life62. In 2012, South Africa adopted
the AU’s Campaign on the Accelerated
Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality
in Africa (CARMMA). CARMMA consists of
a series of interventions at community and
health facility level. In South Africa these have
included the provision of dedicated obstetric
ambulances to facilitate the swift transfer of
More recently, regulations were introduced to
limit transfats and salt content in processed
foods and further tobacco control was
introduced in line with the international
Framework Convention. Currently, there is a
debate in government and society about the
costs and benefits of banning the marketing
of alcohol. Screening for non-communicable
diseases through campaigns and through
testing of blood glucose and blood pressure
as part of the HIV counselling and testing
campaign has been strengthened.
Government is introducing the human
papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine in March 2014
to reduce the incidence of cervical cancer.
Government collaborates with organisations
such as the Heart and Stroke Foundation,
Diabetes Association of South Africa, Cancer
Association of South Africa and the South
African Society of Psychiatrists, amongst
others, to improve prevention and to
facilitate better services with regard to noncommunicable diseases.
Programmes implemented by government,
civil society and development partners to
address social determinants of health and
development are beginning to yield benefits,
thus reducing vulnerability to disease.
For example, the South African National
Health and Nutrition Examination Survey
(SANHANES), conducted by the Human
Sciences Research Council in 2013, found that
vitamin A deficiency among children under
five years of age decreased from 63.6 percent
in 2005 to 43.6 percent in 2012. Anaemia and
iron-deficiency anaemia in children under
five years decreased by 63 percent and
83.2 percent respectively, compared with the
findings of the National Food Comparison
Survey of 200564. SANHANES attributes
these significant achievements to the
Food Fortification Intervention Programme
introduced by government in 2003.
Addressing inequities in health
Although South Africa spends about
8.5 percent of GDP on healthcare, the country
has poor health outcomes, compared with
other countries with similar, and in certain
instances lower, national income and health
expenditure per capita. This is attributed
to two main factors. The first is the gross
inequality where 5 percent of GDP is spent
on 16 percent of the population while the
remaining 3.5 percent of GDP is spent on
84 percent of the population. The second
factor is the high cost of healthcare in the
private sector. This mismatch of resources in
the public and private health sectors relative
to the size of the population each serves,
and the inefficiencies in the use of available
resources, has contributed to the very poor
health status of South Africans. The country
has a quadruple burden of disease (high
maternal and child mortality, high incidence
of HIV and AIDS, and tuberculosis, noncommunicable diseases such as heart
problems and diabetes, and injury and
violence). A new healthcare financing system
is thus inevitable.
The NDP envisions a health system that
works for everyone, produces positive health
outcomes and is accessible to all65. However,
South Africa remains one of the most unequal
societies in terms of access to healthcare.
A National Health Insurance (NHI) is an
important step towards ensuring universal
access to quality healthcare, with a strong
focus on primary healthcare. The success of
the insurance hinges on improving the quality
of care in the public sector and reducing the
spiralling costs of private healthcare. In an effort
to understand the cost of private healthcare,
a public market enquiry, established by the
recently. The Department of Health is currently
piloting the NHI in 11 pilot districts.
Improving quality of care in the
public sector
Statistics South Africa’s (StatsSA) General
Household Survey of 2012 found that
users of private healthcare facilities were
significantly more satisfied with the services
they receive compared to users of public
health services66. The findings of the National
Health Facility Audit commissioned by the
National Department of Health in 2011
corroborate the outcomes of the StatsSA
survey67. Quality problems in the public sector
include inefficient administrative and clinical
processes, lack of essential equipment,
unclean health facilities, poor staff attitudes,
long waiting times and patient dissatisfaction.
To enhance the quality of healthcare services
at all levels, government established the
Office of Health Standards Compliance
(OHSC), an independent body with legislative
powers that will inspect health facilities and
give instructions for service improvement.
Since 1994, the management of public
hospitals progressively weakened with the
switch from medically trained superintendents
as hospital managers to hospital chief executive
officers (CEOs) who could have any other
qualifications. To rectify this, in September 2011,
the Health Department gazetted a new policy
that determined that a hospital CEO must have
qualifications and experience in a health related
profession68. New CEOs have been appointed
on the basis of these new requirements. In
The health sector is spearheading efforts to establish National Health Insurance (NHI),
which seeks to redress structural differences in access to healthcare amongst South
Africans and ensure universal health coverage. This implies that all South Africans,
irrespective of their socio-economic status, must have access to good quality and
affordable health services. NHI seeks to eradicate barriers limiting access to healthcare,
and ensure financial risk protection from catastrophic health-related expenditures for
households and individuals through a prepayment system. The National Treasury is
working with the Department of Health to examine the required funding arrangements
for NHI. Implementation of NHI will be phased in over a 14-year period.
addition, an Academy for Health Leadership
and Management has been established to
ensure that hospital CEOs and health service
managers in other areas receive the specific
required training. A public health enhancement
fund has been established with CEOs of 24
private sector companies to assist in this regard.
In most parts of the country, the health sector
has weak operational management capacity
at subnational levels. This is evidenced by
poor financial management reflected in the
reports of the Auditor-General of South
Africa (AGSA). For the 2012/13 financial year,
only three out of the 10 health departments
– the national department, North West and
the Western Cape – obtained unqualified
audit opinions from the AGSA. To address
this, the national Department of Health
and the National Treasury have provided
support to subnational levels to develop
and implement financial management
improvement plans.
The role of civil society in health
Civil society formations have historically
played a key role in the delivery of healthcare
services in South Africa, particularly in
the provision of primary care services to
deprived communities. In the 1980s, a
range of organisations and individuals
were organised to develop and promote a
national primary healthcare (PHC) strategy
for South Africa69. The National Progressive
Primary Health Care Network (NPPHCN)
was established, with a broad membership
of activists and health professionals, and
provided a platform through which policies
of the undemocratic government could
be effectively challenged and a future
national health system could be debated70.
The NPPHCN remained active post-1994.
Between 1995 and 1997, the NPPHCN
launched a campaign to raise awareness
amongst communities that “Health Rights
are Human Rights”71. The campaign
culminated in the development of a Patients’
Charter for South Africa, which was launched
by government in 1999. Post-1994, civil
society organisations contributed immensely
to the discourse on HIV and AIDS. In the first
decade of democracy, this often included
litigation against the state, when it was
believed that the state was not honouring
its Constitutional obligations72, 73. The role of
NGOs and community-based organisations
(CBOs) in enhancing the country’s efforts
to combat HIV, AIDS and TB, especially
in supporting community-based health
programmes, is also well documented. These
included providing home and communitybased care for people with debilitating
illnesses, supervising TB treatment patients
as part of directly observed therapy and
raising awareness about HIV and AIDS, and
promoting treatment literacy74,75.
Towards a future health system
Constitutionally, healthcare delivery is a
concurrent function between the national
and provincial spheres of government,
while local government is responsible for
municipal health services. A need exists to
enhance policy coordination between the
three spheres of government. The NDP
contends that one of the key weaknesses of
the health system has been the inability to
implement a well-functioning District Health
System (DHS) as a vehicle for delivering
public PHC services76. The country has been
demarcated into 52 health districts, each with
a district manager, but there has been limited
delegation of powers by provinces to district
and facility healthcare management77.
The National Health Act of 2003 also enjoins the
government to promote a spirit of cooperation
and shared responsibility between public and
private healthcare service providers, within
the context of national, provincial and district
plans. A unified health sector, in collaboration
with other government sectors, private
sector organisations and civil society, must
provide the required impetus for adequately
addressing the remaining challenges in
the health sector. Going forward, the focus
will be on implementing NHI, reducing the
costs of private healthcare, providing person
centered health services, improving the
quality of health facility infrastructure and
services, strengthening and expanding PHC
services through DHS, improving health
information management through appropriate
automation, and ensuring adequate and
appropriate human resources for health.
3.2.4 Rural transformation
In 1994 rural South Africa was a mix of white
commercial farming areas and marginal areas
deliberately selected as “homelands” or
“Bantustans”, with which most black people
were supposed to identify, and to which many
black people had been forcibly moved. In
commercial farming areas there were relatively
well-functioning institutions, but large
inequalities existed between farmers and
farmworkers, and there was poor provision
of services for farmworkers. Bantustans were
generally characterised by dense semi-urban
settlement patterns, communal land tenure,
poor services, marginal economies and weak
institutions. Apart from commercial farmers
and professionals in rural towns, rural people
were poor and marginalised.
In 1994, 60 percent of the South African
population called rural areas home, with some
17 million people living mainly in the areas of
the former homelands, which had only just
been incorporated into the new South Africa.
Some 70 percent of the rural population was
poor, compared with 40.5 percent of the
urban population, and 75 percent of poor
people lived in rural areas78. (Urban and rural
areas were not completely separate, with
seasonal migration and many people in urban
areas having binding ties with the rural areas.)
Since 1994, restricted economic and social
development in rural areas has resulted in
many rural people migrating to urban areas
in search of better economic opportunities.
Between 1995 and 2008, the population
of the former homelands grew by only
9 percent, while the population in metropolitan
areas grew by nearly 40 percent, secondary
cities by 24 percent and commercial farming
areas by 15 percent. By 2012, the percentage
of the population living in rural areas had
declined to below 50 percent79.
Since 1994, the main challenge for rural
development has been addressing the
marginalisation of the poor, with many rural
areas and households trapped in a vicious
cycle of poverty. The government committed
itself to ensuring that the country develops
sustainable rural communities by focusing on
land reform, agrarian reform, improving rural
household food security and rural services,
improving access to education and creating
employment in rural areas, skills development,
youth development, cooperative and small
enterprises development, and improving
planning and coordination capacity for
rural development across government. The
government also introduced legislation to
protect farmworkers from unfair evictions. and agrarian reform
Colonialism and the implementation of
apartheid policies, especially the Natives
Land Act of 1913, resulted in large-scale,
racially based dispossessions of land
ownership rights, which in turn resulted in
a highly inequitable distribution of land
ownership. In 1994, most agricultural land
was owned by whites (83 percent) and only
17 percent of the land was available for
black people in the former homelands. There
was a dualistic agricultural system, with
environmentally degraded arable land in the
former homelands, and a flourishing white
commercial sector in the highest-potential
agricultural land.
Government policy for agrarian transformation
involved ensuring more equitable access to
land, water, economic institutions, finance
and infrastructure for landless people,
farmworkers and smallholder farmers, as
well as raising productivity and diversifying
rural economies and rural employment.
Smallholders would be strengthened and
their numbers increased, and rural households
would produce their own food.
Section 25 (5) of the Constitution enjoins
the state to “take reasonable legislative and
other measures, within its available resources,
to foster conditions which enable citizens
to gain access to land on an equitable
basis”. To address the legacy of large-scale
dispossession of land, land reform became an
important component of delivery for the state.
Land reform would be addressed through
land restitution (giving people back the land
they had been moved from, or compensating
them), land redistribution (providing redress
through giving people land) and tenure reform.
Government enacted the Restitution of Land
Rights Act of 1994, which provided that a
person, a deceased estate, a descendant or a
community that had been dispossessed of land
rights as a result of past racially discriminatory
laws or practices after 19 June 1913 was entitled
to lodge a claim for the restitution of such right
by no later than 31 December 1998. About
80 000 claims for restitution were lodged
before the cut-off date. A Restitution of Land
Rights Amendment Bill is currently before
Parliament, to extend the date for the lodging
of claims for restitution to 31 December 2018.
In 1994 government introduced the Land
Redistribution Programme to enable
individuals and groups to obtain a grant for
the purchase of land from a willing seller, to
be used for both residential and agricultural
production purposes. In 2001 the Land
Redistribution for Agricultural Development
(LRAD) Grant was introduced to establish and
promote emerging farmers. The slow pace
of land reform, as highlighted at the 2005
Land Summit, led to the introduction of the
Proactive Land Acquisition Strategy (PLAS),
meant to accelerate the pace of land reform.
The use of grants for land acquisition was
discontinued after consultations with land
reform beneficiaries in 2009. Consequently,
the focus shifted to the acquisition of
strategically located land through PLAS.
Such land was leased rather than transferred
to land-reform beneficiaries.
Government committed itself to transfer
30 percent of the 82 million hectares of
agricultural land owned by whites in 1994 to
blacks by 2014, a total of 24.5 million hectares,
through both land restitution and land
redistribution. In practice, since 1994 through
both land restitution and redistribution,
government has redistributed 9.4 million
hectares80, benefiting almost a quarter of a
million people, mostly through cash transfers.
Government has recently completed a
national audit of land ownership, occupant/
user rights to the land, and current usage.
This information will assist government to
identify further land for land reform purposes.
Despite this progress, land reform has
not yet realised its potential to stimulate
especially in the agricultural sector. Only
24 percent of black households are involved
in agricultural activities81. Very few commercial
farms are owned by black people. A large
number of land-reform beneficiaries are
not using the land productively, partly due
to inadequate infrastructure, inputs and
technical support after they were settled. In
2010 a Recapitalisation and Development
Programme (RECAP) was introduced to
provide increased support to land reform
beneficiaries to enable them to utilise
their acquired land as well as to address
infrastructure backlogs on the acquired farms.
One of the problems related to underutilisation of acquired land has been the resale
of land by beneficiaries. The recent Green
Paper on Land Reform proposes measures
to address this by limiting the resale rights of
land reform beneficiaries.
In 2004, a Comprehensive Agricultural Support
Programme aimed at improving productivity of
smallholders was introduced. This programme
has had limited success, in part due to a lack
of involvement of established commercial
farmers in developing emerging commercial
farmers. Lack of transformation in the
commercial agriculture sector, compounded
by “crowding out” of smallholders, has
resulted in black smallholders having limited
access to agricultural markets (retailers) and
trade opportunities. Addressing the issues of
under-utilisation of redistributed or restituted
land and developing more black smallholders
and black commercial farmers will take time
and increased coordination between the
various departments and programmes working
towards these goals. An agricultural policy
action plan has recently been developed
with the aim of providing more coordinated
support to black farmers.
Government introduced the Communal
Land Rights Bill in 2002, which subsequently
translated into the Communal Land Rights
Act (CLARA) of 2004. This Act seeks to
give land-owning communities land tenure
rights, which are protected by law. It also
seeks to give communal land ownership to
communities who have received land from
the state and provide for suitable redress
to persons whose tenure of land is insecure
due to past discriminatory laws or practices.
Progress in implementing the Act stagnated
following constitutional challenges, and
remains under development.
Employment in agriculture declined from
1.1 million in 1992 to 706 000 in 2013.
Reasons vary, including vulnerability of
the sector to global market fluctuations, a
shrinking commercial farming sector and the
consolidation of small farm units into larger
farms and mechanisation.
An enabling environment has been created
for women to access, own, control, use and
manage land, as well as to access credit.
This led to an increase in female-headed
households benefiting from land reform, from
1.2 percent of beneficiaries in 1994 to 13.3
percent of beneficiaries by 2007. The debate
between constitutional and cultural rights has
not yet been resolved with regard to women
accessing communal land in rural areas. While
the Constitution guarantees equal recognition
of the right to cultural practices, women
continue to be denied their constitutional
right to access land due to male dominance in
traditional and cultural practices. security
A report published in 2013 by the Food
and Agriculture Organisation of the United
Nations assessing the state of food insecurity
in the world established South Africa is
one of only three African countries that are
food secure82. The country is earmarked for
recognition by the UN as one of two African
countries that have performed well on the
MDGs as measured by the total population
that is undernourished. Further, South Africa
has joined other African heads of State at
the January 2014 Summit in a breakthrough
commitment to eliminate hunger on the
continent by 2025. The new 2025 African
Union target aligns South Africa and the
continent with the Zero Hunger Challenge
launched by UN Secretary-General Ban
Ki-Moon in 201283.
Despite these achievements, the Statistics
South Africa general household survey
indicates that between 10 percent and
15 percent of households were still
vulnerable to hunger in 2011. It also indicates
that 22.7 percent of the population, or
13.8 million people, has insufficient access
to food and many households (21 percent)
continue to experience difficulty in accessing
food, particularly in rural areas84. The
underlying causes of these challenges
include a declining trend in subsistence food
production, the cost of food relative to the
incomes of the poor, and poor dietary habits
leading to malnutrition. Government’s social
assistance grant programmes, its initiatives to
develop smallholders, and nutrition education
programmes are all aimed at addressing
these causes. in rural areas
The proportion of adults with no schooling
halved from 34 percent in 2001 to 17 percent
in 2011 in commercial farming and former
homeland areas85. The Kha Ri Gude adult
education programme described in the basic
education section has made basic education
accessible to adults in rural areas.
While access to water, sanitation and
electricity in rural areas has improved greatly
since 1994, addressing the backlogs in
the provision of these services is still work
in progress, and there are still some rural
communities without access.
municipalities is indicative, in part, of the
massive infrastructure backlogs inherited from
apartheid. As discussed in Chapter 2, the
relatively poor service delivery also points to
limitations in rural local government regarding
governance, staffing and resources, particularly
in former homeland areas. In some instances,
rural municipalities are unable to effectively
invest in infrastructure or to maintain it.
A new initiative in 2009 was the creation of a
Department of Rural Development and Land
Reform (DRDLR) as a rural champion, which
has introduced several rural development
initiatives, including the Comprehensive
Rural Development Programme (CRDP).
The CRDP has been developed as a
multisectoral response to the challenge of
rural development, addressing basic human
needs, as well as the provision of social and
economic infrastructure and the development
of small and medium enterprises, using an
agri-village model. Under the agri-village
model, housing, sanitation, health, education
and other basic services are provided to an
agricultural village. In addition, there should
be sustainable agriculture-related incomegenerating activities in the village. The
programme is being implemented as a pilot.
By 2013 it had covered 95 of a targeted 160
wards across the country. The National Rural
Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) was also
introduced by the department in 2010, and is
making a contribution to youth employment
and skills development in rural areas.
support institutions such as universities, and
financial and business services. It is also cheaper
to provider municipal and other social services
to highly concentrated populations than to
more geographically dispersed populations.
Rolling out the CRDP programme to all rural
areas would be prohibitively expensive and
result in the duplication of services already
offered by other government departments
and municipalities. Going forward, the DRDLR
will need to increasingly focus on coordinating
and facilitating economic development in the
poorer rural municipalities.
As experienced by many developing countries,
high rates of urbanisation result in a huge
increase in demand for housing, services,
employment opportunities and infrastructure.
South African cities are struggling to keep
up with the demand for housing and social
and economic infrastructure for a growing
population of poor households, many of which
are in informal settlements. South Africa’s
cities and large towns account for 80 percent
of South Africa’s gross value add (GVA), but
booming wealthy areas are juxtaposed with
concentrations of high levels of poverty
(such as Alexandra and Diepsloot near
Sandton). Rapid urbanisation is also leading
to increasing pollution and waste generation,
which poses risks to the environmental
sustainability of urban settlements.
3.2.5 Urban development
South Africa reached the urban tipping point
in the early 1990s, when just over 50 percent
of the population resided in urban areas. Since
then there has been a steady pace towards
greater urbanisation and today 63 percent of
South Africans live in urban areas. The NDP
estimates that by 2030 the urban population
will grow by an additional 7.8 million people.
Higher levels of urbanisation generate greater
opportunities for growth, poverty reduction and
environmental sustainability. Moreover, cities
have the potential to be economically dynamic
through the spatial concentration of productive
activity, entrepreneurs, workers, consumers and
From grey and uninviting, Joburg’s inner city is being turned
into a vibrant and attractive area through various Johannesburg
Development Agency (JDA) initiatives. JDA projects to create
safe and inner city public areas and to induce greater investment
has resulted in a major overhaul of the public environment in
areas such as the Hillbrow, Berea and Yeoville flatlands.
Launched with a view to developing, promoting and managing
Cape Town’s city centre, the Central City Improvement
District (CCID) has begun to yield significant international and
public interest in Cape Town’s inner city tourism offerings,
from designer retail hubs to world-class nightlife. The CCID
is helping to keep the city safe, secure and clean and many
historic precincts such as the St George’s Mall have undergone
significant regeneration.
Since the 1990’s the eThekwini Metro has responded to the
need for urban renewal with iTrump (Inner City Thekwini
Regeneration and Urban Management Programme). The goal
has been to improve conditions, placing strategic value on
inner city areas such as the Brook Street Central Market and
restoration of Warwick Junction.
While it is acknowledged that urban and rural
areas are dynamically interlinked, there is an
urgent need to develop a national approach
to the challenges of urban growth. It is for this
reason that the NDP requires government to
put in place an urban development strategy
to make urban spaces liveable, equitable,
sustainable, resilient and efficient as well
as to support economic growth and social
cohesion. Key in this regard is a systematic
response to entrenched apartheid spatial
patterns that continue to exacerbate social
inequality and economic inefficiency.
3.2.6 Inner city regeneration
Urban spaces are constantly subjected to the
ebb and flow of growth and decay. These
patterns have tended to leave a dilapidated
urban core in cities and towns across the world.
In South Africa, the advent of democracy saw
a more concentrated timeframe in which the
transformed urban constituency translated
into “white flight” from inner cities, and many
businesses moved out to suburban locations
as a result of urban changes, perceptions,
uncertainties and dynamics.
For a long time inner city spaces fell to
neglect, characterised by decay and
uninviting spaces. However, over the past
10 years significant public and private
investments have gone into inner-city areas
to revitalise them and turn them into quality
spaces for cultural, business and residential
purposes. The physical, social and economic
environment of previously neglected inner
city areas are being revitalised through
precinct-based approaches in cities such as
Johannesburg, Durban and Port Elizabeth,
and partnership-based approaches in Cape
Town and Johannesburg. These approaches
have included introducing pedestrian-only
zones, improving traffic flow, upgrading urban
infrastructure, improving public buildings,
improving public transport, improving
safety, creating market places, creating
cultural precincts, and neighbourhood-based
residential and economic clusters.
The decade to come will require further
innovation, replication and building on
the current success regarding inclusive
regeneration strategies. Leadership by
local government with respect to structured
planning and the removal of obstacles and
red tape to investment, building inclusive
partnerships with community organisations
and the private sector, and an urban
management model that is capable of
managing and maintaining improved city
spaces and not just flagship projects are key
to sustaining inner city regeneration. Care
will also need to be taken to avoid some of
the unintended consequences of inner city
regeneration, including the gentrification
effect seen in other international cities,
which results in the displacement of the poor
towards the periphery, and informal trader
❚ Over the past 20 years, about 2.8 million completed houses
and units, and just over 876 774 serviced sites, were
delivered, allowing approximately 12.5 million people access
to accommodation and a fixed asset.
❚ About 56 percent of all subsidies were allocated to womanheaded households.
❚ The post-1994 Government Housing Programme constitutes
about 24 percent of the total formal housing stock in the
country, and was recognised by the United Nations Human
Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) with an award in 2003.
❚ About 353 666 rental units of the previous government were
transferred into ownership of tenants.
❚ There have been three major iconistic restitution projects of
communities that were forcibly removed from the inner city
(District Six, Cato Manor, Lady Selbourne) that have been
reintegrated with new housing into the metropolitan centres.
❚ Since 1994, the national Department of Human Settlements
has spent R125 billion (at 2010 prices) on housing and human
settlement development, while R16 billion has been spent by
other government agencies on other infrastructure projects
for redeveloping human settlements.
❚ The capital investment by the state has created 1.29 million
direct, indirect and induced person-year jobs, and the
operational investment has created a further 10 800 jobs.
❚ The growth of the average price of houses in the market,
including for the affordable or gap market, has been fivefold
over the 20 years.
❚ More than 10 739 communities in 968 towns and cities
across the country benefitted from the Government Housing
Programme, indicating the extent of the interface between
communities and government, and each of the 3.7 million
Source: National Department of Human Settlements, 2014
3.2.7 Sustainable human settlements and human settlements
Since 1994, the democratic government
has delivered approximately 3.7 million
subsidised housing opportunities for the
very poor, giving a home to approximately
12.5 million people (close to a quarter of
the population)87. Fifty-six percent of all
subsidies allocated have been to womanheaded households, engendering housing
in South Africa like in no other country88. A
home is an asset that offers an entry point to
social, commercial and work opportunities,
thus offering a sense of being a full citizen.
South Africa has now reached a point where,
for the first time, blacks now outnumber
whites for home purchases in suburban
areas89. This is an indication of progress in
terms of the racial integration of our cities
and towns, as well as in terms of the growth
of the black middle class.
Progressive public investment in housing
for the very poor has facilitated a wave of
investment in housing by beneficiaries, other
households and the private and not-for-profit
sectors, dramatically improving the quality
of the human settlements in which we live.
Together, government and the private sector
have delivered 5 677 614 formal houses,
increasing the number of people living in
formal housing from 64 percent in 1996 to
77.7 percent in 2011, representing a growth
of 50 percent for the period90. The formal
housing market has increased 13-fold from
R321 billion in 1994, reaching a collective
value of about R4.036 trillion by 201491.
Housing policies92 over the past 20 years have
developed in three interrelated ways:
❚ The singular focus on housing to meet
shelter and ownership deficits has
broadened to consider housing from a more
sustainable human settlement approach93.
❚ The narrow, simplistic one-size-fits-all public
housing focus (the RDP prototype house)
has become more flexible and pragmatic,
and thus more capable of engaging with
the complexity of integrating settlements.
Seventeen new subsidy programmes
have been instituted, allowing citizens to
actively engage with a range of different
programme activities to improve their living
conditions. These programmes include
subsidies to upgrade informal settlements,
subsidies for people who want to build for
themselves (including through the People's
Housing Process Programme), subsidies for
improving the integration of settlements,
subsidies for rural housing, and support for
rental and social housing.
❚ This diverse way of providing housing
opportunities has offered new ways in which
people can negotiate their housing needs,
thus reinforcing the social contract in the
Constitution regarding rights to housing.
This has given households more choices in
building wealth through housing assets and
lifting themselves out of poverty.
As illustrated in the box, achievements in
housing since 1994 have been significant.
The estimated value of the state-subsidised
housing market is about R300 billion94. This
represents a threefold increase in the value of
investments by the state since 1994, as a result
of increasing property values. It also represents
a sizeable asset value enhancement for about
3.7 million households in the subsidy category
and a growth in the gap or affordable market
of some 13 times its value since 199495.
The introduction of the Home Loan and
Mortgage Disclosure Act in 2000 and the
Community Reinvestment Bill in 2002
motivated banks to originate R53.1 billion in
housing finance loans through the Financial
Services Charter between 2004 and 2008,
benefiting 985 000 families. A further R42.9
billion in housing finance loans has been
originated by banks since 2009, providing
finance to an additional 1.054 million
beneficiaries96. While this did not necessarily
There were mass removals of Africans from Johannesburg
to Soweto between 1955 and 1958. Its high levels of socioeconomic deprivation and dusty gravel, unlit streets became
famed as the student battlegrounds for justice and freedom
in 1976 and 1985 State of Emergency. Since 1994, the City
of Johannesburg has invested substantial resources into
developing Soweto and reintegrating it into the city:
❚ All 314 km of the gravel roads were tarred. All other roads in the
27 townships that make up Greater Soweto were resurfaced,
kerbed, pedestrianised, linked to a new cycleway, provided
with street lights, and integrated into a comprehensive stormwater management system by 2005.
❚ All outstanding water, electricity and sanitation service
connections to thousands of houses built but previously
excluded by apartheid policies were completed over the last
20 years.
❚ The Greening of Soweto project saw more than 200 000 new
trees planted. Nelson Mandela planted the 90 990th tree in
2008 on his 90th birthday. This project also built six new ecoparks. This greening project has received two separate gold
awards, one in 2008 and again in 2010 at the United Nations
Liveable Community Awards.
❚ More than 100 000 houses were built or refurbished in Soweto
over the 20 years.
❚ The Rea Vaya rapid bus transport system provides a loop
through Soweto linking with the Johannesburg CBD, with
some 34 stops.
❚ A tourism spine has been developed, reflecting the struggles
of the local community against apartheid. The spine links the
Vilikazi Street precinct, which highlights the house museums of
Soweto’s two Nobel Peace Prize winners, Nelson Mandela and
Bishop Tutu, and the Hector Pieterson Memorial and Museum
and the 12km June 16th Route, the Regina Mundi Parish
Church – the gathering point for protest meetings and refuge
from the apartheid brutalities – and loops back to Kliptown
as the founding locality of the Freedom Charter. This spine
attraction has already attracted over 1 million tourists.
❚ Retail space has grown almost fourfold from less than 60 000
square metres to 220 000 over the past 20 years. Five new
major shopping malls with major retail anchor tenants have
been established.
❚ Soweto’s residential property market is now booming, with
the highest average prices in the affordable housing market
segment country wide.
build new stock, it increased the value of
existing stock.
The Social Housing Programme has also
delivered about 50 000 well-located and
well-managed new housing units to low- and
moderate-income households, incentivising
growth in the surrounding neighbourhood97.
Some social housing units tend to have up
to four families move through their units
over a 10-year period98, offering a wider set
of accommodation options in well-located
areas, potentially having provided welllocated, affordable accommodation to more
than 300 000 people.
Although there was a rapid growth in the
number of informal settlements in the
first 10 years after 1994, the number has
remained stable over the last 10 years,
accommodating some 1.2 million shacks.
Increasingly, more households are finding
rental accommodation in backyard shacks
(713 000) in historical townships and in the
government subsidy developments of the
past 20 years. This demonstrates the benefits
of the subsidy programme in extending
affordable and secure accommodation to
extended families99.
State finance institutions have made significant
inroads into the affordable or gap market (that
gap in the market that exists below where
the private financial market tends to operate,
and just above where the subsidy programme
can deliver), appointing some 54 financial
intermediaries. Just one such agency, the
Trust for Urban Housing Finance (a National
Housing Finance Corporation subsidiary), has
provided financing to 171 entrepreneurs or
small-scale landlords, including 34 women,
refurbishing just over 18 000 affordable rental
units in well-located inner city locations. A new
subsidy, the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy
Programme (FLISP), has been introduced for
the gap market, to address housing delivery
challenges in this market, thereby ensuring a
more integrated property market.
South Africa’s land and housing market has
effectively excluded the country’s poorest
citizens due to high land and property costs,
and the inability of many poor people to access
affordable credit. This means that many of the
state’s urban settlement interventions and
other affordable housing projects remain on
the peripheries of cities. Whilst great strides
have been made in recrafting policy towards
getting better functioning, more integated
human settlements, government needs to
further increase its efforts to work with other
stakeholders to overcome existing spatial
patterns that continue to divide society.
This includes incentivising the private sector
to service more of those lower down in the
market in better-located areas.
Improving human settlements will require a
review of the subsidy regime, with greater
consideration of how the subsidy instruments
could be designed to achieve better-located
settlements and fairness in access to the
housing market for poorer people. The current
inequitable distribution of the unprecedented
growth in the value of properties in the last 20
years, coupled with the inherited distortions
of the market and limits on affordability of
credit, reduce the opportunities for the poor
to increase their wealth through transacting in
the property market.
Planning, housing, human settlement
development and public transport need
to be better integrated to ensure greater
urban efficiency and vibrancy. This, in turn,
will result in improved property markets,
more investment in housing and improved
municipal revenues. Finally, state capability
needs to be increased to support the codevelopment of housing and settlementmaking between citizens, community
organisations, cooperatives, the private
construction sector and banks. services
South Africa has made significant progress in
rolling out basic service delivery, especially
for communities deliberately excluded by
apartheid. As described in this section,
remarkable achievements have been made
in increasing access to water, sanitation and
electricity infrastructure, as well as refuse
removal services over the past 20 years.
However, as discussed in Chapter 2, a
challenge that has emerged is that there has
been a decline in functionality of municipal
infrastructure due to poor operation and
maintenance in some municipalities. This
means, for example, that while people might
have access to a tap, there might be no
water coming out of the tap.
While there have been marked improvements
in the percentages of households with access
to electricity, water and sanitation, there
are still some households without access,
particularly in remote rural areas and informal
urban settlements. Challenges in achieving
100 percent access include rapid rural-urban
migration, the density of informal settlements
and difficulties in installing bulk infrastructure
in remote rural areas.
