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

    Comment number 204.

    What on earth is the matter with the UK? We are either giving aid to countries which do not need it or we are telling other countries ie Jordan,how it should run it's legal system which is certainly none of our business.

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    A significant problem in getting the aid to the enduser in Africa is political & military corruption. Not all, but a significant number of African countries are not "governed" at all. I would like to donate some of our UK politicians to go to Africa & use their infinate wisdom of "we know what is best for you" in order to spend the aid efficiently. Afterall, they do such splendid work in the UK!

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.

    The inept ANC government is not able to manage it's departments. The unemployment rate is the highest it has been in decades. Labour market discrimination, crime and farm murders in the most savage ways have forced millions of skilled workers to seek new lives in other countries. Millions of scholars have no text books. Teachers and nurses strike constantly. Yes, great strides since apartheid.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    So you agree we should spend our foreign aid money on the NHS where people are refused treatment and die because its too expensive? Or maybe we should do something about 1000s and 1000s of pensioners who die from the cold. Maybe we should invade syria to stop the civilian deaths. Maybe we should build in bangledesh so no more buildings collapse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    We should stop giving aid. period. We are a nation up to our armpits in huge debt yet appear to continue handing out (borrowed) money, often to corrupt governments or their leaders. Aid should begin at home.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    The sooner we stop sending money to all of africa the better.

    They only mess it up anywhere. They are incapable of maintaining anything and frankly they will probably mess up south africa. Just like another home grown leader has destroyed Rhodesia..

    Mandella was nothing more then a terrorist.There is freedom of speech and freedom of thought . Even if the BBC try to suppress one of those

  • rate this

    Comment number 198.

    @9.Bloated Bee 'Just need to add Pakistan and India to the list ...' India tried to refuse UK aid last year after the row (Nuclear power, space program, IT outsourcing etc), but UK Govt Mnisters asked them to take the money because they had justified it.

    Pakistan will always aid because its a failed state where no one pays taxes, & the Army / Corruption takes whatever revenue the Govt raises.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    I think this says more about the state of the UK than it does about South Africa. South Africa has never needed aid, even in the 70s and 80s it was a rich country. The 20 million is about the same as the daily output from one of its gold mines. This is more about the UK buying influence, which is essentially what aid means. This action simply means that the UK can't influence South Africa.

  • rate this

    Comment number 196.

    I Lived in South Africa for 40years they have much more than this country could ever have its just that the government is so corrupt.If the government really wanted to they could be a country to be reckoned with.But there again england and many other so called first world countries have their hand in the pie.

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    Like it or not, foreign aid & domestic charity organisations have now evolved into "industrial" infrastructures. The operating costs,ie, consultants, expensive advertising, "fact finding" missions, high salaries for "Directors" (see Oxfam), & the proven fraud by endusers Governments & others "in the loop" are no longer sustainable, when the sole remit should be charitable aid to others in need.

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    Why is it going to take two years to stop sending this foreign aid?
    We signed a contract?
    Special arrangement?
    I'm sure any of these rich countries will not fold because we stopped funding the regime.

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    185. adamc1979

    . . . " very few people could actually make the decision to let thousands die so that pot holes could be filled." Yes they could . . . especially when they have to pay to repair the damage to their car, or suffer the injury to, or loss of someone close to them when they are involved in an RTA due to the potholes in the road

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    I suggest that, much like need to give your permission for charitable tax relief when you make a donation, the Government should get your permission if it wants to gift your taxes to another nation. It would be interesting to see just how big the pot was!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    Charity begins at home. I've heard that before I think. It's a pity our wonderful elected government does not do what is in our best interests, but rather what is the in the interests of what would make them look good. Let's reinvest the money that we cannot afford to give in Aid to projects at home like looking after our poor, our elderly, our children who are living in appaling conditions

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    169. You
    168. Jay
    Knew this HYS would bring all the haters and selfish heartless non carers out in force.
    Yep all 167 of them.
    Do you want to borrow my Alanis Morissette lp , I meant the number of posters not their views. Oh well back to the ironing..

  • rate this

    Comment number 189.

    About time we stopped all over seas Aid, to any country especially the ones who have a nuclear and/or Space Program.
    Should be a personel choice, not for Our Government, to pick and Choose..Mind you it is probably because SA etc have a wealth of Minerals...But yet again China have probably beat us to them, like Afghanistan

  • rate this

    Comment number 188.

    A man walks down to the bank and ask for a loan.The bank ask him what he needs it for and if he can pay it back.He says I need it to give to other people as charity but no I can't really afford to pay it back and I'm in debt.The banks suggests that he invests it in a business or something to allows him to support his family. He says "Yes" but never actually does. That's essentially our Government.

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    I've no faith in this woman. She made a hell of a mess of West Coast Rail.

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    185 adamc1979

    'very few people could actually make the decision to let thousands die so that pot holes could be filled'

    If SA's government is worried about thousands dying then I suggest it spends some of the $20 million Zuma somehow accrued to build a nice big house befitting his status.

    Our aid money just frees up more cash for the likes of Zuma to syphon off for themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    The problem with cutting international aid, is that people will die as a result. Whilst its popular to spend money at home, very few people could actually make the decision to let thousands die so that pot holes could be filled. A sensible approach to identify where funding can be cut in IA is required.


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