Pretoria, South Africa - President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday described South Africa as a success story, despite the enormous challenges still facing the country two decades after the birth of democracy.
“South Africa is a good story. We have succeeded because of the hard work of all our people who contributed in various ways to rebuilding their country,” he said while releasing South Africa's 20-year review document in Pretoria.
“To fight poverty and inequality, a range of pro-poor government policies have been implemented since 1994, which is among South Africa's key achievements,” he said.
Addressing senior government officials, business executives, analysts, and media representatives, he said most of the achievements in reducing extreme levels of income poverty can be ascribed to government's comprehensive social protection programme.
“This includes extensive income support programmes for close to 16 million orphans and vulnerable children, older persons, and people with disabilities, among others,” President Zuma said.
He noted that government had inherited enormous backlogs in the infrastructure required to deliver services, including the provision of public health services and basic services, such as water, sanitation, electricity and waste removal.
“We are also still dealing with the impact of the Bantu education system which was designed to keep the black majority confined to unskilled labour,” he said.
The President said the review was government's “factual and frank” account of how South Africa had fared since 1994 and that it was dedicated to former president Nelson Mandela who died last December.