Apartheid ended in South Africa in 1994.
So how great South Africa was, for the purpose of whether or not it was a good place under Apartheid, is determined by how well it functioned compared to other countries of the world at that time and earlier.
Lets start off with Military Functioning, since I'm a fan of Military technology and weapons.
In 1994 and earlier, 5th Generation fighter jets didn't exist yet, 4th generation Fighters were the latest aircrafts, and functioned at their peak performance.
In 1994, South Africa had a 4th Generation fighter called the Denel Cheetah, the latest versions like the E and the R, were more combat effective than the Dassault Mirage 2000, and were as combat effective as the Panavia Tornado of the most common 1994 package, it was far more modern and more powerful than aircrafts of the 3rd generation like the F4 Phantom, and the Saab Viggen and Sepecat Jaguar.
South Africa had SAAR class missile corvette warships, and Shaldag Patrol Boats and German submarines.
This gives it fairly low marks for a Blue Water traditional navy.
However Combat history proves that the SAAR class is superior to anything in the middle east and elsewhere in Africa...
Good missiles, guns and radar technology places it easily equal to countries like Israel, and Greece and Turkey, and Chile.
Around the world, this is actually considerably powerful.
Their Ground vehicles and armor often came from Britain manufactured in South Africa.
Just for the record, that is the quality often used by the United States Army and Marines.
So, over all.. during apartheid, South Africa's military scores very good for technological equality with most other first world countries though not a Superpower.
Today South Africa's military technology is nowhere near as good compared to other countries.
A 4th generation fighter, when today 4.5 and 5th generation is now being exported around the world.
Famous failed French missiles, and while they do have very large frigates, much larger than the saar class, it lacks the technological refinements, and gets its dreadnought type weaponry from countries like France.
Their Armored vehicles are also junk, influenced by countries like Russia.
South Africa was by far the most invested in country in Africa by foreign companies during Apartheid.
Today, their technological systems are failing and the poor people there are stealing buildings to live in, and resorting to unqualified, unacceptable, abusive, non-governmental vigilante based police type hacks...
To enforce the laws.
So during apartheid, their GDP per capita was equal to lower end first world countries like Greece, Portugal and Turkey and Chile and Argentina.