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South Africa

  

Since the abolition of Apartheid, South Africa is governed by the African National Congress (ANC). The ANC is politically unchallenged and counts on the support of nearly two thirds of the voters in elections.

In 2010, South Africa was the first African country to host the soccer World Cup and was in the international limelight. The event caused hope and enthusiasm within the South African population and the country presented itself as a good and worthy host. But hopes of an economic upturn and jobs for people remained unfulfilled. A study from Solidar Switzerland, carried out after the World Cup, showed a sobering balance: False assumptions, exaggerated hopes, no jobs and an increase in social injustice. In spite of promising new, permanent jobs, the World Cup failed to deliver on these commitments. The expenses linked to the event proved to be an enormous strain to the public budget, while the football association FIFA made a record profit. The existing major social differences in South Africa were exacerbated with the World Cup.

 

Solidar supported the South African construction trade unions in their campaign Fair Games, Fair Play so that the World Cup would not be carried out at the expense of the workers. The campaign was successful and achieved salary increases and better working conditions (see http://www.solidar.ch/fair-games-fair-play.html for the campaign).

 

Socio-economic Apartheid

South Africa ranks 123 out of 187 countries according to the Human Development Index. The challenges are huge: 40% unemployment, widespread poverty, violent xenophobia and increasing service delivery protests show the intensity of social conflicts. South Africa is amongst the countries with the highest social inequality worldwide – this is indeed a tough burden for social peace. After politically surmounting the racial boundaries, the socio-economic Apartheid has yet to be overcome and remains the biggest challenge for South Africa´s future.

 

 

Regional co-operation in Southern Africa

Solidar Switzerland is committed to strengthening trade unions and to improving conditions in South Africa both for formal and informal workers. It cooperates with NGOs such as Khanya College, Labour Research Service, Workers World Media Productions as well as trade unions (SADSAWU, BWI). The impact of Solidar Switzerland´s projects reaches far beyond the borders of South Africa and its positive effects can be felt in about a dozen African countries.


Joachim Merz is Solidar Switzerland's desk officer for South Africa.