17 March 2011
- Human Rights Day
- World TB Day 2011
- Presidential Business Summit
- 2011 Local Government Elections - 18 May 2011
- South Africa Water Week and the hosting of the United Nations (UN) World Water Day celebrations
- Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) Summit and the Second Tripartite Summit of the Southern African Development Community - East African Community - Common Market of East and Southern Africa (SADC-EAC-Comesa)
- National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS)
This year marks the 51st anniversary of the Sharpeville (and Langa) massacres as critical events of the liberation struggle. These events signified the first protest action against mass action by the people of South Africa against pass laws, which resulted in the banning of liberation movements.
On Human Rights Day, 21 March, we celebrate victory over the apartheid system and reinforce our commitment to human rights.
South Africa is a signatory to the United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights which outlines the rights to which all human beings are inherently entitled.
South Africans commemorate 21 March to reinforce our commitment to human rights as enshrined in our Constitution. These rights include:
- equality – everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law
- human dignity – everyone has inherent dignity and have their dignity respected and protected
- freedom of movement and residence – everyone has a right to freedom of movement and to reside anywhere in the country
- language and culture – everyone has the right to use the language and to participate in the cultural life of their choice.
In realising the constitutional mandate of "human dignity, the achievement of equality and the advancement of human rights and freedoms", government has put in place deliberate programmes that will optimally promote economic opportunities, which must be driven by all social partners.
- We continue to implement programmes aimed at fighting poverty, growing our economy and creating jobs.
- Government has set aside R9 billion for over the next three years for a jobs fund to co-finance innovative public and private employment projects.
- We have allocated R73 billion over the next three years for the Expanded Public Works Programme.
- R5 billion has been set aside for the National Skills Fund, which has key responsibilities for training work seekers.
In ensuring that communities become sustainable in building a functioning democracy, government is committed to meeting housing needs and building decent human settlements through the provision of social services.
- Approximately 76,2% of South African households now live in formal dwellings – up from 64,4% in 1996.
- Through its programmes, government has increased the percentage of households with access to water infrastructure that is above or equal to the Reconstruction and Development Programme standards to 93,8% in 2010 (South Africa is likely to achieve the Millennium Development Goal [MDG] of universal access to potable water).
- We are still faced with challenges regarding access to sanitation. However, we have ensured an overall increase of the number of households with access to sanitation to 79,9% (South Africa is likely to achieve the MDG of universal access to sanitation).
- The number of households with access to electricity increased from 4,5 million in 1994 to 9,4 million in 2010.
Access to healthcare services is a critical lever to ensure that all South African become agents of socio economic change.
- Government increased immunisation from 63% in 1998 to 95,5% in 2009 as part of its programmes to promote access to healthcare.
- We have improved access to antiretroviral drugs for HIV victims in all provinces. The Comprehensive HIV and AIDS Conditional Grant will amount to R26,9 billion over the next three years.
- Government has increased spending on public health services over the past three years, from R63 billion in 2007/08 to R113 billion projected for next year.
- Government has a Ten-Point-Plan to reform the country’s health sector through revitalising the primary healthcare system and providing comprehensive cover in primary, secondary, tertiary and high-care services.
We call on all in South Africans to work with government to create an environment where everyone is and feels safe, and is free from discrimination.
- Government calls on all South Africans to become active partners in the fight against crime.
- We are committed to the fight against corruption which undermines human rights.
- South Africa belongs to all who live in it and includes all people regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, and cultural and religious background.
- Government condemns acts of discrimination and intolerance on grounds that include sexual orientation, culture and religion, race, gender, nationality, ethnicity and language.
Working together to protect human dignity for all
World tuberculosis (TB) Day on 24 March is designed to build public awareness and coincides with the “Kick TB Campaign”, which aims to involve scholars in the fight against TB and promote healthy lifestyles.
TB remains an epidemic in much of the world, causing the death of millions of people, especially in developing countries.
- This campaign will help the country realise its vision of “A South Africa that is free of TB and the stigma surrounding the disease”.
- South Africa, with the fifth-highest TB incidence in the world, is one of the 22 high-burden countries that contribute about 80% of the total global burden of all TB cases.
- Raising awareness and knowledge of TB among the South African population is essential in the fight against TB.
TB is one of the leading causes of death in South Africa, especially among people with HIV. The control and management of TB is therefore a government priority.
