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Apartheid long gone but inequalities remain

Text by Maria Camila Perez

Latest update : 2012-02-27

Twenty years after the end of the apartheid regime, South Africa remains burdened with glaring social inequalities. Wealth is tilted towards the white minority and a small black economic elite, while poverty and unemployment are major problems.

South Africa is celebrating the 20th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s release which marked the end of the apartheid regime and the beginning of the first multi-racial democracy in the region. Even if the name Mandela remains a symbol of hope, the gap between the rich and poor is still wide two decades after his liberation.
The African National Congress, the political party which led the country's liberation from apartheid and has been in power ever since, hasn’t found a way to wipe out inequality and poverty in one of the richest countries of the region.
According to a report published by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, levels of inequality have risen between the years 1993 and 2008, the post-apartheid era.
Even though the general well-being of the country (access to piped water, electricity and formal housing) has improved, poverty in rural areas has increased and the unemployment rate has reached a two-digit figure (23.5%). The increase in the jobless rate came even during times of economic growth and worsened during the recession of 2009.
Low demand for workers in traditional manufacturing sectors and the lack of an adequate education system are often blamed for the jobless rate. Despite these factors South Africa's economy  is one of the strongest in the continent.

Date created : 2010-02-11