Negative Impact of Post Apartheid on South Africa Economy Essay

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Negative Impact of Post Apertheid on South Africa Economy

Negative impact of post apartheid on South Africa economy

Apartheid, which refers to separateness in Afrikaans, is a policy of racial segregation that was operating in South Africa from early 1948 to late 1990s. The policy required the separation of South African people based on their colors. The law classified the people into whites, Indians and blacks. The policy specifically prevented non-white people from having a vote or influence and restricting them to separate far away homelands of poor quality. The apartheid policy dates back to 1913 when the white's government passed legislation on land. The legislation required the separation of the whites land and the workplace from other races. Such legislation and separation Acts led to the separation policy termed as apartheid. When the National party (NP) won the 1948 election, they immediately began to implement the apartheid legislation prohibiting intermarriages, classifying individuals by race and geographically separating the South African people.

Since 1950, several Acts and legislations enforced the apartheid policy in South Africa. Historical records show that, in 1950, the Group Area Act became the epitome of the apartheid by its attempt to separate the people geographically within the same country. The Act required blacks and the colored to carry identity documents wherever they go in order to enforce restrictions on movement to the white's land. A separate Amenities Act further separated the coloreds into their own schools, buses and recreation facilities. According to Beck (2000), the apartheid in South Africa rested on four basic pillars. The first relates to the fact that there were four official races in the country identified as whites, Africans, colored and Indians. The second pillar explains that the whites are the only civilized race and could exercise absolute political power over the other races.

The third apartheid pillar explains the fact that white's interests always come first before black interests. The fourth pillar identified all whites as whites regardless of their European origin. From 1948, the ruling party in South Africa pushed for the apartheid policy and put the segregation Acts into practice. The apartheid created a system of white political and economic dominance. This white domination had various negative impacts to the people and the economy in South Africa. The post apartheid era in South Africa is characterized by many changes ranging from economic, political and social. To most South Africans, the apartheid era refers to a hardship period. The segregation Act of 1950 affected the lives of many citizens in South Africa. Many people were removed from their homes because they were living or working in mixed races regions of the country. The economy of many families was significantly affected by the segregation Acts. The new areas allocated to the people were poor and led to the rise in slums like Soweto. Apartheid slowed down the pace of economic development in South Africa due to rising inflation on the prices of basic commodities. Fewer jobs were available to the blacks who form the majority of the population in the country. Apartheid policies and Acts led to a high rate in poverty especially in the areas occupied by the colored. The blacks became refugees in their own land with poor housing and low living standards (Nowak & Ricci, 2006). The post apartheid era is characterized by high crime rates resulting from lack of job opportunities and poverty in the slums. The South Africa's crime rate is high because people cannot find jobs in the white dominated areas. A research by Bhorat and Kanbur (2006), show that, inequalities in resource distribution and high poverty rates are the main factors to the high crime rates in South Africa.

The apartheid policy affected the labor market in the post-apartheid era, in South Africa, because the majority of blacks who form a big percentage of the population were not educated. Separation of schools and other important social amenities significantly affected people in South Africa. Very few blacks were able to obtain formal education that is necessary to fill the demands of the labor market in the post apartheid regime. Survey and studies indicate that labor productivity of the population in South Africa in the early years of post apartheid was significantly lower due to fewer opportunities advanced to the majority. Studies further indicate that income and resource inequalities, which are the legacy of the apartheid-era education policies, remain the greatest challenges facing South Africa's economy. Riots and demonstrations are common in the post-apartheid era in South Africa because of low wages and poor working conditions. Research shows that many institutions were not reformed to make them more accessible to the majority disadvantaged blacks. Abdi (2003), notes that the whites used the policy to dominate over the economic resources in South Africa.

In the post-apartheid era, the white minority retained much of the resources in the economy leaving very little for the black majority. Although there is a reduction in poverty within the first decade after apartheid, income disparities are still growing. Studies point out this rising rate of inequalities and economic hardship to the failure of the education systems for most black citizens. The segregation in the education system aimed to benefit the Europeans in the country while keeping away the black majority in South Africa (Abdi, 2003). The South Africa's authority has also failed to offer enough vocational training and necessary education for black citizens' especially in plumbing, electrical works and carpentry. The result of this failure is a widening gap in productivity between the whites and blacks. Research shows that high inequality is the central factor in South Africa's inability to create employment opportunities on a large scale.

The South Africa economy in the post-apartheid era faced the consequences of the South African isolation from other countries. The country has many trade sanctions from trade partners who emphasized the end of the segregation policy. These trade sanctions negatively affected the South African economy because of the lack of international trade. Trade partners had lost faith in South Africa and less willing to resume business after the end of apartheid. Lodge (2011) notes that the main reason behind the isolation of South Africa was to push for the anti-apartheid movements and open more opportunities for segregated blacks in the country. The economic situation in the first decade of post-apartheid was severe. The cost of living skyrocketed with the basic commodities, water and rent being extremely expensive for the blacks to afford. Apartheid led to the creation of bitterness and repressive labor policies. These policies were not easy to eliminate after the end of apartheid in 1994.

Poverty and degradation exist side by side with modern cities and infrastructure. The economic resources and income distribution in South Africa's post apartheid era are distributed on racial grounds. The post apartheid society is poverty dominated and the economy built on enforced racial segregation in every sphere. The apartheid left behind huge divisions and gaps in rural areas in terms of under developed Bantustans and well-developed, white-owned commercial farming areas. The post apartheid era in South Africa experienced negative economic impacts due to the divisions of cities and townships without basic infrastructure for economic development for blacks and well-resourced suburbs for whites. The negative economic impacts experienced are because the apartheid left big scars of inequality and economic inefficiency (Nowak & Ricci, 2006). In commerce and industry, which form the backbone of the economy, the whites dominate very large conglomerates of these sectors. Black workers are poor in the participation of the rapid and first changing environment taking place in the world economy today.

As a major consequence of the apartheid policy, major loss of lives took place. This is a drain to the human capital required for economic development. Many families lost their breadwinners and result in a drop of the family economy. The economic and financial sanctions imposed on South Africa resulted in disinvestment or withdrawal of all forms of foreign capital in the country. These actions negatively affected the economy in South Africa. Because of the many economic and financial sanctions, the South Africa's growth rate suffered approximately 1.5% during the 1980s and 1990s. This effect went on to the early years after the end of apartheid. Research shows that these sanctions slowed the rate of change during and after the early years of the post apartheid era. The sanctions on South Africa forced many nationalists especially the whites who were earlier enjoying the apartheid policy to pressurize the ruling party to abandon the apartheid policy (Spence, 1965).

Negative economic conditions created by the apartheid resulted in the change of roles in society. Many men fled from their rural areas to towns and cities in search of better lives. Women were left to attend the families and assume the men's responsibilities. Many rural areas in South Africa still lack the human resource required for agricultural productivity and economic development of households. The economic hardships of the post apartheid era led to congestion of poor living…[continue]

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