May 2024 1st edition

Government creates better life during 30 years of democracy

Over the past 30 years, the government has empowered its citizens by implementing programmes aimed at improving their lives for the better.

As South Africa celebrates 30 years of freedom and democracy, Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation Maropene Ramokgopa has reflected on the country’s development journey and applauded the government for making significant strides in improving the lives of its people, while navigating challenges that have impacted South Africa's development trajectory.
“Over the three decades, South Africa has faced systemic and contextual challenges that have impacted the country’s development trajectory,” Ramokgopa said.

In 2023, the National Planning Commission (NPC) released the Ten-Year Review of the National Development Plan (NDP). The review reflects on the nation's progress and assesses the key NDP indicators and targets, such as poverty, inequality and unemployment. 

“The NDP set a goal of achieving an annual average of 5.4% GDP growth and aimed to create 11 million jobs. Over the past 30 years, the South African economy has grown and is expected to be Africa’s largest economy in 2024 according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Our labour force expanded from 11.3 million in 1994 to 28.3 million in 2023. Due to progressive labour legislation, the race, gender, age, and skills composition of the labour force and employment have altered considerably promoting more inclusive economic development,”  the Minister said.

She said the government seeks to create an enabling environment for economic growth by addressing obstacles to transformation, innovation, competition and development.

“South Africa's social sector indicates notable progress in education, social wage, and health, with young people benefiting greatly from this progress. The country is moving towards universal access to education at all levels and improved overall educational outcomes.

“More individuals aged 20 and older have attained Grade 12 as their highest level of education, rising from 16% in 1996 to 38% by 2022. In 2002, there were 295 special schools for learners with disabilities. By 2022 there were 489 (435 public and 54 independent),” the Minister said.

The matric pass rate has improved to 82.9% in 2023, from 53.4% in 1995.

“Enrolment in public universities has more than doubled, steadily edging closer to the NDP target of 1.6 million enrolments by 2030. Access to higher education has been bolstered by the establishment of more institutions of higher learning and increased National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) funding,” the Minister said.

She noted that South Africa's health system has evolved and has led to improved life expectancy and increased access to Primary Health Care (PHC) services from 68 million in 1998 to 138.8 million in 2022/23.

“Furthermore, South Africa’s social wage is one of the most advanced in the world and has proven to be an effective anti-poverty tool. It grew from 2.9 million beneficiaries in 1994 to more than 18 million in 2022. The COVID-19 grant increased reach to 27.6 million beneficiaries. Studies conducted over the two decades have shown that the child support grant is associated with a decline in incidents of poverty,” the Minister said.

She said the government has taken steps to address the youth unemployment challenge. 

The Presidential Employment Stimulus has assisted in creating more than 1.7 million work and livelihood opportunities.

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