MPs slam ‘ad hoc’ decision to suspend aid to South Africa

8 Jan 14
The UK’s decision to end bilateral aid programme South Africa was ‘ad hoc’, driven by short-term political pressures and neither methodical nor transparent, MPs on the International Development Committee said today.

By | 8 January 2014

The UK’s decision to end the bilateral aid programme to South Africa was ‘ad hoc’, driven by short-term political pressures and neither methodical nor transparent, MPs on the International Development Committee said today.

In April last year, International Development Secretary Justine Greening announced that Britain’s bilateral development programme in South Africa would come to an end in 2015. This decision came just two years after a major Bilateral Aid Review that prompted ministers to announce the closure of DFID programmes in 16 other countries by 2016.

Issuing the committee’s report today, chair Malcolm Bruce said Greening had failed to convince the committee that her decision to end aid in South Africa was in accordance with the Bilateral Aid Review.

‘Such decisions to end a bilateral programme or to start a new one should be made only following a Bilateral Aid Review, except in exceptional cases,’ he said.

‘Moreover, the announcement of the decision to end bilateral aid to South Africa was criticised in South Africa. Pravin Grodhan [South Africa’s finance minister] said that no agreement had been reacehd with the South African government about the announcement, and moreover, it seemed “there was an intention to demonstrate some kind of fiscal probity using South African assistance as a political tool”.’

A DFID spokesman said the decision to close the aid programme in South Africa had been right.

'These decisions clearly follow on from the government’s own aid review published in 2011 which identified [South Africa] as on the path to transition.

'As countries successfully develop, DFID will continue to ensure that our aid remains targeted on the poorest countries where support is most needed.'


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