As illustrated in Figure 3.4, there has been
a significant improvement in access to
sanitation over the past 20 years. Access to a
basic level of sanitation (at least a ventilated
improved pit latrine) increased from just
over 50 percent of households in 1994/95 to
83 percent of households in 2011/12. South
Africa achieved the MDG of halving the
proportion of the population without basic
sanitation well before the target of 2015.
Although much progress has been made in
improving sanitation services to households,
many households still do not have access to
basic sanitation in rural areas.
As illustrated in Figure 3.5, there has also
been a remarkable improvement in access
to water over the past 20 years. Access
to a basic level of water (one stand pipe
within 200 metres) increased from just over
60 percent of households in 1994/95 to
over 95 percent of households in 2011/12.
South Africa achieved the MDG of halving
the proportion of the population without
access to a basic level of water in 2008,
again before the target of 2015. Access
to water is continuing to increase, but
at a slower rate due to the complexities
mentioned earlier.
Households with access to sanitation
Sources: Statistics South Africa: Population Censuses and Department of Water Affairs
Percentage households with access to sanitation
Figure 3.4: Access to sanitation, 1994/95–2011/12
Refuse removal
licensing, and the backlog of unlicensed
landfill sites is being reduced.
The basis of measuring access to refuse
removal services changed in 2009. Access to
a basic level of refuse removal, as defined
in the Waste Classification and Management
Regulations of 2012, increased from
55 percent of households in 2009 to
72 percent in 2013100. A challenge for
increasing access to refuse removal services
is the availability of sufficient licensed landfill
sites. In this regard, the Department of
Environmental Affairs has recently started
to assist municipalities with the process of
As illustrated in Figure 3.6, there has also been
a marked improvement in the percentage of
households with access to electricity over
the past 20 years. It increased from just
over 50 percent in 1994/95 to 86 percent
in 2013/14. Recent progress in increasing
access to electricity is as a result of both grid
connections and increased use of non-grid
technology in rural areas.
Figure 3.5: Access to potable water, 1993/94–2011/12
Percentage households with access to
potable water
Households with access to water infrastructure > or = to RDP standards
Sources: Statistics South Africa: Population Censuses and Department of Water Affairs
Percentage households with access to electricity
Figure 3.6: Access to electricity, 1994/95–2013/14
Sources: Statistics South Africa: Population Censuses and Department of Energy
3.2.8 Women and gender equality
Colonialism and cultural and religious
practices promoted patriarchy and the
oppression of women. Apartheid further
entrenched discrimination based on gender
and introduced policies and laws that
oppressed women.
Black women experienced triple oppression,
especially those married under customary
law, who were regarded as minors by the
Black Administration Act of 1927 and were
placed under the tutelage of their husbands.
Consequently, these women were denied
contractual rights, direct property ownership
and inheritance from their husbands and
other family members. They also had no right
to custody of their children101.
Women had few legal rights, little access
to education and no right to own property.
Many African women were confined to
being domestic workers in mainly white
suburbs, leaving families and children in
townships and far away rural areas. Rural
women mainly worked as agricultural farm
workers or subsistence household gardeners.
Against this backdrop, the democratic state
prioritised women’s empowerment and
the achievement of gender equality. The
Constitution guarantees equal rights to
women and men and requires the state and
all persons to uphold the values of equality
and to remedy the legacy of discrimination
against women.
South Africa ratified the Convention on the
Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination
against Women (CEDAW) and other
international instruments on gender equality.
This led to a review of all legislation, policies
and programmes impacting on women.
Since 1994, remarkable progress has been
made in raising the voice of women through
the creation of participatory spaces and
structures. The building of institutional
machinery to promote gender equality
began with the establishment of the Office
on the Status of Women (OSW) in 1997. In
that year Parliament also passed legislation to
establish the Commission on Gender Equality
(CGE), with a mandate to monitor, evaluate,
research, investigate complaints and conduct
public awareness and education on women’s
rights and gender equality. In 2009, a
Ministry of Women, Children and People with
Disabilities was created to strengthen the
country’s response to the needs of the said
groups, monitor progress and ensure the
mainstreaming of critical considerations into
all government programmes.
While less than 2 percent of members of
Parliament were women before 1994, the
proportion of women in the legislature
and executive has increased markedly,
as described in the Governance and
Administration chapter. Before 1994, women
were mainly confined to magistrate positions
in the judiciary. No black woman held a
judge position. Since 1994 there have been
increasing numbers of women judges in the
judiciary, with two women occupying seats
at the Constitutional Court. However, in the
private sector, the country remains challenged
by the relatively low representation of women
in corporate boards and as Chairs and CEOs.
South African women have been appointed
in leadership positions in the African Union
Commission, the United Nations and
elsewhere. Progressive policy development
and the creation of the National Gender
Machinery constitute significant achievements
for the country and have raised the ranking
of South Africa in various international
comparisons related to gender.
Women are benefitting from increased access
to basic services at the household level,
which is also resulting in positive outcomes
for children and families. Before 1994,
women were not allowed to legally buy or
own a home and land. The amended Divorce
Act protects women’s property rights in cases
of divorce and the amended Customary
Marriage Act (2000) recognises customary
marriages in favour of women, especially with
regards to inheritance. Women are now also
able to obtain a mortgage.
Africa. On the SADC Gender and Development
Index, South Africa ranked second in 2012,
with a score only slightly lower than that of
the top performer, Seychelles. On the World
Economic Forum Gender Gap Index, South
Africa has consistently remained in the upper
levels, reaching sixth position in 2011.
The Employment Equity Act of 1998 has
facilitated access to formal employment
for women, where employers are legally
required to work towards more equitable
representation based on gender, race and
disability. Specific policies on maternity
benefits and protection in the workplace have
assisted women of child-bearing age to retain
their jobs while supporting their reproductive
roles. However, as noted earlier, continued
variations in earnings between men and
women and limited access to care and
support services, especially for poor children,
limits the time and opportunity for women
to meaningfully participate in the economy.
Notwithstanding the progress described
above, access to opportunity is still generally
influenced by gender.
Among the priorities of the new
democratic state was the development of
a policy and legislative framework and the
establishment of institutions that would
facilitate youth development. From the
outset, a developmental approach to youth
empowerment was adopted, making the youth
agents of their own advancement and not just
passive recipients of government services.
Youth development issues found expression
in the RDP, which emphasised education and
social development to fundamentally address
the dire social conditions that impacted on
youth development during apartheid.
The National Crime Prevention Strategy of
1996 elevated violence against women and
children as a national priority. The Sexual
Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA)
Unit was established in 1999 to facilitate
the prosecution of sexual crimes. The 16
Days of Activism Campaign for no violence
against women and children has mobilised
communities and raised awareness. Despite
these efforts, the recent spate of violent
crime and rape of women and young girls
suggests that much more still needs to be
done to change attitudes and eradicate
violence against women and children. The
newly formed National Council Against
Gender-Based Violence (NCAGBV) has been
mandated to provide high-level strategic
guidance and coherence of strategies across
sectors to address the high levels of genderbased violence and integrate, strengthen
and mobilise structures of society for the
reduction of gender-based violence through
the implementation of coherent strategies.
3.2.9 Youth
Government established the National
Youth Commission (NYC) in 1996 and the
Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) in 2001.
Key mandates of these institutions included
the mainstreaming of cross-cutting youth
development issues across the different
sectors and spheres of government, rather
than confining this work in one Ministry
or Department. The UYF focused on skills
development, job creation and small business
development for young people. The South
African Youth Council (SAYC), a civil society
of youth organisations, enables lobbying
for youth interests and representation of
youth in strategic structures like NEDLAC
South Africa’s progress with regard to gender
equality is evident both in international and
regional indices. On the Social Institutions
and Gender Index of the OECD, South Africa
ranked fourth out of the 87 countries in the
2012 index and was the top ranked country in
and the National Skills Authority. The Youth
Commission and Youth Fund were merged
into the National Youth Development Agency
(NYDA) in 2009. Government has been
working on improving the effectiveness and
impact of these youth structures.
With regard to school learners, key challenges
that have emerged include high levels of
teenage pregnancy, and a high dropout rate
among the 14–17 year age group. This has a
tremendous impact on the life opportunities
of young people and their ability to participate
meaningfully in the economy either through
employment or self-employment.
Young people account for almost two thirds
of the unemployed, thus bearing the brunt
of unemployment. The NYDA places the
figure of young people who are neither in
an educational institution nor in employment
at about 2.8 million. These young people
remain on the margins of society and are
vulnerable to social risks such as violence,
crime and substance abuse. Social risks
such as substance abuse have the potential
to affect gains made in HIV prevention
among young people. Recent surveys102
also suggest that disaffected young people
are disengaged from conventional forms
of political participation such as voting or
communication with elected officials and
are more likely to engage in service delivery
protests and political violence.
A range of initiatives have been introduced
to address the challenge of youth
opportunities for formal education and
training; learnerships and internships for
youth; employment services to improve
job search and job matching; and secondchance programmes to strengthen the
employment prospects for unemployed,
low-educated youth and to motivate their
re-entry into education. Second chance
programmes target early school leavers
(those that have dropped out of secondary
school) and young adults who have not gone
on to further education or vocational training
programmes. There has also been a focus on
encouraging entrepreneurial activity among
the youth by the Small Enterprise Financing
Agency, the Small Enterprise Development
Agency and the National Youth Development
Agency. A youth employment tax incentive
has also been introduced recently through
an act of Parliament.
3.2.10 People with disabilities
The democratic state inherited a society
with widespread ignorance and prejudice
towards people with disabilities, resulting in
them facing further discrimination, abuse,
segregation, exclusion and deprivation
and limiting the realisation of their full civil,
political, economic, social, and cultural and
development rights and potential. People
with disabilities faced numerous barriers to
accessing basic services, with facilities such as
schools and employment facilities separating
children and adults with disabilities from their
peers. The interrelatedness of disability and
poverty is outlined in the NDP and the point
is made that disability and poverty operate
in a vicious circle. Impoverished families,
for example, find it difficult or impossible to
ensure adequate education and healthcare
for children and adults with disabilities.
During the pre-1994 negotiation process,
it was agreed that self-representation
– the right of disabled people to speak
for themselves in all matters affecting
their lives, and mainstreaming disability
across government machinery – were nonnegotiable. The Constitution advocated for
an environment conducive to full and equal
participation of people with disabilities in
society and equal access to opportunities,
accessibility and protection. The inclusion of
non-discrimination on the basis of disability in
the Constitution thus opened a new path to
improve the lives of people with disabilities.
Working with organisations of people with
disabilities, the democratic state has since
taken major steps to ensure that people
with disabilities are not subjected to the
discrimination, inequities and exclusion of the
past and that their rights to self-representation
and equal opportunities are realised.
effective legislation. Access to learnership
programmes targeting youth with disabilities
has promoted skills development and further
raised awareness of disability.
The Office on the Status of People with
Disabilities was established in 1996, mainly to
influence policy development. The Integrated
National Disability Strategy represented a
historical milestone to promote the rights
of people with disabilities by guiding the
formulation of sector-wide policies and
programmes. A basket of services ranging
from free healthcare, social assistance and
inclusive education, targeting both adults and
children with disabilities, opened up access
to opportunities. Access to special schools
for children with disabilities has improved,
with the number of public special schools
increasing from 375 to 423 from 2002–2011.
However, there is still a large percentage of
children with disabilities not accessing formal
education, either through special schools or
mainstream education.
While major strides have been made to
include people with disabilities in the
mainstream, much still remains to be done to
address persistent discriminatory attitudes,
inaccessible public transport systems, barriers
in the built environment that may prevent
people with disabilities from accessing
services, lack of access to communication and
information as well as poor enforcement of key
legislation impacting on disability. To address
these challenges, the NDP includes plans to
increase access to services, particularly quality
education, and employment for people with
In the workplace, employment equity
and protection of workers from an unsafe
work environment that could lead to
illness and disability is ensured through
3.2.11 Vulnerable groups
Recognising that the apartheid legacy
would weigh heavily on sectors of society
that were most vulnerable and least wellplaced to benefit from democracy103, the
democratic state has prioritised the building
of an equitable society, with a particular
focus on those historically excluded from
participating in the mainstream of society.
There is still a significant proportion of the
population that is poor and unemployed.
The Municipal Indigent Policy, approved in
2005, provides the indigent with free basic
water, sanitation, electricity and refuse
removal. Improved access to clean, running
water, proper sanitation and electricity have
eased the burden of household chores for
vulnerable and poor households. In addition
to freeing up time to enable employment
seeking and meaningful participation in
the economy, this has the added impact of
improved safety and security as people no
longer had to travel long distances to collect
water or firewood.
To address children’s vulnerability, the
democratic state has given priority to
remedying poor living conditions and
inequities experienced by the majority of
children marginalised by apartheid policies.
The state has introduced measures to secure
and safeguard children’s constitutional rights
and their survival, development, protection and
participation. In collaboration with civil society,
the state and civil society have introduced
programmes focusing on children’s rights to
health, nutrition, early childhood development,
education, and safety and protection.
Consequently, there has been a reduction
in child poverty as well as an improvement
in the living conditions of black, rural and
girl children, and children living in poverty.
Despite this progress, poor children are still
vulnerable to social risks, with a profound
impact on their well-being and opportunity
of access. For instance, HIV and AIDS have
led to increased orphaning of children and
an increase in child-headed households. In
response, government has increased cash
transfers to child-headed households and
youth-headed households, as well as the
provision of psycho-social support to orphans
and vulnerable children.
Overall, there are indications that policy
and institutional development to respond
to the needs of women, youth, people with
disabilities and vulnerable groups has had a
positive impact. However, a key challenge has
been achieving the right balance between
mainstreaming strategies on the one hand
and targeted interventions through dedicated
programmes on the other hand. Going
forward, monitoring the extent to which
mainstreamed policies are implemented by
all stakeholders needs to be strengthened.
3.2.12 Social cohesion and nation-building
As articulated in the RDP: “The Nationbuilding Project will be an all-encompassing
project that aims at economic, political and
social transformation. Central to the crisis
in our country are the massive divisions
and inequalities left behind by apartheid…
Nation-building is the basis on which to
build a South Africa that can support the
development of our Southern African region.
Nation-building is also the basis on which to
ensure that our country takes up an effective
role within the world community. Only a
programme that develops economic, political
and social viability can ensure our national
South Africa’s nation-building project includes
forming a common identity, while recognising
and respecting diverse ethnic, racial and
other groupings. It involves multiculturalism,
which recognises the cultural rights of ethnic
and other minorities.
As described in the introduction, in building
a new nation, the country chose to follow a
process of reconciliation through the Truth
and Reconciliation Commission (TRC). The
TRC recorded and made public the details of
a very painful past. This process of publicly
acknowledging and confronting these details
was a very necessary part of the process of
healing the historic wounds. Together with
the Convention for a Democratic South
Africa and the Government of National
Unity, the TRC helped ease South Africa
into the reconstruction and nation-building
process and facilitated a smooth transition
from apartheid rule to democracy. The
first democratic elections, which were held
peacefully and successfully in 1994, also made
an important contribution to social cohesion
and building a new national identity.
By 1996, the foundations on which to build
a new nation were in place. Apartheid laws
had been repealed. South Africa had a
firmly established national territory, a new
Constitution and new national symbols,
including a flag, a national anthem and a coat
of arms, all of which played a key role in the
creation of an overarching national identity. In
a diverse country that values its diversity, these
symbols play a stronger role in forging an
overarching national identity than in a country
with a single cultural, religious or ethnic
identity. In the late former President Nelson
of engaging in and lobbying for improved
service delivery. This helps the voiceless to
have a voice, which also contributes to social
cohesion and inclusion.
Mandela, the country had a leader acceptable
to almost all groups in society and deeply
respected across racial and class boundaries.
In this regard, President Mandela was himself
a key part of the new national identity.
The arts are also important for creating
the overarching identity of a nation. In
partnership with relevant stakeholders,
government has transformed the arts sector
to be more inclusive and to embrace the
country’s diverse arts, culture and heritage.
In keeping with the ethos of reconciliation,
no apartheid era museums were closed
or monuments destroyed. Since 1994, a
range of new heritage sites and legacy
projects have been completed, including
the Freedom Park complex, which is linked
to the adjacent Voortrekker Monument, the
Chief Albert Luthuli Museum in KwaZuluNatal, the Robben Island Museum (a world
heritage site) and, most recently, the Nelson
Mandela Statue at the Union Buildings.
The Constitution is based on a vision of a
South Africa built on a culture of reverence
for human rights and an identity founded on
the values of non-sexism, non-racialism and
equality. The Constitution aimed to build
an overarching national identity through
common citizenship and equality before the
law. As described in Chapter 2, over the past
20 years, the state has been transformed to
be in line with the constitutional imperatives
of a non-racial, non-sexist, equitable and
democratic South Africa.
Under apartheid, blacks did not have equal
access to competitive or recreational sports
opportunities at school or community
levels. There was little or no investment
in sports infrastructure, equipment, attire,
development, talent identification and/
or activities for previously disadvantaged
population groups.
At the same time,
apartheid South Africa was subjected to
international sporting sanctions that isolated
the country and its white athletes from
international competition.
A fundamental right recognised in the
Constitution is that of the mother tongue.
Instead of just Afrikaans and English, South
Africa now recognises 11 official languages,
and has put in place policy and legislation
to promote and develop these languages
to ensure people continue to be provided
the opportunity to communicate in their
language of choice.
In contrast, since 1994, sport has been a
unifying force in South Africa. Sporting
code institutions such as the South African
Council on Sport, the South African NonRacial Olympic Committee and the National
Sports Council were consolidated by building
a democratic and unified sports system. A
dedicated focus was placed on transforming
this sector to increase and ensure equitable
access to sporting opportunities. Sports
interaction has contributed towards increased
interaction across race and class.
A common voter’s roll was put in place for the
first time in April 1999. This was an important
step for the Nation-building Project because
it symbolised equality before the law as
envisaged by the Constitution.
Again, as described in Chapter 2, the state
has established various opportunities for
participatory democracy, which also play a role
in developing social cohesion and inclusion.
The role of civil-society bodies has changed
from one of resistance to apartheid to one
From being a pariah state, South Africa is
now an affiliate of the Supreme Council of
Sport (SCSA, Zone VI) and also participates
in various international sport organisations
and events, such as the Commonwealth
Games, Olympic Games, Paralympic
Games, World Games, and World Antidoping Agency, and the International Antidoping Arrangement.
more than 50 times105. Average household
incomes are six times higher for White
households than for African households106.
❚ While race relations have improved since
the apartheid years, there is still much room
for overcoming stereotypes and increasing
understanding, trust and respect between
racial and ethnic groups.
❚ Xenophobia has reared its ugly head in
During the period 1994 to 2005, Sport and
Recreation South Africa constructed 744 sport
and recreation facilities throughout the country.
South Africa has also successfully hosted a
number of key international sporting events,
most notably the Rugby World Cup in 1995,
the Africa Cup of Nations in 1996 and the FIFA
World Cup in 2010. These events strengthened
the glue that keeps this country together by
fostering an overarching national identity
as well as a spirit of camaraderie. They also
contributed significantly towards developing
South Africa as a tourist destination.
Despite these achievements, there are
still major challenges that have negative
implications for social cohesion and inclusion:
❚ As
described throughout this review,
opportunity is still generally defined by
race, gender and class, although there
has been an improvement in this regard,
compared with pre-1994.
❚ Notwithstanding legislation such as the
Employment Equity Act and Black Economic
Empowerment Act, economic redress and
transformation are slow. For example,
the Employment Equity Report of 2012
indicates that, despite employment equity
policies and legislation, white men and
women still have the highest representation
in top management. In addition, corporate
and land ownership is still largely in the
hands of the white minority. Unemployment
is much lower among white people than
among black people.
❚ The income differential between the highest-
and lowest-paid workers in South Africa
remains among the highest in the world, at
post-apartheid South Africa, as illustrated
by periodic violent attacks on foreign
nationals. Sixty-two people were killed,
34 percent of them South Africans, when
xenophobia first broke out in May 2008.
Between 2011 and 2012, 260 foreign
nationals were killed in violence linked
to xenophobia and 250 were injured in
2012 alone107.
The NDP makes a variety of proposals for
transforming society and uniting the country.
These include making the constitutional
values that promote unity and diversity part
of children’s education, as well as promoting
them among adult South Africans. It also
points out that improving access to quality
education, healthcare and basic services, as
well as enabling access to employment and
transforming ownership patterns and other
imbalances of the past, are key to increasing
social cohesion.
Since 1994, South Africa has made great
strides in transforming education, health, skills
and social welfare. There are some initial signs
of better results in the basic education system,
and going forward there will need to be a
continued focus on the current improvement
initiatives. Many more young people are now
engaged in internships or learnerships or
enrolled in FET colleges or universities.
A primary healthcare system has been put
in place, as part of a process of focusing on
preventative health in addition to curative
approaches. In the past 10 years the HIV and
AIDS epidemic has been turned around and
a range of health outcomes indicators are
now on a firm positive trend. Moving forward,
the focus will be on putting in place a more
equitable health system and the NHI system,
improving the quality of service in the public
sector and addressing the social determinants
of health.
Poverty levels have decreased due to the
expansion of the social grant system and other
pro-poor government programmes in areas
such as basic services, education, health and
public employment programmes. While there
have been major strides in gender equality,
income inequality in terms of class, race and
gender remains high.
Social welfare services have expanded
considerably. Future focus areas need to
include addressing the shortage of social
partnerships between the state and the
NGO sector, and improving coverage of
contributory systems for informal sector
In future there will be an increasing focus
on ensuring that land reform contributes to
economic growth and employment in rural
areas and more attention will be paid to
managing urban development. Efforts to
overcome historical spatial development
patterns that continue to divide society
will need to be intensified. The remaining
backlogs in basic municipal services will need
to be addressed as soon as possible, as will
problems with the maintenance and operation
of municipal services in some municipalities.
Continuing efforts to eradicate poverty
and reduce inequality through the types of
measures described above are likely to result
in improved social cohesion over time.
Nkabinde Z.P. (1997). “An
Analysis of Educational
Changes in the New South
Africa.” University Press of
America: Lanham p. 7
Christie, P. (1985). “The Right
to Learn: The Struggle for
Education in South Africa.”
Human Sciences Research
Council and Medical Research
Council (2013). “South African
National Health and Nutrition
Examination (SANHANES-1).”
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation,
(2013). “Development Indicators
Economic Development
Department, (2011). “The New
Growth Path: Framework.”
Statistics South Africa, (2012).
“Income and Expenditure
of Households 2010/2011.”
Statistical release P0100.
Wittenberg, M. (2013).
“Earnings in post-apartheid
South Africa.” A presentation to
a Data First Forum, 26 July 2013.
Cape Town: Data First, UCT
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“Labour Market Dynamics in
South Africa 2012.” Calculated
from series on earnings for
employees and for employers
and the self employed, race and
gender. Electronic database.
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“Labour Market Dynamics in
South Africa 2012.” Calculated
from series on earnings for
employees and for employers
and the self employed, race and
gender. Electronic database.
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“Labour Market Dynamics in
South Africa, 2012.” Calculated
from series on earnings for
employees and for employers
and the self employed, race and
gender. Electronic database.
Goldman Sachs International,
(2013). “Two Decades of
Freedom – A 20-Year Review of
South Africa.”
Statistics South Africa, (2012).
“Income and Expenditure
of Households 2010/2011.”
Statistical release P0100.
Economic Policy Research
Institute, (2013). “Twenty-year
review of social protection
programmes in South Africa.”
A report commissioned by the
Presidency: Department of
Performance Monitoring and
Bhorat, H. and Van der
Westhuizen, C. (2012). “Poverty,
inequality and the nature of
economic growth in South
Africa.” Development Policy
Research Unit Working Paper
Economic Policy Research
Institute, (2013).
Finn, A., Leibrandt, M. and
Woolard, I. (2010). “The middle
class and inequality in South
Africa.” Southern Africa Labour
and Development Research
Unit, School of Economics,
University of Cape Town.
Ministry for Welfare and
Population Development,
(1997). “White Paper for Social
Sayed, Y and Kanjee, A. (2013).
“An overview of education
policy change in post-apartheid
South Africa.” in Sayed, Y
et al. “The search for quality
education in post-apartheid
South Africa: Interventions to
improve learning and teaching.”
Cape Town: HSRC.
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation,
(2013). “Development Indicators
Statistics South Africa, (2012).
“General Household Survey
2011.” Statistical release P0318.
Department of Basic
Education, (2009). “Trends in
Macro Indicators Report” and
Department of Basic Education,
(2013). “Education for ALL (EFA)
2013 Country Progress Report:”
Department of Basic
Education. (2000),“Education
Statistics in South Africa (2000)."
And South African Institute of
Race Relations, (2013). “South
Africa Survey 2013.”
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation,
(2013). “Development Indicators
Department of Basic
Education, (2012). “Annual
Report 2011/2012.”
Department of Basic Education.
(2012). “Annual Performance Plan
National Education Evaluation
and Development Unit (NEEDU)
(2013). “National Report 2012:
The State of Literacy Teaching
and Learning in the Foundation
Reddy, V., Juan, A., and
Meyiwa, T. (2013). “Towards a
20-year review: basic and postschool education.” A paper
commissioned by the Presidency:
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation.
Statistics South Africa, (2012).
“Census 2011.” Statistical release
P0301.4 and Statistics South
Africa, (1998). “The people of
South Africa : population census
1996 , census in brief.”
South African Institute of Race
Relations, (2012). “South Africa
Survey 2012.” Johannesburg.
South African Institute of Race
Relations (2012). South Africa
Survey, 1994/95. Johannesburg.
The Presidency, (2010). “Joint
Initiative on Priority Skills
Acquisition (JIPSA): Growing
priority skills in South Africa final
report on JIPSA.”
Department of Higher
Education and Training, (2013).
“National Skills Accord Report.”
Organisation for Economic
Cooperation and Development,
(2008). “Reviews of National
Policies for Education South
Africa.” OECD.
Department of Higher
Education and Training (DHET),
(2013). “Twenty-year review of
post-schooling education and
training.” A paper commissioned
by the Presidency: Department
of Performance Monitoring and
Department of Higher
Education and Training, (2013).
Higher Education Management
Information System (HEMIS).
Department of Higher
Education and Training, (2013).
”NSFAS Annual Report 2013.”
Department of Higher
Education and Training, (2013).
Higher Education Management
Information System (HEMIS).
Department of Higher
Education and Training, (2013).
Higher Education Management
Information System (HEMIS).
Coovadia, H., Jewkes, R. Barron,
P., Sanders, D. and McIntyre,
D. (2009). “The health and
health system of South Africa:
historical roots of current public
health challenges.” The Lancet,
Coovadia, H., Jewkes, R. Barron,
P., Sanders, D. and McIntyre, D.
(2009). “The health and health
system of South Africa: historical
roots of current public health
challenges.” The Lancet,
National Department of
Health. (2013). “District Health
Information Systems (DHIS) data
for 2012.”
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“Statistical release P0318: General
Household Survey 2012 Final.”
“Examples of National Medicines
Policy” accessed 17 February
Pharasi, B. & Mioti,. (2012).
“Medicine Selection and
Procurement in South Africa.”
South African Health Review.
Durban. Health Systems Trust.
Health Systems Trust, (1996).
South African Health Review.
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“Mid-year population estimates
2013.” Statistical release P0302.
UNAIDS, (2013). “South Africa’s
National AIDS Response: Bold
Leadership and Breakthrough
Results.” Geneva, Switzerland.
National Department of Health,
(2008). “Annual Report 2007/08.”
National Department of Health,
(2013). “Annual Report 2012/13.”
National Department of Health,
(2009). “Annual Report 2008/09.”
National Department of Health,
(2013). “Annual Report 2012/13.”
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation, (2013).
“Development Indicators 2012.”
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“General Household Survey
2012.” Statistical release P0318.
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“General Household Survey
2012.” Statistical release P0318.
Statistics South Africa (2013).
”Millennium Development Goals,
Country Report 2013.” Statistics
South Africa: Pretoria.
Medical Research Council,
(2011). “Evaluation of the
Effectiveness of the National
Prevention of Mother-tochild Transmission (PMTCT)
Programme on Infant HIV
Measured at Six Weeks
Postpartum in South Africa
Medical Research Council,
(2012). “Evaluation of the
Effectiveness of the National
Prevention of Mother-tochild Transmission (PMTCT)
Programme in South Africa:
Results 2011.”
National Department of Health
& MEASURE DHS, (2000). “South
African Demographic and Health
Survey, 1998.”
Bradshaw, D., Dorrington, R.E.
& Laubscher, R. (2012). “Rapid
Mortality Surveillance Report
2011.” Cape Town. South African
Medical Research Council.
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
”Millennium Development Goals,
Country Report 2013.” Statistics
South Africa: Pretoria.
National Confidential Enquiry
into Maternal Deaths (NCEEMD),
(2013). “Report to the National
Department of Health for 2012.”
African Union, (2013).
“Community Engagement
and Reproductive, Maternal,
Newborn and Child Health.”
Draft Policy Brief prepared for
the International Conference on
Maternal, Newborn and Child
Health in Africa, Johannesburg,
South Africa, 1–3 August 2013.
Human Sciences Research
Council & Medical Research
Council, (2013). “South African
National Health and Nutrition
Examination (SANHANES-1).”
Human Sciences Research
Council & Medical Research
Council, (2013). “South African
National Health and Nutrition
Examination (SANHANES-1).”
National Planning Commission,
(2012). “National Development
Plan 2030. Our future – make
it work (online).” Accessed: 22
May 2013. Available from <http://
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“General Household Survey
2012.” Statistical release P0318.
National Department of
Health, (2012). “National Health
Care Facilities Baseline Audit –
National Summary Report.”
Department of Health, (2012).
“Policy on the Management of
Public Hospitals.” Government
Gazette. August 12 554(345).
Kautzky, K. & Tollman, S. (2008).
“A Perspective on Primary Health
Care in South Africa.” South
African Health Review. Durban.
Health Systems Trust.
Kautzky, K. & Tollman, S. (2008).
“A Perspective on Primary Health
Care in South Africa.” South
African Health Review. Durban.
Health Systems Trust.
Friedman, I. (1999). “Poverty,
Human Rights and Health.” South
African Health Review. Durban.
Health Systems Trust.
Pillay, Y., Marawa, N., &
Proudlock, P. (2002). “Health
Legislation.” South African Health
Review, Health Systems Trust.
Mbali, M. (2005). “TAC in the
History of Rights-Based, Patient
Driven HIV/AIDS Activism
in South Africa.” Michigan.
MPublishing. University of
Michigan Library passages.
Kironde, S. & Klaasen, S. (2002).
“What Motivates Lay Volunteers
in High Burden but Resourcelimited Tuberculosis Control
Programmes? Perceptions from
the Northern Cape Province,
South Africa.” International
Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung
Diseases. 6(2):104–10.
Kironde, S. & Neil, S.,
(2004). “Indigenous NGO
Involvement in TB Treatment
Programmes in High-burden
Settings: Experiences from the
Northern Cape Province, South
Africa.” International Journal of
Tuberculosis and Lung Diseases.
National Planning Commission.
(2012). “National Development
Plan 2030. Our future – make
it work.” Government Printer.
Available from <http://www.
Barron, P. (2013). “A 20-year
review of the Health Sector in
South Africa.” Unpublished
technical input paper prepared
for the National Department of
Health and the Department for
Performance Monitoring and
Evaluation in the Presidency.
Department of Land Affairs,
(1997). “Rural Development
Statistics South Africa, (2012).
“General Household Survey
2011.” Statistical release P0318.
Department of Rural
Development and Land Reform,
(2013). “Programme of Action
Core Indicators – Outcome 7
(online).” Available from <http://
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“Census 2011 Agricultural
Food and Agriculture
Organisation of the United
Nations (FAO), International Fund
for Agricultural Development and
World Food Programme, (2013).
“The State of Food Insecurity in
the World 2013.” The multiple
dimensions of food security.
Rome. FAO.
UNFAO Statement (2014):
Challenge is to transform vision
into reality, 31 January, Addis
Ababa/Rome – FAO DirectorGeneral José Graziano da Silva
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“General Household Survey
2012.” Statistical release P0318.
