Write a report tracing social policy development in any 'post colonial' country - South Africa.

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Students are required to write a report tracing social policy development in any 'post colonial' country. Students should focus on one of the following areas:

1. Health

2. Education

3. Social security/ Anti-poverty strategy

The report should address the following issues:

1. Background- History of colonialisn/ Independence in the chosen country

2. Students should analyse;

(i) The impact of the 'colonising' country on chosen area of social policy.

(ii) The impact of post-colonial political ideology and social conditions on chosen area of social policy in:

  A. The immediate period following 'independence';

  B. The 1980's onwards

(iii) The continuing impact of post-colonial influences such as 'globalisation' and the World Bank on chosen area of social policy.

South Africa  


(i) Aims and Objectives

The main aims and objectives of this report are to trace the development of social security/anti-poverty policy in South Africa. In order to do this, it is first necessary to explore the history of colonialism in this country, as this will help to put this study into context. Chapter one will hope to accomplish this feat, as well as briefly investigating the reasons why and how South Africa acceded to independence, as this will hopefully make the policy decisions since (in the given area to be investigated) more transparent.

Chapter two will address South Africa’s legacy with regards to the fact that it was part of the British Empire. Here it is hoped to show how the ‘mother country’ influenced policy in the area under investigation. That is to say, an investigation is needed to show how the attitudes and ideas of the British Empire permeated down towards its South African enclave. Added to which, this chapter will hope to investigate the influence (if any) of the former colonial power on policy in South Africa since it’s independence and in the 1980’s. Particular concern here will be placed on post-colonial political ideology and social conditions. Lastly, chapter three will hope to survey the continuing impact of post-colonial influences such as 'globalisation' and the World Bank on the chosen area of social policy. 

Whilst these various investigations are completed, it is important for you to note to note, that this piece of work will concentrate more on poverty and anti-poverty strategies than social security policies. Added to which, the fact that poverty has many definitions also needs to be mentioned. Consequently, a brief explanation of what poverty is will latterly be undertaken.

(ii) Why South Africa?

In consideration of this question, it is apparent that there are several countries that I could have chosen to do my report on. Indeed, at one time the British Empire covered nearly a quarter of the earth’s land surface and contained a third of its peoples. One could wonder then, why South Africa was chosen for my report. There were three main reasons for this. Firstly, I’ve always wondered how such a beautiful country could be tinged with such sadness. Of course, this is largely due to the country’s torturous past and the legacy of Apartheid - a system that brutally operated a form of segregation, which explicitly suggested that Caucasians were superior to all non-whites.  

Secondly, I choose South Africa because since the dismantling of Apartheid, I have been pleasantly surprised by some of the steps taken in the country to try and move away from it’s tainted past. However, I wanted to consider whether the government had gone far enough in the chosen policy areas under investigation. In essence, here I am trying to ascertain whether South Africa is a more inclusive, egalitarian society than it was before. Lastly, I chose South Africa because of my reverence for it’s first President post-Apartheid - Mr Nelson Mandela. Here was a man who spent almost thirty years incarcerated on Robben Island just because he fought for equality, yet when he was released, he had no bitterness towards anyone and played a major role in trying to reconcile and heal his country (Deegan, 2001: 76).

Chapter One

1.1 South African and the British Empire

As has already been alluded to, due to the extent of it’s territories and the numbers of peoples these contained, the British Empire is arguably the greatest empire that has ever existed. One of the reasons for this success was that during the era of Pax Britannica, this nation was always trying to spread its influence to new regions of the earth’s surface. One such domain was South Africa. However, the British were not the first Europeans to land on those verdant shores. In 1488, the Portuguese landed on the Cape of Good Hope (Davenport, 1996). They were soon followed by the Dutch, who set-up the first permanent European settlement in South Africa in 1652 (Deegan, 2001: 4).

Of course as time passed, with her ever-increasing maritime supremacy, Great Britain was keeping a watch on events in South Africa. She never passed up an opportunity to enlarge her Empire, and by the end of the 18th century she had gained control of the Cape of Good Hope (Davenport, 1996). The subsequent British settlement of this area caused conflict with the Boer’s (white people descended from the Dutch), so they embarked northwards on what became known as the Great Trek in 1836 (ibid). This unfortunately brought them into conflict with native Africans like the Zulus, but they gained supremacy and by in 1852 and 1854 were able to set-up independent Boer republics in Transvaal and the Orange Free State respectively.

These Boer states were set-up along the precepts of racism and indeed, one reason why the Boers had wanted to end their association with the British was because they had abolished slavery in 1833 (Davenport, 1996). This without a doubt didn’t sit well with the Boer’s conscience, because they believed that non-whites were inferior. Consequently, blacks were just viewed as a mere commodity to be exploited. Later, you will see how this entrenched attitude provided the antecedents for the extreme poverty in South Africa amongst the non-white population.

In the years following the establishment of these two states, the Boers just about seemed to be able to get along with the British. However, the discovery of gold and diamonds ruptured this uneasy détente (Deegan, 2001: 6). Consequently, the Boer War broke out in-between 1899 and 1902 (Davenport, 1996). Great Britain eventually won this and the two Boer republics along with the Colonies of the Cape of Good Hope and Natal, formed the Union of South Africa – a self-governing dominion of the British Empire (ibid).

It is important to note that when this dominion was formed, black people were not given voting rights. Indeed, black people had almost no rights in the new South Africa at all. Arguably here then, the antecedents of the poverty that would later afflict the non-white population in South Africa could partly be traced back to this early legislation. Indeed, it is also important to mention that most of the African peoples (black) of the newly established Boer States (Transvaal and the Orange Free State) were moved off their lands in the 1870’s and 1880’s, so that whites could settle there. This heinous decision by the Afrikaners could also be blamed for the poverty that would later cripple Black South Africa.  

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As time passed, the new South African government pushed through other legislation that propelled the black population towards poverty (ibid). The Native Land Act (1913) restricted the land that Africans could own to 7.5% of the country's landmass (the amount was later increased to 13%) (ibid). Whilst other legislation meant that non-whites were prevented from holding skilled jobs in the mining industry (Deegan, 2001: 7). When one considers that the black population of South Africa was at least three or four times that of the white population throughout the twentieth century, the attitude of successive governments in South Africa under ...

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