The state compulsory school is formally
compulsory for children between the ages of 7 and 16,
from first to ninth grade, but the school system
struggles with major problems. Many students leave
school prematurely without having learned to read and
write. Over five million adults are estimated to be
illiterate, which has made adult education an important
part of the school system.
The apartheid system had different schools for
whites, colored, Asians and blacks. Schooling was not
compulsory for blacks, who thus received poorer
education and usually only access to low-wage jobs.
Occasionally ten times more resources were invested on a
white student than on a black. Protests in the schools
against apartheid and the unjust schooling system
sometimes led to lower education.
Allcitypopulation: Offers a list of biggest cities in the state of South
Africa, including the capital city which hosts major colleges and
Country facts of South Africa, including geography profile, population statistics, and business data.
From 1991, state schools were opened to students of
all races and in 1995 the racial segregation officially
In 2007, free schooling was introduced in poor
districts. Although tuition in these schools is free of
charge, costs for school uniforms, trips to and from
school and in many cases teaching materials are also
There is a great lack of qualified teachers as well
as premises and teaching materials. While white teachers
are normally competent, many black teachers lack
Almost all children start school, but many do not go
from primary and secondary school to secondary school.
Around 50 out of 100 students complete their upper
secondary education, but only 28 of them pass their
Only one student in 100 graduates from universities,
which has led to the high-tech business sector suffering
from a shortage of well-educated labor.
South Africa's university system is considered to be
Africa's best with more than twenty universities and
technical and economic colleges. Now more than half of
the students are black.
FACTS - EDUCATION
Proportion of children starting primary
84.3 percent (2015)
Number of pupils per teacher in primary
Reading and writing skills
94.4 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of GDP
18.7 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on education as a
percentage of the state budget
18.7 percent (2017)
The Minister of Finance is dismissed
President Zuma dismisses surprising Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene, causing
the value of the country's currency, the rand, to collapse. Zuma gives no reason
for his actions. According to media speculation, the dismissal is due to Nene
criticizing the semi-state airline SAA's actions and sentencing a nuclear power
plant project. Both SAA and the nuclear power project are controlled by people
close to Zuma. At all, Nene has shown restraint in government spending. Among
other things, he has been critical of salary increases for civil servants and
said no to a new private aircraft for Zuma. The decision to dismiss Nene and
replace him with a fairly unknown ANC parliamentarian, David van Rooyen, is
criticized by the opposition and by economic analysts. The dismissal comes just
days after two international credit rating agencies lowered South Africa's
rating to a "level of debris" due to the country's financial problems with
stagnant growth, high inflation and high interest rates. A few days later, Zuma
seems to have accepted the criticism, replacing Van Rooyen with Pravin Gordhan,
who was a reputable finance minister between 2009 and 2014. The change of
minister obviously strengthens confidence in South Africa's economy abroad and
the currency rises in value.
Chinese President on state visit
Chinese President Xi Jinping visits South Africa, and the countries sign a
series of cooperation agreements that correspond to Chinese investments of $ 6.5
billion. The money will primarily be used to improve South Africa's
infrastructure. At a Pretoria summit between Jinping and a number of African
leaders, China promises to provide $ 60 billion in aid and loans to Africa as a
whole. Jinping states that further assistance should be provided to alleviate
the effects of the drought that has affected the continent.
Investigation is ordered
President Zuma orders an investigation into the role of police chief Riah
Phiyega when 34 miners were shot dead by police during a strike in 2012. The
three who do the investigation will investigate whether the police tried to hide
information. Phiyega, who was new to the post at the time, lacked previous
experience in police work.
Sudan's President on State Visit - South Africa goes against ICC
When Sudan's President Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir visits South Africa in
connection with an AU meeting, the International Criminal Court (ICC), calling
for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide, is calling for (see Sudan:
Political System), that he should be arrested. As a member of the ICC, South
Africa is obliged to intervene, but the South African government does not appear
willing to intervene. However, a human rights organization, the Southern Africa
Litigation Center, is appealing to the court to have the case tried. The court
orders the Sudanese president not to leave the country before his case is tried.
When the court issues a detention order, al-Bashir has already left the country.
The government receives criticism for how it handled the case, and the judge in
the case appeals to prosecutors to decide whether to prosecute the government
for leaving Al-Bashir to leave the country.
New free trade agreement
South Africa and 25 other countries agree on a new free trade agreement, the
Tripartite Free Trade Area, which covers most of Africa between Egypt in the
north and South Africa in the south. However, before the agreement can come into
force, negotiations are required and the agreement is approved by the
parliaments of the countries.
Zuma not obliged to pay back money
The country's police minister explains that Zuma does not have to repay money
for the criticized renovation of the presidential residence (see March
2014). Also the construction of the pool is a "security update"
according to the minister. According to him, it can be used as a water reservoir
in the event of a fire.
First colored party leader
The opposition party The Democratic Alliance is getting a colored party
leader for the first time when party leader Mmusi Maimane is elected new
chairman after resigning Helen Zille.
12,000 are arrested as a result of riots
The riots are followed by the police and army campaign "Operation Fiela" with
the aim of finding illegal immigrants in slums. More than 12,000 people are
Xenophobia leads to riots
Alien hostilities lead to riots and attacks on immigrants. Seven people are
killed in various incidents. Violence is rooted in high unemployment; many of
those who do not have jobs are targeting anger towards immigrants from poorer
neighboring countries who are competing for jobs. Many foreign business owners
close their businesses after looting. The army is deployed to curb the violence
while thousands of people flee to their home countries. The Zulu king Goodwill
Zwelithini is accused of inflicting the violence when he blamed the immigrants
for the increased crime and said they had to leave the country. Zwelithini says
he was misunderstood. President Zuma must also defend himself against criticism.
Zuma is accused of being late in condemning the violence and of expressing
himself vaguely when he spoke.
Promises from Zuma
In his address to the nation, President Zuma promised new laws that would
make it illegal for foreigners to own land in South Africa and restrict the
domestic property of domestic owners. According to Zuma, the laws will be
presented to Parliament later in 2015.
Chaos erupts in Parliament
Chaos erupts in Parliament when President Zuma gives his annual speech to the
nation. Members of Julius Malema's party EFF interrupt the speech with loud
calls to Zuma to repay the large sums he spent on renovating the presidential
palace. Security guards are called in and lifted out by the EFF's
parliamentarians. Democratic Alliance members march out of Parliament in protest
of the guards' intervention.
The cook is released
The occupational killer Eugene de Kock is released after 20 years in prison.
During the apartheid era, De Kock led a death squadron within the police, which
was tasked with killing regime opponents. Before the Faith and Truth Commission
set up in 1995 to settle the legacy of apartheid, Kock acknowledged around 100
cases of murder, torture and other crimes. De Kock was granted amnesty for most
of the crimes, but he was sentenced to lengthy prison sentences for six murders
that were not considered to have any direct political connection. The government
believes that the release of the Kock will strengthen the nation-building and
reconciliation process. The news evokes mixed feelings among the victims'
Highway is named after ex-president
After a chaotic meeting in Cape Town's governing assembly, a section of a
highway in the city is named after ex-president FW de Klerck, who led South
Africa during the transition from apartheid to democracy (see Modern History).
The name change was supported by the Democratic Alliance, which has power in
Cape Town but met fierce opposition from the ANC. The proposal could only be
voted on since the DA locked ANC representatives out of the assembly hall.
At least six people die in riots
At least six people lose their lives during a week's riots in the township of
Soweto outside Johannesburg. Looters go to stores owned by foreigners after a
foreign business owner shot to death a teenager who tried to rob him.