28 September 1999
It is my pleasure to launch this 1999 edition of the South Africa Yearbook. This book is a culmination of commitment and hard work on the part of contributors and the GCIS personnel who spent many hours compiling and editing this book.
The SA Yearbook is the only official source of reference on our country. It covers all the topics ranging from our country's history to its system of government, trade relations, mineral wealth, health sector, and so on. It is thus an invaluable information tool for both domestic and international audiences. Furthermore, students, teachers, researchers, tourists and anyone else interested in South Africa will find the comprehensive index and suggested reading lists useful.
In addition, this new edition of the SA Yearbook boasts an updated and revised history of South Africa. This is most appropriate, as South African communities have a broad and diverse history. The rewriting of our history has just begun. We as South Africans need to find ways of giving a voice to the different religious and cultural communities and their specific experiences within the context of South African history. The revised history chapter in this SA Yearbook will hopefully contribute to the complex process that has just begun, to reflect our country's past as it truly should be reflected. This history should recognise our differences whilst uniting us as a nation. For the revised History section of this latest SA Yearbook, a special word of thanks to the Institute for Historical Research (IHR) of the University of the Western Cape. The IHR's assistance and co-operation in this regard is much appreciated. Those of you familiar with the content of the SA Yearbook know its importance and value. Unfortunately one is unable to highlight each and every chapter on this occasion.
Suffice is to say the following:
The chapter on Justice, highlights the transformation within South Africa's justice system, the most important pieces of legislation recently adopted, court structures and the working of the justice c Protector, South African Law Commission, Human Rights Commission, Commission on Gender Equality and the TRC is spelt out.
The chapter on the economy focuses on domestic output and expenditure, foreign trade and relations, export promotions, industrial policy and investment marketing. Also discussed are Governments and the creation of an environment to promote small, micro and medium enterprises (SMMEs).
The chapter on Finance looks at the Government's fiscal policy including the 1999/2000 Budget, the medium-term expenditure framework and its macro-economic and monetary policies. Other issues covered include the SA Revenue Service, the planned national lottery, and the work of the Auditor-General and the Reserve Bank.
The chapter on Health provides information on Government's efforts to address issues like malaria, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and polio and measles to name a few.
The chapter on Education explains the Government's education policy, the National Qualification Framework and the education of learners with special needs, as well as the funding of education.
The chapter on Tourism lists the country's top tourist attractions, the role of Satour and the Government's endeavours to boost the contribution of the tourism industry to GDP. Information is provided on various accommodation guides available to the tourists as well as tourist attractions in South Africa's nine provinces such as cultural villages, museums, hiking routes, nature reserves, and so forth.
The chapter on Foreign relations focuses on South Africa's role in the international arena and its participation in organisations such as the SADC, OAU, UN and so on. South Africa's relations with Africa, the Middle East, Asia, the America's and Europe are also discussed. This chapter also provides a list of foreign representatives in South Africa and abroad as well as the list of bilateral agreements signed in 1998.
One could continue summarising and highlighting the different chapters of the SA Yearbook. Most significantly though, is that this book does not just represent a compilation of dry facts.
It is the yearly record of the work of the South African government. In the very pages of the SA Yearbook is the account of different Ministries and Department's formulation of policies and implemention of programmes that will benefit the poor and the marginalised in our society. The SA Yearbook is the archive of the unfolding programme of reconstructing and rebuilding South Africa.
Many journalists have already mentioned to me what an invaluable source it is. To those wishing to present it as a gift to foreign friends or even to educate South Africans about our own country - this book comes highly recommended.
The SA Yearbook is therefore an important communication flagship of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS), and indeed of government as a whole. Its almost 600 pages and 24 chapters is an important mirror of the endeavours of Government to build a better life for all.
I thank you.
Minister in The Presidency, Dr Essop Pahad
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)