EOR IMPORTADO ISSUE V 24 NOVEMBER 2008
UNITED WORLD COLLEGE OF COSTA RICA PAGE 3
Formed in 1912 as the South Af-rican National Native Congress(SANNC) with the intention of representing the rights and needsof the black population, the ANC played a major role in resistingthe Apartheid regime’s suppres-sion of South Africa’s black ma- jority. This article aims to discussthe present-day situation in SouthAfrica and the impact the ANChas had on South Africa’s post-Apartheid history. Negotiationsto end Apartheid began in Febru-ary 1990 and culminated in SouthAfrica’s first democratic andmulti-racial elections in April1994. The ANC won 62.65% of votes in 1994, followed by66,35% in 1999 and 69,69% inthe 2004 general election.
TheANC holds enough seats (morethan 66%) in Parliament to uni-laterally alter the Constitution.The ANC defines itself as a “dis-ciplined force of the left”
, with asocialist and Pan-African ideol-ogy. Due to its participation inthe Triapartheid Alliance, whichconsists of the South AfricanCommunist Party (SACP) andthe Congress of South AfricanTrade Unions (COSATU), theANC comprises of many factionsand has suffered due to deep di-visions within the party and the broader alliance. Despite it cap-turing the majority of votes, theANC faces many challengesahead of next year’s general elec-tions.The ANC government has failedto deal with certain issues, suchas improving service delivery anderadicating poverty. High unem- ployment rates, crime andHIV/AIDS are also pressing is-sues that still have to be properlydealt with. I am also of the belief that the ANC government couldhave done more regarding endingMugabe’s reign and the accom- panying suffering of Zimbabwe-ans. 5.5 million of the popula-tion
is said to be living withHIV/AIDS and 18.17% of adults between the ages of 15 to 49 areinfected with the disease.
Theformer president of South Africaand the ANC, Thabo Mbeki, oncestated that the main cause of HIVwas poverty. During his presi-dency, the government was per-ceived as an “AIDS denialist.”The then Health Minister, Manto-Tshabala Msimang, advocated adiet of garlic, olive oil and lemonin an attempt to fight off the dis-ease. Even though Dr.Msimanghas been replaced as the HealthMinister, ARV’s are still not pro-vided to those who need it.HIV/AIDS has had an extremelynegative impact on South Africansociety, as many children have been left orphaned and there has been a rapid increase in child-headed households, especially inrural areas. The availableworkforce has also decreased,affecting South Africa’s eco-nomic prospects negatively.Along with HIV/AIDS, crime is amajor factor contributing to thediscontent of South Africans.Even though official statisticsattest to a decrease in crime, the public feel less safe than ever before. In September 2007, themurder rate stood at 18.7%, inde-cent assault at 8.9% and rape at astaggering 47.8%.
It is clear thatsomething drastic must be doneto act as a deterrent againstcriminals. Criminals are not dealtwith decisively, as the judicialsystem is overloaded with pend-ing cases. The South African Po-lice Service is under-staffed, notenough funds are allocated for adequate training and the remu-neration packages for police offi-cers are not sufficient to attract or retain officers. Linked to povertyand crime is the unemploymentrate. According to official esti-mates, 24.3% of South Africansare unemployed and 50% of the population lives below the pov-erty line. Despite robust eco-nomic growth since the demise of Apartheid, South Africa (Africa’slargest and strongest economy)has one of the most unequal in-come distributions in the world.In 2000, Statistics South Africareported that on average, a whitehousehold earned six times morethan a black household did. Eventhough the GDP (PPP) has in-creased to $ 10187
, the gap be-tween rich and poor is becomingmore evident. Statistics bear proof to this- the richest 20% re-ceive 22 times more income thanthe poor. The poor receive only2.9% of the national income.
Income inequality has lead tovarious social problems, such ascrime and the increased spread of