- During the HIV Testing and Counselling (HCT) Campaign, 2 717 376 people were also screened for TB and 441 485 were referred for further assessment for TB. The TB cure rate increased from 68% in 2008 to 70,4% in 2009.
- Through effective defaulter tracing and support, the proportion of people who default TB treatment decreased from 7,9% in 2009 to 6,4% in 2010.
- Seventeen public-sector facilities are now diagnosing and initiating treatment for drug-resistant TB patients. A total of 5,083 health professionals and 3 392 non-health professionals have been trained in TB management.
- As part of its response to TB, government provides TB treatment (including multidrug-resistant TB [MDR] and extensively drug-resistant TB [XDR TB]) in all public health facilities. People who are on TB treatment are encouraged to complete their treatment to avoid MDR and XDR complications.
The Kick TB Campaign aims to unite people in the fight against the twin scourges of TB and HIV.
- Government, under the leadership of the Department of Health, in partnership with the Desmond Tutu TB Centre at the Stellenbosch University has launched the campaign under the banner of 'Let’s play, Let’s learn, Let’s save lives!'
- The campaign’s principal target will be primary school learners between the ages of 5 and 13 years. Approximately 115,000 learners drawn from diverse schools and backgrounds will be given the opportunity to participate in the campaign.
- Special attention will be given to schools in the 18 priority districts identified by the Department of Health for accelerated interventions and TB hotspots (e.g. schools in mining areas and those in close proximity to hostels).
- Educators, particularly those in the selected schools, will receive training that will equip them with knowledge on TB to be integrated into their routine teaching and interaction with learners during and after the campaign.
Family members, parents, siblings and friends of the participating learners will, mainly through their interaction with the learners, become exposed to the messages on TB that learners would internalise from the campaign.
- The mascot for the campaign is TURBO BOOTS, who epitomises all that is healthy, positive and exuberant. With absolute confidence, he is able to kick the scourge of TB. He is young and powerful, and a positive role model to the nation’s youth.
- “Do what I do”, is his message. He is neither black nor white; he is the rainbow that all young South Africans can identify with.
- By rocketing TB into the back of the pandemic net, he shows the way; and he invites all South Africa’s children to do as he does and kick TB with TURBO BOOTS!
- The aim is to share this campaign internationally – having different countries "signing up" and joining the International Kick TB Team. They must then implement the campaign concept in their own countries.
The Presidential Business Summit on Job Creation is scheduled to take place on 18 March 2011 in Pretoria. The summit will focus on identified priority sectors and the role that the business sector can play in achieving key deliverables of government’s job creation plans, which was highlighted during President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA). Government has declared 2011 as the year of job creation.
The summit will create a good opportunity to strengthen cooperation between government and business to promote economic growth and job creation.
- The relationship between government and business should be based on trust and ensuring continuous constructive engagement that contributes towards the attainment of the national developmental agenda.
- Active cooperation and commitment from the business sector in creating jobs and making investments will accelerate government’s plans and increase the pace of economic growth.
- The new R9-billion jobs fund will invite proposals from the private sector for projects to create self-sustaining employment.
- Government prioritises its key role in creating an enabling environment that allows the private sector to create jobs. Growth will follow employment targets rather than employment as a residual outcome of growth.
Partnerships are crucial to achieving the target of creating five million jobs in 10 years, and propelling the economy to a higher growth path.
- The New Growth Path (NGP) identifies five other priority areas as part of the programme to create jobs, through a series of partnerships between government and the private sector.
- The NGP identifies measures to strengthen the capacity of the State and enhance the performance of the private sector to achieve employment and growth goals.
- The NGP proposes major improvements in government, with a call for slashing unnecessary red tape, improving competition in the economy and stepping up skills development.
- Government calls for greater focus by South African business on opportunities in Africa’s fast-growing economies. This is accompanied by commitments to improve cross-border infrastructure and measures to address unnecessary regulatory obstacles to the movement of people and goods, as part of building a common market on the continent.
The Green Economy has been identified as a major potential area for employment creation. Climate change should no longer be seen as solely an environmental challenge but rather a sustainable development challenge which affects all of us.
- The Green Economy is one of the five priority areas from the NGP and focuses on expansions in construction and the production of technologies for solar, wind and biofuels, which is supported by the draft plan for electricity (IRP 2). Clean manufacturing and environmental services are projected to create 300 000 jobs over the next decade.