Statistics South Africa, (2012).
“Census 2011.” Statistical release
Statistics South Africa, (2012).
“Census 2011.” Statistical release
Information provided by
National Department of Human
Settlements, (2014).
Information provided by
National Department of Human
Settlements, (2014).
Business Day, 28 January 2014.
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation, (2013).
“Development Indicators 2012.”
Property Sector Charter, (2012).
Council Research Report.
The Presidency, (2003).
“Ten-year Review.”, The
Presidency, (2008). “Fifteen-year
Review.” and the adoption of
the Comprehensive Plan for
Sustainable Human Settlements,
or Breaking New Ground (BNG),
as it became known in 2004.
Informed by the triple bottom
line considerations as shaped by
the United Nations Declaration at
the World Summit on Sustainable
Development, Johannesburg
2002, and the MDGs adopted in
Property Sector Charter, (2012).
Council Research Report.
Information provided by Estate
Agency Affairs Board (EAAB).
Information provided by
Banking Association of South
Africa, (2013).
Information provided by Social
Housing Regularory Authority
(SHRA), (2014).
Information provided by
National Association of Social
Housing Organisations (NASHO),
Information provided by
Housing Development Agency
(HDA), (2013).
Department of Environmental
Affairs, (2013). “Waste
Classification and Management
Regulations.” Government
Gazette 23 August 2013.
NEC Social Transformation
Committee, (2014). ANC
Afrobarometer (2012) and
Centre for Social Sciences
Research (2013).
The Presidency, Fifteen Year
Review, 2008.
Parliament of the Republic
of South Africa, (1994). “White
paper on Reconstruction and
Development.” Notice no. 1954
of 1994.
(2013). “Annual report on the
trends in executive directors’
Statistics South Africa, (2012).
“Census 2011.” Statistical release
African Centre for Migration
and Society, (2013). “South Africa
Survey 2013 (online).” Accessed
20 May 2013. Available from
At the onset of democracy, the new government
inherited an economy in crisis. The economy had been
shaped by apartheid policies and by a dependence on
mining exports. In 1994, 60 percent of exports were
mineral products1, although mining contributed only
10 percent of GDP. The apartheid economy was built
on systematically enforced exclusion linked to racial
division in every sphere2. The apartheid state deliberately
excluded black people from opportunities in the labour
market and direct ownership of businesses and land. It
limited investment in infrastructure and services in black
communities, and black entrepreneurs were denied
access to industrial and retail sites, as well as credit.
Furthermore, apartheid limited the residential rights
of Africans in the economically developed areas of the
country unless they had a white employer, creating a
system of migrant labour and impoverished rural areas –
the so-called “homelands” – that were characterised by
extraordinarily high levels of poverty and joblessness.
Large, white-dominated conglomerates controlled large
parts of commerce and industry3. There were high levels
of concentration in most industries. Many industries were
highly protected and spent little on investment, research,
development or training. At the same time, smalland medium-sized enterprises were underdeveloped.
International isolation, resulting from economic sanctions,
import substitution industrial policies and a lack of
investment in technological improvements, had reduced
the relative competitiveness of South African industries
and increased concentration.
From the late 1970s through to 1994, the results were high
levels of poverty and inequality, slow economic growth and
falling investment, accompanied by rising joblessness, a
poorly educated workforce and skills shortages, high cost
structures and an eroded manufacturing base. In the late
1970s, estimates based on the national census suggest
that around 60 percent of the working-age population
was employed – more or less the same as the international
normi. By the early 1990s, the figure had shrunk to under
40 percent, leaving South Africa with one of the lowest
employment levels in the world4. In the former so-called
“homelands”, only 20 percent of adults were employed.
Job-shedding occurred through the 1980s especially in
agriculture and mining, while manufacturing and services
did not expand enough to compensate for this loss.
In the 1980s, unemployment became a key factor behind
the high level of inequality and poverty. In 1995, it was
estimated that 28 percent of households and 48 percent
of the population were living below the poverty line. Black
women and youth, as well as black people living in the former
”homeland” areas, were particularly likely to be poor and
unemployed. There were also structural inequalities in the
workplace. Under apartheid, a variety of measures effectively
limited most skilled work to non-Africans, while entrenching
hierarchical and oppressive management in many workplaces.
Most black workers had virtually no prospect of promotion or
reaching managerial levels, and would work in the same jobs
for their entire lives, with no hope that their experience would
be recognised or respected.
Between 1980 and 1994, the economy grew only 1.2 percent
a year, around half the average for other middle-income
economies, excluding China, and slower than the rate of
population growth. This was compounded by negative
growth in GDP between 1990 and 1992. The country’s
per capita GDP also declined in this period. The share of
investment in GDP dropped from 27 percent in 1981 to
15 percent in 1993 (to achieve sustained growth, this figure
should be between 20 and 25 percent). Investment by the
public sector shrank from 12 percent to 4 percent of GDP
between 1981 and 1993, while private-sector investment
fell from 15 percent to 10 percent of GDP. The decline
in public investment had a negative effect on economic
infrastructure, such as rail, ports and power supply.
The apartheid state had run up substantial domestic
debt, resulting in an unsustainable budget deficit.
Throughout the 1980s, the deficit averaged just under
3 percent of GDP, which is considered a sustainable
level. A combination of slow growth and higher spending
meant that it rose sharply from 1990, reaching 7.3 percent
in 19935. Total public-sector debt stood at 69 percent of
GDP in 1994. The need to bring the deficit back under
control constrained the ability of the democratic state to
address the backlogs in investment and services left by
the apartheid state. Foreign exchange reserves and the
domestic savings rate were also very low. Foreigners were
disinvesting and there were large outflows of capital by
South African residents.
Since the inception of democracy in 1994, the main
economic objectives of government have been job
creation, the elimination of poverty and the reduction
of inequality. There has been a focus on sustainable and
diversified economic growth – as underscored in the
Ready to Govern and Reconstruction and Development
Programme documents. These objectives have been
reiterated in subsequent policy documents, from the
Growth, Employment and Redistribution (GEAR) strategy
of the late 1990s through the Accelerated and Shared
Growth Initiative for South Africa (Asgi-SA) of 2006, the
New Growth Path of 2010, and the NDP of 2012.
The apartheid state did not collect data systematically on Africans, even for the Census. These figures therefore rely on estimates
based on the available Census data, combined with interpretive work by the Development Bank of Southern African (DBSA).
Throughout this period, the challenge for
the democratic state was to achieve the
aims of eliminating poverty and reducing
inequality, while simultaneously maintaining
investment and growth. In essence, it
adopted fiscal and monetary policies
aimed at maintaining economic stability,
while seeking to bring about economic
transformation and increase productivity
through micro-economic interventions.
The democratic government also had to
respond to global trends and events that had
a critical influence on the domestic economy.
The economy was opened to global trade
and investment, which increased competitive
pressure on domestic manufacturing in
particular, but also supported the growth of
the financial sector. The agricultural sector
was also severely affected by South Africa’s reentry into global markets and the associated
reduction in protective tariffs. Other key
global influences included the commodity
boom from the early 2000s through to 2008,
which fuelled economic and employment
growth in South Africa, and the international
recession in 2008/09, which was followed by
a faltering global recovery up to 2013/14.
The democratic state has put in a place
a range of policies and programmes to
transform the economy. The RDP provided
a broad framework for meeting basic social
needs, reducing inequality and promoting
investment and growth. Asgi-SA provided
a framework for government’s increased
focus on economic infrastructure and skills
development from the mid-2000s.
The National Industrial Policy Framework,
published in 2007, and the Industrial
Policy Action Plan (IPAP), which followed,
policy interventions to stimulate industrial
development. The New Growth Path
identified a number of key sectors to
focus on in order to diversify and grow the
economy and create jobs. The NDP provides
long-term targets for investment, growth
and employment creation, and provides
a holistic plan for reaching these targets,
drawing on other policies and programmes.
Core themes in these strategies have been an
emphasis on the importance of infrastructure
both to support growth and bring about
greater equality, the need for sector strategies
to encourage diversification of the economy
into more employment-friendly sectors, the
imperative of improving basic education
and skills development, and the recognition
that African development is critical for South
Africa's own growth. All of these strategies
stressed the introduction of labour rights and
a new skills system, which were expected
to bring about greater equality in the
workplace and incomes, as well as address
skills shortages. They also all involved efforts
to broaden access to economic opportunity
through support for emerging enterprises,
land reform and incentives for increased
representivity in management and ownership.
Finally, all the strategies have emphasised the
need for collaboration between government,
business and labour.
4.2.1 Economic outcomes
The economy enjoyed a real recovery in
growth and investment post-1994, with
far more robust and stable growth than in
the previous 30 years. Employment has
also grown far faster than in the 1980s. As
described in more detail in Chapter 3, higher
pay for the working poor, social grants and
improved government services have reduced
poverty substantially.
South Africa has largely achieved and
maintained macroeconomic stability, taking
advantage of the country’s natural resource
base and establishing a sound trade regime,
while maintaining and broadening financial
and physical infrastructure, strengthening
property rights and the legal system, and
establishing and maintaining strong financial,
regulatory and business institutions, such
as the South African Revenue Service, the
South African Reserve Bank, the Competition
Commission and the National Economic
Development and Labour Council.
Achieving and maintaining macroeconomic
stability has been a key achievement of
the democratic government. Prudent
fiscal management has turned around
governmental balances, resulting in lower
debt-servicing costs for the public sector
and cheaper credit for the private sector.
This created fiscal space for the country to
weather the economic storm that followed
the global financial crisis of 2008. growth
South Africa's economic growth improved
dramatically with the transition to democracy
and has been reasonably robust and stable
throughout the democratic era. The South
African economy grew at 3.2 percent a year
on average from 1994 to 2012, the latest
available full year. This has resulted in the
transformation of the South African economy
from a GDP of USD136 billion in 1994 to a
GDP of USD384 billion in 20126.
There were only four quarters of negative
growth between 1994 and 2012, a far lower
rate than in the years before democracy. From
1965 to the first quarter of 1994, the economy
shrank in 36 quarters, or 32 percent of the
time, compared with just 5 percent of the time
from April 1994 to the third quarter of 2013.
Moreover, the economy has enjoyed long
periods of growth compared with the years
before 1994. It grew for 40 quarters between
the fourth quarter of 1998 and the third quarter
of 2008, and has grown steadily from the third
quarter of 2009 to the third quarter of 2013 –
that is, for 17 quarters so far. In contrast, from
1965 to 1993, the economy never grew for
more than 14 uninterrupted quarters7.
In those quarters in which GDP fell after
1994, it was precipitated by international
developments. In 1998, the East Asian
financial crisis led to a significant slowdown
in the world economy, while the international
financial crisis that began in 2007 led to a
global recession.
As illustrated in Figure 4.1 overleaf, by global
standards, the economy performed reasonably
well for most of the post-1994 period,
although it has lagged behind other middleincome economies since 2008. From 1994 to
2008, GDP grew by 3.6 percent a year, which
equalled the average for upper middle-income
economies, excluding China. From 2009 to
2012, however, the South African economy
grew by only 3.1 percent a year, while other
upper middle-income economies averaged
4.3 percent a year. In the downturn, however,
growth fell by 1.5 percent. A variety of factors
such as a shortage in electricity supply and
subsequent rising cost from late 2007 onwards,
as well as increases in other administered costs,
the uncertain global environment and other
domestic issues contributed to slower growth.
Despite the recent deceleration in growth,
GDP per capita growth (which averaged less
Figure 4.1: South African GDP compared to world GDP growth, 1982–2012
South Africa
Dotcom crisis
Asian crisis
financial crisis
Source: IMF, World Economic Outlook, GDP growth data8
than 1 percent per year between 1994 and
2002) has averaged 2 percent since 2003.
Gross national income per capita has risen
even faster, at an average of 2.6 percent
since 2003, increasing from R12 504 in 1994
to R60 505 in 2013. In constant 2005 prices,
gross national income per capita increased
from R28 536 to R37 423.
As illustrated in Figure 4.2, in sectoral
terms9, the fastest-growing activity has been
telecommunications, with an annual growth
rate of over 9 percent from 1994 to 2012,
followed by financial services at 7.5 percent
a year. Retail and mining also grew faster
than the rest of GDP. The mining value chain
has contributed over half of South Africa's
exports throughout the democratic era.
The share of mining in the GDP climbed
only because of booming global commodity
prices, especially from around 2002 to 2011.
From 1994 to 2012, mining production
actually fell by 0.4 percent a year in volume
terms, and the industry lost 80 000 jobs. The
fall in mining production reflected, in part, a
sharp decline in gold output as the industry
matured. The share of gold in mining value
add fell from 50 percent to 16 percent
between 1994 and 2012, while platinum and
coal each rose from around 15 percent to
25 percent, and other metal ores – mostly
iron ore – climbed from 8 percent to
24 percent.
In contrast to the relatively dynamic sectors,
such as financial services, transport and
communication, sectors such as agriculture,
manufacturing and government services
tended to grow slowly. In real terms,
agricultural value add rose by 1.4 percent a
year from 1994 to 2012, manufacturing by
2.7 percent a year, and general government
services by 1.9 percent a year.
As illustrated in Figure 4.3, the share of
manufacturing in GDP dropped from
21 percent in 1994 to 10 percent in 2012. The
decline in manufacturing may be attributed
to the impact of opening the economy to
global competition post-1994 and the
uncompetitive nature of many South African
firms, among other reasons. In response, a
number of interventions were developed in
the New Growth Path and the IPAP with the
aim of reversing this trend and stimulating
development in sectors such as agriculture,
mining, manufacturing and construction.
Figure 4.2: Average annual percentage change in value add in volume terms,
1994–2012, by sector
Transport and communication
Financial services
Business services
General government
Personal services
Source: Statistics South Africa, GDP data10
Figure 4.3: Composition of GDP by major industries, 1994 and 2012
Personal services 5%
General government 16%
Business services 9%
General government 17%
Business services 12%
Financial services 7%
Trade 14%
Construction 3%
Utilities and logistics (a) 12%
Personal services 6%
Financial services 10%
Trade 17%
Construction 4%
Utilities and logistics (a) 12%
Manufacturing 21%
Manufacturing 10%
Mining and quarrying 7%
Mining and quarrying 10%
Agriculture 5%
Agriculture 3%
Source: Statistics South Africa, GDP data11 and savings
Investment improved markedly after 1994,
with public investment playing a growing role
after the 2008 slump. As indicated earlier,
investment needs to be between 20 percent
and 25 percent of GDP to sustain growth.
In 1993, investment had dropped to under
15 percent of GDP. As illustrated in Figure 4.4,
it climbed fairly steadily from 1994 to reach
24.8 percent of GDP in the fourth quarter
of 2008, just as the global downturn began.
The slump brought a sharp decline, to
below 19 percent. By 2013, investment
had recovered to 19.2 percent of GDP,
underpinned principally by the multibillionrand expansion in public infrastructure.
Figure 4.4: Investment as a percentage of GDP, third quarter 1983 to third
quarter 2013
Private investment
Public investment
Percentage of GDP
Source: South African Reserve Bank12
Public investment has proven particularly
important for economic transformation
in South Africa because apartheid rested
largely on depriving African households
and enterprises of infrastructure, with
deep backlogs especially in African urban
and rural communities. At the same time,
the state is responsible for maintaining
adequate infrastructure to sustain growth in
the formal economy.
countries excluding China in 2012, down
from 24 percent in 2008.
The share of the public sector in overall
fixed investment rose from under
30 percent in 1994 to 38 percent in 2013.
State-owned companies – especially Eskom
and Transnet – accounted for around half
of public investment. Higher investment
rates require financing, either through
domestic or foreign savings. Throughout
the democratic era, a relatively low level
of domestic savings formed a structural
constraint to future growth, inhibiting
investment and increasing dependence on
inflows of foreign funds. Household savings
in South Africa have been declining steadily
since the 1980s, and are worryingly low.
The ratio of gross savings to GDP stood
at 13.2 percent in 2012, compared with
19.1 percent in 1990 and 16.9 percent in
1994. That compares with the World Bank’s
estimate (based on the World Development
Indicators) of 20 percent for middle-income balance of payments, trade and tourism
Estimates suggest that South Africa’s gross
fixed capital formation (that is, physical
investment spending) will need to grow
by 10 percent per year, with investment as
a percentage of GDP rising to 30 percent
by 2030, if the country is to meet the
development goals set out in the NDP.
The opening of the economy associated with
the transition to democracy saw a substantial
increase in both exports and imports, as well
as a rapid rise in portfolio investments. From
the early 2000s, the result was an increase in
the trade and current account deficit, with a
particularly sharp rise in imports outstripping
increased exports. The 2008 global recession
led to a marked decline in both exports and
imports in volume terms; thereafter, imports
climbed much faster than exports, leading
to a worsening current account balance (see
Figure 4.5).
As a percentage of GDP, exports fell from
31 percent in mid-1985 to 21 percent in
mid-1994. For most of the next 20 years,
exports climbed on the back of the global
commodity boom, growing auto sales and
Figure 4.5: The balance of trade, payments and transfers and the total current account deficit as a
percentage of GDP, third quarter 1983 to third quarter 2013
Trade in goods and services
Income payments and transfers
Total current account balance
Percent of GDP
Source: South African Reserve Bank13
opening of the economy in general. The
mining value chain consistently contributed
over half of exports, but shifted from gold
to platinum and iron ore. In 2008, exports
again reached 31 percent of the GDP. The
crisis brought a 23 percent fall in the volume
of exports, with the volume of exports in
2013 still below the 2008 peak. Exports
were hampered by falling world mineral
prices from 2011, major strike action in
mining and auto, and the rising cost of
electricity, amongst others.
The current account deficit has been largely
financed by foreign portfolio investment in
South African equities and bonds. This was
influenced by South Africa’s comparatively
high interest rates as a result of developed
countries deliberately keeping interest rates
extraordinarily low in order to stimulate
growth. Increasing international portfolio
inflows led to a stronger currency for much of
the second decade of freedom. The downside
of this was a loss of competitiveness for
local producers.
Imports were around 20 percent of GDP
through the 1980s. They then rose fairly
steeply, increasing from 19 percent in mid1994 to 41 percent in mid-2008. Like exports,
imports fell from 2008 to 2009 by 23 percent,
but then they recovered strongly, growing
by some 47 percent to reach 36 percent of
the GDP. The biggest factor behind rising
imports was petroleum, which climbed from
10 percent of imports in 1995 to 22 percent
in 2013, accounting for almost a quarter of
the total increase in imports and rising from
2 percent of the GDP to 6 percent. Machinery
and equipment, personal cars and medical
equipment and medicines were the most
important imports following fuels.
There is a risk that foreign investors could
withdraw or withhold their investments,
which would result in a severe constraint on
the current account, as well as a fall in the
relative value of the rand. In late 2013 and
early 2014, as prospects for higher interest
rates emerged in the USA and Europe,
capital has started to flow out of South
Africa, leading to a substantial depreciation
in the rand.
Tourism has grown dramatically since 1994.
As illustrated in Figure 4.6, foreign arrivals
(including tourists) to South Africa grew from
fewer than 1 million per year in the late 1980s
to 13.5 million in 2012.
Figure 4.6: Foreign tourist arrivals, 1966–2012
Arrivals (million)
Rugby World Cup
Sanctions against South Africa lifted
Nelson Mandela released
First democratic elections
13.5 million
arrivals in 2012
3.9 million
arrivals in 1994
State of Emergency
Sanctions era
Source: South African Tourism
Over the past 20 years, employment (both
formal and informal) has grown by around
5.6 million, or by 60 percent, far faster than
previously. As illustrated in Figure 4.7, the
number of employed people rose from
9.5 million in 1994 to 15.2 million in 2013,
despite the loss of almost a million jobs from
2008 to 2010 as a result of the global downturn.
As illustrated in Figure 4.8, the percentage
of working-aged adults in employment
decreased during the last two decades of
apartheid, as a result of slow economic growth,
international sanctions and mechanisation,
amongst other reasons. Only 39.8 percent
of working-age adults had a job in 1994.
By the third quarter of 2013, 43.3 percent
Not economically active (d)
Discouraged (c)
Unemployed (b)
Employed (a)
Figure 4.7: Labour force status of working-age population, 1994–2013, in millions
Source: Statistics South Africa14
Notes: (a) Includes employed and self-employed. (b) People who have actively looked for work in
the previous week. (c) People who have not looked for work but would take a job if offered one.
(d) People who are not looking for work and do not want a paid job.
Figure 4.8: Percentage of working-age adults in employment
Estimate based on Census/community survey
Labour force survey
International norm
2013 (Sept.)
% Share of adults with employment
Source: Statistics South Africa15
of working-age adults had a job. While the
employment ratio has improved slightly since
1994, it is still far short of the international
norm, which is around 60 percent.
Official data put the formal unemployment
rate in 1994 at 20 percent, although only
39.8 percent of working-age adults had
a job. This means that many workingage adults were not being included in
the employment statistics, and were
viewed as not economically active. The
apartheid state did not fully count the
African population before 1994, and
its statisticians assumed that all jobless
Africans were subsistence farmers rather
than work-seekers – something that was
blatantly untrue. Consequently, pre-1994
figures on the unemployment rate were
highly unreliable, because the expulsion of
unemployed Africans to rural areas meant
that work-seekers were systematically
undercounted. After 1994, it took almost a
decade, to the introduction of the Labour
Force Survey in 2002, to establish more
accurate labour statistics.
In 2013, the unemployment rate was
approximately 25 percent. The reasons
why the unemployment rate has increased
between 1994 and 2013, despite the large
growth in employment over the period,
are that the number of people entering
the labour market as well as the number of
people being counted in the labour market
has increased. As illustrated in Figure 4.7, the
number of people actively seeking work was
estimated at 2.4 million in the mid-90s, rising
to 4.8 million in 2013.
The number of people entering the labour
market has increased both due to population
growth and due to the ending of apartheid.
More people began actively seeking work,
particularly in urban areas, as the restrictions
placed on black people, especially women,
were removed. As a result, the share of
working age adults who were neither
employed nor looking for work – the
“economically inactive population“ – fell
from 41 percent in 1994 to 37 percent in 2013.
In addition, immigration from neighbouring
countries increased in the 2000s, adding to
the demand for employment.
Youth unemployment is a particular concern.
In 1994, the percentage of young people
aged 18 to 29 who were not in employment,
training or education was 37 percent. It
was 44 percent in 2013. The estimated
unemployment rate for youth in this age group
rose from 30 percent in 1994 to 40 percent in
2013 and the number of unemployed youth
doubled from 1.3 million to 2.6 million.
Joblessness is worst in the former so-called
“homelands”, where about a third of the
population lived in 2013. In September 2013,
only a quarter of adults in these regions
were employed, compared with half in the
rest of the country16. As a result, 55 percent
of households in the former “homelands”
indicated that they survived mainly from
social grants and family remittances,
compared with 17 percent in the rest of the
country. The median household income in
the former “homelands” was just R1 700 a
month, compared with R3 800 in the rest of
the country17.
As illustrated in Figure 4.9, the structure of
employment by industry shifted substantially
between 1994 and 2013. From September
2001 to September 2013, many new jobs
were created in the public service, as
indicated in the growth of employment in
community services, primarily in health,
education and policing. Employment growth
in the private sector is largely the result of
expansion in business services, mostly private
security services and cleaning. There was
also employment growth in construction,
transport and communications.
In contrast, key productive sectors such as mining
and manufacturing saw much slower growth in
employment and a decline as a percentage
of total employment in the economy over
the same period. Similarly, domestic services
– still a major employer for African women –
saw some growth but fell as a percentage of
total employment. The agriculture sector saw
a decline in both jobs and as a share of total
employment in the economy between 2001
and 2012, despite some growth in 2012/13.
The democratic era has seen rising education
levels in the labour force. In 1994, 8 percent of
workers had no education while 36 percent had
matric or more. Just 5 percent had a university
degree. By the third quarter of 2013, the
share of workers with no education had fallen
to 2 percent, most of whom were relatively
old, while the share with matric or more had
reached 52 percent and university graduates,
12 percent18. The quality of education and
limited access to in-depth vocational training
remain a challenge, however.
Figure 4.9: Employment by industry, September 2001 and third quarter 2008 and 2013
Domestic work 10%
Domestic work 9%
Domestic work 8%
Community services 19%
Community services 19%
Community services 22%
Business services 10%
Business services 12%
Trade 24%
Trade 23%
Construction 6%
Utilities and logistics 6%
Manufacturing 16%
Mining 4%
Agriculture 8 %
Source: Statistics South Africa19
Construction 8%
Utilities and logistics 6%
Trade 21%
Construction 8%
Utilities and logistics 7%
Manufacturing 14%
Manufacturing 12%
Mining 2%
Agriculture 6%
Mining 3%
Agriculture 5%
Business services 14%
Higher levels of education have gone hand
in hand with changes in the structure of
employment. Employment of workers classed
as managerial, professional or semi-professional
increased most rapidly, followed by clerical
and sales work, which typically requires matric.
These occupations climbed around 3 percent
a year from 1994 to 2013, while employment
of elementary and semi-skilled workers rose
by just over 1.5 percent a year. Employment
of elementary workers was affected by the
decline in domestic and agricultural work
through the 1990s and early 2000s, although
both occupations saw job growth from the
mid 2000s. Finally, skilled production workers
(including artisans) dropped from 12 percent
of total employment in 1994 to 11 percent in
2013. This appeared to result from inadequate
training outcomes rather than from a lack
of demand, with persistent reports of skills
shortages in this regard.
Considerable progress has been made in
ensuring greater equality in employment
in terms of race and gender, although
challenges persist. In 1994, just 34 percent
of working-age Africans were employed,
and only 26 percent of African women. In
contrast, 66 percent of whites and 51 percent
of Coloured and Asians were employed.
By 2013, African employment had climbed
to 43 percent, and 38 percent of African
women had paid work. The share of whites,
Coloureds and Asians with work remained
virtually unchanged.
Progress toward equality in employment
also emerged in greater representivity in
more skilled and high-level occupations. In
1994, 19 percent of managers, 48 percent
of professionals and 51 percent of skilled
production workers were African, although
Africans made up 61 percent of all employed
people and 73 percent of the working-age
population. Moreover, just 4 percent of
managers were African women. By 2013,
Africans made up 41 percent of managers
and 77 percent of skilled production workers,
although their share amongst professionals
was virtually unchanged. African women
were 13 percent of managers. The share of
Africans in total employment had climbed to
73 percent, and they made up 79 percent of
the working-age population20.
The increase in representivity has been
disproportionately due to state employment,
which makes up about a fifth of total
employment. In the public sector, 67 percent
of managers of larger organisations (with
over 50 employees) were African in 2013,
compared with 29 percent in the private
sector. Similarly, 62 percent of public-sector
professionals were African, compared with
43 percent in larger private companies.
Income differentials by race and gender
declined significantly from 1994 to 2012,
but in 2012 the median earnings for a white
man was still six times as high as for an
African woman21.
4.2.2 Fiscal and monetary policy policy
As described above, the democratic
government inherited a historically high budget
deficit in 1994. An unsustainable budget deficit
meant increasing borrowing costs with less
funding for core government programmes.
Figure 4.10 indicates that the budget balance
improved dramatically from a deficit of
4.8 percent of GDP in 1994 to 0.5 percent
by 2005. The budget surplus that followed
over the subsequent two years allowed
government to increase expenditure without
having to increase borrowing. In part, this
was due to an increase in the tax revenue
collected. Relative to the size of the economy,
government’s net loan debt declined
sharply from 48 percent of GDP 1996/97 to
22.8 percent in 2008/09. The budget ran into
a deficit after 2008/09 and the debt-to-GDP
ratio had reached 36.3 percent by 2012/13.
Foreign debt remains relatively low.
From the early 2000s, government has adopted
a counter-cyclical stance. In that context,
it has seen investment in infrastructure,
education and health, combined with growing
local procurement of inputs, as critical for
stimulating growth, while bringing about more
equitable and inclusive economic outcomes.
The counter-cyclical stance involves stabilising
spending in downturns, so as to support
growth and employment creation, and
avoiding massive spending increases when
the economy is doing well. That said, the
deep inequalities and unemployment
that remain from apartheid, including in
core government services, such as health,
education and municipal services, mean that
there will be pressure on spending for the
foreseeable future.
Figure 4.10: Trend in the budget balance since 1994
Percentage of GDP
Source: Industrial Development Corporation, compiled from Reserve Bank data
The counter-cyclical fiscal policy stance
means that government continued to run a
higher budget deficit since the 2008 global
economic and financial crisis. Current debt
levels remain sustainable with ongoing
measures to ensure that the country’s debtto-GDP ratio remains stable.
Compensation for public servants, as a
percentage of non-interest expenditure,
declined from around 50 percent in 1996/97
to about 33 percent in 2008/09, then rose
to almost 40 percent in 2012/1322. The
main reasons for the rise since 2008/09
are an increase in the number of public
servants employed and relatively large
salary increases. This may result in fewer
resources being available for social spending,
infrastructure, and other priorities. This means
that a sustainable approach to public sector
wage costs is needed in the medium- to longterm, without having to reduce spending on
the core and critical skills that are needed for
public service delivery. policy
Since 1994, the main objective of monetary
policy has been price stability with the view of
achieving balanced and sustainable growth.
In 2002, South Africa adopted an inflationtargeting framework approach to ensure
that inflation remains between 3 percent
and 6 percent. The framework has been
flexibly applied by the South African Reserve
Bank, whose operational independence is
enshrined in the 1996 Constitution.
Consumer price inflation has been generally
declining since 1994. Initially, inflation
exceeded 6 percent due to the rand
weakening in 2001 and 2002. However,
the rand exchange rate has recovered
substantially and continued currency
strength between 2003 and 2006 resulted in
overall consumer inflation moderating over
this period. Having reached a 20-year peak
of 9.9 percent in 2008, consumer inflation
declined in subsequent years, averaging
about 5.5 percent per year over the period
2009 to 2012. Managing increasing oil, food
and administered prices will be important in
continuing to keep inflation in check.
In line with the long-term declining trend in
consumer price inflation, the repo rate had
declined to reach its lowest level (a nominal
level of 5 percent) in almost 40 years after
July 2012. Policy-makers continue to adopt
a monetary policy stance that supports
economic recovery. In real terms, the repo
rate entered negative territory on a number
of occasions over the past five years.
4.2.3 Trade and industrial policy and industrial restructuring policy policy
❚ Target labour-intensive sectors and enhance
South Africa embarked on an ambitious
set of trade and tariff policy reforms after
the mid-1990s. Work in this area included
supporting and promoting multilateral
rules-based global trading regimes and
using general and targeted supply-side
measures. Initially, trade policy emphasised
reintegrating South Africa on a more equal
basis with the global economy, following
the years of isolation brought about by the
global rejection of apartheid.
From the late 2000s, trade reforms shifted to
more targeted efforts, with considered use
of safeguard measures, local procurement
and other interventions geared to fostering
industrialisation and job creation. In
collaboration with the BRICS grouping,
South Africa became a leading proponent
of ensuring that international trade rules do
more to support development.
Over the past two decades, South Africa’s core
industrial policy goals have been as follows:
the competitiveness of capital-intensive
❚ Ensure that our rich natural resources are
increasingly used in local industry so as
to ensure that they stimulate employment
creation and value added.
❚ Promote
competition by limiting the
abuse of dominant market power and
encouraging smaller and emergent
enterprise and new forms of ownership,
including through broad-based black
economic empowerment (B-BBEE).
❚ Strengthen industrial finance as central to
catalysing new industries and activities so
as to diversify the economy and deepen
❚ Strengthen trade relationships with fast-
growing developing economies, notably in
the context of BRICS, while contributing to
development in the African region.
❚ Enhance technology and innovation.
❚ Increase skills development and target it to
meet emerging skill needs.
The National Industrial Policy Framework
was published in 2007, followed by a
series of rolling three-year implementation
plans known as the IPAP. Since then, the
automotive, clothing and textiles, film and
television, business-process services, and
metals and engineering industries have
registered some progress.
In line with the rollout of IPAP, government
modified and strengthened sectoral
incentives, including those that had been in
existence for some time, such as the Motor
Industry Development Programme (MIDP).
