It has been two decades and half since South Africa’s first all-race democratic elections, held on April 27, 1994.
The exercise produced a coalition government with a black majority led by anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, the country’s first black president. These developments were to mark the end of decades of institutionalized racial segregation of the apartheid regime.
Apartheid is an Afrikaans word that means—apartness—it’s a policy that governed relations between South Africa’s white minority and nonwhite majority and sanctioned racial segregation and political and economic discrimination against nonwhites.
The implementation often called “separate development” since the 1960s was made possible through the Population Registration Act of 1950, which classified all South Africans as either Bantu (all black Africans), Coloured (those of mixed race), or white.
A fourth category—Asian (Indian and Pakistani)—was said to have been added later, according to the Britannica.com.
Twenty-five years on little has changed remarkably, despite black South Africans administering the country.
“South Africa is still the county of two nations: the rich whites and the poor blacks,” Tenny Tokwe told the Times earlier this year as unemployment in the country of 56 million people wheels past 25%. It’s therefore, unsurprising that there are “tire-burning” protest almost every day over the lack of basic services like working toilets in mostly black neighborhoods, reports Cara Anna of AP.
“We find virtually no whites living below the middle class,” Fazila Farouk and Murray Leibbrandt with the Southern Africa Labor and Development Research Unit wrote last year. “Whites have, in fact, comfortably improved their economic status in post-apartheid South Africa because of our economy channels such a big share of national income to the top 10%.”
A worrying development confirmed by a report into inequality in South Africa. According to Stats SA’s, the country is still one of the most unequal in the world.
The Inequality Trends in South Africa, released on November 14, showed white people earning three times more than black people on average, two decades after apartheid.
The report also found that the wage gap between SA’s groups increased between 2011 and 2015.
It further said black households faced the highest level of unemployment and earned the lowest wages, while white people’s salaries were higher. The earnings of white people were about three times more than those of black people. Whites also had the highest annual median expenditure.
The average monthly salary among black people – who account for 80% of the population – was $466,90 while the figure was $1667,95 for white people.
Income earnings in South Africa remained “heavily racialized”, Statistician-General Risenga Maluleke said.
“The annual median expenditure for whites was more than 10 times higher than that of black Africans across all four years.
“Furthermore, the white population group had more than nine times the annual mean expenditure of black Africans in 2006; though this ratio declined to more than seven times in 2015,” Maluleke added.
The impact of apartheid policies left a legacy of unequal development across the South African landscape, undisputedly but that stance or excuse cannot be justified any longer with South Africa since 1994 being administered by black South Africans.
Witnessing firsthand how apartheid disadvantaged blacks, one would have expected bridging the inequality gap would have been the focus, after taking over from the dreaded racist government but no, they would rather want to enrich themselves and their cronies and a case in point.
The South Africa situation after Apartheid is disheartening to say the least.