Mandela's Reformas during the course of his presidency
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During the course of his presidency, a wide range of progressive social reforms were enacted by Mandela's government, aimed at reducing long entrenched social and economic inequalities in South Africa. Amongst the measures carried out by Mandela and his ministers included:
▪ The introduction of free health care (1994) for all children under the age of six together with pregnant and breastfeeding women making use of public sector health facilities (a provision extended to all those using primary level public sector health care services in 1996).
▪ The launching of the Reconstruction and Development Programme, which invested in essential social services such as housing and health care.
▪ Increases in welfare spending, with public spending on welfare and social grants increased by 13% in 1996/97, 13% in 1997/98, and 7% in 1998/99.”
▪ The introduction of parity in grants for communities which were previously, including disability grants, child maintenance grants, and old-age pensions, which had previously been set at different levels for South Africa’s different racial groups.
▪ The extension of the application of the child maintenance grant to blacks in rural areas, who had been previously excluded from the system.
▪ A significant increase in public spending on education, with expenditure raised by 25% in 1996/97, 7% in 1997/98 and 4% in 1998/99.
▪ The introduction of child support grants (1998) to alleviate child poverty.
▪ The Skills Development Act (1998) which provided for the establishment of mechanisms to finance and promote skills development at the workplace.
▪ The Labour Relations Act (1995), which promoted workplace democracy, orderly collective bargaining, and the effective resolution of labour disputes.
▪ The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (1997), which Improved enforcement mechanisms while extending an improved “floor” of rights to all workers.
▪ The passage of the Employment Equity Act (1998) to put an end to unfair discrimination and ensure the implementation of affirmative action in the workplace.
▪ The connection of 3 million people to telephone lines.
▪ The bringing of 1.5 million children into the education system.
▪ The upgrading or construction of 500 clinics.
▪ The connection of 2 million people to the electricity grid.
▪ The construction of 750,000 houses, housing nearly 3 million people in the process.
▪ The extension of water access to 3 million people.
▪ The introduction of compulsory schooling for African children between six and fourteen years.
▪ The provision of free meals for between 3.5 to 5 million school children.
▪ The passage of the 1996 Mine Health and Safety Act (amended in 1997) to improve health and safety safety conditions for miners.
▪ The launching of the National Drug Policy in 1996 to improve access to essential medicines.
▪ The Welfare Laws Amendment Act (1997), which amended the Social Assistance Act of 1992 to provide for equality of access, uniformity and effective regulation of social assistance throughout South Africa, amongst other changes.
▪ Amendments to the Aged Persons Act (1998), which provided for the establishment of management committees for homes for the elderly, to require reporting on the abuse of elderly persons, and to regulate the prevention of the abuse of elderly people.
▪ The establishment of a National Development Agency (1998), which was mandated to provide funds to civil society organizations to meet the developmental needs of poor communities, amongst other functions.
▪ The Extension of Security of Tenure Act of 1997, aimed at providing security of tenure to vulnerable occupants of land outside of urban areas. The legislation contained provisions which sought to create and support long-term security for vulnerable occupants while also safeguarding them from unfair eviction.