In 2011, the Manufacturing Competitiveness
Enhancement Programme was developed.
Regulations stemming from the Preferential
Procurement Policy Framework Act of 2000
were revised. As a result, public procurement
commitments for local content, such as rail
rolling stock, buses, textiles and renewable
energy, have increased. The quantum of
financial support available to firms has also
increased in the past five years, with new
tax-based incentives and revised grantbased incentives in place.
There have been significant recent structural
changes in industrial policy implementation. In
2010, the Industrial Development Corporation
(IDC) doubled its financing envelope to over
R100 billion for the subsequent five years.
By 2012, the IDC had accounted for almost
2.5 percent of total investment directly and
had leveraged around 6.5 percent. Moreover,
its projects supported over 15 percent of all
new jobs created.
Industrial policy initiatives must continue to
address many of the constraints faced from
apartheid policies in the productive sectors of
the economy. These include a lack of skills,
improving policy alignment and reorientating
exports to new markets in Africa and other
developing markets.
Government introduced a more robust
Competition Act in 1998, which informed the
establishment of the Competition Commission
and the Competition Tribunal. The rationale
for the new legislation was that competition
policy should address anti-competitive
behaviour flowing from over-concentration in
the South African economy, while facilitating
the entry and growth of small and emerging
firms, as well as foreign direct investment.
South Africa’s competition policy framework
is robust by world standards and includes
innovative elements, such as a publicinterest clause to protect vulnerable workers.
Its institutions have won global acclaim for
the technical quality and nuance of their
decisions. The 2013 Global Competition
Report by the World Economic Forum
rated the effectiveness of South African
competition policy 53 out of 148 countries.
This ranking is above other emerging
countries, such as Brazil, Mexico and
Nigeria23. The Competition Act also set new
standards in transparency by opening up
large parts of the Competition Commission’s
processes to the public and the media.
The Competition Commission has adopted
a strategic approach that involved focusing
on key intermediate inputs and consumer
basics. It has uncovered extensive collusion
in critical industries, including construction
services, bread, poultry and fertilisers.
In addition, in regulating mergers, it has
increasingly used its powers to ensure more
developmental outcomes. For instance, when
the U.S. giant Walmart took over a South
African retail chain, Massmart, in 2011/12, the
Competition Tribunal swiftly moved towards
ensuring Massmart set up a development
fund of R240 million for the next five years
with a programme aimed at the development
of local suppliers, including small, micro and
medium-sized enterprises (SMMEs)24., micro and medium enterprise support policy
Apartheid systematically denied Africans
opportunities to develop their own businesses.
The result was, on the one hand, inadequate
market institutions and infrastructure to
support emerging producers, and, on the
other, a widespread lack of experience in
starting and running enterprises.
Democratic South Africa inherited a highly
by corporate and industrial monopolies.
Overcoming these historic obstacles has
proven difficult. Since 1994, the democratic
government has implemented various
approaches to supporting SMMEs: measures
to reduce the tax compliance burden for
small enterprises, providing dedicated credit
facilities, establishing support and extension
agencies and incubators, and diversifying
procurement towards emerging enterprises
where possible. In 2012, the various
national small business finance agencies
were consolidated into the Small Enterprise
Financing Agency (sefa), which was housed in
the IDC. In the process, sefa saw a doubling
of its resources.
Despite these measures, the 2009 Global
Entrepreneurship Monitor Report ranked
South Africa 15th out of 37 countries for startup activity and 29th in new firm activity. Only
2 percent of the adult population worked in
new companies. This placed South Africa in
the lowest quartile of all the countries involved
in the study in two key measures: opportunity
entrepreneurship and new firm activity.
Total early-stage entrepreneurial activity is
particularly low – about half of that of other
developing countries. Going forward, there
needs to be continued focus on improving
mentoring and other support programmes
for small businesses, as well as reducing the
regulatory burden for small businesses. black economic empowerment
To overcome apartheid’s legacy and ensure
that historically disadvantaged people are
various policies and programmes to facilitate
B-BBEE. This included establishing the
National Empowerment Fund to support
and facilitate increased participation of black
South Africans in the economy by providing
financial and non-financial support. The
B-BBEE Act of 2003 was also promulgated,
followed by the phased release of the B-BBEE
Codes of Good Practice. This spurred the
development of a number of sector charters
aimed at ensuring transformation in specific
sectors of the economy. Together with
affirmative procurement in both the public
and private sectors, this has resulted in a large
increase in the number of small and mediumsized black-owned companies operating in
a range of industries, such as construction,
private security, catering and transport.
Initially, the Codes had an emphasis on
ownership and senior management, which
had unintended consequences, such as
fronting, speculation and tender abuse.
There was also more scope for B-BBEE to
incentivise large companies to create jobs
Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), and
regulated dismissals for operational reasons,
as well as for poor productivity and disciplinary
offences. The Labour Relations Act sought to
protect workers from the kind of arbitrary and
unfair dismissals that many had experienced
under apartheid.
Specifically, the Labour Relations Act aimed
to do the following:
❚ Minimise costs and delays, and reduce the
legal costs of settling disputes.
❚ Encourage sectoral bargaining councils to
respond to sectoral needs, which includes
setting minimum pay and benefits, and
settling disputes, within the framework of
national law.
and support small and local enterprises. To
ensure a more broad-based approach, there
is now a stronger focus on the broad-based
elements, support for small enterprises and
cooperatives, and procurement from local
producers in the B-BBEE Codes.
❚ Promote collaboration between employers market policy and
❚ Protect workers’ organisations as crucial for
In 1994, the labour market was characterised
by deep segmentation and oppressive
workplace relations. The labour laws
contributed to this situation through a long
history of promoting negotiations between
white workers and employers, while largely
excluding black workers. As reflected in the
RDP, the transition to democracy required a
profound shift in the labour market regime.
From 1994, the democratic government sought
to ensure improved workplace relations. The
National Economic Development and Labour
Council (NEDLAC) was formed to enable
consultation between key social partners on
key legislation, including the labour laws.
Despite challenges, NEDLAC has helped to
develop a culture of participatory democracy
on economic issues, and build trust and
constructive working relationships between
the main constituencies.
The labour laws were deracialised and
extended equally to all workers. The
Labour Relations Act of 1995 introduced
organisational rights for workers, set a
framework for bargaining structures, provided
for alternative dispute settlement in labour
relations and the Commission for Conciliation,
and workers at the workplace level by
providing for workplace forums.
❚ Avoid the highly legal and procedural
approach to dismissals.
fair and effective bargaining.
The CCMA has improved the lives of many
workers and employers through the provision
of free, accessible and speedy dispute
resolution services. Settlement rates under
the pre-1994 Industrial Court averaged only
17 percent, compared with the CCMA’s rate
of over 70 percent in 2013.
There are negative investor perceptions
about some aspects of the regulatory
frameworks for labour relations. For
example, in 2013/14, the World Economic
Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report – a
survey of employers – ranked South Africa
132nd out of 148 countries in terms of
labour market flexibility.
The 1997 Basic Conditions of Employment
Act (BCEA) set minimum standards to prevent
unacceptable working conditions that impose
social, economic and healthcare costs on society
as a whole. The main beneficiaries of wage
determinations in terms of income and benefits
were domestic workers and farmworkers. With
the introduction of the BCEA, the number of
workers covered by minimum wages through
sectoral determinations expanded substantially,
covering 4.6 million workers in 2012.
Deeply inequitable access to education
and workplace training formed a pillar of
the apartheid workplace and the Skills
Development Act of 1998 sought to
address these legacies. It resulted in the
formation of the National Skills Authority, the
establishment of Sector Education Training
Authorities (SETAs) for individual industries,
the introduction of workplace learnerships
combined with modular qualifications, and a
requirement that the Department of Labour
strengthen its employment and placement
services. Overall, the Skills Development Act
managed to desegregate training, but it has
not yet resulted in a sufficient increase in the
number of skilled production workers. This is
discussed in more detail in Chapter 3.
The Employment Equity Act of 1998 aimed
to improve career mobility for black workers,
especially women, at all levels. This has
contributed to much improved levels of
representivity in the public sector and in some
private companies.
Changes in the Occupational Health and Safety
legislation post-1994 have resulted in important
improvements in health and safety standards in
the workplace, and a reduction in workplace
injuries and deaths. The establishment of
workplace health and safety committees, as
well as strengthened inspectorates, particularly
in the mining sector, has been an important
step in reducing occupational health and safety
risks for employees., research and development
South Africa’s research and development
(R&D) environment before 1994 was fairly
well developed for a middle-income country,
despite its isolation, but there were significant
racial and gender disparities in human capital
as well as a focus on the needs of large
formal companies. Over the past 20 years the
National Research and Development Strategy
and the Ten-Year Innovation Plan have seen
several positive developments. There has
been some growth in R&D investment.
Through the South African Research Chairs
Initiative (SARCHi), there has also been
growth in high-level human capital (more
black people and women) employed. There
has also been an increase in R&D output
(research publications); innovation output
(innovation activities at firm level, patents
and royalties) and the development of
a number of Centres of Excellence and
Centres of Competencies. Nevertheless, R&D
expenditure growth in South Africa has been
slower than in comparable middle-income
countries such as Brazil, China and India, and
South Africa’s share of global R&D output,
citations and patents has declined.
South Africa has embarked on a number of key
innovation projects. A major achievement for
the country was the awarding of the Square
Kilometre Array (SKA) in partnership with eight
African countries. The SKA is one of biggest
scientific projects the world has ever seen.
The new legal framework for the labour market
led to lower workplace conflict for many years,
but contestation surged after 2008. From
the late 2000s, strike levels reached heights
previously only seen before the transition
to democracy. The biggest strikes emerged
in relatively well-paid industries – the public
service, mining and the automotive industry.
This implies that the strikes may reflect
dissatisfaction with inequality and divisions in
the workplace rather than with low pay alone.
In the World Economic Forum’s survey of
employer perceptions in 2012, South Africa
ranked last out of 144 countries for workplace
conflict. This situation points to a need to
do more to create more collaborative and
equitable workplaces. Critical steps include
improving management and communication,
reducing unfair inequalities in pay, conditions
and amenities, and reviewing workplace
organisation to promote career paths for
more workers.
A further important project over the past
20 years has been the development of
the Southern African Large Telescope
(SALT). SALT is the largest telescope in the
Southern hemisphere and was launched in
2005, contributing significantly to the field
of astronomy.
Government-funded research into the
development of hydrogen and fuel cell
products for local application has resulted
in a government-business partnership that
could potentially contribute to exports
and increased use of renewable energy.
Another international government-business
partnership related to titanium is intended
to contribute towards major efficiency
improvements in the aviation industry.
In 2013 the Council for Scientific and
Industrial Research (CSIR) developed the
world’s first digital laser. This discovery
presents a new way of thinking about laser
technology and could assist in healthcare
applications, communication and supporting
new emerging industries.
South Africa has also made contributions
towards space science over the past 20 years.
In 2009 the first government-funded satellite,
Sumbandila, was launched. In 2013 the Cape
Peninsula University of Technology made
history with the launch of ZACUBE-1, a type
of nano-satellite.
From an economy in crisis, the democratic
government has made enormous strides in
addressing the legacies of apartheid. In the
past 20 years, growth and employment have
improved markedly, despite the global setback
of the 2008 recession, while investment has
improved. The state has taken bold steps to
diversify the economy and build our industrial
base with a greater emphasis on labourabsorbing employment. In addition, positions
of power in the economy have become more
representative. More work is required to
increase equity in ownership, work organisation
and pay, to reduce unemployment, especially
in the former so-called “homelands”, and
to increase the number of small and
medium enterprises.
From the late 2000s, three major new
challenges emerged. First, workplace
conflict began to threaten production and
investment. Second, the rising price of
electricity and the need to address climate
change posed far-reaching questions
about South Africa's traditional heavy
dependence on coal-based energy. Finally,
the dependence on short-term portfolio
capital flows to finance investment, with
the associated high deficit on the current
account, led to increasing instability
after 2008, reflected in the highly volatile
exchange rate.
The key challenge is to ensure that the
country accelerates its drive towards higher
levels of economic growth and employment
absorption, and towards a more inclusive
economy. The NDP, supported by the New
Growth Path and IPAP, identifies what needs
to be done to move towards a new trajectory.
Key actions include:
The NDP further states that it is only through
effective partnerships across society that a
virtuous cycle of rising confidence, rising
investment, higher employment, and
increased productivity and income can
be generated. This requires greater trust
between the state, labour and business.
❚ Maintaining large-scale but sustainable
public investment in infrastructure to
facilitate economic growth, with improved
maintenance and a well-defined financing
❚ Improving the quality of basic education
and substantially expanding higher and
further education, linked to stronger ties
between enterprises and Further Education
and Training in particular, to provide the
skills required by a growing economy
❚ Ensuring that regulations are implemented
as efficiently and cost-effectively as
possible, without imposing unnecessary
delays or red tape, to create a businessfriendly environment
❚ Continuing
to increase financing for
industrial development and small and
micro enterprise in the context of a strong
industrial policy focused on bolstering
employment and growth
❚ Improving
energy security including
through development of shale gas,
while continuing more generally to take
advantage of opportunities and minimise
the costs from greening the economy
❚ Maintaining a counter-cyclical fiscal and
monetary stance, bolstered by innovative
approaches such as stronger local
procurement and investment by stateowned enterprises
❚ Enhancing regional development through
increased investment in logistics combined
with the establishment of regional value
chains, to facilitate regional economic
growth and integration
❚ Stronger measures to address workplace
conflict, above all by working with
stakeholders to address unfair inequalities
and improve communication and career
pathing, to create a more stable workplace
environment for growth.
Quantec, (2014). Data on exports
by SIC category. Downloaded in
January 2014 from <http://www.>.
Parliament of the Republic of South
Africa, (1994). “White paper on
Reconstruction and Development.”
Notice no. 1954 of 1994.
Parliament of the Republic of South
Africa, (1994). “White paper on
Reconstruction and Development.”
Notice no. 1954 of 1994.
Economic Development
Department, (2011). “The New
Growth Path: Framework.”
South African Reserve Bank, (2014),
Series on deficit as a percentage
of GDP (KBP4420F). Downloaded
in January 2014 from <http://www.
The World Bank, (2014). World
Data Bank, World Development
Indicators. Series on GDP (current
US$) for South Africa. Downloaded
in February 2014 from <http://
South African Reserve Bank,
series on GDP growth, for 1965 to
2012; Statistics South Africa, (2013).
GDP data for third quarter 2013.
Downloaded in December 2013
from <>
Input obtained from the Industrial
Development Corporation, (2013).
“The South African Economy: An
overview of key trends since 1994.”
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
GDP data for third quarter 2013.
Downloaded in December 2013
from <>.
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
GDP data for third quarter 2013.
Downloaded in December 2013
from <>.
Statistics South Africa, (2013). GDP
data for the third quarter of 2013.
Downloaded in December 2013
from <>.
South African Reserve Bank,
(2014). Quarterly data on investment
by organisation and GDP in current
rand. Downloaded in January
2014 from <http://www.resbank.
South African Reserve Bank,
(2014). Data on the ratio of the
current account deficit to the
GDP. Downloaded in January
2014 from <http://www.resbank.
Infrastructure expenditure during the apartheid years was
relatively high as a percentage of GDP. The apartheid state
made excessive investments in infrastructure that served
mainly the white minority and maintained the apartheid
state. In making these choices, consumption expenditure
on education, healthcare, housing, municipal services and
welfare for the majority of the population was sacrificed to
facilitate the development of infrastructure for a privileged
minority, an extractive economy and a security state.
These poor fiscal choices contributed to the poverty and
inequality subsequently faced by the democratic state,
and which are still being addressed today.
The democratic government inherited a severe shortage
of housing that had been exacerbated by forced
removals, group areas and homeland policy, and many
households did not have access to clean running water
and electricity. A significant portion of fixed investment
had gone into reinforcing apartheid’s spatial divides.
Figure 5.1 shows that public investment peaked in
1976. This was followed by a decline up to 1994,
after which it gradually began to increase. During the
period of decline, poor fiscal choices were again made
against infrastructure development as public funds were
increasingly channelled towards reinforcing the security
of the apartheid state, in response to growing resistance.
The new democratic government set about reversing
the declining post-1976 investment trend, correcting the
imbalances in the infrastructure sector, and embarking on
reconstruction and development. During the post-1994
period up to the early 2000s, government focused on
increasing access to social and household infrastructure
through the provision of housing, schooling and
healthcare, and connecting households to electricity
grids and water networks. Other expenditure was aimed
at improving the welfare of households. The fiscal choices
made contributed to subsequent GDP growth rates, as
well as wider income distribution, improved welfare and
standards of living, as well as greater utilisation of bulk
economic infrastructure by all.
Thus, while capital expenditure as a percentage of GDP
peaked higher during the apartheid years than in the 20
years of democracy, the resulting GDP growth produced by
the investment in infrastructure was comparatively lower,
and the social infrastructure inherited by the democratic
government was generally in a poor shape, poorly
located, under-maintained and ill-equipped to serve a
modern, changing economy. The sharp fall in investment
post-1976 meant that the state of infrastructure could not
support faster economic growth or growth that was more
diversified, as was to be generated in the democratic era.
The rapidly growing economy, growing prosperity
and growing utilisation of infrastructure by many more
people than the infrastructure was designed for were
resulting in new demands for road, rail, port, water,
electricity and telecommunications infrastructure.
There was a need for greater economic infrastructure
investment, while still continuing to address apartheidera backlogs in housing and social infrastructure. This
led to an increased focus on economic infrastructure from
the mid 2000s, encapsulated in the 2006 Accelerated
and Shared Growth Initiative (AsgiSA).
Figure 5.1: Public and private-sector capital investment as a share of GDP, 1960–2010
Public investment
Private investment
Percent of GDP
Source: South African Reserve Bank (SARB), as cited in 2012 Budget Review
By 2004, an estimated 1.6 million subsidised houses had been
built. About 56 000 new classrooms and 38 000 school toilets
had been built, with 2 700 more schools receiving potable water
and about 4 000 more schools had been connected to electricity.
Health services had reached new areas, with the construction of
over 700 new clinics, the upgrading of an additional 212 clinics,
the purchase of 215 mobile clinics, and the re-equipping of 2 298
clinics. Three new modern tertiary hospitals with over 2 000 beds
had been constructed under the Hospital Rehabilitation and
Reconstruction Programme, and R1.6 billion had been spent on
492 projects to improve 141 hospitals. Government had provided
a basic water supply to over 9 million more people, access to
basic sanitation to 6.4 million more people, and about 4 million
more electricity connections had been made to poor households.
Source: National Treasury: Budget Review 2004
❚ In basic education facilities, 84 468 new classrooms and
21 774 ablution facilities have been built. 8 765 schools have
been provided with water and 6 434 schools have been
provided with electrical connections. Some 2 761 new schools
have been constructed.
❚ More than 1 500 healthcare facilities have been built and
existing ones revitalised to ensure that everyone can access
healthcare within a 5km radius of their home.
❚ Eighteen new hospitals have been built and more than half of
the 400 public hospitals in South Africa have been renovated.
❚ Some 3.7 million subsidised housing opportunities (including
houses and serviced sites) have been provided to the very
poor, giving a home to about 12.5 million people.
❚ Access to a basic level of sanitation increased from just over
50 percent of households in 1994/95 to 83 percent in 2011/12.
❚ Access to a basic level of clean water increased from just over
60 percent of households in 1994/95 to over 95 percent in
❚ Access to electricity increased from just over 50 percent of
households in 1994/95 to 86 percent in 2013/14.
Sources: Departments of Basic Education, Health, Human
Settlements, Water Affairs and Energy, and Statistics South Africa.
Based on the experience of delivering
infrastructure in the early years of democracy,
important steps were taken to improve
infrastructure planning and delivery. The
Public Finance Management Act was passed
in 1999 and three-year rolling medium-term
expenditure framework (MTEF) budgeting
was introduced, enabling multi-year project
planning and expenditure. There was an
increased focus on budgeting for infrastructure
projects and programmes by national
government, and large new infrastructure
grants to the provincial and local spheres of
government were introduced. At the same
time, important institutions, like the
Construction Industry Development Board
(CIDB), were formed. The CIDB, empowered
by Treasury Regulations, produced frameworks
and initiatives that helped improve public sector
management of infrastructure construction
and maintenance. Many initiatives focused
on assisting provinces and municipalities
to improve their infrastructure planning
and delivery.
While there are some variations in the
expenditure performance of the public
sector as a whole, it is clear that expenditure
levels increased over the last few years
due to the increased focus on improving
infrastructure delivery. Between 2009/10 and
2012/13, general government infrastructure
spending averaged 82 percent (of budget)
while non-financial public enterprises (NFPE)
spending averaged 78 percent during the
same period. NFPE spending increased
from 60 percent in 2010/11 to 86 percent in
2012/13, with Eskom, Transnet, CEF, South
African National Roads Agency Limited
and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa
together spending R104.6 billion. Municipal
spending performance improved from
72 percent in 2006/07 to 85 percent in
2008/09 before declining to 75 percent in
Figure 5.2 indicates that public sector
investment in infrastructure has increased
markedly since 2000/01. High levels of
investment in infrastructure will continue
into the foreseeable future as infrastructure
development is central to the NDP. The
NDP encapsulates the role of infrastructure
sectors towards achieving a common 2030
vision for the construction of South Africa’s
future. The establishment of the Presidential
Infrastructure Coordinating Commission
(PICC), which has brought all spheres of
government together in a joint forum, has
set out a National Infrastructure Plan, giving
effect and detail to the NDP mandate on
Infrastructure expenditure is estimated at
around R847 billion over the three-year
Figure 5.2: Public-sector infrastructure expenditure estimates, 2000/01–2013/14
(R billion)
Source: National Treasury Budget Reviews (2003–2013)
medium term expenditure framework
(MTEF)2. Investment in transport and logistics
(41 percent) remains the largest component
of the public-infrastructure programme,
followed by energy (22.2 percent), and water
and sanitation (13.2 percent). Spending on
social services such as health, education and
social development make up 13.7 percent
of public sector infrastructure expenditure
and central government and administrative
services are budgeted to spend 2.7 percent
over the MTEF on infrastructure.
Public sector infrastructure delivery involves
many different implementing spheres of
government – national, provincial and
local, as well as their agencies and entities,
including the large state owned enterprises
such as Eskom and Transnet, which are key
players in many sectors. There is also a private
sector contribution to the built environment,
including factories and industry in general,
commercial infrastructure, office space, etc.,
much of which relies on, and is facilitated by,
the existence of public sector infrastructure.
Important improvements have been made
in the key infrastructure sectors of electricity,
transport, water and communications, as
well as in industrial development zone
infrastructure, social infrastructure grants and
public-private partnership (PPP) projects, as
will be discussed below.
In less than 20 years, the democratic
state has provided access to electricity
to over 5.8 million poor households.
The electrification programme – which is
rolled out by Eskom and municipalities
and administered by the Department of
Energy – has reduced the percentage of
households without electricity to 14 percent4
(from approximately 50 percent in 1994).
The programme is ongoing, albeit at a
slower pace than in the late 1990s as new
connections depend on bulk infrastructure
and network extensions being made to
enable household connections in the
more remote areas, increasing the costs
per household connection, as well as the
resourcing requirements.
The democratic government inherited a
modern electricity generation fleet that was
largely fuelled by coal and able to deliver
electricity at low prices by international
standards. Consequently, between 1994
and 2002, comparatively little investment
was made in electricity generation, given
the low economic growth rates of the past.
However, the unprecedented rapid postapartheid growth of the economy defied
decades-old planning expectations in the
sector, and demand rapidly exceeded supply
(compounded by pre-1994 decisions to
mothball power stations), resulting in a supply
crisis in early 2008.
Figure 5.3: Combined Eskom and municipal Electrification Programme connections
500 000
400 000
300 000
200 000
100 000
Annual and 5-year average connections
600 000
Source: Department of Energy5
Major policy and institutional reforms in South Africa’s
electricity landscape after 1994 include:
❚ Establishing the Atomic Energy Corporation’s plant at
Phelindaba in 1995.
❚ Publishing the White Paper on Energy Policy in 1998.
❚ Transforming Eskom into a public company, Eskom Holdings,
in 2002.
❚ Publishing the White Paper on Renewable Energy in 2003.
❚ Promulgating the National Energy Regulator Act in 2004
and establishing the National Energy Regulator of South
Africa in 2005.
❚ Publishing the Integrated Resource Plan for electricity in 2010.
❚ Publishing renewable energy feed-in tariffs in 2009.
❚ Launching a bid process for renewable energy supply in
❚ The ISMO Bill, which will establish an independent system
operator, has been drafted and is awaiting Parliamentary
Source: State of SA Economic Infrastructure Report 20126
Since 2005, 6 028 MW of additional capacity
has been added to the national grid by
upgrading existing stations, returning
mothballed stations to service and building
new generating plants7. Despite this
progress, demand has exceeded supply
since early 2008. In order to increase the
generation of electricity and open up the
economy to large investors, two new large
coal-fired power stations, each in excess of
4 500MW generation capacity, are currently
under construction (Medupi, which is
currently 56 percent complete, and Kusile,
which is 24 percent complete), as well as a
pumped storage scheme (Ingula, which is
currently 65 percent complete)8.
During the current administration, government
invited the private sector to bid for contracts to
supply the national grid with renewable energy
in terms of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP)
2010. Three rounds of bidding have been
completed, and Power Purchase Agreements
for 1 442MW of renewable energy were signed
in November 2012. Agreements were also
signed for 1 043MW of renewable energy in
May 2013 and 1 456MW of renewable energy in
November 20139.
Since 2005, 4 965km of transmission lines have
been installed. This translates to 23 815MVA
of additional transmission capacity10. The
major drivers of transmission investments
have been network links to unserviced areas
to enable household connections, economic
growth and security of supply (to the Cape
and other internal regions far from coalfields
and power stations), and access to generation
capacity outside South Africa. Despite
the large number of transmission network
improvements, more will be required in
future to enable larger numbers of electricity
connections to unelectrified households, and
to unlock economic growth in undeveloped
regions. This is being addressed within the
National Infrastructure Plan of the Presidential
Infrastructure Coordinating Commission.
Before 1994, transport was not managed in a
holistic way. Racially segregated town planning,
which saw black people being allocated land far
away from business centres, coupled with poor
transport infrastructure, meant that most South
Africans did not have easy access to economic
opportunities or social spaces and services.
Since the pass laws have been abolished, new
settlements have been built closer to cities,
and freedom of movement prevails. However,
apartheid-era spatial patterns are difficult and
costly to dismantle overnight. Much therefore
still needs to be done to improve public
transport subsidies and systems, as well as
to improve social spaces and amenities in
existing dormitory townships. In addition, there
will be an ongoing focus on attempts to
locate new housing developments closer to
work opportunities.
Transport policy has become more integrated
since 1994. Emphasis has been placed
on supporting regional and international
trade. Various managing entities have been
formed, most notably the South African
National Roads Agency Limited (SANRAL)
and the Passenger Rail Agency of South
Africa (PRASA). The National Freight Logistics
Strategy, the National Ports Act and the
National Land Transport Act were approved in
the late 2000s. New regulators have also been
established, including the Ports Regulator and
the Rail Safety Regulator.
A significant part of South Africa’s freight
transport infrastructure consists of freight
rail, ports and petroleum pipelines,
controlled by the state-owned enterprise,
Transnet. Transnet stepped up investment
in infrastructure expansion after 2006,
with projections seeing an even greater
acceleration in expenditure expected in the
years leading up to 2017 (see Figure 5.4).
Freight rail
Most of the investment in freight rail has
gone towards upgrading existing wagons
and buying new wagons, and adding passing
loops to accommodate additional freight
trains to improve exports. The Orex iron
ore line’s capacity has been expanded from
about 20 million tons (mt) in 1994 to about
52mt in 2011. Currently, the iron ore line is
being expanded to a capacity of 60.7mt. The
export capacity for coal on the Coalex line
was increased from 50mt in 1992 to 70mt by
2000. Coal exports dropped between 2005
and 2008, partly due to the global downturn,
but also due to maintenance and operational
difficulties encountered by Transnet in
Figure 5.4: Transnet capital expenditure, 2000–2012 (R billion)
Source: Transnet Annual Report 201211
acquisition and installation of seven tandemlift ship-to-shore cranes in Durban seeks to
improve capacity and port efficiency14.
Major investments currently under way include
container-handling equipment at Ngqura in order
to increase port capacity to 1.5 million containers
per year by 2014, and the expansion of the Port
of Durban’s container terminal from a capacity of
2 million containers (in 2009) by an additional
1.4 million containers per annum, along
with berth deepening to accommodate
larger vessels15. Feasibility investigations and
community consultations are being carried
out for a new Durban Dig-out Port, mainly for
containers, at the old Durban International
Airport site.
maintaining the high-capacity lines. Currently,
the coal line is being expanded to a capacity of
81mt. The scope of work has been finalised and
geotechnical work is in progress. Investment
in infrastructure between the Northern
Cape and Port Elizabeth to accommodate
new manganese mining entrants resulted
in manganese ore capacity increasing from
1.5mt in 2002 to 7mt in 201112.
A large number of locomotives have been
acquired in recent years and fleet modernisation is underway, as well as endeavours to
ensure greater local content in the manufacture of locomotives and wagons. The
internal distribution of goods in South Africa
and the export of finished goods have steadily
improved. For example, freight tonnages
transported by rail increased from 177mt in
2009 to 207.7 mt by 2012/1313.
Container freight capacity at South Africa’s
ports has increased considerably since 1994.
include the construction of the new Port of
Ngqura in the Eastern Cape and a doubling of
the capacity of the port to 800 000 containers
per year in 2012. The capacity of the Cape
Town Container Terminal was increased from
700 000 containers a year in 2009 to 900 000
containers a year in 2012. Another major
undertaking was the deepening and widening
of the Durban Harbour entrance channel
to accommodate much larger vessels. The
Despite this expansion drive, productivity at
South African ports remains stubbornly low
at an average of about 28 gross crane moves
per hour16, compared with the international
standard of about 40 per hour. Improving
productivity at the ports will need to be a key
focus area for Transnet in coming years.
Significant investments have been made in
pipeline infrastructure since 1994. A new
pipeline was built to bring Mozambican gas
into South Africa (a public-private partnership
with Sasol), and the existing industrial gas
pipeline network was extended. Transnet
has also installed a new multi-product fuel
pipeline from the coast to South Africa’s
industrial heartland.
Significant improvements have been noted
on our national roads. In 1998, the 7 200km
of national roads was absorbed into the
newly established South African National
Roads Agency Limited. Since its inception,
SANRAL has leveraged private investment
in road infrastructure by concessioning and
tolling specific road routes. The Warmbaths
toll road was developed in 1994. The largest
toll road project, the reconstruction of the
N4 corridor linking Johannesburg and
Maputo in Mozambique (R1.4 billion), was
launched in 1996. This was followed by the
expansion and tolling of further sections of
the N3. The N4 was further extended with
the Platinum/Bakwena toll road in 2000.
Non-toll roads are funded by the fiscus
through annual budget allocations. These
activities, which constitute about 81 percent
of national roads, are ring-fenced from toll
road activities. Some toll roads are under
long-term concessions to private parties
under public-private partnerships. These
are the N4 and Platinum Highway N3 Toll
Concession (Pty) Ltd (N3TC), the N1/N4
Bakwena Platinum Corridor Concessionaire
(Pty) Ltd (Bakwena) and the N4 Trans
African Concessions (Pty) Ltd (TRAC). By
2012, private consortia had financed some
R5.8 billion in capital for these projects17.
SANRAL also raises funds for some toll roads
on its own balance sheet, for example, the
Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project.
Direct expenditure by SANRAL on non-toll
and toll roads has accelerated since 2005.
Future development of South Africa’s national
roads to meet rising vehicle volumes, as well
as rising demand for time-sensitive goods and
“just-in-time” production input requirements,
depends partly on societal acceptance of the
user charge principle for higher quality roads,
Figure 5.5: Total vehicle pool and new registrations, 1990–2012
10 000 000
600 000
9 000 000
New registrations
7 000 000
400 000
6 000 000
5 000 000
300 000
4 000 000
200 000
3 000 000
2 000 000
New registrations
500 000
8 000 000
Total vehicle pool
Total vehicle pool
100 000
1 000 000
Source: Electronic National Administration Traffic Information System, 2013
in comparison with the standard offering that
is affordable to the tax base.
