President Jacob Zuma says that, while South Africa faces several challenges as a new democracy and a developing country, “our country’s positive attributes far outweigh the challenges”.
“It is a fact that the country is a much better place to live in now than it was before 1994,” the president often says.
Indeed, the slogan of the ruling party, the ANC, ahead of the local government elections on 3 August is: “Together We Move South Africa forward”.
Despite losing support over the past 22 years, the ANC continues to rule with a 62% majority, and represents the bulk of South Africa’s people.
ANC deputy president Cyril Ramaphosa maintains that the party has significantly improved the lives of South Africans since the advent of the democratic dispensation in 1994.
These are 10 ways the ruling party has done just that – listing some of its greatest achievements to date.
- Electricity – Approximately 12 million households have access to electricity, seven million more than in 1994.
- Water – Approximately 93% of South Africans had access to potable water last year, compared to 62% in 1994.
- Land and economic transformation – Nearly eighty thousand land claims, totaling 3.4 million hectares, have been settled and 1.8 million people have benefited.
- Housing – Nearly 500 informal settlements have been replaced with quality housing and basic services. Three million free houses have been built, benefiting more than 16 million people.
- Education – More than nine million children attend no-fee schools, while 9 million children are also provided with free meals at school.
- Healthcare – South Africans are healthier and are living longer. The average life expectancy has moved from 53 years to 62 years of age and beyond.
- Social welfare – The country has seen a dramatic is the rise in the number of recipients of social grants, from 2.4 million in 1996 to 17 million in 2016.
Sanitation – In 1994, only 50% of households had access to decent sanitation. This is up to 80%.
- Black middle class – South Africa has seen strong growth in the black middle class, believed to have surpassed that of white South Africans several years ago already.
- Literacy – In total, 92.9% of South Africans can read and write.