The positive and profound transformation that followed the end of the apartheid era brought enhanced political and social rights for South Africans, but for the majority these have yet to be translated into a better quality of life. Many, who had such great expectations in 1994, continue to struggle today for dignity and a decent life.
South Africa’s political and economic influence is important as the country is a significant regional and continental player, a member of the G20 and the UN Security Council, and is chair of the Africa Union. The country joined the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group of major emerging economies in 2010.
Yet inequality is extreme and growing, with 11 million people living in absolute poverty and more than 18 million surviving on less than US$2 a day, despite South Africa being a resource-rich, middle-income developing country.
South Africa is home to more people living with HIV than any other country, with an estimated 5.6 million South Africans infected with the virus.
Stigma and discrimination still present a barrier to effective testing and treatment, so hundreds of people die every day because of HIV.
Christian Aid is working on issues of tax justice. Changes to taxation could assist the government in funding the planned national health service and other social protection schemes.
South Africa’s new constitution, adopted after the end of apartheid, offers the opportunity to redress power, but racial injustice and discrimination persist in all walks of life.
As a result, South Africa remains one of the most unequal countries in the world. We are working to help poor people to understand and claim their rights under one of the most progressive constitutions in the world.
Christian Aid works in South Africa to tackle the structures that perpetuate inequality and poverty. Through our partners, we help the poorest and most marginalised communities fight for the change that will benefit many hundreds of thousands of people at a national level.
But there is no quick fix. It is long-term advocacy and campaigning, an investment for the future.
Our South African partners work on social and economic justice issues, including campaigning for support for those living with HIV and for welfare provision for the elderly and vulnerable. We also support campaigns on tax at national and regional level.