- Government is committed towards the implementation of the Industrial Action Plan to support broad-based industrialisation, including more advanced manufacturing and encouraging cleaner, lower-energy technologies and green jobs.
- Government continues to pursue and explore further the concept of green gobs, including scaling up labour-intensive natural resources management practices that contribute to decent work and livelihood opportunities.
- Government and business need to work together on concrete plans to develop the economy and drive green jobs. The Green Economy is central to South Africa’s plan to grow its economy and create jobs through green industries and environment-friendly initiatives.
- South Africa is seized with ensuring a legally binding climate change agreement that will govern the world’s response to the increasingly visible effects of climate change and reiterates that any final agreement must support our developmental agenda. The upcoming United Nations Conference on Climate Change (Conference of the Parties 17), hosted by South Africa, will strive towards a common developmental position to reduce gas emissions.
The freedom to vote is one of the fruits that were borne with our first democratic election in 1994. Government calls on all South Africans from the age of 16 to exercise this right by participating in the upcoming local government elections. The 2011 municipal elections will elect members of the district, metropolitan and local municipalities, who, in turn, will elect the mayors of the municipalities to office.
The upcoming elections provide citizens with an opportunity to become active participants in building sustainable communities, which in turn contributes towards the establishment of a functioning democracy.
All South Africans are called to action to elect representatives who will promote their and their community’s interests.
- This democratically elected government has built a local government system which gives power to the people to make their voices heard in the communities where they live.
- Government has also worked with municipalities through various interventionist programmes such as the Local Government Turnaround Strategy to ensure that national programmes become a lived reality for all South Africans.
- Through the ward committees and consultations over integrated development plans, communities can hold their elected representatives accountable.
- Communities have the power to ensure that their municipality works with provincial and national government to translate national programmes into local services and development.
Together, we have worked hard to build a democratic local government that gives communities a voice and the opportunity to be active agents in developing the localities in which they live.
- Since 1994, this democratically elected government has strived to ensure that all South Africans regardless of race or creed have access to basic service, access to equal opportunities and respect for basic human rights which is protected by our Constitution.
- Government is fully aware of the challenges at local government level, where many areas still lack the financial base or the skills that are needed for local government and local development.
- Government has put in place key interventions and mechanism to ensure that national, provincial and municipalities work together in ensuring a better life for all South Africans.
Government programmes have ensured that backlogs are addressed and that access to basic service has improved.
- In 1994, only 62% of households had access to running water; by the year 2010, 94% of households had access to running water.
- In 1994, only 50% of households had access to decent sanitation; by the year, 2010 80% of households had access to decent sanitation.
- In 1994, only 51% of households had access to electricity; by the year 2010, 75% of households had access to electricity.
Government has highlighted job creation as part of its programme to build functioning communities.
- The New Growth Path (NGP) is aimed at enhancing growth, employment creation and equity. The policy’s principal target is to create five million jobs over the next 10 years.
- This framework reflects government’s commitment to prioritising employment creation in all economic policies. It identifies strategies that will enable South Africa to grow in a more equitable and inclusive manner in future in attaining our developmental agenda.
- Government calls on every South African to contribute to building our nation over the coming 20 years, in ensuring a collective effort, creativity and solidarity. Smarter coordination between government and stronger partnerships with the private sector and organised labour will galvanise our resources in achieving the aims of the NGP.
- Leadership and strong governance are critical enablers to ensuring that South Africa takes charge of the new opportunities. Government commits to cut wasteful spending, tackle corruption and align the allocation of public money with developmental priorities.
The local government elections will take place in conditions that are free and fair.
- The South African Police Service as well as security services are working closely with the Independent Electoral Commission in securing a safe and free local government election. The South African National Defence Force is also on standby to assist police if necessary.
- There will be a dedicated team of detectives and reaction teams to deal with specific election-related cases that will be reported.
- South Africa has become a functioning democracy with four successful national and provincial elections being held since 1994.
- We have an internationally recognised Constitution that protects the rights of all citizens and ensures that we live in a democracy that respects the right to vote.
Working together we can do more.
Local government is everybody's business. Be part of it.
Government, under the leadership of the Department of Water Affairs, celebrates National Water Week during the month of March, which coincides with World Water Day on 22 March. The campaign emphasises water conservation as a key intervention that calls all South Africans to action in contributing towards water security for current and future generations. This year, South Africa, in partnership with the UN Habitat, UN Water and the African Ministers Council on Water (AMCOW), will be hosting the UN World Water Day celebrations in Cape Town on 22March 2011, which will highlight the plight of city dwellers with regard to water. The overall theme is Water for Cities – Responding to the Urban Challenge.
