Country Listing

South Africa Table of Contents

South Africa


After South Africa's international isolation ended and border trade increased in the early 1990s, problems associated with narcotics trafficking and drug use increased dramatically, according to the South African Police Service (SAPS). In 1994 South African authorities confiscated more than 2.4 million ounces of cocaine; nearly 25,000 grams of heroin; more than 16,000 units of LSD; 27,000 ounces of hashish, and 7 million kilograms of cannabis (marijuana), according to police records, and most of these figures were expected to increase in 1995 and 1996. At the same time, officials at the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reported an increase in problems related to substance abuse and addiction, and police officials reported that narcotics dealers often were involved in other forms of crime, such as arms smuggling, burglaries, or car hijackings.

Women in Society

In general, all racial and ethnic groups in South Africa have long-standing beliefs concerning gender roles, and most are based on the premise that women are less important, or less deserving of power, than men. Most African traditional social organizations are male centered and male dominated. Even in the 1990s, in some rural areas of South Africa, for example, wives walk a few paces behind their husbands in keeping with traditional practices. Afrikaner religious beliefs, too, include a strong emphasis on the theoretically biblically based notion that women's contributions to society should normally be approved by, or be on behalf of, men.

Twentieth-century economic and political developments presented South African women with both new obstacles and new opportunities to wield influence. For example, labor force requirements in cities and mining areas have often drawn men away from their homes for months at a time, and, as a result, women have borne many traditionally male responsibilities in the village and home. Women have had to guarantee the day-to-day survival of their families and to carry out financial and legal transactions that otherwise would have been reserved for men.

Data as of May 1996