In comparison with the national roads,
the standard of many provincial and local
roads have not kept up with demand.
Many were originally designed during
the apartheid era for a smaller vehicle
population, and have deteriorated with the
increase in vehicles due to rising prosperity
in the democratic era (see Figure 5.5),
poor maintenance regimes and resource
constraints. The 2002 Road Infrastructure
Strategic Framework for South Africa
(RISFSA) improved the classification
of roads and allocated maintenance
responsibilities more clearly. Government
road construction and maintenance
programmes, such as the Gundo Lashu
Programme in Limpopo, the Zibambele
Programme in KwaZulu-Natal, and more
recently the S’hamba Sonke Programme,
which contributed to the upscaling of the
Expanded Public Works Programme and
job creation.
Commuter rail
About 2.2 million passenger trips per
day are made on Metrorail. The use of
Metrorail grew steadily from 1993 to 1999,
levelling off until 2002, when it again rose
significantly. In 2006, Transnet’s Metrorail
commuter rail assets were excised, merged
with the rail assets of the South African
Rail Commuter Corporation and renamed
PRASA. The consolidation of passenger
rail assets was completed in 2009, when
Transnet’s long-distance/inter-city passenger
assets (Shosholoza Meyl) were transferred
to PRASA. In 2010, the state-owned PRASA
embarked on a 10-year capital investment
programme to upgrade the signalling
systems on its Metrorail lines. In 2012,
PRASA also launched a plan to refurbish and
replace its rolling stock.
Other modes of public transport
Other modes of public transport, such as
buses and rapid rail routes, gained impetus
after 2005 when government introduced the
Public Transport Infrastructure and Systems
Grant. The aim of the grant was to improve
public transport infrastructure, initially focusing
on projects linked to the 2010 World Cup.
Government also allocated substantial funding
to set up bus rapid transit (BRT) systems in
several metros. The Gautrain project also
got underway during this period, becoming
operational in 2012.
The most commonly used mode of motorised
public transport in the country is the minibus
taxi. In 1999 government introduced a taxirecapitalisation programme to incentivise
the private minibus taxi industry to renew its
fleets with newer and safer vehicles, in the
interests of commuter safety. A scrapping
allowance of R55 000 per vehicle was allowed,
provided that a new vehicle adhering to a list
of safety specifications was purchased. While
the programme is currently under evaluation
as a fixed-period incentive, it has resulted in
the scrapping of over 57 000 taxis18 in poor
condition over the last eight years in favour of
vehicles with higher safety specifications, thus
contributing to the drive for commuter safety.
OR Tambo Airport in Johannesburg. Other new
airports and upgrades include the privately
owned Kruger Mpumalanga International,
Lanseria, Mmabatho/Mafikeng and Mthatha
airports. ACSA has grown in strength and
expertise over the years and already has two
large international airport concessions – São
Paulo, Brazil and Mumbai, India.
5.3.3 Water and sanitation
In 1994 approximately 40 percent of
households19 had no access to basic water
supplies (defined as 25 litres of safe water
within 200 metres of their homes). The
democratic era witnessed the rapid delivery
of water services to the population, with the
backlog reduced to 5 percent of households
without access to basic water supplies in 2012.
In addition, in 1994, approximately 50 percent
of households lacked basic sanitation (defined
as a household toilet of at least a ventilated
improved pit latrine standard). The democratic
government also prioritised the rapid delivery
of sanitation services to the population,
increasing the percentage of households with
access to at least a basic level of sanitation
from 50 percent of households in 1994/95 to
83 percent in 2011/1220. Despite the rapid
progress, the bucket system, undignified
sanitation and reliance on fetching water from
streams prevail in some areas, and an ongoing
focus on eradicating the remaining backlogs is
South Africa is a water-scarce country. The
limited availability of raw water is, in many
cases, a constraint to economic growth.
Reversing this trend will require redoubling
efforts to improve and expand the country’s
water resources infrastructure.
The state-owned Airports Company South
Africa’s (ACSA's) investment in airport
infrastructure increased since the early 2000s
in all nine major airports including Bram
Fischer (Mangaung), Port Elizabeth, Upington,
East London, George and Kimberley, but with
a larger focus on Johannesburg, Durban and
Cape Town. Investment accelerated after
2006, with investment focusing primarily
on the construction of the new King Shaka
International Airport in Durban and upgrading
Major bulk water infrastructure projects include
the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme, Phase
1 of which began delivering water to South
Africa’s industrial heartland in 1998. This was
augmented in 2004 with the completion of the
Mohale Dam. Government has now approved
a second phase involving the new Polihali Dam,
a transfer tunnel to the Muela Hydroelectric
Plant, and expansions to the power plant and
other infrastructure in Lesotho. This project is
set for completion in 2020.
The Berg Water Project commenced in
2002 and started augmenting Cape Town’s
water supply in 2007. The Vaal River Eastern
plants. Provision was made for catchment
management agencies and authorities in
legislation introduced in the late 1990s to deal
with these challenges, but thus far only two
catchment authorities have been set up, which
do not cover all the major catchment areas in
South Africa. Going forward, these authorities
need to be established and adequately funded
if one is to deal decisively with raw water quality
and conservation issues.
emergency project to shift water from the
Vaal Dam to the Trichardtsfontein/Bosjesspruit
dams in anticipation of a drought in 2007
that would have interrupted water supplies to
Eskom and Sasol, has also been completed.
The Olifants River Water Resources
Development Project aims to support mining
(particularly platinum) in Limpopo, as well as
provide communities with access to water. It
has involved constructing the De Hoop Dam
and an extensive distribution network to
convert the Flag Boshielo and De Hoop dams
into a single, functioning system. Construction
on the dam started in 2007 and has been
completed. Construction of the De Hoop bulk
distribution pipelines is currently underway.
Also currently underway is the Komati Water
Scheme Augmentation Project, the MooiMgeni Transfer Scheme Phase 2 (within which
the Spring Grove Dam was completed and
inaugurated in 2013), raising the walls of the
Hazelmere and the Clanwilliam dams, and the
Umzimvubu Catchment Area Project, which
is in the process of concluding a two-year
feasibility study started in 2012. Many of the
bulk water resource projects have been made
possible by the establishment of the TransCaledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA), an agency
of Department of Water Affairs21.
The quality and quantity of South Africa’s water
supply also depends on the country’s ability
to save water, prevent leakages, eradicate
pollution, and operate and maintain wastewater
While much was done during the pre-1994
era to set up broadcast, postal and fixed-line
telephone infrastructure, in many respects
these were mainly focused on the minority
and lagged behind global advancements in
telecommunications. While the rest of the world
had been enjoying television for decades, South
Africa only began limited television services
(mainly for a white audience) in the mid-1970s.
Widespread home satellite systems, internet
services and mobile cellular telephony only
became a reality with the advent of democracy
and the end of the apartheid security state.
Institutional arrangements in the predemocracy era were characterised by a few
state-controlled organisations like the South
African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC),
Telkom and the South African Post Office
(SAPO), with high levels of state interference and
little or no competition. Media independence
was restricted. Private-sector investment and
involvement in the communications sector was
almost non-existent. Investment in the sector
was limited by government affordability, and
access to communication services by the
majority was poor.
Over the past 20 years, the broadcasting sector
has expanded substantially. By 2013, three
public television channels, two commercial
television channels (including satellite television
services) and more than 160 commercial and
public radio stations were broadcasting in the
country’s various languages. South Africa is also
preparing for the rollout of digital television.
Billions of rands of private-sector investment
has been made in cellular phone infrastructure,
as well as digital data telecommunications.
More South Africans have access to information
and communication technology (ICT) now
than in the past. Figure 5.6 shows that the
percentage of households with access to
cellphones increased from about 32 percent in
2001 to about 89 percent in 2011.
SINCE 1994
❚ The Broadcasting Act was enacted in 1998.
This removed the SABC from state control and
entrenched its role as a public broadcaster.
❚ 58.3% of the broadcasting sector is owned by
Historically Disadvantaged Individuals (HDIs). Given
a zero base in 1992, this is a major achievement.
❚ The enactment of the Electronic Communications
Act in 2005 increased market liberalisation.
❚ Entry of a third mobile operator, and second
national fixed-line operator.
❚ Establishment of a state-owned broadband
company, InfraCo, in 2009.
❚ Broadband Infraco is rolling out a national fibre
optic network to provide broadband. MTN, Neotel
and Vodacom are co-building an alternative
national infrastructure network. These amount to
over 5 000km of national fibre.
❚ Four additional submarine cable systems provide
international commercial services in the last five
years. These are: SEACOM in completed in 2009;
EASSy in 2010; MainOne in 2010; and West African
Cable System (WACS) in 2011.
❚ The Post Office has installed an estimated 700 000
new mail boxes around the country, and over
7.4 million new addresses since 2004, giving
identity to households.
❚ To date the Post Office opened 430 000 new
accounts for social grants and pensions and
the Postbank has the highest number of Mzansi
Accounts - about 2.6 million.
❚ Access of households to broadband is 33.7 percent
(source: Research ICT Africa, 2012 ICT access and
usage survey).
❚ 6 700 schools connected to broadband to date.
❚ Coverage of digital terrestrial television (DTT)
is 82% with the full target being 84 percent.
16 percent is covered by satellite.
❚ Mobile phone termination rates were cut in 2010,
and from 89 cents to 40 cents in 2013, then to
20 cents in 2014. This rate will fall to 10 cents by
2016, as part of the effort to reduce the costs of
Source: Department of Communications22
Figure 5.6: Percentage of households with access to telecommunications, 2001–2011
Landline telephone
Census 2001
CS 2007
Census 2011
Source: Statistics South Africa, Census 201123
Similarly, television access increased from about
53 percent of households in 2001 to more than
74 percent in 2011, and computer ownership
increased from 8.5 percent of households
in 2001 to more than 21 percent in 2011,
illustrating progress in addressing the digital
divide. The two telecommunications tools that
have seen a decline in penetration are landlines
and radio in favour of newer technologies.
In step with global advancements, internet
access, especially through broadband, has
been encouraged. Broadband penetration
is currently estimated at 14 percent over a
personal computer, and 15 percent via a
cellular phone, smart phone or tablet, with
overall internet penetration estimated at over
33 percent24.
Postal services have also increased. In its first
year, the democratic government had opened
at least 70 new post offices and upgraded many
others in previously underserved areas. To
date, the post office has one of government’s
largest infrastructural footprints around the
country, with over 2 600 postal outlets, 1 170
of which are in rural areas, with visibility in
major retail outlets across the country in the
form of retail postal agencies25. Many other
postal outlets were upgraded to ensure that
they have internet and network connectivity
to be able to provide services in a more
effective and efficient manner.
Despite rapid post-apartheid modernisation
and high levels of private-sector participation
and investment, the cost of communications
in South Africa remains above world averages,
while digital speeds and service offerings
have remained relatively low. To address
this, regulation of this sector needs to be
strengthened, while maintaining the appetite
for investment, continued modernisation
and greater access to information and
communication services for historically
marginalised communities.
5.3.5 Industrial development zones
Between 1994 and 2001, the Department
of Trade and Industry (the dti) promoted the
concept of Spatial Development Initiatives.
These projects were initially aimed at organising
and mobilising public and private organisations
and entities around specific spatially defined
investments, such as the Maputo Corridor
and others. Parallel to this, the concept of
Industrial Development Zones emerged and
the programmes associated with this tended to
focus on ports and airports. The most significant
tangible infrastructure outcome arising from
these initiatives has been the new port and
logistics hub of Ngqura/Coega, which has
grown significantly over a relatively short period
of about 10 years. By 2010, these initiatives
had contributed to attracting an estimated
R56.9 billion worth of investments and had
supported the creation of more than 69 424
direct job opportunities26.
5.3.6 Social infrastructure grants
Much of the massive post-apartheid rollout
of social infrastructure was made possible
through the evolution of targeted fiscal grants
for infrastructure. The Provincial Infrastructure
Grant (later renamed Infrastructure Grant
to Provinces) was introduced in 2000 with
a modest R300 million to counter falling
provincial capital budgets. The grant aimed to
assist provinces to address historic infrastructure
and maintenance backlogs, particularly for
schools, hospitals, clinics, roads and rural
infrastructure. Conditionalities attached to the
grant forced improvement in the provinces’
capacities to plan and manage projects. The
grant grew rapidly and, in 2010, amounted to
more than R11 billion27. Similarly, the Municipal
Infrastructure Grant (MIG) programme was put
in place to support municipal infrastructure
delivery. It currently amounts to approximately
R15 billion per annum.
As aggregate infrastructure expenditure grew
after 2000, the capacity of government entities
to contract and spend the allocation emerged
as a key constraint. By 2005, a significant
was regularly being rolled over. This was
particularly prevalent at the provincial and
municipal spheres of government, prompting
a range of support and capacitation
programmes to be put in place. These have
included programmes such as Siyenza Manje
and others provided by the Development
Bank of South Africa. The Business Trust also
partnered the Presidency in 2006, financing
the Support Programme for Accelerated
Infrastructure Development (SPAID), which
carried out a range of targeted projects aimed
at removing the causes of infrastructure
expenditure blockages. In addition, National
Treasury and the CIDB developed a range
of good practice notes, coupled with direct
technical support to assist provinces to
improve their social infrastructure delivery
programmes. These support programmes
led to a marked improvement in provincial
infrastructure expenditure levels, which have
exceeded 95 percent over the last two years.
partnership projects
5.4.1 Integrating policy, planning and delivery across sectors
In the 1990s, there was some successful
experience of public-private partnership (PPP)
arrangements for national roads. Towards
the end of the 1990s, government started to
expand this approach to other infrastructure
sectors, with the aim of mobilising private-sector
finance and capacity. A PPP Unit was established
in National Treasury in 2000 to provide the
necessary support to such agreements. Some
of the notable infrastructure projects concluded
through PPPs have been the Inkosi Albert Luthuli
Hospital, Mangaung Prison, Universitas and
Pelonomi hospitals, Chapman’s Peak toll road,
the dti head office and the Gautrain. Moving
forward, there is a need for government to
assess what has worked well and what has not
worked well with these PPP agreements, as the
basis for identifying more PPP opportunities for
the private sector to invest in, in a manner that is
sustainable and affordable to both government
and the users of the infrastructure.
While each infrastructure sector faces unique
challenges, there are a range of common
issues, which are discussed below.
An integrated approach to policy, planning
and delivery of infrastructure across sectors has
never been fully in place, and such an approach
is required to ensure effective and efficient
infrastructure investment. It is necessary to
avoid situations such as housing projects being
built in areas without access to electricity, water,
roads and sanitation.
Important steps in this regard have already
been taken, firstly with the NDP setting the
basis and giving direction to all infrastructure
sectors towards achieving a common
2030 vision for the construction of South
Africa’s future. Another important step has
been the establishment of the Presidential
Infrastructure Coordinating Commission,
which brings all spheres of government
together in a joint forum for the first time
to promote infrastructure coordination and
Construction of Medupi power station
decision-making. This, together with the
adoption of a National Infrastructure Plan,
will not only improve decision-making in
economic infrastructure sectors, but will
also result in delivery on an integrated and
sequenced programme across sectors, in
line with the NDP, which should yield more
effective outcomes.
The President launched the National
Infrastructure Plan in February 2012. The
plan clusters, sequences and prioritises future
projects and infrastructure initiatives into 18
strategic integrated projects (SIPs)28. This will be
a continuous process, creating a “pipeline” of
projects that give substance to the infrastructure
initiatives outlined in the NDP, while also giving
effect to infrastructure as one of the key drivers
of the New Growth Path.
5.4.2 Market structure, regulation and pricing
While South Africa is not unique in the
dominance of state-owned enterprises
(SOEs) in the delivery of infrastructure,
principally because network infrastructure
creates natural monopolies, the regulatory
framework is relatively poor, both in design
and implementation.
A stronger regulation policy was adopted
early on in the first decade of democracy.
Putting the energy regulator in place took a
further five years, and it is only over the past
five years or so that the regulatory function,
operating on a cost-based methodology,
is being applied to protect electricity
infrastructure users from the unjustified
pass-through of costs. Stronger regulation in
respect of transport infrastructure monopolies
was also adopted as policy in the first decade,
but its implementation was delayed. It is only
the Port Regulator that is in place, although
there is a likelihood that other appropriate
economic regulators for sectors such as rail will
be set up soon. Work towards the proposed
Single Transport Economic Regulator (STER)
will partly address this concern.
In the water sector, pricing is such that where
costs can be recovered, this is not being
done, and there is no independent regulator.
The Department of Water Affairs (which is
effectively the regulator) has for many decades
set prices that are below cost to maintain the
water resources system, let alone allow for
further development. The sector is therefore
unnecessarily over-reliant on the fiscus. A
key structural contributing factor is that the
department is a policy-maker, implementer
and regulator at the same time.
Where the legislative foundation for
regulation is sound, for example, in the
ICT sector, the regulators have not always
effectively regulated their sectors, resulting
in prices above global trends, constraining
access and undermining the competitiveness
of the national economy.
5.4.3 Financing mechanisms
Across all the sectors, challenges in
mobilising resources for operations and
maintenance, as well as future investments
in economic infrastructure, loom large.
Planning and budgeting processes for
infrastructure have historically tended to
neglect operations and maintenance.
More broadly, the mechanisms that are
currently in place to finance infrastructure
require urgent reform. Resources are in
some cases flowing to the wrong areas.
For example, in the case of commuter rail
transport, infrastructure is not expanding in
tandem with the enormous growth in demand
because of financial constraints, in a context
where commuter rail transport has substantial
benefits for poor households. At the same
time, PRASA subsidises long-distance
passenger rail at the expense of commuter
rail, even though the former cannot compete
with road transport.
In the water sector, too, there seems to be
an unfair cross-subsidy by taxpayers and
households to large-scale industry, mining and
agriculture, who together consume the lion’s
share of raw water. In addition, people pay a
wide range of different prices for essentially
the same product – raw water – depending on
the particular dam or scheme from which it is
obtained. In many cases, the price depends on
how long ago it was built. Thus, poor people
who never had water in the past will have to
pay higher prices for water from new dams. To
address equity in the pricing of raw water as a
product, as well as funding for development,
the water sector needs an appropriate pricing
strategy with equitable levelised pricing for
various categories of raw water off-take paying
their fair share of infrastructure costs, an
independent regulator, and an infrastructure
agency (similar to Eskom), with a balance sheet
that enables borrowing as a public entity and
levelised pricing, rather than project financing
and project-level pricing to consumers.
As mentioned earlier, considerable success
has been achieved in mastering the art of
using private financing for road infrastructure,
the Gautrain, hospitals and some government
head office buildings. Despite some
attempts, government has not yet been
able to successfully replicate this for prison
infrastructure, water services, electricity baseload generation, rail infrastructure, ports and
pipelines. The telecommunications sector has
witnessed considerable investment by the
private sector, which has led to rapid service
provision in the sector.
What has also emerged over the 20-year
period is that there are limits to the quantum
of infrastructure that can be financed through
tariffs on existing users. In the case of electricity,
pipelines and (recently) toll roads, the fiscus
has had to provide additional balance sheet
support through direct capital grants, loans or
guarantees to avoid sharp tariff increases.
Despite these affordability limits and the
ability of the state to assist, the advancement
and future development of many aspects
of the country’s economic infrastructure
will depend on the acceptability of the
user charge principle for higher levels of
infrastructure services and differentiated highvalue products, compared with the standard
offering that is paid by and is affordable to
the tax base (for example, the Gautrain vs.
Metrorail). Some differentiation within the
user charge principle is required between
“project internalised user charges” versus
“system-wide (levelised) user charges”. For
example, it does not make sense for a ship to
be charged more for using a newly refurbished
berth than one using an old berth, and so it is
fair to distribute the cost of the development
of new berths to all berths.
5.4.4 Capacity constraints
Over the past 20 years, there have been
various national initiatives to estimate
future infrastructure-related skills shortages
and to develop plans to address these
shortages. A related issue is the internal
dynamics within the institutions and entities
tasked with the delivery of infrastructure.
Poor organisation and management of
technical expertise, alongside low morale
and political interference, diminish, in some
cases, the returns from skilled individuals. In
cases where capacity constraints effectively
prevent the implementation of the economic
infrastructure agenda, these skills need to
be sourced from elsewhere, as proved to
be highly effective in the construction of
infrastructure for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
5.4.5 Backlogs, rehabilitation and new infrastructure
There are tensions between the three
different streams of infrastructure delivery
(maintenance and rehabilitation, addressing
backlogs, and responding to new demand)
and managers make difficult choices in
maintaining a fair balance between building
new infrastructure for the many who have no
services, and maintaining or rehabilitating
infrastructure and facilities for those who
already have access to services. A growing
economy requires all three infrastructure
streams to be implemented simultaneously.
The NDP sets the broad direction for the
way forward for infrastructure development
in South Africa and its crucial role and
alignment within the country’s 2030 vision.
The point of departure in the NDP is that,
while South Africa has a relatively good
national economic infrastructure network,
the challenge is to maintain and expand
it to address the demands of the growing
economy. The economy has already been
constrained by inadequate investments and
the ineffective operation and maintenance of
existing infrastructure.
The NDP expresses concern that government
does not have sufficient institutional or
financial capacity to finance and implement
the infrastructure investment plans on the
scale required to support further economic
growth. In addition, maintenance programmes
are lagging behind. Resource constraints
will therefore require trade-offs between
competing national goals. Investments need
to be made in a structured, considered
manner to prevent inappropriate initiatives,
protect South Africa’s resources and ensure
that prioritised investments are efficiently
implemented. The NDP recognises that private
funding will need to be sourced for some of
the required infrastructure investments, and
that government needs to better manage
collaborative investment by businesses and
government in key infrastructure projects and
to shape its institutional, policy and regulatory
environment in order to attract investment.
In giving effect to the coordination,
collaboration and elaboration of NDP
infrastructure imperatives, the establishment
of the PICC has brought the political heads
of the three spheres of government together
for the first time in a joint intergovernmental
forum headed by the President29. Through
the PICC process, South Africa now has a
coordinated National Infrastructure Plan
comprising 18 strategic integrated projects.
A summary of each of the 18 Strategic
Integrated Projects is provided in the box at
the end of this chapter. The PICC focuses on
ensuring that there is adequate coordination
both planning and implementation
between the various stakeholders involved
in each of the SIPs, monitors progress, and
intervenes to unblock bottlenecks. Other
focus areas of the PICC include infrastructure
skills, supply of materials, localisation, and
creating an enabling legislative and regulatory
environment for investment in infrastructure.
In implementing the National Infrastructure
Plan, government will need to focus on the
investment, including enhancing the
capacity and effectiveness of regulators
and addressing existing gaps in the water
and rail sectors.
❚Ensuring reliable generation, transmission
and distribution of energy (electricity, liquid
fuels, coal and gas).
the maintenance, strategic
expansion, operational efficiency, capacity
and competitiveness of South Africa’s
logistics and transport infrastructure
(ports, logistics hubs, road, rail and public
transport infrastructure and systems).
availability of the country’s bulk water
resources infrastructure (dams and interbasin transfers, bulk water and wastewater).
modernisation, access and
affordability of South Africa’s information
and communications infrastructure and
country to move to a new growth trajectory.
This implies investment in rail, water and
energy infrastructure alongside regulatory
reforms that provide policy certainty and
that encourage the private sector to invest
more in infrastructure, and in general
economic capacity.
❚Continuing the rapid rollout of all social
infrastructure in terms of NDP targets until
universal access is realised.
These are crucial to the realisation of the
NDP goals of moving towards an inclusive
and dynamic economy, and of urgently
launching the virtuous cycle that allows the
SIP 6: Integrated Municipal
Infrastructure Project: Developing
national capacity to help the
23 least-resourced districts in
addressing maintenance backlogs
and bulk infrastructure upgrades.
SIP 1: Unlocking the Northern
Mineral Belt with the Waterberg
as the catalyst: Investing in
rail, water pipelines and energy
generation, and transmission
infrastructure in order to unlock
rich mineral resources in Limpopo.
Extending rail capacity to
Mpumalanga power stations to
further shift coal from road to rail.
SIP 7: Integrated Urban Space
and Public Transport Programme:
Coordinating decision-making
for the 12 largest metropolitan
municipalities on economic
and social infrastructure, public
transport and human settlement
for sustainable urban settlements
connected by densified transport
SIP 2: Durban-Free StateGauteng Logistics and Industrial
Corridor: Strengthening the
logistics corridor between
South Africa’s main industrial
hubs, integrating the Free State
Industrial Strategy, disconnected
industrial and logistics activities
and rural production centres. It
includes development of a new
Durban port, Aerotropolis at OR
Tambo International Airport and
Dube Trade Port.
SIP 8: Green energy in support
of the South African economy:
Supporting a diverse range of
sustainable energy initiatives
as envisaged in the Integrated
Resource Plan 2010 and biofuel
production facilities.
SIP 3: South Eastern Node
and Corridor: Building the new
Mzimvubu Dam, irrigation systems,
N2-Wild Coast highway, manganese
sinter and smelter, improved rail
capacity, possible Mthobmo refinery,
transhipment hub at Ngqura, and
port and rail upgrades.
SIP 4: Unlocking the economic
opportunities in North West:
Accelerating investments in roads,
rail, transmission infrastructure,
bulk water and water treatment,
and opening up economic
SIP 5: Saldanha-Northern
Cape Development Corridor:
Integrating development through
rail and port expansion, backof-port industrial capacity,
expanded iron ore production and
strengthened maritime capacity
for the gas and oil activities along
Africa’s west coast.
SIP 9: Electricity generation
to support socio-economic
development: Accelerating the
construction of new electricity
generation capacity in accordance
with the Integrated Resource
Plan 2010.
SIP 10: Electricity transmission
and distribution for all: Expanding
the transmission and distribution
network. Aligning the 10-year
transmission plan to address
backlogs, broadband rollout,
freight rail line development to
leverage off regulatory approvals
and existing capacity.
SIP 11: Agri-logistics and rural
infrastructure: Investment in
agricultural and rural infrastructure
through investment in storage,
transport links, fencing, irrigation,
R&D, processing, aquaculture and
rural tourism.
SIP 12: Revitalisation of public
hospitals and other healthcare
facilities: Building and refurbishing
public health facilities and
revamping 122 nursing colleges
to prepare for the requirements
of the National Health Insurance
SIP 13: National school-build
programme: A standardised
building programme to replace
inappropriate structures and provide
basic services, while addressing the
backlog, to improve outcomes and
reduce overcrowding.
SIP 14: Higher education
infrastructure: Development of
infrastructure for higher education,
including new universities, lecture
halls, student accommodation,
libraries, labs, and ICT, recreational,
retail and transport facilities.
SIP 15: Expanding access to
communication technology:
broadband for all by 2020:
Linking districts, local municipalities
and deep rural areas with digital
infrastructure. This includes the
migration of television from
analogue to digital broadcasting.
SIP 16: SKA and MeerKAT:
Building an advanced radio
telescope facility linked to research
infrastructure and high-speed
digital capacity, providing an
opportunity for Africa and South
Africa to contribute to advanced
SIP 17: Regional integration
for African cooperation and
development: Partnering with
fast-growing African economies
on infrastructure projects to create
diversified, competitively priced
options for transport, water and
SIP 18: Developing a sustainable
water supply-chain: “Source to
tap to source”: A 10-year plan,
including new infrastructure and
the upgrading of existing water
and sanitation infrastructure for
social and economic growth.
Source: PICC: A Summary of the
South African National Infrastructure
Input obtained from National
Treasury, (2013).
National Treasury, (2013).
“Budget Review 2013.”
Department of Energy. “Basic
Electricity Overview (online).”
Accessed on 18 February 2014.
Available from <
Department of Energy. “Basic
Electricity Overview (online).”
Accessed on 18 February 2014.
Available from <
Progress reporting to the
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation by the
Department of Energy, (2013).
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation &
Development Bank of Southern
Africa, (2012). “The State of South
Africa’s Economic Infrastructure:
Opportunities and Challenges
2012.” Development Bank of
Southern Africa.
Progress reporting to the
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation by
Eskom, (2013).
Progress reporting to the
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation by the
Department of Public Enterprises,
Progress reporting to the
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation by the
Department of Energy, (2013).
Progress reporting to the
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation by
Eskom, (2013).
Transnet, (2012). “Integrated
Report 2012.”
Rustomjee, Z. (2013).
Report commissioned by the
Department for Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation for the
20 Year Review in the thematic
area: Infrastructure.
Transnet, Department of
Transport and Eskom, (2013).
“Programme of Action Core
Indicators – Outcome 6 (online).”
Accessed 18 February 2014.
Available from <http://www.
LandingPage.aspx >.
Progress reporting to the
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation by
Transnet, (2013).
Progress reporting to the
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation by
Transnet, (2013).
Transnet and Council for
Scientific and Industrial Research,
(2013). “Programme of Action
Core Indicators – Outcome 6
(online).” Accessed 18 February
2014. Available from <http://www.
LandingPage.aspx >.
Information on national
and toll roads provided by
Rustomjee, Z. for the 20 Year
Review in the thematic area:
Infrastructure, (2013).
Progress reporting to the
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation by
National Treasury, (2013).
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation, (2013).
“Development Indicators 2012.”
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation, (2013).
“Development Indicators 2012.”
Rustomjee, Z. (2013).
Report commissioned by the
Department for Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation for the
20 Year Review in the thematic
area: Infrastructure.
Department of
Communications, (2014).
“ICT Sector 20 Year Review.”
Statistics South Africa, (2012).
“Census 2011.” Statistical release
BMI-TechKnowledge Group &
Department of Communications,
(2013). “Programme of Action
Core Indicators – Outcome 6
(online).” Accessed 18 February
2014. Available from <http://www.
LandingPage.aspx >.
Department of
Communications, (2014).
“ICT Sector 20 Year Review.”
Rustomjee, Z. (2013).
Report commissioned by the
Department for Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation for the
20 Year Review in the thematic
area: Infrastructure.
Rustomjee, Z. (2013).
Report commissioned by the
Department for Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation for the
20 Year Review in the thematic
area: Infrastructure.
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation &
Development Bank of Southern
Africa, (2012). “The State of South
Africa’s Economic Infrastructure:
Opportunities and Challenges
2012.” Development Bank of
Southern Africa.
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation &
Development Bank of Southern
Africa, (2012). “The State of South
Africa’s Economic Infrastructure:
Opportunities and Challenges
2012.” Development Bank of
Southern Africa.
Presidential Infrastructure
Coordinating Commission, (2012).
“A Summary of the South African
National Infrastructure Plan.”
The apartheid government largely ignored issues of
sustainability during its time in power, building the
country’s economy around energy- and resource-intensive
sectors, such as mining and agriculture. The era before
1994 was characterised by exclusionary, fragmented
environmental legislation and policies that failed to
promote sustainable development.
The apartheid government did little to regulate issues like
pollution, enforce land rehabilitation or manage limited
resources like water in an egalitarian, sustainable fashion.
Economic development was pursued at the expense of
the environment, with fossil-based sectors shielded from
stringent regulation. As a result, democratic South Africa
inherited an energy-intensive economy, with most of the
country’s energy derived from coal-fired power stations. The
country’s coal deposits present a relatively cheap and reliable
source of energy, but coal is carbon-intensive. Consequently,
according to the Department of Environmental Affairs, South
Africa today is the largest emitter of greenhouse gases on
the African continent, and carbon dioxide emission per
capita is almost twice the global average. The burning of
fossil coal for energy led to high levels of air pollution with
health consequences for the poor.
Energy legislation during the apartheid years was largely
geared towards regulating the electricity industry.
Renewable energy and energy efficiency in energy
investments, guaranteeing security of supply and
reducing carbon emissions were not priorities.