Since our democratic dispensation, government has worked tirelessly to realise the constitutional right to water by all South Africans.
- In 1994, a large portion of the South African population, especially marginalised households and those who lived in rural areas, lacked access to basic water supplies.
- The percentage of households with access to water infrastructure above or equal to the Reconstruction and Development Programme standard increased to 93,8% by March 2010. South Africa is likely to achieve the 2014 Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of universal access to portable water.
- The overall number of households with access to sanitation has increased to 79,9%. It is likely that South Africa will achieve the MDG of universal access to sanitation.
- This human right to water acts as a lever to achieve other human, economic, and socio-cultural rights, such as the right to fife, food, health and well-being.
Issues regarding water security, urban water challenges and sanitation are high on government’s developmental agenda.
- Government in its New Growth Path has identified water as a strategic catalyst towards the achievement of the economic growth objectives.
- Sufficient supply of water is a requirement for the country to achieve its economic growth targets. South Africa has committed itself to achieve high levels of economic growth and has identified critical industries to maximise their potential for this imperative, including mining and agriculture, which depend on the provision of water.
- In response to the increasing demand for water due to rapid economic growth, population growth and other social development needs, government is developing a framework to guide actions and decisions that will ensure water security in terms of quantity and of quality to support South Africa's requirements for economic growth and social development.
- Government is committed to ensuring that these goals are achieved without compromising the ecological sustainability of water resources.
Government calls on all South Africans to be responsible by playing their part in guaranteeing water security and sustainability, and by complying with water laws.
- Government is working to increase its capacity to deal with the enduring problem of illegal water use by sectors such as the farming community and other large water users.
- Government calls on all South Africans to take responsibility for paying for their water usage. This money will enable government to facilitate job creation and skills development in the water sector.
- Proper use of water is encouraged and any misuse and other faults should be reported to the nearest municipal offices or call the Department of Water Affairs’ toll-free number on 0800 200 200.
Government has intervened with urgency to address the problem of acid mine drainage in the country.
- The Inter-Ministerial Committee, which was established in September 2010, appointed a panel of experts who have assessed the risks and all available solutions.
- These assessments have been interrogated to develop critical short-term interventions and long-term sustainable solutions to the problem, and have been presented to Cabinet.
- An implementation plan is being formulated that will utilise the R225 million that government has allocated to initiate this programme.
- Government is committed to work with all stakeholders, including business, non-governmental organisations and civil society to find solutions to deal with acid mine drainage.
Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) Summit and the Second Tripartite Summit of the Southern African Development Community - East African Community - Common Market of East and Southern Africa (SADC-EAC-Comesa)
South Africa will host the Sacu Summit on 25 March 2011. Sacu consists of Botswana, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland who are all members of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Southern African Trade Protocol.
The summit will be followed by the Second Tripartite Summit of the SADC-EAC-Comesa on a date to be announced.
Hosting and participating in these summits forms part of the country’s efforts to deepen regional integration in southern Africa and to extend integration across Africa.
South Africa advocates regional integration in southern Africa and sees Sacu as integral to the process for deeper integration in SADC and across southern and eastern Africa
- Sacu held two summits in 2010, which have assisted to develop a clear work programme for the institution and to enhance its unity of purpose.
Sacu members have agreed to a targeted work programme in the following five areas:
- regional industrialisation
- reviewing the revenue-sharing formula to ensure a sustainable revenue- sharing mechanism that promotes development
- developing a trade facilitation programme to improve border efficiency
- unified engagement in trade negotiations
- establishing common institutions such as a Tariff Board and the Tribunal within an agreed policy framework.
- The upcoming Sacu Summit will review the progress made and propose a strategic direction for the union as necessary.
South Africa contributes to accelerating economic integration of the SADC region and is committed to the promotion of intra-regional trade and investment.
- Progress with trade integration in SADC is being facilitated by the establishment of a free trade area (FTA). In 2008, 85% of goods traded were duty free and, by 2012, 99% will be duty free.
- South Africa advocates that the region’s limited resources should consolidate the FTA by focusing on improving the rules of origin, enhancing trade facilitation and addressing non-tariff barriers. SADC members that are not yet participating in the FTA, should be assisted and encouraged to accede.
