South African Unemployment The Republic of South Africa, while certainly taking forever to do so, made monumental leaps with regards to civil rights when in the early 1990s when the government repealed Apartheid legislation and had its first universal elections held in 1994. A quick look at GDP numbers and you would find that South Africa has the largest economy in Africa, and so without delving deep into it one might think that the economy and country have been prospering post Apartheid.
After all, more people than ever have access to clean water and electricity and from 1996 to 2010 the proportion of people living on less than two dollars a day fell from 12% to 5%. Unfortunately for South Africans of all races, this prospering has not been the case. The major problem that South Africans have is one of unemployment. Today that unemployment number is up to 25%, and it does not appear to be coming down anytime soon. South Africa’s unemployment problems can be put into a few different categories: education, poor leadership/corruption, and health issues such as HIV and AIDs.
According to the Economist, “In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, South Africa ranks 132nd out of 144 countries for its primary education and 143rd for the quality of its science and maths. In the Department of Basic Education’s national literacy and numeracy tests last year, only 15% of 12-year-olds (sixth graders) scored at or above the minimum proficiency on the language test. In maths just 12% did. ” While ? of white pupils complete high school, only a third of black students do. Part of this problem stems from poor equipment. With only 20% of schools having libraries, and only 7. % actually having any books, it’s a wonder that there is any educational system in place at all. The economist has a tale saying, “In July textbooks that pupils should have received in January were found tossed into rivers in an effort to hide the failure to deliver them. ” Education accounts for 1/6 of government spending, and yet the standard of teaching is low, too, with 25,000 new teachers a year but only 10,000 qualifying, with math and science particularly suffering to find quality teachers. There are tales of teachers showing up late, leaving early, and even not showing up for Friday classes at all.
The teachers’ union is more concerned with protecting its members, even the incompetent ones, than with training them. There is little political will when it comes to improving education and few repercussions when those in charge perform badly. The mentioning of the teachers’ union here brings to light the politics that occur in the region as well as the poor leadership that goes along with these things. Industrial action of workers going on strike has hurt South Africa as a place to invest, and while certainly some of the blame could be put on the workers, it certainly appears the government is to be blamed in this regard.
The ANC, the primary party in political power is strongly associated with the unions, and labor laws have made it an undesirable place to invest. Corruption is common in South Africa, and for most in rural South Africa getting a job in politics is the only way to truly be successful. With such stakes, this struggle to get political power can lead to bloody ends as 40 politicians have been killed in the KwaZulu-Natal province. Other provinces have also had violent incidences in their politics.
According to the Economist, “In August Lindiwe Mazibuko, the parliamentary leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance (DA), accused the ANC of creating a class of “tenderpreneurs,” in business to get state contracts using their connections in government. Outright bribery of low-level officials is common. No one knows how much money corruption costs the country but the effect on its democracy is devastating. ” Health care is also a common issue that South Africans have to deal with.
There were 330,000 under 15s living with HIV in 2009, usually from heterosexual sex or from mother to child, leaving even preteens distraught. When a society grows up with so many of its population infected, it takes its toll on how much people care about working for the future. With the present so bad, with Almost half the 95,000 or so nursing jobs in the public sector are vacant, according to the South African Institute of Race Relations, it’s difficult for many South Africans to see the light at the end of the tunnel, thereby hoping for simple government assistance and not much else. s may have already had a severe impact on health, income, productivity and the ability to care for each other. One might think that while things have gotten worse overall in many ways, that at the very least things would be more equal among blacks and whites. This actually does not seem to be the case. While there are some success stories of blacks making it in this new economy, these have become a very small, elite class. During the end of Apartheid the gini coefficient in South Africa was a high . 9 on the scale, but in the 18 years since Apartheid ended the coefficient has actually gotten higher to . 63 in 2009. As far as unemployment numbers go, The unemployment rate among blacks is 29%, compared with 6% for whites. Things are not really looking for the better either. According to the Economist, “In September the Reserve Bank reckoned that South Africa’s growth rate for 2012 would be just 2. 6%. Countries such as Nigeria and Angola have galloped ahead in recent years, with growth pushing 10%, albeit from a lower base.
The economy, much smaller than that of the other BRICS, is likely to be toppled from its spot as Africa’s biggest by Nigeria’s in the next decade. ” Youth unemployment is at 50%, and those without a job by age 24 rarely if ever find a full time one. South Africa has a lot of structural problems with regards to their system, be it politics, education, or in regards to health care, and they are going to need to quit lollygagging and attack these problems head on if they want to be able to see a bright future for their country.
Sources: http://www. economist. com/news/briefing/21564829-it-has-made-progress-becoming-full-democracy-1994-failure-leadership-means http://www. economist. com/news/letters/21565905-assisted-suicide-theological-south-africa-greece-afghanistan-china-pop-tunes http://www. avert. org/aidssouthafrica. htm http://www. infoplease. com/ipa/A0107983. html? pageno=1 http://www. tradingeconomics. com/south-africa/unemployment-rate