Before 1994, the mining industry was shielded from
environmental regulation and was not required to
rehabilitate land after closure. As a result, dust blowing
from mine dumps and the toxic residues of open-mine
stockpiles are now negatively affecting the health of
people in nearby settlements. The Witwatersrand is also
at risk from rising acid mine water, which has negative
effects on the environment and, potentially, human health.
The cost of rehabilitating derelict and ownerless mines,
treating acid mine water and dealing with silicon pollution1
is falling to the democratic government. Environmental
legacies of the apartheid government that contribute to
a poor state of the quality of the environment have been
carried into the democratic order.
The new government in 1994 inherited a country in which
the white minority controlled the majority of limited
natural resources. Not only had the black majority been
confined to 13 percent of South Africa’s surface area,
placing tremendous strain on the natural resources in
those regions, but 98 percent of the country’s water
resources had been allocated. That left the new
government only 2 percent to allocate to the previously
marginalised majority. The white-dominated agricultural
sector consumed 60 percent of the country’s water.
The land that had been allocated to blacks during
apartheid was mostly in far-flung areas with limited
economic opportunities. Black settlements in urban
areas were often near industrial areas that exposed the
inhabitants to pollution. Limited access to electricity
in these settlements resulted in the burning of fossil
fuels (especially poor-quality coal with a high sulphur
and ash content), further affecting air quality, while
a lack of infrastructure and services like stormwater
drains, sewerage systems and waste-removal services
contributed to high levels of littering, general
environmental degradation and poor human health.
Waste was not viewed as a resource and levels of
recycling were low. The high pollution levels to which
the black community was subjected contributes to the
state’s heavy health burden today.
In terms of conservation, despite the fact that large tracts
of land were under state protection, the seven biomes
(fynbos, savannah, grassland, Nama-Karoo, succulent
Karoo, desert and forest) were not adequately protected2.
Legislation to manage land, air, water and mineral
resources was meant to protect narrow minority and
government interests in these economic sectors, and
environmental policies and services were formulated
within a framework that perpetuated social inequality by
benefiting the white minority, and generally disregarded
the environment and sustainability.
The democratic government needed to redress past
imbalances, address the competing needs for land use,
and ensure that economic growth, industrial development,
infrastructure development and poverty-reduction
objectives could be achieved, while simultaneously
ensuring the long-term sustainability of natural systems
and the environment. As important as it was to address
poverty, unemployment and inequality, this could not be
done without also breaking the links between economic
activity, environmental degradation and carbon-intensive
energy consumption.
6.2.1 Environmental legislation and regulation
The Constitution of South Africa states that all citizens
have the right to an environment that is not harmful
to their health and wellbeing, and to an environment
protected for the benefit of present and future
generations, through reasonable legislative and other
measures. The past 20 years have seen a dramatic and
sustained process of forming environmental guiding
principles, institution-building and restructuring,
legislation and policy development and domestic
and international engagement – all with the intention
of addressing the historical legacy of inequality,
international isolation and the fragmented structures
of environmental governance.
The country’s first development policy,
the RDP, advocated for a sustainable
and environmentally friendly growth and
development path. This was followed by the
passing of the National Water Act in 1996,
the National Environmental Management Act
(NEMA) in 1998 and other legislation that
provide a legislative framework based on
cooperative governance to promote the right
to a clean and healthy environment. NEMA
has laid the basis for sectoral legislation,
policies and strategies.
A National Framework for Sustainable
Development was adopted in 2008 and was
followed by the adoption of the National
Strategy for Sustainable Development
(NSSD) in 2011. It states that, if the country’s
long-term economic performance is to
avoid breaching key ecological thresholds,
it should develop new technologies and
processes to increase productivity, while
using less energy, fewer resources and
reducing waste. The framework also asserts
that efforts to eradicate poverty could be
undermined if scarce resources continue to
be used unsustainably. The NSSD and, more
recently, the New Growth Path and the NDP,
have emphasised the green economy as a
key area of growth.
The environmental sector has, over the years,
made significant and direct contributions to
job creation and poverty alleviation though
programmes such as Working for Water,
Working on Fire, Working for Wetlands,
People and Parks and the Green Fund.
Government introduced a regulatory framework
for environmental impact assessment in 1997
and enhanced it in 2006. Environmental impact
assessments require decision-makers to take into
account environmental values when planning
and implementing projects. This regulatory
framework, along with government-developed
tools such as environmental management plans
and environmental implementation plans,
has helped make environmental sustainability
a priority across government and society.
The last 20 years have witnessed the growth
of the profession of environmental impact
assessment practitioners, resulting in a new
sector of professionals capable of providing
independent advice to companies and
government undertaking development. To
date, environmental impact assessments have
yielded mixed results in terms of promoting
sustainable development3.
An integrated environmental licensing
system has also been developed recently.
This is being used to streamline the
environmental licensing processes for the
infrastructure-building programme and
provide a simplified assessment process
for small and micro-enterprises, and
communities that require support.
The law-enforcement capacity of the
Department of Environmental Affairs and
Water Affairs has been enhanced by the
development of capacity in the form of
Green and Blue Scorpions. The protection
of South Africa’s ocean resources has been
further enhanced with the purchase of a
fleet of environmental vessels since 2006.
Another highlight was the enactment of
the Integrated Coastal Management Act of
2008, which, among other things, seeks to
rationalise the management, protection and
development of the country’s coastline. In
addition, dedicated capacity for addressing
wildlife crime was established in 2012, in
the form of the National Wildlife Information
Management Unit.
Since 1994, government has introduced
measures to monitor and track environmental
change. The Department of Environmental
Affairs produces the State of the Environment
Report every five years to track trends in
environmental change, while the Department
of Water Affairs produces the State of the
Rivers Report to track river health, and the
Green and Blue Drop Status Report to track
the quality of drinking and waste water. Two
assessments of the state of the country’s
biodiversity have also been undertaken in
2004 and 2011.
This monitoring indicates that, while there
have been some improvements in some areas,
the state of the environment is deteriorating.
Moving forward, emphasis will therefore have
to be placed on effective implementation
and enforcement of the environmental
legislation that has been put in place over the
last 20 years, as well as proactive initiatives to
improve the quality of the environment.
6.2.2 Water resource management
South Africa is a relatively water-scarce country,
with limited freshwater resources. Ranked the
30th driest country in the world, its rainfall varies
from less than 100 mm per year in the west to
more than 1 500 mm per year in the east4. Four
of South Africa’s major river systems are shared
with the six neighbouring states of Botswana,
Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland
and Zimbabwe. The total area covered by these
four shared catchments in South Africa is equal
to about 60 percent of the country’s surface
area and the mean annual flow from these
rivers amounts to approximately 40 percent of
our total average river flow. In order to regulate
the use of water from these rivers, a number
of bilateral and multi-lateral commissions and
committees have been established between
South Africa and its neighbours.
Strategies have been developed to guide
future water resource planning, management
and investment requirements, based on an
assessment of the country’s water balance
against projected future needs. The key issues
include a greater focus on water conservation
and water demand management as every
drop counts and the country cannot afford to
waste any more water. Other issues include
increased utilisation of ground water, the
reuse of waste water in both coastal and inland
systems, more dams and transfer schemes,
(including the clearing of invasive alien plants)
and rainwater harvesting.
There are high levels of water pollution in
some regions. According to the State of the
Environment Report 2012, there are 223 river
ecosystem types that represent the diversity
of rivers, of which 57 percent are threatened
(25 percent critically endangered, 19 percent
endangered and 13 percent vulnerable). Only
35 percent of main rivers and 52 percent of
tributaries are in good condition. In response,
the Department of Water Affairs initiated an
"adopt-a-river" programme, which seeks
to raise awareness on the need to care for
water resources and also encourage active
stakeholder participation (especially those
along the river courses) in addressing pollution.
Wetlands constitute about 2.4 percent
(2.9 million hectares) of South Africa’s surface
area and 65 percent of wetland types have
been identified as threatened with extinction
(48 percent are critically endangered,
12 percent are endangered and 5 percent
are vulnerable). Some 291 estuaries (170 000
hectares) are estimated to exist along South
Africa’s coast, with most located along
Indian Ocean waters. Some 82 percent of
estuarine ecosystem types are degraded, while
43 percent of estuaries are threatened.
The country experiences water pollution from
inadequate, overloaded, ageing or poorly
maintained and operated sanitation and
waste water treatment systems, inadequate
rehabilitation of river systems and inadequate
enforcement to prevent industrial pollution.
In recent years, a number of new waste water
treatment schemes have been completed
and existing ones refurbished. Going forward,
improving the capacity, maintenance and
operation of waste water treatment systems
must be a priority of government.
The deteriorating quality and security of
supply of water undermines the ability of
government to effectively address inequality
and grow the economy. This situation has
been further exacerbated by the increasing
rate of water consumption due to population
growth, industrialisation, urbanisation and
greater demand for irrigation and stock water.
All this has led to increased water abstraction
and reduced water quality, both of which put
pressure on South Africa’s rivers5.
To address this, a broad range of indicators
to monitor the quality of surface, coastal
and ground water has been developed.
Government has developed standards for
basic water supply and sanitation that aim to
reduce human health issues and environmental
degradation. To date, these standards have
been implemented to varying degrees.
More stringent regulations have been
introduced to limit the mining sector’s impact
on the environment, including streamlining
the environmental authorisation process with
environmental impact assessment regulations.
Enforcement has been enhanced, resulting in
an increase in the number of mines monitored
for non-compliance from 54 in 2009 to 204 in
2013. However, compliance levels are below
50 percent. The departments of Mineral
Resources, Water Affairs and Environmental
Affairs have recently introduced integrated
enforcement actions and are applying
penalties for non-compliance. Since 2011,
measures have been put in place to reduce
the risks associated with acid mine water in
the Witwatersrand, including treatment and
alternative-use options for treated water.
Moving forward, these measures will need be
scaled up as acid mine water remains a risk to
water resource management in various areas
of the country.
Although South Africa is one of the few
countries in the world in which tap water
is safe to drink, challenges remain around
ensuring equitable access to water and
maintaining water quality. Chapter 3 of
In some municipalities, there are problems
with maintaining and operating infrastructure
related to these services. Erosion of
management and technical skills at all levels,
but in local government in particular, as well
as poor use of incentives, disincentives and
regulations to address quality problems,
has contributed to deterioration in both the
supply and quality of water.
this review discusses how the democratic
government has placed particular emphasis
on ensuring that all South Africans have
access to basic water supply and sanitation
services at an affordable cost6. Before 1994,
government’s approach to water provision
was “all for some”. After 1994, water services
were regarded as a non-stop delivery process
“from source to utilisation and back to
source” and promoted “some for all”.
To secure water supply, as discussed in
Chapter 5, several bulk water projects
were completed between 1994 and 2013,
including the Lesotho Highlands Water
Project and a network of water-transfer
schemes to transport water from areas of
relative abundance to those of relative
scarcity. These projects aimed to address
problems of water shortages in urban areas
and dense rural settlements far from large
water courses, and to provide water for
agriculture and industrial development.
The process of water allocation has been
reformed to ensure equitable access and
address riparian laws. Going forward, the
focus will need to be on implementing the
new processes to ensure universal access to
this public good.
Water-use efficiency targets for the
agriculture sector have been put in place and
the Department of Water Affairs is currently
completing water management plans for the
manufacturing and mining industrial sectors.
Management plans to save water have
been completed for 14 irrigation schemes,
but the department is not yet assessing the
percentage of water losses curtailed through
the implementation of these management
plans. Leakages from domestic water
reticulation systems remain one of the main
causes of water wastage.
The Department of Water Affairs has made
good progress in clearing the backlog
of water-use licences. Applications from
agriculture, power generators, municipalities,
stream-flow reduction activities, mining,
industries, government agencies and
developers have been prioritised.
In June 2013, the Department of Water
Affairs published the second National Water
Resources Strategy, building on the previous
strategy that was published in 2004. The
goal of the strategy is for water to support
economic development and the elimination
of poverty, and for water to be managed
in a sustainable and equitable manner.
The strategy intends to achieve this goal
through the use of the Water Allocation
Reform Programme and various mechanisms,
including setting water aside for redress,
compulsory licensing, general authorisations,
development support and partnerships,
to ensure that water is made available to
previously disadvantaged groups.
6.2.3 Air-quality management
Mining and industry, compounded by the
burning of poor-quality coal and biomass
by those with limited access to electricity,
have resulted in high levels of air pollution
in some areas. Since 2007, plans to manage
air quality and ambient air-quality standards
have been developed for identified areas.
Some regions, such as the Highveld and Vaal
Triangle, have been declared priority areas
due to high pollution from burning coal to
produce electricity and liquid fuel.
To assess whether air quality is improving
or not, the national air-quality indicator was
developed, as well as the greenhouse gas
emissions inventory for energy- and industrialprocess emissions. The focus is currently on
reducing burning of solid fuel in residential
areas and vehicle emissions. To reduce
emissions from transport, lead has been
phased out of liquid fuel, and regulations
have been introduced to allow for blending.
Energy production in South Africa remains
largely dependent on coal. The Integrated
Resource Plan for energy was developed in
2011 to guide future energy investments,
guarantee the security of supply and reduce
carbon emissions. The plan identified
the need to accelerate efforts to tap into
the country’s solar, wind and hydropower
There have been some successful prosecutions of those
in contravention of air-quality legislation. For example, in
November 2010, environmental management inspectors
found that Silicon Smelter in eMalahleni was illegally operating
several processes without authorisation in terms of the Air
Quality Act of 2004 and in contravention of section 28(14) of
the National Environmental Management Act of 1998. It was
fined R2 million and ordered to implement various measures
to ensure legal compliance.
resources, while responsibly exploiting fossil
fuels and mineral resources.
to strengthening its social and economic
resilience to the effects of such change.
As discussed in more detail Chapter 5, to date,
2 460MW of renewable energy has been secured
through the Renewable Energy Independent
Power Producer Procurement Programme.
Increased use of nuclear energy, which will
drastically reduce emissions, is also being
explored. Various demand-side management
and energy-efficiency programmes are being
implemented in industry and households.
In 2008, Cabinet approved the Long-term
Mitigation Scenarios to guide policy direction.
In 2009, the President announced that
South Africa would implement mitigation
actions that would collectively result in a
34 percent and a 42 percent reduction in its
emissions growth trajectory by 2020 and
2025, respectively. Achieving these targets will
require financial, capacity-building, technology
development and technology transfer support,
and a global, legally binding agreement.
6.2.5 Climate-change mitigation and adaptation
South Africa, like other developing countries,
is at particular risk from climate change
due to a combination of geography, the
intrinsic vulnerability of poor communities
to environmental threats, and the pressures
that economies based on resource extraction
place on the environment. South Africa
has acknowledged that climate change
poses a major threat and has committed
South Africa hosted the 17th session of the
Conference of the Parties (COP 17) to the
United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change in 2011 to mobilise support
for the Climate Change Programme. The
most notable outcome of COP 17 was the
Durban Platform for Enhanced Action, which
set timelines for negotiating a new climate
regime from 2015 onwards.
While preparatory work and research to
set targets and measure reductions in
emissions in different sectors are under way,
implementation programmes include over
300 000 domestic solar water heaters installed
to date and the launch of the Renewable
Energy Programme.
6.2.6 Conservation and biodiversity
Due to the fact that conservation was used
by the apartheid regime to exclude black
people from conservation areas, there are
conflicts regarding land use and access to
resources in some of these areas. Some
conservation areas have been the subject
of land claims and, in some instances,
communities that used to harvest medicinal
plants or firewood or hunt animals for
subsistence have been at loggerheads
conservation areas have been developed
and conservation education has sought to
attract people to visit parks such as the
Kruger National Park. Since 1994, good
progress has been made in expanding the
terrestrial, freshwater and marine areas
under conservation. The conservation
estate has increased to 7.9 percent of the
total land area, just short of the 10 percent
international benchmark for land under
conservation. Figure 6.1 indicates the
hectares of land added to the conservation
estate since 1994.
South Africa has collaborated with
neighbouring countries on conservation
and to date, six transfrontier parks have
been proclaimed8. Eight world heritage
sites have also been proclaimed in the
country. Management plans for a number of
species of special concern and threatened
species have been completed and are
under implementation. Table 6.1 shows the
register of protected areas, including marine
protected areas.
Despite these achievements, major ecosystems
remain threatened and endangered species,
such as abalone and rhinoceros, are being
poached at alarming rates. Degradation of
natural areas and resources continues, as does
the fragmentation of protected or undisturbed
areas, with negative effects on biodiversity
and ecosystems. To begin addressing this,
during the last five years, four biodiversity
management plans have been developed
to protect the black rhinoceros, cycad,
pelargonium and African penguin. There is
growing collaboration between government,
security authorities, neighbouring countries,
international partners and civil society to
address rhinoceros poaching, with some
successful prosecutions to date.
Figure 6.1: Area added to the terrestrial conservation estate, 1994–2013 (hectares)
120 000
100 000
80 000
60 000
40 000
20 000
Source: Department of Environmental Affairs, 20127
West Coast
Tankwa Karoo
Table Mountain
Mountain Zebra
Augrabies Falls
Addo Elephant
Table 6.1: Protected areas in South Africa according to the
Register of Protected Areas
Protected area type
Area (ha)
World heritage sites
298 551
Special nature reserves
335 000
National parks
885 775
Nature reserves
2 131 981
Marine protected areas
440 269
Mountain catchment areas
627 257
74 718 835
Source: National Register of Protected Areas, 2012
6.2.7 Waste management
The 1998 Integrated Policy on Waste
Management and Pollution advocated
waste minimisation, recycling, treatment and
disposal. The 2001 Polokwane Declaration on
Waste Management9 built on this commitment
to develop a waste management system that
would reduce waste by 50 percent by 2012
and result in zero waste by 2022.
Although these principles inform local and
provincial integrated waste management
plans, the targets have not been achieved.
Minimum standards for waste collection
and disposal have been introduced and the
percentage of households with access to at
least a basic level of refuse removal increased
from 55 percent in 2009 to 72 percent in 2013.
The national Department of Environmental
Affairs is helping municipalities obtain
licences for waste-disposal sites and is
intensifying waste reduction, recovery, reuse and recycling initiatives. Notwithstanding
these interventions, littering and illegal
dumping is common and levels of waste
minimisation and recycling are low as waste
is generally not considered a resource. The
waste sector has the potential to create jobs
through waste separation and recycling.
Medical waste has not been adequately
managed, with incidences of medical waste
pollution reported and cases that have been
prosecuted in court. This is an area that still
requires specific regulations in terms of the
National Environmental Management Waste
Act of 2008. Monitoring and enforcing
compliance of health-sector waste disposal
presents a capacity challenge, as new
regulations will require all thermal medical
waste treatment facilities to comply with airquality standards and all existing permits
for non-thermal treatment facilities to
A waste disposal site in Butterworth was investigated by
environmental management inspectors and the Eastern Cape
Department of Economic Development and Environmental
Affairs in 2010. The site was illegally storing healthcare-risk
waste. The case was tried in February 2012 and the accused
charged with contravening section 20(1) of the Environment
Conservation Act (operating a waste disposal site without a
licence) and section 35(2) of the Air Quality Act. The company
was fined R200 000 and suspended from trading for five years.
be reviewed. An example of successful
prosecution for contravening medical waste
regulations is given in the box.
6.2.8 Regional and international
Over the past 20 years, the South African
government has become an integral part of
regional and global multilateral environmental
bodies, such as the United Nations
Commission on Sustainable Development and
the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change. It often takes a central role
in negotiating key sustainable development
mandates in these forums. The United
Nations’ Millennium Development Goals
(MDGs), which South Africa has embraced,
seek to ensure that principles of sustainable
development are integrated into country
policies and programmes. In terms of MDG 7,
which focuses on ensuring environmental
sustainability, South Africa has already phased
out ozone-depleting substances and is on
track to achieve a reduction in carbon dioxide
from business as usual by 2020. While there
has been an increase in hectares of land under
protection, the target to reduce biodiversity
loss by 2010 has not yet been achieved10.
The country has consistently played a strategic
role in ensuring that sustainable development
remains on the global agenda, earning
respect as a major player in international
environmental negotiations. South Africa
has been influential in negotiating various
conventions and protocols and is signatory
to a number of them. For example, in 2002
South Africa hosted the World Summit on
Sustainable Development in Johannesburg
and continues to play an active role in the
implementation of outcomes from the Summit
through the United Nations Commission on
Sustainable Development.
On a regional level, South Africa plays a leading
role implementing the NEPAD Action Plan for
the Environment Initiative and developing a
climate change implementation framework.
This includes playing an active role in the
Southern African Development Community
(SADC) through the African Ministerial
Conference on the Environment and the
African Ministerial Conference on Water.
6.2.9 Business and civil society
Environmental stewardship has grown in
the business sector through, among other
initiatives, the development of the King
Codes of Good Practice. Launched in 2009,
these codes require businesses to provide
an integrated report that includes financial
results, their social effect on the community
in which they operate, and how they intend
to increase the positive effects and minimise
the negative effects on these communities in
future. Most South African companies now
report in line with this code.
In addition, South African companies report on
their carbon footprint and efforts to minimise
and reduce environmental risks through
the Global Reporting Initiative. The Carbon
Disclosure Project, launched in 2007, assesses
the disclosure quality of the top 100 companies
listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange
in their annual reports. On a global level,
businesses participate in the World Business
Council on Sustainable Development.
Since 1994, civil society has significantly contributed to shaping environmental policy through
the Consultative National Environmental Policy
process. Through advocacy programmes, these
non-government actors have made a significant
contribution to shaping government policies
and strategies related to sustainable development, particularly in areas of energy security,
energy mix and the effects of climate change.
The general deterioration in the quality of the
environment poses risks to economic growth,
poverty eradication and reducing inequality.
The democratic government has created
the policy framework needed for sustainable
development. Going forward, the focus will
need to be on implementation.
As described in the NDP, future areas of focus
in respect of water will need to include the
❚ Reviewing water policy and developing
integrated water resource legislation to
protect water resources and secure supply
❚ Addressing a lack of management and
technical skills at local municipal level,
particularly regarding water wastage and
pollution from sanitation systems
❚ Improving
particularly for industrial pollution and noncompliance with legislation in the mining
the need for more landfill airspace for waste.
The carbon tax is one of the tools to curb air
pollution and reduce greenhouse gases that
cause climate change.
Civil society contributes to shaping policy
in areas such as biodiversity conservation,
energy and climate change. Greater support
should be given to community-based
activism in pollution prevention, conservation
and natural-resource-management initiatives,
while broader biodiversity protection efforts
should be accelerated.
The NDP envisages a transition to an
environmentally sustainable, climate changeresilient, low-carbon economy and just society.
Accordingly solar, wind and hydropower
resources need to be utilised to reduce
dependency on coal for power, particularly
given South Africa’s commitment to reducing
its carbon emissions to below its anticipated
growth trajectory in upcoming decades.
The focus on demand-side management
of electricity and energy efficiency should
continue. As a developing country, South
Africa, with its vulnerable water and agriculture
sector, should place emphasis on adaptation
to climate change, to protect the vulnerable,
livelihoods and food security. The NDP
indicates that: “Shifting to a green economy,
including to a low-carbon economy, is shifting
to a more sustainable economic growth and
development path in the long term.”
❚ Increasing awareness campaigns on the
responsible and efficient use of water.
Innovative waste-removal solutions for dense
informal settlements need to be found and
the country must keep moving towards a
zero-waste society. This requires investment
in consumer awareness, green product
design, recycling infrastructure and waste-toenergy projects. In particular, the challenge of
unlicensed landfill sites needs to be addressed.
In order to build stewardship and care for the
environment, all sectors of society have to take
responsibility for their waste and not pollute
the environment. For a cleaner environment,
government has to implement the polluterpays principle through market instruments.
manufacturing and packaging will reduce
Department of Labour, (undated),
“National programme for
elimination of silicosis.”
Pretoria: DOL.
Department of Environmental
Affairs, (2011). “National Biodiversity
Synthesis Report.” Pretoria: DEA.
Kakonge, J. (2013). “Improving
Environmental Impact Assessment
(EIA) Effectiveness: Some
Reflections.” Available from
(accessed 19.02.2014)
Department of Water Affairs and
Forestry, (2004). “The National Water
Resource Strategy.” Pretoria: DWAF.
Dallas, HF. (2000). “Ecological
Reference Conditions for Riverine
Macro-invertebrates and the River
Health Programme, South Africa.”
Cape Town: Freshwater Research
Unit, Department of Zoology,
University of Cape Town.
Department of Water Affairs and
Forestry, (1994). “Water Supply
and Sanitation Policy: Water – An
Indivisible National Asset.”
Pretoria: DWAF.
Department of Environmental
Affairs, (2012). “Strategic Plan
2012–2017.” Pretoria: DEA.
Department of Environmental
Affairs, (2012). “South African
Environment Outlook.”
Pretoria: DEA.
National Waste Summit, (2001).
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
“Millennium Development Goals,
Country Report 2013.”
safety and
Before 1994, separate systems for the administration of
justice functioned in South Africa. The former homelands
had police and justice departments and other justicerelated structures. As a result, there was a disparity in the
delivery of services, depending on race and geographic
location. Commanding personnel were mostly white men.
Before 1994, the primary focus of law enforcement
and the justice system was on upholding, securing
and entrenching the apartheid state. The resulting
highly centralised, para-militarised and authoritarian
police service concentrated its efforts and resources on
eliminating opposition to the apartheid system.
To the extent that some attention was paid to fighting
crime, this occurred mainly in white areas. Scant
resources, both human and financial, were apportioned
to areas inhabited by blacks. By 1994, levels of crime
and insecurity had increased dramatically in the
absence of effective crime prevention and investigative
policing services. Between 1983 and 1992, the murder
rate increased by 135 percent, the robbery rate by
109 percent, the housebreaking rate by 71 percent, car
theft by 64 percent and rape by 62 percent1.
Most South Africans were denied access to courts,
legal services and advice during apartheid. The
legal services and legal aid offered to the majority
were inadequate. For example, in 1992, 150 890
convicted persons were sentenced to imprisonment
with no legal representation2.
7.2.1 Overview
In 1994, a broader concept of safety and security
was embraced to align policing practices with the
Constitution. Emphasis was put on ensuring the
legitimacy, accountability and effectiveness of the security
and criminal justice functions. The democratic state
sought to create a criminal justice system representative
of the population regarding gender, disability and race.
The importance of involving citizens in creating a safe
atmosphere for all was emphasised.
The Presidency’s Ten Year Review confirmed that
significant progress had been made in improving national
security, establishing the rule of law and transforming
institutions that had previously served the apartheid state.
The review identified particular challenges, including
the following:
❚ Slow transformation of the criminal justice system
❚ Poor integration of the crime prevention and criminal
justice system
❚ Inadequate human resources development across the
justice, crime prevention and security (JCPS) Cluster.
The review recommended that the government
strengthen the skills and numbers of members of the
South African Police Service, reduce case backlogs,
establish an effective offender rehabilitation programme,
enhance the capacity of intelligence structures and the
South African National Defence Force, improve efficiency
in ports of entry and at border controls, and accelerate
the implementation of social programmes, along with
visible policing and increased social partnerships. Citizen
involvement and a stronger social fabric were highlighted
as essential for significant crime reduction.
Following the review, government adopted a seven-point
plan to realise a modern, integrated, well-resourced and
well-managed criminal justice system. It redoubled its
efforts to integrate the 11 different systems. The budgets
of key departments in the JCPS Cluster, in particular those
of the police and correctional services, were exponentially
increased. In nominal terms, the police budget increased
from about R6 billion in 1994 to R63 billion in 2013 and
the budget for correctional services increased from about
R1 billion in 1994 to R17 billion in 2013.
Despite these measures, the Presidency’s Fifteen Year
Review noted that some critical goals had not yet been
achieved. Persistent challenges included the negative
effect of organised crime, ineffective operation across the
JCPS Cluster and poor integration in terms of strategy and
implementation. It was highlighted again that involving
communities in the fight against crime was critical.
Prevalent violent crime affected investor confidence, as
well as small and micro-enterprise development. Fear
and vigilantism weakened the rule of law and strained the
social fabric.
The government responded by adopting a new approach
to crime, regarding it as a social, as well as a security issue.
It undertook to encourage community respect for the law
and cooperation with the police service, while requiring
courts to be service-orientated and prisons to focus on
rehabilitating offenders to break the cycle of crime. The
White Paper on Correctional Services sought “to gear
all its activities to serve a rehabilitation mission that
ensures successful reintegration into society”3. This was
based on the National Crime Prevention Strategy, which
shifted the focus from reactive crime control to proactive
crime prevention. The strategy was complemented
by other strategies and structures, including the Crime
Combating Strategy, the Integrated Justice System, the
Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit (focusing on
crimes against women and children), the Directorate of
Special Operations and the Asset Forfeiture Unit in the
National Prosecuting Authority, the Financial Intelligence
Centre (focusing on organised crime) and the Victim
Empowerment Programme.
In 2009, government noted that even
though serious crime levels had decreased
and substantial resources had been made
available, performance in the criminal justice
system was still below the required standard
and did not satisfy public expectation. In
response to this challenge, government
adopted an outcomes-based system and
renewed its commitment to ensuring that
citizens would be and feel safe. This meant
paying particular attention to those types
of crimes that induced feelings of insecurity
among citizens, particularly trio (vehicle
hijackings, residential and business robberies)
and contact crimes (assault, murder and
rape). Targets were set for lowering these
categories of crime. Government committed
itself to improving capacity in the criminal
justice system, increasing the number of
finalised cases, reducing case backlogs,
strengthening rehabilitation and victim
support programmes, and addressing cybersecurity and cyber-crime threats.
The NDP states that South Africa “suffers from
high levels of corruption that undermine the
rule of law and hinder development and socioeconomic transformation”. Building on the
interventions introduced since 1996 to fight
corruption, in 2010 government established
the Anti-corruption Task Team to target
corruption cases involving large amounts of
money and address challenges relating to
uncoordinated responses to corruption.
7.2.2 The administration
of justice
In line with the new Constitution, most
structures relating to the administration
of justice underwent restructuring and
transformation to meet the constitutional
obligations of human dignity, equality, human
rights and freedom. The role of the Judicial
Services Commission (JSC) in appointing
judges constituted a radical break with the
past and contributed to the evolution of a
judiciary that is increasingly representative
of South African society4. Progress has been
made, although there is still some way to go
to fully reverse the imbalances of the past
regarding the training of black lawyers.
The Constitution states that judicial authority
is vested in the courts, which are independent
and subject only to the Constitution and the
law. The courts are enjoined to apply the law
impartially and without fear. As a measure
to guarantee that the courts discharge their
constitutional mandate in an unfettered
manner, the Constitution insulates them
from interference by any person or organ of
state. This cements the separation of powers
between the judiciary, the legislature and
the executive with a system of checks and
balances. The courts are the final arbiters on
all legal and constitutional disputes.
In 2012, the Constitutional Court was
designated the sole centre of South Africa’s
jurisprudence. It has jurisdiction on any matter
that raises an arguable point of law of general
public importance. The role played by the
courts, in particular the Constitutional Court,
constitutes developmental jurisprudence in
line with the imperative contained in the NDP
to create a capable developmental state.
Government’s response to court judgments
continues to be respectful, whether the
judgments are favourable or not. This has
helped reinforce the legitimacy of the courts.
incorporated into the legal system and
customary law acknowledged in the
Constitution. This played a part in changing
people’s experience in accessing justice.
In addition, 283 small claims courts were
established throughout the country. The
goal is to establish one in every district. New
court buildings have been built in previously
disadvantaged communities.
Challenges regarding access to justice
remain. Most prospective litigants do not
possess the necessary legal skills or finances
to institute or defend a case. Affordable legal
representation is a critical and integral part of
access to justice.
Legal Aid South Africa was established to
provide legal aid services to the poor and
indigent in both criminal and civil matters. It
currently provides service through its 64 justice
centres, 64 satellite offices and 13 High Court
units, established throughout the country.
These centres provide general legal advice
through their professional and paralegal staff.
In 2010, a toll-free legal aid advice line
was established to facilitate access to
telephonic general advice services. In 2012,
government introduced the Legal Practice
Bill in Parliament, which was passed by the
National Assembly in 2013. The bill allows
for the provision of free legal services by
candidate legal practitioners as part of
their practical training. Furthermore, the bill
enjoins legal practitioners, juristic entities
and justice centres to charge fees that are in
accordance with a determined fee structure.
