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The biggest and most pressing challenge facing SA’s transitional democratic government was unacceptably high levels of poverty and inequality inherited from the apartheid government — and which still define SA today. With government debt above 50% of GDP in 1995 and unemployment of more than 30% (using the expanded rate), macro-economic and fiscal limitations handicapped the post-apartheid government. The mass democratic movements went into the post-apartheid negotiations driven by a high sense of consciousness for social justice. "No political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life. Attacking poverty and deprivation must therefore be the first priority of a democratic government," the 1994 Reconstruction and Development Programme document said. The current level and extent of the social wage package is very redistributive and forms the largest proportion of the national budget, a dir...

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