Presidency releases 'mainly positive' 20-year review

By Drum Digital
11 March 2014

President Jacob Zuma released his Presidency's 20 Year Review on Tuesday which looks at the progress we’ve made and what still needs to be done, writes Claudia Pillay.

Earlier today in Pretoria President Jacob Zuma released his Presidency's 20 Year Review, which looks at the progress we’ve made and what still needs to be done.

The mainly positive review was dedicated to former president Nelson Mandela. Some of the highlights the president touched upon included the improvements of health care and education as well as the empowerment of women saying that now “women have equal rights before the law which did not exist before 1994.

While there were plenty of success to celebrate, the president acknowledged that we still have a long way to go. But here are some of the reasons why we should be proud of our rainbow nation.

The economy:

The economy has grown at 3.2 % a year from 1994 to 2012, a marked improvement over pre-1994 growth rates.

He explained while the grown is welcome, it is modest compared to emerging economies and added, “It has also not been adequate to meet the objective of reducing unemployment substantially.”


The number of people in employment grew by approximately 5.6 million between 1994 and 2013, or by 60 percent.


In addition to free basic health care, more than 1 500 healthcare facilities have been built and existing ones have been revitalised over the past 20 years.


Over 8 million school children are now benefitting from no-fee policies.  Secondary school enrolment has increased from 51 % in 1994 to around 80 % currently.

About 9 million children are benefitting from the school feeding schemes

He says, “While backlogs in school infrastructure remain, thousands of schools have been built and connected to water and electricity supply since 1994. About 370 modern schools were built over the past five years alone.”


Over the past 20 years, about 2.8 million government-subsidised houses and over 875 000 serviced sites were delivered. This enabled more than 12 million people access to accommodation and an asset.  56 % of all housing subsidies allocated were to woman-headed households.

The proportion of people living in formal housing increased from 64 % in 1996 to 77 % percent in 2011.

On Service Delivery:

There were no statistics given but he did say, “With regards to basic services, it is impressive that a number of municipalities which had little or no pre-existing institutional foundations, have been able to deliver basic services to thousands of people who did not have them before in the past two decades. Some of the municipalities were geared towards serving a minority before 1994. The focus is now on reaching communities that are still waiting, particularly in informal settlements in urban areas and in remote rural areas.” - Claudia Pillay

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