After the end of the apartheid in 1994, South Africa established democratic principles and a progressive constitution. Yet today South African society remains characterised by huge social and economic injustices. There is nowhere in the world where inequality is as high as it is in South Africa – with 63 points, the country comes out at the top of the Gini index in terms of income disparity. Solidar Suisse has been engaging for social justice and against racism in this context since 1991.
Unemployment and exploitation
The unemployment rate in South Africa is currently over 40% and people who are employed are often exploited for a very low wage.
Private companies and the public service often use ‘labour brokers’, companies that procure workers who mostly do the same work as permanent employees. However, they work for a much lower wage, with no social benefits or protection against dismissal. This exploitation of workers leads to extreme inequality and huge poverty. Half of people in South Africa currently live on less than 70 US dollars a month, while at the same time living costs are rising. The consequences of extreme inequality include criminality and a life behind barbed wire.
Life expectancy: 64 Jahre
Average life expectancy in Switzerland: 83,6 years
Literacy rate: 87%
Literacy rate among adults in Switzerland: 99,9 %
The Gini-Index measures the degree of income inequality: The higher the number, the more inequality. Switzerland: 32,7
In South Africa we cooperate with local NGOs and trade unions to advocate for workers employed on precarious terms. Legal advice enables them to organise themselves to take issues to the courts or to organise strikes or demonstrations.
With partner organisations on the ground, Solidar Suisse fights for workers’ rights to be respected, for functioning public services and for equality between women and men. Through our projects in South Africa, we contribute to the achievement of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), in particular the goals on decent work and reducing inequality.
“You can’t buy much or choose your own lifestyle with what you earn from distributors. Let’s try to improve the situation for upcoming generations.”