Edited by Gordon Crawford and Abdul-Gafaru Abdulai
Chapter 20: South Africa: democracy and development in the post-apartheid era
Deracialising capital, attracting foreign investment into job-creating economic activity and reducing poverty and social inequality were key challenges for a South Africa’s incoming democratically elected administration in 1994. Success in addressing these needs has been uneven. Maintenance and indeed intensification of economic liberalisation initiated in the 1980s failed to attract significant investment outside the financial and service sectors and contributed to manufacturing decline. Government can claim impressive gains in the provision of subsidised cheap housing, primary health care, clean water and domestic electrification, though educational expansion has not lessened local skills shortages. Rising public sector wages and social grants have helped to lessen poverty and reflect the influence of trade unions themselves increasingly constituted by state employees. Slow progress in land reform and disinclination to support labour intensive economic activity are both effects of a political settlement that has produced a robust liberal democracy at the cost of developmental stagnation.
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