Some things in South Africa are becoming better as we move into the 21st century,
while others are becoming worse. The government in South Africa will become better in
the 21st century. All the provisions of the constitution were in place as of the year 1999.
In June of 1999, President Nelson Mandela’s term ended, and Thabo Mbeki was elected
as president. There was a peaceful change in government, and Mbeki is doing many things
to help the country. Some of these include eliminating hatred between races, ending
poverty, and reducing violent crime. The government is also electing more people of
different races and genders to the National Assembly and the Cabinet.
The economy in South Africa is the best of all the countries in the Africa, and
should continue to improve. South African’s economy depends mainly on its mineral
recourses which it exports to many other countries. South Africa’s government has
invested in many other industries such as tourism and wine, which are fast-growing and
important parts of the economy. The government is also encouraging businesses to hire
more blacks and coloureds ( a term in South Africa used to identify people of racially
mixed heritage) as they have the highest unemployment rate of any ethnic group in the
country. South Africa has many plans for an “industrial renaissance,” and is using many
more of the country’s natural recourses and is trying to strengthen its ties with the rest of
Education in South Africa is also becoming better. The government is focusing
much more on the education of people in South Africa. The government is now requiring
all children to attend at least ten years of school, regardless of race or gender. A council
of Education Administrators has been established to control the new educational system.
More funding from the government is being raised and put towards education, and more
universities have been established for the people of South Africa.
Health care in South Africa is steadily becoming worse, and probably will continue
to into the 21st century. Each year in South Africa, one and a half million people are
infected with HIV, and it is estimated that about 4.8 million people in South Africa will be
infected by 2005. Another ten thousand die each year because of Tuberculosis. Also, the
infant mortality rate is twice what is normally expected for a country with South Africa’s
income. Not many people have access to doctors or a national health plan. In cities there
is only one doctor for every seven hundred people, and the ratio is even worse in rual
areas. Most whites receive much better health care than blacks, mainly because they are
able to afford private health care. Few people are able to afford private health care
because of the extremely high prices.
The treatment of women in South Africa is worsening. Little attention is given to
the problems of women, even though all people are supposed to be treated equally. Abuse
and rape of women is very common, but usually nothing is done about it. Fifty-eight
percent of the women in South Africa have been abused or raped and forty-one percent of
those women are under the age of sixteen. The police and government take little notice of
this issue, mainly because women are looked down upon as second class citizens. Also,
women are commonly denied jobs because of their gender. Some efforts have been made
to improve the treatment of women, but have not made much of a difference.
Relations between races in South Africa are not changing for the worse, or for the
better, but staying the same. Even though the practice of apartheid has ended in South
Africa, whites still have better health care and education than blacks. Blacks and
Coloureds are still at times discriminated against, even though everyone has the same legal
rights, regardless of their race. Blacks still feel antagonism towards whites because of the
discrimination that they faced before the end of apartheid. The remaining racial tension is
likely to continue for more generations.