Unit 1 Portfolio Task

Part 1- South
Africa-Comparative Levels of Inequality

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South Africa is the largest economy in Africa, “with the
government’s commitment to market economy making it a business hub for foreign
investment”. Large mineral reserves and incredibly advanced manufacturing
facilities have led to increased economic growth. However, “history has shown
that the economy was built on systematically enforced racial division in every
area of the country, leaving deep scars of inequality and economic
inefficiency”, as told by (Visagie, 1997).


Although a rapidly advancing developing economy, like any
developing country, poverty is a problem seen far too often, proven by the
Human Development Index falling from 0.73 in 1995 to 0.67 in 2003 (UNDP,2004).
The increasing number of people who do not have access to basic healthcare and
education, can be seen with upwards of two million people dying from AIDS (PlusNews,
2006). The mortality rate of AIDS victims who cannot access medical attention
is 100%, leading to a crisis with regards to social problems and increasing
population of orphans in the country, approximately two million of them in
2010, (Department of Social Development, 2005)


There has been increased investment in education reform
since the end of apartheid. Introduction of education to black citizens has led
to a dramatic increase in the black population completing higher level
education. Investment in education is still necessary, as the core text
outlines, as people who come from underprivileged neighbourhoods are being held
back, with 27% of 6th grade students being illiterate, compared to
4% of the wealthier population, according to (Spaull, 2013). He bases this
research on the income inequality still faced by people and the segregation
implemented during apartheid, as an area that still needs to be addressed.

Income Inequality

Reforms have been introduced to evenly distribute public
finances and allow for widespread income equality. Sadly, there is still an unequal
distribution of wealth, with the expanding informal sector allowing the rich to
stay rich and the poor to stay poor. As stated in the core text, there is a parallel
1st and 3rd world economy within a single nation, which,
unless merges together, will allow for unemployment rates and income inequality
to rise. Black people are still largely discriminated against, accounting for
90% of the country’s poor population (United Nations, 2004). (Barbarinde, 2009)
goes on to state that the level of income equality is “particularly acute and
based mainly upon racial stratification”.


Nearly quarter of a century since the abolition of
apartheid, in the third quarter of 2017, unemployment was reported to be at
27.7%. Black South Africans are still discriminated against, as they account
for 85% of the unskilled workforce and 40% of those unemployed in 2014,
(StasSA). While unemployment in low-skilled manufacturing may have increased
due to many manufacturing companies relocating to developing countries that
offer higher incentives for business, as found by (Seria and Cohen,2009), the
government is not doing enough to encourage development of the manufacturing
sector, predominantly associated with the black population.


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