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

Related Stories

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."


More on This Story

Related Stories


This entry is now closed for comments

Jump to comments pagination
  • Comment number 224.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 223.

    Anyone out there know why our elected Politicians do not feel charitable towards the peoples of this country?

    Institute of Clinical Excellence deny treatment to cancer sufferers, & thousands of elderly dying every winter (eat or heat), & returning soldiers thrown on the scrapheap. Don't they deserve help?

    What is it that drives Politicians to ignore its own people in preference to others?

  • rate this

    Comment number 222.

    Over the years the amount of money pumped in to Africa is incredible - and yet what is there that Africa has to show for it? African nationa talk of unity as a continent but behave as individualists and use aid as a crutch or support to crocked regimes. Enough is enough. The only way Africa will develop is to build for itself.

  • rate this

    Comment number 221.

    Slavery was not a western invention but happened throughout the world. Only an idiot thinks otherwise. You really have no idea of history of you . and now you will tell me that african tribes never exploited each other and lived in harmony . DREAM ON.

    African and asians exploited each other . . What a laugh. Just another lot of Guardistian left wing clap trap.

  • rate this

    Comment number 220.

    Cut all foreign aid and save a few £Billion.
    Any arguments that it leads to increased investments once the countries concerned develop sufficiently cannot be guaranteed.
    Let them learn to apply the funds they can generate themselves appropriately to support their economies. Do they really need space programs etc when the amount of poverty in their populations is appalling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 219.

    4 Minutes ago
    ...I'm sure its the same people saying don't give foreign aid but rather take care of our own first who also say in other forums that we should cut our benefits and force scroungers off the dole

    I'm sorry to disappoint you but I support our welfare state, but not the insanity of our bloated ineffective unnecessary aid budget.

  • rate this

    Comment number 218.

    214. Of course. Just because we become tough on foreign aid doesn't mean we should become soft domestically.We're already the laughing stock of Europe. With our ridiculously soft benefits system and NHS that accommodates every nationality.Tighter controls need to be made all round and less money spent on bureaucratic nonsense. There's still hope for this fine island. It just requires common sense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    Give them something for free, they appreciate it.
    Keep giving it, they get used to it,
    Keep giving it, they get dependant on it

    Thing is, I could be talking about countries giving Aid, dealers selling drugs or corporations buying politicians.
    Or the welfare state.

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    The West exploits Africa’s resources and gives overseas aid. It takes a lot and gives back a little. Western media need to expose what the West is doing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    Thats correct and thats why national service should be introduced.

    National service does not have to be military.

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    Reading some posts here I'm sure its the same people saying don't give foreign aid but rather take care of our own first who also say in other forums that we should cut our benefits and force scroungers off the dole

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    Stop all the aid, it doesn't work and we don't owe them anything. We should put the money in a sovereign wealth fund and invest it in countries where we know it will make a return. Plenty of useless charity out there without the government taking more of our money to give to ingrates who end up hating us anyway.

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    @183. adamski 95

    The point of this article is saying that South Africa isn't a country in need. It's the strongest economy in Africa and the 28th strongest economy in the world. Denmark has a smaller economy but you don't see us giving them aid money. South Africa have to fend for themselves.

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    When we have no money in this country all aid should be stopped. Although that said i have no problem helpding the real needy in the world howevrer this should be done by purchasing products produced from UK companies thus supporting our businesses.

    Sad to think that most aid in form of cash is just stolen by corrupt Governments.

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    I'm surprised we give South Africa aid. How many other nations have their hands on our tax revenue? Maybe we could send money to Canada?

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    Having grown up in SA it is interesting 2 note comments on the country by those not lived there. It is falling apart, the Chinese mining the heck out of it 2 stockpile, in China, so can dictate mineral prices in the future. The UK is still 'colonial' in its attitude - a feeling of 'moral' obligation 2wards a continent that told it to (polite) go away many decades ago! Look after your own peoples!

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    You criticise any minority or africa etc and they always pull either the race card, the colonial card and

    Well fed up with it . If you dont like UK and its past then either leave the country , dont come here and dont take our money . Other wise the chip on the shoulder minorities are just a bunch of hypocrits.

    Many parts of Africa were better under british colonial rule .

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.


    "There is something deeply wrong when a government thinks it can take money from its citizens to give to charities of the governments choosing. Charity is a personal choice and no government should think they are better at spending our money than we are. I recently stopped sponsoring a child in Africa after some 16 years - I could no longer afford it with the tax I am paying"


  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    I lived in South Africa for quite a few years and had involvement in the mining industry there. The amount of wealth from just the minerals puts Britain's output into perspective. They should be sending aid here not the other way around. Yes, the same does apply to many others we sent aid to as well. Charity begins at home and we have to get our house in order first.

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    My mother was married to a white South African. They moved here, her husband died and my mother has spent the last 6 yeard trying to get access to her own money. The South African gvt will NOT let her take her own money out of the country. It is earning NO interest and she is spending what she has left here fighting a gvt for her own cash. The SA gvt is still corrupt! End of


Page 11 of 22


More UK stories



BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.