With the demise of apartheid in 1994, South Africa enacted a new constitution which enabled South Africa to consolidate democracy, promote greater freedom by giving voice to the people and providing a basis for accountability.
The new constitution has also enabled the country to continually hold free and fair multi-party elections and to decentralize power, thus creating conditions for more involvement of people in the decision-making process.
The constitution also enabled the country to make significant gains in the promotion of human rights, rule of law, multi-racial and diversity management, gender equality and poverty alleviation.
The first post-apartheid ANC Government took an important step in articulating the African Renaissance vision which constituted the main thrust of its foreign policy. Under the Renaissance philosophy, South Africa played a leading role in the creation of NEPAD and the African Peer Review Mechanism, reduced the level of the country’s engagement in some European countries and Asia, while increasing her engagement in Africa.
Recent Economic Developments
South Africa’s growth is stuck in low gear with real GDP growth estimated at 1.3% in 2015/16 and projected at 0.8% for 2016/17 due to a combination of domestic constrains and external headwinds arising from the fall in commodity prices and slowdown of the Chinese economy. The weak growth performance has exacerbated already high unemployment, inequality, and macro vulnerabilities.
The weak economic outlook has made the fiscal outlook more challenging. As part of the budget Law 2016/17, the government announced an adjustment package of expenditure savings, for one-third, and tax measures, for two-third, to reduce the budget deficit from 3.9% of GDP in 2015/16 to 3.0% of GDP in 2017/18 and stabilize the gross debt burden at about 51% of GDP, helping minimize pressures on the sovereign rating.
GOVERNMENT POLICY PRIORITIES
The current administration is acutely aware of the immense challenges to accelerate progress and build a more inclusive society. Its vision and priorities to address them are outlined in the 2030 National Development Plan (NDP) which outlines two main strategic goals to double the GDP by 2030 and eliminate poverty, and reduce inequality, as measured by the income Gini coefficient, from 0.70 to 0.60.
To achieve these, the NDP lists several critical factors for its successful implementation; focused leadership that provides policy consistency; ownership of the plan by all formations of society, strong institutional capacity at technical and managerial levels, efficiency in all areas of government spending including management of the public service wage bill and making resources available for other priorities, and prioritization and clarity on levels of responsibility and accountability at every sphere of government as well as a common understanding of the roles of business, labor and civil society.
Source: The World Bank
South Africa has made remarkable progress since its transition to democracy in 1994.
It has established a solid foundation for democratic governance and improved access to education, health services, water, electricity, housing and social protection for the historically disadvantaged: For more information on the current data and achievements of the country visit Statistics South Africa