7.2.3 Reducing crime
Several surveys have shown that citizens and
communities are beginning to feel safer. The
Victims of Crime Survey5 found that over
40 percent of households felt the levels of
violent and non-violent crime had decreased
in their area of residence during the period
2008 to 2010. Furthermore, about 60 percent
of households surveyed were satisfied with
the way the police and courts were doing
their work6.
government and communities, the Community
Policing Policy and the Community Safety
Forum Policy Framework have been adopted.
Recognising that effective crime fighting
relies on community cooperation, community
policing forums have been put in place.
Community safety forums have also been set
up to coordinate crime-prevention activities
between government and non-governmental
organisations in an area to prevent duplication
and encourage information-sharing. Successful
partnerships with organised business include
the Business Against Crime initiative, which
has resulted in major declines in crime in
targeted city centres, and the Business
Working Group, which aims to review and
revamp the criminal justice system.
In the last five years a cyber-crime policy has
been developed and is being implemented.
During 2011/12 and 2012/13, the courts
finalised 216 cyber-crime cases with a
conviction rate of 87.5 percent and 136
cyber-crime cases with a conviction rate of
97.8 percent respectively.
Serious crimes
Overall, the reported crime rate remained
stable between 1994 and 1998 before peaking
in 2003, and then declining after 2003.
Figure 7.1 shows the change in intensity of
serious crimes between 1994/95 and 2012/13.
Reduced crime levels after 2003/04 could
Figure 7.1: Serious crimes, 1994/95–2012/13
Contact crimes
Total crimes
Property crimes
Damage to property and arson
Theft and commercial crime
Source: Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, 2012, based on data from South
African Police Service
be attributed to an increase in visible
policingi and improved crime-combating
initiatives, which were part of the National
Crime Prevention Strategy. Improvements
in conviction rates and the imposition of
harsher sentences could also have acted
as disincentives. Developing delivery
agreements with clear indicators and targets,
along with adopting the outcomes-based
system in 2010, maintained the momentum
begun in 2003/04.
Contact crimes (a category of serious
crimes) induce the most fear, as the victim
comes into contact with the perpetrator,
usually resulting in bodily harm or death.
Government pays particular attention to
these types of crimes. As illustrated by
Figure 7.2: Contact crimes rate (per 100 000 of population)
Sexual offences
Attempted murder
Aggravated robbery
Source: South African Police Service
Common assault
Common robbery
Assault grievous bodily harm
Visible policing aims
to discourage crime by
providing a proactive
and responsive policing
service. Key subprogrammes of visible
policing include the
provision of basic crime
prevention, visible
policing services at police
stations and community
service centres, and
specialised interventions
(the air wing, special
task force and improving
Figure 7.2, contact crimes have also declined
since 1995/96.
Violent crimes against women
and children
After 1994, several interventions were
introduced to address gender-based violence
and sexual offences against vulnerable
groups, in particular women and children.
These interventions included the following:
❚ Specialised courts dedicated to sexual
❚ Thuthuzela Care Centres to help prevent
secondary trauma for victims of these crimes
❚ Introducing specialised police units (such
as family violence, child protection and
sexual offences units)
❚ Resourcing and establishing victim-friendly
rooms at police service points
❚ Empowering prosecutors, police officers,
magistrates and doctors with specialised
for expanded definitions of crimes, such as
rape, and provided greater protection for
children. A number of new policy frameworks
were also introduced and implemented,
including the Child Justice National Policy
Framework, the Restorative Justice National
Policy Framework (including forming
linkages with traditional justice), the Social
Crime Prevention Strategy and the Diversion
Accreditation Framework. Government has
also adopted a Plan of Action to combat
violence against women and children.
Figure 7.3 shows the total reported sexual
offences crimes between 2003/04 and
2012/13. The increase in the number of cases
in 2008/09 is probably due to the expansion
in the definitions of certain sexual offences
in 2007. Since then, the number of cases
per annum has generally declined, but
it is cause for concern that the number of
reported cases rose again by almost 2 000
in 2012/13, in comparison with 2011/12.
This indicates that the country clearly still
needs to reduce violent and sexual attacks
against the vulnerable, in particular women,
children, the elderly, and lesbian, gay,
bisexual, transgender and intersex people.
❚ Keeping dangerous sexual offenders under
long-term supervision on release from prison.
The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and
Related Matters) Amendment Act was
passed in 2007 and a Child Justice Act
was passed in 2008. These acts provided
In this regard, government has recently
restored the sexual offences courts to ensure
that vulnerable groups get the care, respect
and support they need. These dedicated
services use intermediaries, audio-visual
equipment and specialised training, among
Figure 7.3: Total reported sexual offences cases
Reported cases
72 000
70 000
68 000
66 000
64 000
60 000
62 000
Source: South African Police Service
other measures. A strategy to address
gender-based and sexual orientation-based
violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender and intersex people is being
developed. More work still needs to be
done on the National Register for Sex
Offenders. While the national register is not
open to the public, employers in the public
or private sectors, such as schools, crèches
and hospitals, are accorded the right to
check whether a job applicant is fit to work
with children or mentally disabled people.
Drug-related crimes
Because of the prevalence of drug abuse
in serious and violent crimes as well as the
severe long-term effects of drug abuse on
users, over the last 20 years, law enforcement
agencies have introduced various initiatives
to seize and destroy drugs and, most
importantly, to bring those involved – users,
manufacturers, dealers and distributors –
to justice.
Figure 7.4 shows progress made in this
regard. The increase in drug-related cases
can be attributed to increased police
detection, resulting in suspects being
arrested and large quantities of various
types of narcotics being confiscated.
However, much more needs to be done. There
is a need to target major drug syndicates
These should be complemented by issuing
freezing and seizure orders against the assets
of individuals involved in the drug trade,
pending their prosecution.
Corruption-related crimes
In Chapter 2 of this review, corruption in the
public service is examined, together with
government’s initiatives to address it. The
Presidency’s Fifteen Year Review described
how fighting corruption in both the public
and private sectors has preoccupied
successive democratic governments. It
mentions the preparation of legislation for
a Public Protector, the establishment of
special anti-corruption investigating units in
the criminal justice system and the passing
of the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt
Activities Act in 2004. It also describes
how the establishment of a National Anticorruption Forum in 2001 and subsequent
anti-corruption summits mobilised social
partners in a national multisectoral anticorruption effort.
It further described how specialised
courts to prosecute acts of corruption
had been created and had yielded some
successes. For instance, in 2005/06, over
900 commercial crime trials were finalised
with a conviction rate of over 94 percent.
Other measures mentioned included
Figure 7.4: Total reported drug-related cases
Reported cases
220 000
200 000
Reported cases
180 000
160 000
140 000
120 000
100 000
80 000
Source: South African Police Service
40 000
60 000
Capttionm to come
sector coordinating structures, blacklisting
of individuals and businesses engaging
in corrupt activities, and a National AntiCorruption Hotline. It was mentioned that
there were multiple agencies with an anticorruption mandate, and that there were
debates about their individual capacity and
collective coordination.
Commercial crimes
include crimes such as
internet fraud, fraud with
counterfeit or stolen credit
cards, advance fee fraud
(419 scams), forgery and
uttering etc.
In 2009, government set targets for convicting
people of corruption involving large sums
of money, and between 2009 and 2013,
criminal investigations were carried out into
allegations of corruption against 298 people.
Successful convictions of 48 individuals for
corrupt activities involving R5 million or more
were obtained. The names of the 42 people
convicted have been released. Freezing
orders totalling R1.3 billion were obtained
over the same period, while assets to the
value of R157 million have been forfeited.
In addition to the large-scale corruption cases
mentioned above, there has been an on-
going process of prosecuting and convicting
public servants and members of the public
for involvement in corruption and fraud.
For example, between 2009 and 2013, over
30 000 accused have been convicted in
connection with commercial crimesii.
The Special Investigating Unit currently has 25
active presidential proclamations authorising
investigations into 10 national government
departments, seven provincial government
departments, six local government authorities
and two state-owned enterprises.
Despite this considerable effort, as described
in Chapter 2, surveys show that public
perceptions of corruption in government
have worsened slightly over the past 20 years.
The JCPS Cluster is currently developing an
Anti-corruption Framework to give effect
to the NDP’s recommendation to establish
a resilient, multi-agency, anti-corruption
system. This will need to include elements
of improving coordination between the
various agencies involved in the fight against
corruption, as well as increasing investigative,
forensic and prosecution capacity to deal
with corruption cases.
7.2.4 The efficiency of the criminal justice system
Progress has been made towards achieving
a more efficient criminal justice system, but
more needs to be done. Since 1994, crime
detectioniii rates have generally improved. For
example, the crime detection rate for contact
crimes improved from 39.5 percent in 2001/02
to 60.7 percent in 2011/128. However, a
60.7 percent detection rate still means that
many reported cases remain unresolved.
This indicates that there is still much room
for further improvement in detective and
investigative capacity in the police force.
Of those cases that do go to court, a
substantial number are removed from
the roll due to withdrawals, transfers,
abscondments, and cases being struck
from the roll. Of the remaining cases
(finalised cases), some are verdict cases
(with a judgment) and others are referred for
alternative dispute resolution. As indicated
in Table 7.1, the number of finalised cases
through the alternative dispute resolution
mechanism increased by 89 percent, from
14 808 in 2002/03 to 132 695 in 2011/12.
The conviction rate, which is the percentage
of verdict cases in which a guilty verdict is
handed down, has also generally improved.
As indicated in Table 7.1, the conviction rate
for all crimes increased from 81.5 percent
in 2002/03 to 88.8 percent in 2011/12.
Notwithstanding the improved conviction
rate, there is room for improving the
efficiency of the system further by reducing
the number of cases that are removed from
the roll. In this regard, there will need to be
an ongoing focus on improving the quality
of investigations and prosecutions in future.
There are issues of high judicial workload
and backlogs in South African courts.
Several initiatives, such as the Case Backlog
Reduction Project (allocating additional staff
to handle the backlog cases to the worst
affected regional courts) and opening the
courts for extra hours during the 2010 World
Cup, have helped reduce the backlog or
mitigate the effects of an increase in cases.
Government has also introduced a case-flow
management system, bolstered by a task
team established by the Chief Justice, to deal
with case delays and backlogs. Nevertheless,
the backlogs remain a challenge, partly
due to an increasing number of cases
being brought before the courts. Since
1987, the number of cases handled by the
country’s two largest high courts, in Pretoria
and Johannesburg, has increased by
400 percent, without a significant increase in
the number of judges9.
7.2.5 Correctional services
As indicated in The Presidency’s Fifteen Year
Review, between 1994 and 2009, government
The detection rate is the
total number of charges
referred to court minus
cases withdrawn before
court plus charges closed
as unfounded divided by
the number of charges
The NPA defines
disposed cases as the
number of criminal court
cases disposed of in
the reporting period.
These include court
cases finalised by verdict
(judgment) and sentence
(including section 57A of
the Criminal Procedure
Act, i.e. admissions of
guilt), through the use
of alternatives, such as
diversion or informal
mediation, or removed
from the roll by means of
withdrawals, warrants of
arrest issued, transferred
from the court roll, and
struck from the roll. In the
High Court, it also includes
minimum sentence
matters (sentenced,
acquitted or referred back
to the regional court).
According to the NPA,
cases removed from
the roll refers to the
number of criminal court
cases removed from the
court roll by means of
withdrawals, warrants of
arrest issued, transferred
from the court roll, mental
referrals and struck from
the roll.
Table 7.1: Case finalisation and convictions between 2002/03 and 2011/12
2002/03 2003/04 2004/05 2005/06 2006/07 2007/08 2008/09 2009/10 2010/11 2011/12
New cases
in court
1 117 879 1 117 488 1 084 137 1 069 724 1 062 497 1 037 309 1 058 210 1 044 346 962 317
897 842
Cases disposediv
956 509 1 182 163 1 130 006 1 168 936 1 101 395 1 043 373 1 070 435 1 065 292 996 320
937 357
Cases removed from
the rollv
534 171
767 675
730 040
757 519
722 361
655 029
638 795
595 751
535 429
488 564
Finalised casesvi
422 338
414 488
399 966
411 417
379 034
388 344
431 640
469 541
460 891
448 793
Verdict casesvii
407 530
396 536
381 020
373 995
334 551
326 506
349 883
350 910
331 045
316 098
332 056
330 146
322 147
322 687
286 861
284 620
307 089
310 951
293 673
280 658
Conviction rate
Dispute Resolution
Mechanism (ADRM)ix
14 808
17 952
18 946
37 422
44 483
61 838
81 757
118 631
129 846
132 695
Sources: South African Police Service and National Prosecuting Authority
The NPA defines
finalised cases as the
number of criminal
court cases finalised in
the reporting period by
verdict, or through the
use of alternatives such
as diversion or informal
mediation, irrespective of
the date of enrolment.
Verdict cases refer to the
number of criminal court
cases finalised by verdict
(judgment) in the reporting
According to the NPA,
convictions refer to the
number of criminal cases in
which a verdict of guilty has
been handed down.
According to the
NPA, ADRM refers to
the number of cases
finalised in the reporting
period through the use
of alternatives, such as
diversion and informal
mediation, irrespective of
the date of enrolment.
focused on reorientating the system to
rehabilitation rather than retribution to help
reduce crime, fight corruption and maintain
safe custody. The Fifteen Year Review
pointed out that, despite initiatives to deal
with overcrowding – new prisons, alternative
sentencing, correctional supervision, an
awaiting-trial project and parole – the
problem had grown.
However, overcrowding levels remain high
and this issue will require ongoing attention
in future. Other challenges to be addressed
in correctional services include corruption,
maintaining safe custody, strengthening
rehabilitation programmes and high levels of
gang-related violent crimes in prison.
From 1995 to 2007, the capacity of the
prisons increased from 95 000 to 115 000,
while the number of prisoners went from
111 000 (107 percent occupancy) to 161 000
(141 percent occupancy). Due to the high
levels of violent crimes, prison sentences
had become longer and minimum sentences
had been introduced.
partnerships with civil society formations
to fight against crime and criminality.
Community Policing Forums (CPFs) were
formed at police station level to provide
a mechanism for citizens to ensure that
police are accountable and to determine
community needs and policing priorities
through consultation. The intention was also
to engage communities in joint problemsolving involving the identification of the
causes of crime and the measures required to
respond to them, to empower communities
regarding community policing through
education and to enable communities to play
a meaningful role in policing. The experience
of CPFs has been mixed – some function
well, while others are non-functional. The
NDP includes plans for strengthening CPFs
and rolling out community safety forums.
Since 2009, there has been an increased focus
on addressing overcrowding by reducing
the number of awaiting trial detainees. A
Remand Detention Branch was created in
the Department of Correctional Services
and Cabinet approved the White Paper on
Awaiting Trial Detainees, which focuses on
reducing the number of remand detainees
and offender rehabilitation. The Correctional
Matters Amendment Act of 2011 provides a
new medical parole policy to strengthen the
general policy on parole and correctional
supervision, and also provides the legislative
basis for managing remand detention.
7.2.6 The role of society in combating crime
In addition, civil-society organisations, such
as the National Institute for Crime Prevention
and Reintegration of Offenders (NICRO),
Business Against Crime (BAC), Mmatshilo
Prevention and Training (ADAPT), Sonke
Gender Justice Network, People Opposing
Women Abuse (POWA), Rape Crisis and
Tswaranang Legal Resources Centre, have
played significant roles in partnering with
government in the fight against crime and
gender-based violence. Additional initiatives
include street committees, neighbourhood
watch and residents’ associations, as well
as web-based efforts like the South African
Community Action Network, Report a Crime
and Crime Line.
These civil society initiatives are important
because crime is a problem of society and
therefore requires the attention of society
as a whole, not just of government. These
initiatives have made a significant contribution
in raising awareness about crime and
violence, especially as it affects vulnerable
groups. They have impacted positively on the
reduction of certain types of serious crimes,
such as property crimes.
Vigilantism and "kangaroo courts" have been
carried through from the apartheid era and
continue to undermine the rule of law in
South Africa today. While citizen involvement
in fighting crime is crucial, it is important that
citizens act in accordance with the law and
do not take the law into their own hands,
even when citizens perceive government to
be failing to ensure their safety and security.
This problem will be addressed through a
combination of education and more effective
law enforcement.
The private security industry has also
played a major part in enabling citizens and
communities to protect themselves through
the provision of alarm systems linked to
response teams, regular 24-hour vehicle
patrols and closed-circuit television (CCTV)
cameras both at private residences and in
major cities afflicted by crime. It is important
that this industry is properly regulated to
ensure that the extensive capacities of the
industry are not abused.
More still needs to be done to improve
partnerships between law enforcement
agencies and civil society, in particular
restoring the trust of communities in the
commitment and ability of these agencies to
respond to the challenge of crime.
The democratic government inherited a
fragmented and discriminatory policing and
criminal justice system. Over the past 20
years, it has significantly and systematically
transformed the institutions, roles and
functions within the system to create a much
more responsive, accessible and effective
service. Going forward, government will be
focusing on further improvements in a number
of areas.
Recent deaths of citizens during violent public
protests indicate that there is a need to improve
the training of public order policing units, and
their command and control structures. Public
order policing units need to be trained to
understand that the use of force in quelling
violent public protests should be avoided as
far as possible and that the highest degree
of tolerance should be displayed. The public
order policing units should be equipped
with the skills necessary for negotiating with
leaders of protesters. Where the use of force
is unavoidable, the public order policing units
must employ such force in accordance with
prescribed policy and guidelines.
Improving capacity in areas of forensic,
detective, investigation and prosecution
services is important if South Africa is to
reduce overall crime levels, particularly trio
and contact crimes. South Africa’s land and
maritime borders and airspace need to be
effectively safeguarded and secured to curb
organised crime and corruption, particularly at
ports of entry. The required plans to improve
the criminal justice system are largely in place
and, going forward, the emphasis will be on
accelerating implementation.
South Africa needs to ratchet up efforts to
reduce corruption in the public and private
sector. This would make more resources
available for service delivery, improve the
quality of service delivery, and improve
investor perceptions.
Effective responses to the challenge of crime
require us to understand the nature of crime
and the context in which it occurs. Causes of
crime in South Africa, as well as the factors
and motivations that lead to the commission
of crime, are diverse and complex, and are
not dependent on a single set of variables.
While poverty may be a contributing factor,
international experience demonstrates that
even though there is generally a correlation
between crime and poverty, most people living
in poverty do not, in fact, commit crimes10. In
addition to issues of poverty, other factors that
have a bearing on crime and criminality include
lack of social cohesion, access to mobility,
perceptions of exclusion, economic and social
inequalities, the proliferation of legal and
illegal weapons, and substance abuse.
Ensuring the safety of citizens and all who live
in our country requires us to appreciate that
safety is part of a broader quest for human
securityx. It implies the need to recognise crime
as a national security threat, understand that
crime and its risk factors are multidimensional,
and that the state’s efforts to combat crime
require much more than a police force or
even a criminal justice approach. The criminal
justice system, while having a critical role to
play in addressing crime, cannot provide a
safe and secure environment for all without
other role-players both within and outside
government contributing to addressing the
causes of crime and violence. In particular, the
socio-economic determinants of crime, such
as poverty, inequality and unemployment,
social cohesion and moral degeneration, need
to be addressed.
Moral decay in society as a whole has also
contributed significantly to the problem of
crime. The late President Nelson Mandela
highlighted this when he stated that South
Africa faced the challenge of a spiritual
malaise, which develops the problems of
greed and cruelty, of laziness and egotism, of
personal and family failure, which helps fuel
the problems of crime and corruption, and
hinders our efforts to deal with them11.
The urgency of addressing moral decay and
instilling positive values is underlined by the
recent spate of terrible violence and sexual
offences against women, children and the
elderly. It is also underlined by the increasing
tendency to turn to violence during public
protests against failures or the perceived
failure by government to deliver services.
The popularisation of the Moral Regeneration
Movement’s Charter of Values must receive
attention. It is critical to inculcate good values in
young people, in particular, including respect,
human dignity and equality, sound family and
community values, honesty, integrity, loyalty,
justice, fairness and peaceful co-existence.
Shabangu, T. (2013). “Evolution
of policing in South Africa since
1994.” Quoting the former minister
of Law and Order, Hernus Kriel, in
his address to Parliament in May
McQuoid-Mason, 17; Windsor Y.B.
(1999). “Access to Justice.” 230,
Department of Correctional
Services, (2005). “White Paper on
Correctional Services.”
Pretoria: DCS.
The Presidency, (2008).
“Fifteen-year Review."
Statistics South Africa, (2011).
“Victims of Crime Survey.”
Statistics South Africa, (2011).
“Victims of Crime Survey.”
According to the Victims of Crime
Survey 2012, this figure remained
Data provided by the Commercial
According to the United
Nations Commission
for Human Security,
human security “ means
protecting vital freedoms.
It means protecting people
from critical and pervasive
threats and situations,
building on their strengths
and aspirations. It also
means creating systems
that give people the
building blocks of survival,
dignity and livelihood.
Human security connects
different types of freedoms
– freedom from want,
freedom from fear and
freedom to take action on
one’s own behalf”.
Crime Unit of the Directorate for
Priority Crime Investigation.
Department of Performance
Monitoring and Evaluation, (2013).
“Development Indicators 2012.”
Rabkin, F. (2010). “Workload
in Gauteng Courts up 400%.“
Business Day. 20 April. Available
from <
Civilian Secretariat for Police,
(2012). “Draft White Paper on
Safety and Security.”
Nelson Mandela addressing
a meeting in June 1997 with
key South African Faith Based
Organisation leaders, the then
Deputy Minister of Education
Father Smangaliso Mkhatshwa
and the SABC to discuss spiritual
transformation. The meeting gave
birth to the Moral Regeneration
south africa in
the global arena
Apartheid South Africa was a pariah state, described by
former President Mandela as the “skunk of the world”,
that was diplomatically, economically, and culturally
isolated from the rest of the world. The incoming
government inherited institutions that had served the
interests of the apartheid system. Under apartheid, the
focus of the departments that dealt with foreign affairs,
defence, trade and industry, and intelligence was on
securing the apartheid state.
On the African continent, relations between South Africa
and its Southern African Development Community
(SADC) neighbours, and countries on the rest of the
continent, were, at best, fragile. Angola, Botswana,
Lesotho, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia
and Zimbabwe, together with other African countries,
had opposed apartheid, and actively campaigned for
the isolation of the apartheid state. In response, South
Africa’s defence force and other security structures made
frequent cross-border incursions into neighbouring
countries. Economic cooperation with the rest of the
continent was severely limited.
After 1994, South Africa faced the task of repositioning
itself in the region, on the continent and in the world,
with a shared interest in peace, stability and prosperity.
The new Constitution enjoined the building of a united
and democratic South Africa that would take its rightful
place as an independent, sovereign state in the family
of states. The values espoused in the Constitution,
including equality, non-racialism, non-discrimination,
liberty, peace and democracy, are central to South
Africa’s national identity, and find expression in the
country’s foreign policy.
South Africa had to demonstrate to its own people and
to the world that its democracy would be durable, that it
would work to uplift the poor and redress past injustices
at home, and that it would be a responsible member
of the international community. South Africa had to
demonstrate that it was a peaceful and responsible
neighbour, committed to regional, continental and
global development and economic cooperation.
After 1994, inspired by the notion of Ubuntui, South
Africa’s foreign policy approach was characterised by cooperation, collaboration and the building of partnerships
rather than conflict and competition. All departments
that represented South Africa internationally were
transformed within the first decade of democracy.
These departments went from preserving apartheid
to formulating, implementing and representing South
Africa’s priorities of democracy, human rights, socioeconomic development, peace, security and stability in
the global arena.
South Africa is now a respected member of the
international community and has enjoyed successes
in furthering its own interests, as well as those of the
African continent and the SADC region.
South Africa’s reintegration into the global community
has seen its diplomatic, political and economic relations
expand rapidly to include countries with which it
previously had no relations. By 2012, the number
of foreign diplomatic missions, consulates-general,
consulates and international organisations in South
Africa had increased to 315. This is the second-largest
number of diplomatic offices accredited to any country
after the USA. South Africa’s missions abroad increased
from 36 in 1994 to 125 in 2012.
South Africa contributed to two tangible elements of the
African renaissance during the first decade: namely, the
transformation of the continental political architecture
with the transition from the Organisation of African
Unity (OAU) to the African Union (AU) and the adoption
of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development
(NEPAD) as the social development blueprint for Africa
and the framework for its engagement with the north
and other international actors. In the second decade,
operationalisation of the AU and implementation of
NEPAD became key focus areas, including, in particular,
improving the climate for development and investment
in Africa. Acting together with its African partners,
South Africa used its engagement with the Group of
Eight (G8) countries to ensure the adoption of an Africa
Action Plan as the framework for the G8’s partnership
with the continent.
8.2.1 Strengthening the African Union
South Africa joined the Organisation of African Unity in
1994 and chaired the African Union from June 2002 to
June 2003. The Durban Summit in June 2002 saw the
launch of the new African Union, (which replaced the
OAU) and the adoption of the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD). As the Chair, South Africa played
an integral part in the formation of the AU's institutions,
policies and procedures, including the creation of the PanAfrican Parliament and the AU Peace and Security Council.
Pursuing the African Agenda required establishing and
strengthening bilateral relations with almost all African
countries. South Africa’s involvement with the AU has
primarily focused on the following:
“Ubuntu“ is an Nguni word that roughly translates to “humanity“. The philosophy of Ubuntu means that we affirm our humanity
when we affirm the humanity of others. ”Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu“ means “a person is a person through other people”.
❚ Promoting
the AU as a continental
institution of governance and development
❚ Helping to establish and strengthen the AU
Commission to implement decisions by the
AU Assembly and the AU Council
❚ Hosting the Pan African Parliament (an
institution of the AU) since 2005, NEPAD
Agency and APRM Secretariat since 2001,
and the African Commission on Nuclear
Energy (AFCONE)
❚ Contributing to the establishment of the
AU Peace and Security Council, which
deploys peacekeeping missions, among
other activities
❚ Contributing to the establishment of the
Economic, Social and Cultural Council,
which has become a vehicle for civil society
to present its position on major issues
❚ Contributing
to capacity building by
training diplomats as well as other civil
servants from the continent.
Africa’s economic outlook has
Macroeconomic reforms in most African
countries have brought down
inflation and opened economies to
international trade. Between 2000
and 2010, Africa’s GDP grew at
5.6 percent a year, topping 7 percent
in 2002, 2004 and 2007. This
growth is off a relatively low base,
and there is significant opportunity
for the continent to further improve
its economic performance.
adopting prudent fiscal policies
and improving their governance
practices, resulting in improved
prospects for economic growth.
Foreign debt as a percentage of
GDP and debt-service obligations
A former senior South African minister
was appointed as the AU Commission’s
chairperson in July 2012. Key priorities for
her term include greater internal efficiency
and effectiveness within the AU Commission
as an executing agency of the AU collective.
The importance of Africa in South Africa’s
foreign policy is reflected in the growth of
South African representation in Africa which
increased from 17 in 1994 to the current
total of 47 missions.
8.2.2 The New Partnership for Africa’s Development In July 2001, the AU launched NEPAD,
a programme whose objectives are
poverty eradication, the promotion of
sustainable growth and development, the
empowerment of women, the promotion
of inter-connectivity, inter-regional trade
and the movement of goods and services.
It aims to achieve these objectives through
building genuine partnerships at country,
regional and global levels. One of the focus
areas of South Africa’s involvement with
NEPAD has been on improving cross-border
as a percentage of export revenues
have declined dramatically to levels
comparable to those of other
regions. The sovereign credit ratings
of some countries have a positive
outlook. Many African countries
are now seen as “frontier emerging
economies” with relatively welldeveloped financial markets.
Despite this progress, Africa still
faces immense challenges. Key
among these is what the NDP
calls the continent’s “massive
infrastructure deficit”. The largest
infrastructure gaps are in energy,
with citizens in 30 of the 47
countries in sub-Saharan Africa
facing regular power outages and
power interruptions, resulting in
losses of between 1 and 6 percent
of potential GDP every year. Road
density is lower in Africa than in
any other developing region, with
152km of road per 1 000 square
kilometres of land area. Bridging
the infrastructure gap will cost
about US$93 billion a year, with
about 40 percent of this being
spent in the power sector.
South Africa is involved in the AU,
NEPAD, the NEPAD Presidential
Infrastructure Championing Initiative
and other structures to implement
regional integration strategies that
emphasise energy, water, road, rail
and postal service infrastructure.
Regional cooperation needs to
be strengthened, with a particular
focus on promoting practical
opportunities for collaboration,
based on complementary national
infrastructure in Africa – a requirement if
the continent is to realise its full economic
and developmental potential (see box).
The South African President chairs the
Championing Initiative (PICI), a programme
to improve north-south road and rail
infrastructure on the continent under the
Programme for Infrastructure Development
in Africa (PIDA), and also championed the
North-South Road and Rail Development
Corridor project since July 2010.
In 2010, NEPAD was formally integrated
into the AU’s structures and processes as the
NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency,
which was given a broader mandate that
included the following:
❚ Facilitating and coordinating continental
and regional priority programmes
❚ Conducting and coordinating research and
knowledge management
❚ Monitoring
implementation of programmes and projects
❚ Advocating the AU and NEPAD’s vision,
core principles and values.
8.2.3 The African Peer
Review Mechanism
Founded in 2003, the African Peer Review
Mechanism (APRM) is a voluntary programme
for AU member states to promote and
reinforce high standards of governance
through periodic reviews of progress
towards achieving mutually agreed goals in
the following focus areas: democracy and
political governance, economic governance,
corporate governance and socio-economic
development. The peer-review mechanism
has adopted a self-monitoring approach,
with periodic reviews of participating
countries to assess progress made towards
achieving mutually agreed goals. To date 34
AU countries have voluntarily participated in
the programme.
In 2011, South Africa submitted its second
report on the implementation of South
Africa’s APRM Programme of Action. The
report focused on the recommendations
contained in the first Country Review Report
(CRR) of 2007, issued by the heads of state
and governments of participating countries
in the APRM and the resulting National
Programme of Action. The areas that the
CRR recommended for attention covered
themes such as increased civil society
participation, advancement of gender
equality, access to information on human
rights and institutions of justice, and tackling
corruption. Two additional themes that were
not recommended in the CRR were included
in the second report: the institutionalisation
of democracy and the institution of
traditional leadership. South Africa’s third
report was submitted in January 2014 at
the 22nd AU Heads of State or Government
in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. South Africa was
praised for a number of best practices such
as the use of provincial executive councils,
the financial management system and the
tax collection system.
8.2.4 Strengthening SADC
and regional integration
South Africa prioritised strengthening SADC
and regional integration after 1994. South
Africa supported the Regional Indicative
Strategic Development Programme, one of
the elements of the restructuring of SADC,
which sought to provide SADC states with
a coherent, comprehensive development
agenda on social and economic policies,
with clear targets and time frames over the
decade that followed.
South Africa has sought to nurture regional
integration at three levels: SADC, the
Southern African Customs Union (SACU)
and the Tripartite Free Trade Area (TFTA)
between the Common Market for Eastern
and Southern Africa (COMESA), the East
African Community (EAC) and SADC. The
TFTA seeks to combine the three major
regional economic communities as building
blocks towards continental integration and
could contribute to economies of scale, the
building of new distribution channels, value
addition and manufacturing in Africa.
Although tariff liberalisation within SADC
(other than South Africa) are largely still
primary producers, with limited industrial
development or diversification. In the short
to medium term, the region needs to focus
on the following:
❚ Consolidating
❚ Cooperating on industrial development by
developing regional value chains
❚ Addressing non-tariff barriers
In order to promote regional integration, in
2011 SACU formally agreed to a Five-Point
Plan that would transform it from a tariffs
and a revenue-sharing agreement into an
integrated institution capable of promoting
true regional economic development. The
plan committed member countries to do
the following:
❚ Promoting trade facilitation
❚ Develop a work programme on cross❚ Cooperating on improving the quality and
border industrial development
standards of products
❚ Advance better trade facilitation
❚ Cooperating on trade-related infrastructure.