- South Africa believes in advancing work on cross-border infrastructural development and sectoral cooperation with a particular effort to build and diversify the region’s production structures. President Jacob Zuma champions the rail and road infrastructure sector (North-South Corridor), emanating from the July 2010 African Union (AU) Summit which launched the New Partnership for Africa’s Development priority infrastructure initiative.
- The focus will be on consolidating the FTA, and working to extend African integration through pursuit of the Trilateral FTA consisting of the SADC, the EAC and Comesa.
African countries need to strengthen their economic integration and coordinating mechanism through the regional economic communities (RECs).
- The AU has prioritised the establishment of the AEC. A Pan-African Common Market of one billion people without internal borders will unleash the enormous economic growth and development potential of Africa.
- Africa's three main regional blocs, namely SADC, the EAC and Comesa are making significant progress in harmonising their projects to promote full regional integration.
- A milestone of the three RECs is the creation of a Tripartite Free Trade Area (T-FTA) between 26 countries, with a combined gross domestic product of about $625 billion and a combined population of approximately 700 million.
- Africa has a relatively low level of intra-regional trade and the bulk of exports are destined for the European Union, the United States and Asian markets. This is partly the result of an overwhelmingly resources-based export basket.
- A larger, integrated and growing regional market will enhance the interest of foreign investment and provide a basis for enhanced intra-African trade.
The Second Tripartite Summit, to be hosted by South Africa, aims to launch the T‑FTA negotiations and address the issues of regional infrastructure and the free movement of business people.
- Most of South Africa’s trade with African countries is not in commodities but in value-added products. Extending the regional FTAs already in place on the continent has the potential to build and sustain more diverse markets in Africa.
- In the context of markedly improved growth prospects for Africa alongside intensified global competition for Africa’s resources and markets, the need to enhance South Africa’s access to African markets is more urgent.
- Development integration has been a key objective of the South African Government’s foreign economic policy since 1994. The approach combines market integration with sectoral policy coordination and cross-border infrastructural development. It also considers that high-level political cooperation is required particularly at an early stage of the process.
- South Africa’s approach to the T-FTA contains three core elements. Firstly, the T-FTA should be limited to a trade in goods agreement that is flexible and provides sufficient scope for the parties to protect sensitive sectors. Secondly, trade-related issues such as services, including the issue of the business visas, and competition policy should be pursued on a separate track and be the subject for engagement in future. Thirdly, it is proposed reaffirmation that the infrastructure programme, namely the North-South Corridor, proceeds on a separate track.
Government, under the leadership of the Department of Tourism, will launch the NTSS in KwaZulu-Natal on 24 March 2011. This follows Cabinet’s approval of the strategy for implementation on 2 March 2011. Partnerships between government and the private sector are essential in growing this sector. The NTSS was drafted by a 32-member panel of experts from both the private and public sector and will be implemented by both sectors.
Government has identified tourism as one of the key contributing sectors to its strategic medium-term priorities of growing the economy and creating decent work.
- South Africa’s tourism industry has grown significantly over the years but has not reached its full potential although there is a conducive environment for travel and tourism in the country.
- The United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO) has indicated a 4% growth for the country following the recession in 2009.
- South Africa recorded a 15,1% increase in tourism arrivals year in 2010 and therefore outperformed the estimated global tourism arrivals of 6,7% by more than 8%.
- South Africa has already secured 200 international conferences for the coming five years, which will attract 300 000 delegates and provide an economic boost worth R1,6 billion.
The NTSS intends to grow tourism’s contribution to the country’s gross domestic product (GDP).
- As far as tourism’s total (direct and indirect) contribution to GDP is concerned, the aim will be to increase this contribution from the 2009 baseline of R189,4 billion to R499 billion in 2020.
- An increase of some five million foreign tourist arrivals and 3,4 million domestic tourists will be pursued. Direct and indirect employment by the sector aims to provide approximately 177 000 more job opportunities by 2020 within the sector and another 48 000 directly linked to government programmes, totalling 225 000 jobs by the year 2020.
- Also by 2020, the Department of Tourism and stakeholders aims to attract R35 billion more from public-sector/government investment in tourism infrastructure and R1 billion more from foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector, as well as to increase private-sector capital formation for tourism-related products.
- A memorandum of understanding between the industry and the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform and other agencies should be signed by April 2012 to address issues of land ownership and tourism investment.
