South Africa criticises UK decision to end direct aid

 
Justine Greening Justine Greening made the announcement about South African funding at a conference in London

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The South African government has criticised the UK after it announced it would stop direct aid in 2015.

UK ministers said their relationship with South Africa should now be based on trade and not development.

But South Africa said it had not been properly consulted over the move and it would have "far-reaching implications".

The aid programme, currently worth £19m a year, is focused on reducing the mortality rate among women giving birth and supporting businesses.

At its peak in 2003, the UK's aid for South Africa was more than £40m.

'Mutual co-operation'

International Development Secretary Justine Greening made the announcement at a conference of African ministers and business leaders in London on Tuesday.

"South Africa has made enormous progress over the past two decades, to the extent that it is now the region's economic powerhouse and Britain's biggest trading partner in Africa," she said.

"We are proud of the work the UK has done in partnership with the South African government, helping the country's transition from apartheid to a flourishing, growing democracy.

"I have agreed with my South African counterparts that South Africa is now in a position to fund its own development.

"It is right that our relationship changes to one of mutual co-operation and trade, one that is focused on delivering benefits for the people of Britain and South Africa as well as for Africa as a whole."

But South Africa said there had been no "proper consultations" about the move.

"This is such a major decision with far-reaching implications... and it is tantamount to redefining our relationship," the Department of International Relations and Co-operation said in a statement.

"The UK government should have informed the government of South Africa through official diplomatic channels of their intentions."

In response, UK officials said they had had "months of discussions" and "many meetings" with their South African counterparts prior to the decision.

Labour said ministers had taken the "wrong decision" and that the South African authorities had "contradicted" Ms Greening's version of events.

Shadow international development secretary Ivan Lewis said it was important to maintain financial help to "middle income" countries like South Africa, which he described as "strategically" very important.

"This looks like a serious breach of trust with one of our most important strategic partners. Justine Greening must explain why she is saying one thing about her conduct while the South African government is saying another," Labour said in a statement.

"Behaving in what looks like a high-handed and patronising fashion towards South Africa is no way to treat one of the world's key emerging nations and is not in Britain's national interest."

 

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  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 184.

    153. JP
    I no longer give any private donations...Stop wasting my tax and leave charity to the private individual...
    ----------------------------------
    Leave charity to whom? Generous individuals like you, presumably?

  • rate this
    +11

    Comment number 183.

    its a sad time when we can't help countries in need. But we do need to look after ourselves, when there are enough jobs and less cuts to allow our country to thrive then we should go back to helping others. In the mean time allow charity to be a personal choice

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 182.

    @168.Jay

    We borrow money to give to other countries as 'aid', lining the pockets of wealthy consultants along the way whilst we have pensioners struggling to heat their homes etc.

    I know where my caring would start and it wouldn't be with countries who have nukes and a space program!!

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 181.

    All we hear about is austerity yet no matter how many cuts we make that seriously affect the British people our taxes still manage to make their way into the pockets of just about every government from South Africa to Pakistan. Here's a solution to our economic crisis. Stop sending aid to every country and address our deficit first. I send aid in the form of charity and so do millions of others.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 180.

    168.Jay
    "Knew this HYS would bring all the haters and selfish heartless non carers out in force."

    Thats democracy for you!
    Shame these selfish people who have contributed billions of their hard earned for years without mandate!

    I am sure the left can pick up the baton with their own funds or is it just easier to take other peoples money.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 179.

    174 Avalon

    'SA could still go down that route if someone in the mould of Mugabe gets into power.'

    It's already going down that route. 3,000 white farmers murdered since 1994. 'Land reform' on the cards, Julius Malema perpetually on manoeuvres.

    If I were white in SA I'd have white-flighted long ago.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 178.

    @168. Jay
    I see nothing 'hateful' or 'selfish' in ensuring that if our government decides to take money from us it should use it in a way that brings benefit to us. If it buys British goods and services that creates demand, jobs, cuts unemployment and police costs, cuts taxes, brings prosperity. Giving those goods away to a worse off country is still giving them things for free, no problem there!

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 177.

    My response here ie "where does all the money go".For all the aid African countries get and not only from the UK.nothing seems to change or improve,one only has to visit any country there to see this,so I believe trade not hand outs is the answer.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 176.

    168. Jay. Yes, the usual selection of grasping, hard-done-by miseries appears to praise the end of the general begrudging!

  • rate this
    +13

    Comment number 175.

    A great part of Africa has been a bloody mess since the end of colonial rule. I'm not sure direct financial aid is doing anybody any favours.

    Some African nations need help with basic governance and economics; South Africa isn't one of them. This is a country that still has a functioning social security system, law and order and healthcare.

    Let's focus any help we give to the truly needy.

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 174.

    @140.ichabod, it hasn't gone down the Zimbabwe root yet, don't forget until about 20 years ago Zimbabwe was a model African state that was able to feed itself and even export surplus to other African nations.

    SA could still go down that route if someone in the mould of Mugabe gets into power.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 173.

    Maybe this is a hard stance to take but with the worlds population reaching record highs and the biggest increases coming from the countries who consistently show themselves to be incapable of self sufficiency.
    Stopping all aid will reduce the pressures we are putting on our planet and give us a more sustainable future.
    Aid prolongs misery because it promotes population growth.

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 172.

    168.Jay
    Knew this HYS would bring all the haters and selfish heartless non carers out in force"

    Neither you or any Government should be telling its public who to give aid to.

    That MUST remain a personal choice.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 171.

    We should scrap the lot. But let's get real it's not really aid to people needing it elsewhere in the world it's bribes to their governments so we can peddle arms and the fat cats get fatter, basically the taxpayer is funding the rich again but in a roundabout way.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 170.

    Aid to end in 2015. Can't help thinking it occurs the same year as the next general election. Pathetic.

  • rate this
    -5

    Comment number 169.

    168. Jay
    1 MINUTE AGO
    Knew this HYS would bring all the haters and selfish heartless non carers out in force.
    --
    Yep all 167 of them.

  • rate this
    -12

    Comment number 168.

    Knew this HYS would bring all the haters and selfish heartless non carers out in force.

  • rate this
    +12

    Comment number 167.

    We should be giving aid in terms of UK goods and services - nothing else, certainly not cash. Look at India we gave it a stack of cash, what did it do? It went and bought French warplanes. What good did it do us exactly? We can't even afford planes ourselves. The gift bought no British jobs, just took money from our economy and sent it abroad. Nothing in it for us at all. And that is BAD

  • rate this
    +10

    Comment number 166.

    It's high time the whole overseas aid concept was reviewed with a view to limiting it purely to disaster relief. No-one can convince me that it's in this country's interests to continue historical handouts to countries which could help themselves more and some of which are not even friendly. Moreover, the whole setup is bound to be inefficient and stuffed with highly-paid officials.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 165.

    If we give aid to a (third world) country we can stipulate where and how it is spent, but as we all know, aid is mostly mismanaged by the corrupt for lining pockets. This happens everywhere; it is an incurable disease. Even if we give food or other non-cash aid, it will be manipulated and "sold" on the market. Better to allocate the funds for UK pensioners and other far more worthy causes.

 

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