8.2.5 The Southern African Customs Union
The SACU agreement – originally put in place
in 1910, making it the oldest functioning
customs union in the world – was renegotiated
and concluded in 2002, and came into effect
in 2004. It provides for common external
and excise tariffs within the customs area. All
duties collected in the customs area are paid
into South Africa’s National Revenue Fund.
The revenue is shared between members
according to a revenue-sharing formula
that sees South Africa transfer nearly all the
customs collected to Botswana, Lesotho,
Namibia and Swaziland.
❚ Develop SACU institutions
❚ Unify engagement in trade negotiations
❚ Review
Despite efforts to further the plan, there are
still several implementation challenges. In
particular, the revenue-sharing arrangement
needs to be urgently reviewed to achieve a
more equitable arrangement and wean SACU
from its dependence on common external
tariffs and the South African economy. A
well-structured agreement would free up
resources to strengthen SACU institutions
and develop cross-border industrial and
infrastructure development.
8.2.6 South-south cooperation
Democratic South Africa has always valued
partnerships with countries of the global
south, regarding them as important for
the development of the country and
the continent, and for creating solidarity
in the global struggle against poverty,
underdevelopment and the marginalisation
of emerging economies.
To strengthen ties with other developing
countries, South Africa has joined the
following structures:
❚ Non-Aligned Movement
❚ Group of 77 and China
❚ Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional
The formation of the BRIC Forum in 2009
signalled a continuation of the shift in global
power to the advantage of developing
countries. South Africa identified with
the BRIC agenda of global reform and
cooperation within the developing world,
and joined the forum in 2011. South Africa’s
invitation to join the BRIC grouping was
recognition of the country’s contribution in
shaping the socio-economic regeneration
of Africa, as well as our active involvement
in peace and reconstruction efforts on
the Continent and the responsible role
that South Africa has been playing in the
international community.
Since 2011, the country has worked to
consolidate its position as a BRICS member,
use its position to identify opportunities
to further its developmental goals and the
African Agenda, and influence discussions in
the Group of 20 (G20) – a critical institution
for international economic cooperation.
❚ New Asian-African Strategic Partnership
❚ India-Brazil-South Africa Partnership Forum
❚ Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa
(BRICS) Intergovernmental Forum.
The IBSA Dialogue Forum celebrated its 10
years of existence in 2013. This wide-ranging
trilateral cooperation is underpinned by
three pillars: political consultation and
cooperation (16 Working Groups and various
people-to-people fora); and concrete
projects of cooperation and partnership with
less developed countries through the IBSA
Facility for Hunger and Poverty alleviation
(IBSA Trust Fund). Intra-IBSA trade has
reached a figure of US$ 23 billion.
The common positions that IBSA member
states fostered on global issues, especially
with regard to the reform of institutions
of global governance, such as the United
Nations Security Council (UNSC), and on
security, conflict, trade negotiations and
human rights, positively influenced global
discourse on these matters. All three IBSA
countries collaborated as non-permanent
members of the UNSC in 2011, e.g. on
advancing the African Agenda in the UNSC.
South Africa’s standing in BRICS and other
groupings indicates that the country is
regarded as a significant emerging power,
worthy of attention in global decisionmaking. In 2011, South Africa ensured
industrialisation in Africa was on the agenda
at the BRICS summit in Sanya, China.
The summit expressed support for such
development in the context of the NEPAD
framework. In March 2013 South Africa
hosted the fifth BRICS summit and for the
first time invited African regional leaders to
an inclusive BRICS-African Leaders dialogue
on infrastructure development. The Summit
also decided to establish a BRICS-led
development bank for infrastructure and
sustainable development projects in BRICS
and other developing countries. Agreements
have also been signed under the auspices
of the BRICS Interbank Cooperation
Mechanism to provide, among other things,
proposals for extending credit to member
countries in their local currencies.
Relations with other countries of the
Since democracy, South Africa’s relations
with countries in the Americas – specifically
Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and
Venezuela – have strengthened. Relations
with Turkey and key Gulf states have also
improved. Relations in southeast and east
Asia have focused on China, Indonesia,
Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and
Vietnam, while south-Asian relations have
primarily focused on Bangladesh and
Pakistan. Relations with countries in Euro-Asia
have developed a strong trade element.
8.2.7 North-south cooperation
As the NDP states, South Africa has
considerable mineral resources, highly
developed banking, financial, communications
and transportation networks, and established
and relatively successful business, industrial,
mining and research institutions. These
resources could be critical for negotiating
within BRICS and in broader negotiations
between BRICS and the world. For example,
South Africa could play an important role in
facilitating trade and investment between
Africa and Asia, maximising Asia’s interest
in the country and the continent’s mineral
resources, while promoting its own highly
developed financial system.
Since 1994, South Africa has sought to
improve north-south relations, focusing on
reforming the global economy and global
governance, enhancing market access for
developing countries and instituting more
favourable terms for trade, debt relief and new
forms of partnership for development. During
its first decade of democracy, South Africa
was largely successful in engaging the G8 and
the Organisation of Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD) to strengthen its
economic relations with key countries and the
European Union (EU). As a result, trade with
the north has grown consistently and remains
strong, notwithstanding the effects of the
global economic crisis.
Given South Africa’s well-entrenched trade
and investment relations with Europe and
North America, cooperation between the
global north and south is important for
securing domestic economic interests.
Organisation of Economic Cooperation
and Development
G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank
In 2007, the OECD Ministerial Council
gave South Africa and other BRICS
states “enhanced engagement” status in
recognition of their global significance.
Until this point, South Africa had been an
observer. Future engagement with the
OECD needs to be reviewed in order to
determine the best way forward for South
Africa’s developmental trajectory.
South Africa has been a member of the
G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank
Governors since its inception in 1999.
One of the G20’s key aims is to coordinate
international efforts to provide timely,
sustainable and effective responses to global
economic shifts and financial crises.
South Africa first engaged the G8 at its
2000 summit. Since then, the country has
engaged the G8 as a representative of Africa
in the G8/Africa Outreach process, and for
some years as one of the “Outreach Five”
developing countries (Brazil, China, India,
Mexico and South Africa). In this capacity,
South Africa successfully campaigned for:
❚ A G8 Africa plan based on NEPAD
The NDP points out that South Africa’s
G20 membership affirms that, while the
country is not one of the biggest economic
powers in the world, it is nonetheless a key
player in international financial and political
economic governance. South Africa has
served as co-chair of the G20 Development
Working Group since it was established
in 2010. Largely due to the G20’s efforts,
agreement was reached to increase the
voting power of developing and transition
countries and create an additional chair
for sub-Saharan Africa on the board of the
World Bank.
❚ The adoption of the Africa Action Plan, with
commitments to support Africa’s initiatives
relating to peace, security, development
and governance
❚ The establishment of the Africa Partnership
Forum at the 2003 Evian Summit.
The G20 has also expanded the number of
working groups to cover other important
sectors for cooperation such as infrastructure
financing, food security, human resource
development, financial inclusion and
domestic resource mobilisation.
The European Union
Bilateral relations with South Africa’s
traditional partners in Western Europe have
remained strong and expanded since 1994,
notably with the United Kingdom, Germany,
the Netherlands, France, Italy and the Nordic
countries. The Trade and Development
Cooperation Agreement (TDCA) which
entered into force in May 2004 is the overall
agreement that regulates the relationship
between South Africa and the 28 member
EU. The TDCA provides for a Free Trade Area
and dialogues at Senior Official, Ministerial
and Presidential/Summit level. In addition to
the TDCA, South Africa has signed a Science
and Technology Agreement (STA) and a
Wines and Spirits Agreement with the EU.
South Africa is the only country in Africa that
enjoys such a strategic partnership with the
EU. By 2009, South Africa was the EU’s 14th
largest trade partner and the second-largest
from Africa. Various trade agreements are
also in place between South Africa, the EU
and regional economic groupings. South
Africa was a member of an AU group that
engaged the EU on an EU-Africa strategy,
which was adopted in 2007.
Despite the international economic crisis that
impacted negatively on Western Europe,
countries in the region remained South
Africa’s leading partners in areas such as
trade, investment and tourism. Many of
these countries are furthermore committed
to supporting government priorities such as
boosting employment, skills-enhancement
and vocational education programmes.
Europe remains a leading continent in terms
of scientific, technological and pharmaceutical
research and capacity, in which South Africa
has found valuable bilateral partnerships.
8.2.8 African multilateral partnerships
The various African multilateral partnerships
(see box overleaf) in which South Africa has
played an important role since 1994 aim to
strengthen the continent’s human capacity and
productive bases by diversifying economies
and attracting investment. These partnerships
have refocused the world’s attention on
Africa’s potential and its challenges. They
have enabled the mobilisation of resources
to address Africa’s development objectives.
The various partnerships also afford Africa
the opportunity to solicit the necessary
training, capacity-building, infrastructure and
financial resources to implement key AUendorsed priority continental projects and
programmes, including aiming to achieve the
vision, objectives and goals of NEPAD.
8.2.9 Multilateralism and
institutions of global governance
Multilateralism is a strategic catalyst in
pursuing global reform in favour of fairer
distribution of power and resources. South
Africa’s foreign policy has traditionally
placed the United Nations at the centre of
the multilateral system. In collaboration
with its global partners, South Africa has
consistently continued to engage the north
on reforming global economic rules through
the World Bank, the International Monetary
Fund, the World Trade Organisation and the
United Nations Conference on Trade and
Development (UNCTAD). Discussions at the
2003 World Trade Organisation meeting in
Cancun stalled at the point when the global
south asserted its collective power, and
engagements with UNCTAD have taken on
greater significance as a result.
South Africa’s constructive role in global
governance structures, as well as its position
within organisations such as the AU, the NonAligned Movement (NAM) and the G77 and
China contributed to a positive perception
of South Africa’s global profile by BRICS and
other like-minded partners.
As mentioned in Chapter 6, the international
community entrusted South Africa with
hosting and presiding over COP17/CMP7 in
Durban, at a critical time in the global climatechange debate. This conference resulted in
the Durban Outcome, which has been hailed
internationally for restoring trust in the United
Nations climate-change process. South Africa
has also hosted other international conferences
and meetings under the auspices of the United
Nations. In 2002 South Africa hosted the
World Summit on Sustainable Development
where it advocated for an action-orientated
outcome with a set of targets for sustainable
development. These efforts culminated in
the adoption of the Johannesburg Plan of
Implementation (JPOI) which gave content to
the Agenda 21, the United Nations plan on
sustainable development.
8.2.10 Promoting peace, security and stability
The AU has expressed its commitment to
Africa-European Union Partnership
This partnership focuses on peace and security, trade
and investment and human resource development.
The African focus is on socio-economic development
whilst the EU focuses on conflicts on the continent.
Africa-Arab Partnership
This partnership focuses on agricultural development
and food security, migration and economic
Africa-South America Partnership
The partnership focuses on political solidarity and
enhancing South-South cooperation. However, the
Partnership is yet to yield concrete results regarding
implementation of its diverse action plan.
New Africa-Asia Strategic Partnership (NAASP)
The partnership is based on the 1955 Bandung
principles that support South-South cooperation.
Political solidarity and a common developmental
agenda have driven this partnership. Programmes
and projects for the Palestinian cause have been a
success story of this multilateral framework.
Africa-India Partnership
The focus of this partnership is on supporting
the African Agenda through capacity building,
infrastructure development, agro-industries and other
initiatives such as the E-Africa satellite connectivity
project. The Indian government has opened numerous
training institutes throughout the continent.
Africa-Japan (TICAD) Partnership
The Japanese government has made great strides
through the TICAD process to partner in addressing
Africa’s development challenges. Key areas of intervention
not recognise unconstitutional changes in
government and to develop its own African
Standby Force to intervene in conflict
situations. South Africa played a critical role
in the establishment of the African Capacity
for Immediate Response to Crises at the AU
Summit of May 2013, as an interim measure
towards the establishment of a permanent
African Standby Force with a fully operational
Rapid Deployment Capacity.
Contributing to peace, stability and postconflict transition in Africa has been
integral to South Africa’s post-apartheid
policy. Since 1994, the country has earned
a reputation for being an accomplished
mediator, with successive presidents
playing key roles in negotiating settlements
include promoting the private sector, and trade and
investment as engines of development; strengthening
sectoral bases for growth; driving African development
through gender equality and women’s empowerment;
ICT (technology transfer) and enhancing peace-building.
Africa-China (FOCAC) Partnership
The FOCAC partnership has made numerous inroads
in the continent via increased investment in a diverse
range of sectors aimed at regional and continental
integration and promoting peace, security and
development in Africa.
Africa-Turkey Partnership
The partnership has great potential for furthering
Africa’s developmental goals in the fields of tourism,
vocational training in agriculture and water resource
Africa-Korea Partnership
This partnership furthers development cooperation
aimed at infrastructure development, human capacity
building and rural development, increased trade and
investment and cooperation in the field of peace and
African and its Diaspora
South Africa hosted the Global African Diaspora
Summit in May 2012. The summit aimed to create a
sustainable partnership between African states and the
African Diaspora through a joint Programme of Action
(PoA). The PoA included creation of a skills database of
African professionals in the diaspora; establishment of
the African Diaspora Volunteers Corps; activation of an
African Diaspora Investment Fund; the establishment
of a development marketplace for the Diaspora; and
the establishment of an African Remittances Institute.
elsewhere in Africa, such as in Madagascar,
Sudan and Zimbabwe.
Through its role in SADC, South Africa also
mediated in Madagascar after a 2009 coup,
helping to secure an agreement to lead
Madagascar out of crisis. This culminated
in Madagascar holding a referendum in
2010 and elections in October 2013. Closer
to home, South Africa was the SADCmandated facilitator in Zimbabwe. Its efforts
contributed to the country adopting a new
constitution in March 2013, laying the basis
for credible elections, which were held in
July 2013.
In 2013, South Africa contributed troops,
together with the Republic of Malawi and the
United Nations Security Council
United Republic of Tanzania, to the SADCled Intervention Brigade in the Eastern DRC
under the UN mandated peace mission
(MONUSCO) to end the military attacks and
violation of human rights perpetrated by the
M23 rebels against the civilian population. This
intervention resulted in the M23 renouncing
the rebellion and agreeing to enter into
negotiations with the DRC government.
African Republic in 2013 underlines the risks
South African civil society also plays an
important role in promoting peace on the
continent, for example:
❚ Conducting research and analysis
❚ Helping to build capacity for post-conflict
South Africa also contributed to conflict
resolution on the continent through its role as a
member of the AU ad hoc high-level committee
on the resolution of the Libyan crisis and as
a member of the AU high-level panel for the
resolution of the crisis in Côte d’Ivoire.
Over the years, South Africa has contributed
a substantial number of troops to African
peace missions, supporting peace processes
in the Central African Republic, the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and
Sudan. While its support for peace missions
has largely been a success, the killing of
13 South African soldiers in the Central
❚ Stimulating
informal yet informative
dialogue between political players,
academics, civil society and the public in
post-conflict countries
❚ Providing technical support for mediation.
In the global arena, South Africa has served
two terms (2007–2008 and 2011–2012) as
a non-permanent member of the United
Nations Security Council. The country used
the opportunity to elevate Africa’s interests,
especially regarding peace, security and
development, and to advance closer
cooperation between the United Nations
and regional organisations such as the AU.
South Africa has ratified and joined the
following agreements and groups in support
of disarmament and non-proliferation,
especially with regard to nuclear warfare:
❚ The Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
❚ The Chemical Weapons Convention
❚ The Biological and Toxin Weapons
❚ The
Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban
❚ The Missile Technology Control Regime
❚ The Hague Code of Conduct against
Ballistic Missile Proliferation.
South Africa has ratified and joined
agreements and groups in support of
disarmament and a nuclear weapons-free
world. South Africa was also instrumental in
establishing the African Nuclear-WeaponFree Zone through the Treaty of Pelindaba,
signed in 1996. The country has further
committed itself to combating other threats
to peace and stability, including terrorism,
flows of illegal migrants and refugees, illicit
small- and light-arms trade, international
crime syndicates and trans-border crime.
8.2.11 Trade and investment
developing bilateral political and economic
relations, especially with African countries.
Since 1994, it has signed 624 agreements
and established 40 bilateral mechanisms –
nearly half of the total number of bilateral
mechanisms in place – with countries on
the continent. However, there have been
challenges with the implementation of some
of these agreements.
South Africa’s export markets have changed
considerably over the past 20 years. New
markets have emerged, while the share
of exports to some traditional markets,
such as the United Kingdom, Japan and
Europe, has declined. China has emerged
as South Africa’s most important export
trading partner since 2009, with its share of
non-gold merchandise exports measuring
12.9 percent in 2012, compared with
0.8 percent in 1994. India is now South
Africa’s fifth-largest export destination,
having overtaken both the United Kingdom
and Switzerland1.
African countries have also become
increasingly important export markets,
especially for manufactured goods. Exports
to the entire African continent increased
from 10 percent in 1994 to 17.6 percent in
2012. SADC countries claimed most of these
exports, accounting for 12.9 percent of
overall exports in 2012, up from 8.3 percent
in 1994. Africa accounts for around a third
of South Africa’s exports of more advanced
South Africa has benefited substantially
from the United States’ African Growth and
Opportunity Act of 2000 (AGOA), which
aims to expand US trade and investment
with sub-Saharan Africa, stimulate economic
growth, encourage economic integration and
facilitate sub-Saharan Africa's integration
into the global economy. Bilateral trade
between South Africa and the USA grew
from R15.9 billion in 1994 to more than
R129 billion in 2013, with the trade balance
being in South Africa’s favour3.
Between 1994 and 2013, South Africa’s
fiscal and macro-economic policies boosted
bilateral trade between South Africa and
European countries and stimulated foreign
direct investment (FDI) and tourism. As
illustrated in Figure 8.1, inward FDI stock
during the 80s and early 90s remained
extremely low, as a result of South Africa’s
isolation. From 1994 inward FDI stock
increased significantly as South Africa
experienced a continuous upward trajectory,
from R44.7 billion to R1.38 trillion in 2012 in
nominal terms.
As illustrated in Figure 8.2, South Africa’s
bilateral political and economic relations
also increased exports in goods and services,
from R106 billion in 1994 to R892 billion (in
nominal terms) in 2012. Although South
Africa’s export basket has predominantly
consisted of mining and basic processed
goods since 1994, mining products, as a
percentage of total exports, has decreased
from 57.3 percent (in value terms) in 1994
to 49.1 percent in 2012. By 2012, advanced
manufactured products accounted for
18.8 percent of total exports, compared with
7 percent in 1994. Bilateral trade between
South Africa and European countries declined
by between 35 percent and 40 percent after
the 2008 global financial crisis, but is slowly
recovering. South Africa is an attractive
investment destination in Africa, drawing
Figure 8.1: South Africa’s inward foreign direct investment stock, 1980–2012
(current prices)
1 200 000
Millions of rand
1 000 000
800 000
600 000
400 000
200 000
Source: United Nations Conference of Trade and Development. Inward foreign direct investment
stock, annual, 1980-2012 in US Dollars at current prices and current exchange rates in millions using
UNCTADstat. Downloaded from
on 18 February 2014. Conversion to ZAR using South African Reserve Bank foreign exchange rates.
Downloaded from
aspx on 18 February 2014
Figure 8.2: Total exports of goods and services, 1980–2012 (current prices)
1 000 000
900 000
800 000
Millions of rand
700 000
600 000
500 000
400 000
300 000
200 000
100 000
Source: United Nations Conference of Trade and Development. South Africa total export of goods
and services, annual, 1980-2012 in US Dollars at current prices and current exchange rates in
millions using UNCTADstat. Downloaded from
reportFolders.aspx on 18 February 2014. Conversion to ZAR using South African Reserve Bank
foreign exchange rates. Downloaded from
OnlineDownloadFacility.aspx on 18 February 2014
more than twice as many FDI projects in 2012
than any other African country4.
The state, together with the private
sector and civil society, has improved the
international marketing of South Africa and
Africa as international tourism destinations.
This has resulted in a sustained increase in
tourist arrivals, as discussed in Chapter 4.
Highlights over the past five years have been
the hosting of the 2010 World Cup and the
World Conference on Climate Change in
Durban in 2012.
South Africa has continued to drive bilateral
agreements for cooperation in science and
technology. A significant achievement has
been South Africa’s appointment along with
Australia to host the square kilometre array
radio telescope, a major international space
project. This is an indication of the strength
and international standing of the country’s
scientific and technological capabilities.
South Africa has taken important steps
in positioning the country in the global
arena. Going forward, South Africa’s foreign
policy should continue to be shaped by the
interplay between prevailing diplomatic,
political, security, environmental, economic
and regional factors. It should remain
cognisant of global power shifts, the
stratification of regional groupings, threats
to human and state security, internal and
external sovereignty and natural resources,
and the need to promote South Africa’s
national interests.
Regional and continental integration are
important for Africa’s socio-economic
development and political unity, and for
South Africa’s prosperity and security.
Consequently, Africa will remain at the
centre of South Africa’s foreign policy.
The country will strengthen its support for
regional and continental institutions that
work towards achieving peace and resolving
security crises, and it will take further steps
to strengthen regional integration, promote
intra-African trade and champion sustainable
development on the continent.
Structural changes in the global economy
are creating opportunities to position Africa
as a significant player. The continent is
already positioned to benefit from demand
for its natural resources, especially from
emerging powers in Asia. South Africa has
a critical role to play in supporting economic
transformation on the continent to ensure
that these opportunities are realised. This
involves continuing to identify specific
trade, manufacturing and industrial niches,
especially where South Africa enjoys a
competitive advantage. South Africa will
also strengthen efforts to alter existing
trade patterns, which rely on raw materials,
in favour of value addition, industrialisation
and intra-African trade.
Regional trade integration will be aimed at
ensuring economic connectivity and regional
competitiveness. Successfully integrating
trade on the continent requires accelerating
the development of hard infrastructure (road
and rail networks, energy and water) and
soft infrastructure (trade facilitation systems,
supply chain management, and customs
controls and administration).
Cooperation between vital state institutions
that deal with international relations policy
and cross-border issues should also be
strengthened. Closer collaboration and
partnerships between government, business,
civil society and labour must be pursued to
ensure that the country operates holistically
in the competitive and unpredictable
international arena. Government needs
to continue fostering healthy consultative
and practical relationships with research
institutions and corporations to help expand
trade and investment and improve the
country’s leadership role in regional and
global affairs.
Input obtained from the
Industrial Development
Corporation (2013). “The South
African Economy: An overview of
key trends since 1994.”
Department of Trade and
Industry, (2014). Statistical trade
data base of export of total
commodities to the USA from SA
and imports of total commodities
from the USA to SA. Downloaded
za/TableViewer/tableView.aspx on
20 February 2014.
Ernst & Young, (2013).
“Positioning South Africa in
the context of the African story
(online).” Available from <http://
of eradicating poverty and reducing inequality have
been the central focus of government policy since
1994. This review has shown that South Africa has
made remarkable progress in many areas. In 20 years,
the country has emerged from its deeply divided
and violent past into a peaceful, robust and vibrant
democracy that has made major strides in improving
the lives of its citizens. South Africa has achieved or is
on track to meet many of the United Nations MDGs by
2015, as illustrated in Table 9.11.
Poverty has been reduced since 1994, but society
remains highly unequal. In addition, while there has
been progress in addressing the legacy of apartheid,
inequality is still largely defined along racial lines.
Going forward, a number of challenges will have to be
addressed to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality.
These include employment creation, improving
labour relations, overcoming economic infrastructure
constraints, improving the capability of the state and
the quality of service delivery, and overcoming the
challenges related to basic education, public health
services, crime and corruption.
In the first decade after 1994, enormous progress was
made in establishing the institutions of a democratic
state. Since then, there has been an increased focus
on improving the performance of these institutions and
the quality of public services. While the public service
of today is far more responsive to people’s needs,
partly as a result of post-1994 programmes such as
Batho Pele (People First), there are still many instances
where citizens do not receive an acceptable standard
of service. Initiatives being implemented to shift the
public service ethos towards being more peopleoriented include the School of Government and the
revitalised Batho Pele programme.
Improvements in the quality of service delivery have
occurred where there has been a sustained focus on
improving management and administration (such as
in the South African Revenue Service and parts of
the Department of Home Affairs). The NDP includes
measures to replicate these successes much more widely,
alongside developing skills, improving coordination
across government and strengthening accountability for
poor performance.
Many mechanisms to facilitate participatory democracy
have been put in place since 1994, ranging from
NEDLAC to school governing bodies and community
policing forums. There is a need to ensure that these
mechanisms lead to increased mutual understanding
and the resolution of problems. For example, the
increase in service delivery protests points to a
need for local government to work with civil-society
organisations, faith-based organisations and traditional
leaders to strengthen participation so that problems can
be addressed without resorting to violent protest.
Over the past 20 years, approximately 12.5 million people
have been provided with access to accommodation
through government housing programmes. Government
will need to further increase its efforts to work with other
stakeholders to overcome existing spatial patterns that
continue to divide society. This includes incentivising
the private sector to provide more low-cost housing in
better-located areas to access work opportunities.
In the first decade, government made rapid progress in
amalgamating the apartheid education departments,
increasing school enrolment, equalising public
expenditure and putting in place a new curriculum. The
longer-term challenge has been to improve the quality
of education. The key issue is the quality of teaching,
which is being addressed through strengthened
teacher support programmes. Consideration could
also be given to introducing minimum competency
requirements for teachers. There is an ongoing focus on
eradicating school infrastructure backlogs. Education is
the ladder out of poverty and the performance of the
basic education system will need to be improved further
to enable people to access decent jobs, earn a better
income and provide the skills required by the economy.
Good health is a prerequisite for engaging in productive
work activities, and lack of access to quality health
services entrenches inequality. There have been major
improvements in access to healthcare since 1994, and
the focus is now on reducing the burden of disease,
addressing the socio-economic determinants of
ill health, and improving the quality of service in the public
health system. Key areas of attention include managerial
and administrative weaknesses, infrastructure backlogs
and implementing the National Health Insurance system
to enable citizens to access quality healthcare on the
basis of need and not affordability.
Corruption in both the public and private sectors is
impeding service delivery, undermining public confidence
in the state and the economy, and reducing economic
growth, competitiveness and investment. A range of
institutions and measures have been put in place since
1994 to counter corruption. These are being strengthened
by implementing measures in the NDP, such as preventing
public servants from doing business with the state and
better management of the risks related to government
procurement processes. Corruption is not only a publicsector problem and a culture of zero tolerance needs to
be developed across society, with businesses and citizens
also playing their part.
The battle against crime has not yet been won. While
the levels of serious crimes have declined since 1994,
crime levels remain high due to a number of causes,
including socio-economic determinants
such as poverty, inequality, and drug and
alcohol abuse. Crime has a negative impact
on investment, growth and employment, as
well as the wellbeing of citizens.
Employment creation is key to eradicating
poverty and reducing inequality. The number
of employed people in South Africa has grown
by almost 50 percent since 1994. However,
there has been an even larger increase in the
number of people looking for work, and the
level of unemployment is high. Accelerated
economic growth and investment are required
to reduce unemployment. The increase in
strikes which has occurred since the late2000s has a negative impact on investment,
and the labour relations environment will
need to be improved.
There is a strong emphasis in the NDP on
building a capable and developmental
state that is able to play a leading role
in driving the country’s development, in
addition to providing quality public services
to its citizens. Effective partnerships across
society will help create a virtuous cycle of
rising confidence, rising investment, higher
employment and increased productivity and
income. This requires greater trust between
the state, labour and business.
Government’s focus on improving education
outcomes and skills development, and
constraints such as the supply of electricity
and water, will contribute to reducing
unemployment. Changing the approach
to land tenure in ways that stimulate
production and economic opportunity could
help promote employment in rural areas.
Further growth of the green economy (such
as the production of renewable energy) will
contribute to both sustainable development
and employment creation. There are many
opportunities for South Africa to benefit
from economic growth elsewhere in Africa.
This involves continuing to identify specific
trade, manufacturing and industrial niches,
especially where South Africa enjoys a
competitive advantage.
When looking back over a 20-year period, all
South Africans can be proud of, and inspired
by, the achievements of our young nation.
This pride must inspire us to do more, to
move faster in the period ahead. Too many
people still live in poverty, too few people
work, too many children do not receive
quality education, and the gap between
the rich and the poor remains unsustainably
wide. While we have seen great progress in
many areas, much remains to be done. We
have made mistakes in some areas, but we
have also shown an ability to work hard to
correct them. Going forward, we should
draw inspiration from our ability to overcome
these challenges.
For the first time, South Africa has a long-term
plan to address the challenges set out above.
The NDP was developed through a process
of extensive consultation. It was approved
by Cabinet and has received support from
a broad range of stakeholders. The vision of
eliminating poverty and reducing inequality
is something we can all contribute towards,
and its successful realisation will require the
active engagement of all sectors of society.
The existence of a long-term plan brings
greater coherence to the work of government,
as well as increased predictability to our policy
direction. This allows us to give sustained
focus to ensuring effective implementation,
as medium-term, sectoral and departmental
plans will now be focused on taking forward
the objectives of the NDP. In the words of
President Jacob Zuma:
“The plan has been adopted
as a national plan for the whole
country. It is our roadmap for the
next 20 years. All the work we
do in government is now part
of the comprehensive National
Development Plan, including all
operational plans, be they social,
economic or political.”
Statistics South Africa, (2013).
”Millennium Development Goals,
Country Report 2013.” Statistics
South Africa: Pretoria.
Unlikely to be achieved
1994 baseline
(or nearest year)
Current status
(2013 or
nearest year)
Proportion of population living below $2.50 per day
42.4 (2000)
29.2 (2011)
Share of the poorest quintile in national consumption
2.9 (2000)
2.7 (2011)
Employment-to-population ratio
44.1 (2001)
40.8 (2011)
% of employed people living below $1 per day
5.2 (2000)
3.9 (2009)
Prevalence of underweight children under five years of age (%)
13.2 (1993)
8.3 (2008)
Adjusted net enrolment ratio in primary education:
96.5 (2002)
98.9 (2011)
96.8 (2002)
99.2 (2011)
Proportion of learners starting grade 1 who reach last grade
of primary:
89.2 (2002)
93.4 (2012)
90.1 (2002)
96.1 (2012)
Literacy rate of 15–24 year-olds:
83.3 (2002)
90.7 (2011)
88.4 (2002)
94.6 (2011)
Female share of non-agricultural wage employment
43 (1996)
45 (2012)
Proportion of seats held by women in national parliament (%)
25 (1996)
44 (2009)
Under 5 mortality rate (per 1 000 live births)
59 (1998)
53 (2010)i
Infant mortality rate (per 1 000 live births)
54 (1998)
38 (2010)
Immunisation coverage under one year old (%)
66.4 (2001)
92.8 (2011)
Life expectancy at birth:
50.0 (2002)
56.8 (2012)
55.2 (2002)
60.5 (2012)
Maternal mortality ratio per 100 000 live births
150 (1998)
269 (2010)i
Antenatal care coverage (at least one visit and at least four visits) (%)
76.6 (2001)
100.6 (2011)
HIV prevalence among population aged 15–24 years (%)
9.3 (2002)
7.3 (2012)
75.2 (2011)
Proportion of population with advanced HIV infection with access 13.9 (2005)
to antiretroviral drugs (%)
Likely to be achieved
Death rates associated with tuberculosis per 100 000 population
147 (2002)
49 (2011)
Death rates associated with malaria per 100 000 population
459 (2000)
72 (2012)
Proportion of terrestrial areas protected (% of total)
5.18 (1994)
6.71 (2012)
17 (2020)
Proportion of marine areas protected (% of total)
No data
7.34 (2012)
10 (2020)
Proportion of population using an improved drinking water
source (%)
76.6 (1996)
90.8 (2011)
88.3 (2015)
Proportion of population using an improved sanitation
facility (%)
49.3 (1996)
66.5 (2011)
Estimates based on mortality data from the Civil and Registration and Vital Statistics Systems (CRVS) data.
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Related manuals

Download PDF