South Africa Today

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In April 1994 South Africa held its first democratic nonracial election for Parliament and nine provincial legislatures. Apartheid came to an end. The elections were won by the African National Congress and Nelson Mandela was elected President. The second election held in 1996 Thabo Mbeki became President. Local elections for municipal councils were held in 2000. Much has been accomplished since the first election but poverty and unemployment remain stubbornly high. South Africa also faces a one of the highest rates of AIDS infection in the world - an estimated 5.5 million people are HIV-positive.

South Africa 2006: Challenges for the Future by Richard Knight (Shared Interest, November 2006) [PDF]
South Africa is the most developed and modern country in Africa with extensive natural resources, a developed agricultural sector and significant manufacturing capacity. The ANC led government has achieved a significant turn around of the economy's downward trajectory displayed in apartheid's last years. Since 1995, real GDP annual growth has averaged 3.3%. But the legacy of apartheid remains and South Africa still has one of the largest domestic income disparities in the world. The country suffers from chronic unemployment and one the highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the world.  Some 50% of South Africa's people live in poverty; an estimated seven million people live in shacks, mostly in informal settlements.

South Africa 2006: Population and HIV/AIDS by Richard Knight [PDF]
As of mid-year 2006, South Africa had a population of 47.4 million. An estimated 320,000 people died of AIDS in South Africa in 2005 according to UNAIDS; 900 every day. An estimated 5.5 million people are HIV-positive and 1,000 new infections occur daily. A report on adult mortality (age 15-64) between 1997 and 2004 by Statistics South Africa, based on death certificates, shows a dramatic increase in the death rate, largely due to AIDS-related deaths. Young adults, especially women, have been particularly affected by HIV/AIDS. The South African government has been criticized both domestically by groups such as the Treatment Action Campaign and internationally for its slow response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic, especially for its reluctance to provide antiretroviral drug treatment. Much of the criticism has been directed at Minister of Health Dr. Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. Despite its slow start, the government is now providing antiretroviral treatment to an increasing number of people.

A Decade of Democracy: Government and Elections in South Africa by Richard Knight (Shared Interest, March 19, 2004)

A Decade of Democracy: Economic Policy and Development by Richard Knight (Shared Interest, March 19, 2004)

A Decade of Democracy: Housing, Services and Land in South Africa by Richard Knight (Shared Interest, March 19, 2004)

Housing in South Africa by Richard Knight (Shared Interest, 2001)

South Africa: Economic Policy and Development by Richard Knight (Shared Interest, 2001)