The NTSS aims to entrench a tourism culture among South Africans to increase domestic tourism’s contribution to the tourism economy.
- Research has shown that domestic tourism tends to be the main sustainability factor for most successful destinations.
- By 2020, the NTSS aims to increase the domestic tourism GDP to 60% of tourism’s overall contribution to GDP, compared to the 2009 baseline of 52%.
- Further targets are to ascertain and improve both upper- and middle-class residents’ perceptions of local holiday-making; to increase the number of first-time domestic holiday travellers as well as the number of leisure travellers from the black market, and to provide more affordable and accessible tourism experiences for the domestic market.
- The 2020 target is to facilitate five million more domestic holiday trips than the 2009 baseline. This includes travel packages that can accommodate the broader South African population.
To increase growth in tourism sales, the NTSS will increase South Africa’s tourism brand awareness to position the country globally as a recognised tourism destination.
- Government will leverage the successes of the 2010 World Cup through lasting positive images to showcase South Africa as a distinctive brand to potential tourists.
- The African market is one of the key markets to sustain regional tourism development. Therefore, to increase regional awareness of South African tourism, five marketing offices in key African markets will be set up by 2020, including the possible implementation of more regional tourism programmes, such as transfrontier conservation areas.
- Through the Tourism Service Excellence Initiative, the country will give visitors a memorable experience to encourage repeat visits through word-of-mouth marketing. The aim will be to deliver tourist experiences that equal or surpass the expectations of foreign and domestic tourists alike.
- A national visitor satisfaction index will be set up for foreigners and locals, and service issues hampering domestic tourism in particular, such as racist attitudes, will be tracked and addressed.
Transformation of the tourism sector is vital to ensure the sustainable growth and development of the tourism industry.
- The NTSS envisages the sector to be 70% compliant by 2014 with an increase in tourism companies with Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) ratings; and an improvement in the number of companies reaching the Tourism Charter targets.
- A 5% improvement per year over six years and an increase in the number of black-owned tourism businesses by 2020 will be pursued.
- With regard to rural spread, more people will be encouraged to visit and spend bed nights in rural areas by, among other things, enhancing the supply of rural tourism products that attract customers and earn revenue.
- Responsible tourism aims to maximise economic, social and environmental benefits and minimise costs to destinations. Government plans to work towards increasing the number of tourism programmes and projects that are led by and benefiting communities, as well as increasing those tourism businesses adhering to “responsible tourism” standards and practices.
- The local government sphere also plays an important role in growing and developing the sector. It is important for stakeholders in the local governance of tourism to incorporate the NTSS’s targets into local integrated development plans and economic development plans.
Call to engineers and artisans
The Minister of Public Works, Ms Gwen Mahlangu-Nkabinde, has called upon all retired, unemployed and not yet qualified engineers and artisans to submit their CVs to the Department of Public Works with the aim of creating a database to assist the department to deliver on its infrastructure development mandate as well as contribute to job creation and a sustainable skills.
The BBC World Service Country Rating Poll has revealed that positive international views of South Africa have improved sharply last year. This was attributed to South Africa’s successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World CupTM, as well as the country's new membership of the Brics group.
Trade corridors will boost African marketplace
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, said South Africa was set to help neighbouring African countries to develop various transport corridors in a bid to boost regional integration and create a larger marketplace for Africans. Minister Davies said poor transport links between African countries had long stifled trade between the continent's states.
South Africa's budget most transparent in the world
The International Budget Partnership has rated South Africa's budgeting system as the most transparent in the world. According to the survey, the world's most transparent countries are South Africa (with a score of 92 out of 100), New Zealand (90), United Kingdom (87), France (87), Norway (83), Sweden (83) and the United States (82). The survey classified these seven countries as “providing extensive information”.
Retail crime “considerably” down
The Consumer Goods Council of South Africa has confirmed that retail crime statistics for armed robberies and burglaries, have fallen “considerably” in the past year. According to the council, the number of armed robberies reported in 2010 fell to 159, compared to 282 incidents in 2009. The number of burglaries dropped to 311, compared to 426 incidents reported in 2009.
Study shows anti-AIDS drugs reducing deaths in South Africa
The Actuarial Society of South Africa, in a statement, has unveiled that South Africa's AIDS deaths have fallen by nearly 25% due to scaled-up access to life-saving drugs. It further found that the rapid expansion of South Africa’s antiretroviral programme appears to have slowed down the AIDS mortality rate in recent years.