11 March 2010
Human Rights Day – 21 March 2010
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Sharpeville (and Langa) massacres as the most important events of the liberation struggle. These events signified the first mass protest action by the people of South Africa against the pass laws, which resulted in the banning of liberation movements. Through this day, we celebrate victory over the apartheid system and reinforce our commitment to human rights.
Our Constitution guarantees the rights of every South African
- The Bill of Rights is instrumental in realising the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
- The South African Human Rights Commission was set up by our Constitution to promote respect for human rights and to monitor and assess the observance of human rights in the country.
- We are aware of the challenges that we still face to ensure that all have shelter and feel safe in their homes.
Since 1994, basic service-delivery programmes have been pursued to restore the lives and dignity of South Africans
- By March 2009, 2,8 million houses have been completed, including those under the housing subsidy programme. The Government is pursuing a more comprehensive service-delivery model within the context of sustainable human settlements.
- The percentage of households with access to water infrastructure for potable water above or equal to Reconstruction and Development Programme standards increased from 61,7% in 1994 to 91,8% in March 2009.
- More than 10 million households (77%) had access to sanitation as at March 2009 as compared to five million (50%) in 1994.
- The estimate number of households with access to electricity increased from 4,5 million (50,9%) in 1994 to 9,1 million (73%) in 2008.
“Working together we can do more to protect human rights”
President Jacob Zuma’s State Visit to the United Kingdom (UK)
The UK reaffirmed its commitment to support the fight against HIV and AIDS in South Africa and is supporting the public health system with a new £25-million programme. The UK and South Africa signed a memorandum of understanding, committing the UK to provide £67 million to help the regional economic communities to improve transport infrastructure in eight countries. This will support Africa's efforts to increase trade and develop economically in order to grow out of poverty. As part of this drive, South Africa agreed to prioritise the establishment of a one-stop border post between South Africa and Zimbabwe to reduce costs and bureaucracy associated with cross-border trade.
(Joint Declaration by President Jacob Zuma and Prime Minister Gordon Brown)
Minister Trevor Manuel appointed to United Nations (UN) panel
The Minister of National Planning, Mr Trevor Manuel, has been appointed as a member of the High-Level Advisory Group on Climate Change Financing. The group was established by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to mobilise financing to assist developing countries in combating climate change.
Big jump in business confidence
Business confidence rose sharply in the first quarter of 2010. Rand Merchant Bank and the Bureau of Economic Research said its Business Confidence Index jumped by 15 points to 43 during the first quarter of 2010. This was the single biggest increase between two consecutive quarters in 16 years, the survey found.
Ministers promise job opportunities
The Government has promised that hundreds of thousands of job opportunities will be created as it spends billions on providing water, roads, electricity and rail services. The Infrastructure Development Cluster said at Parliament that the budget of R846 billion – to be spent over the next three years – was one of the largest expenditure programmes in the country's history.
More than 770 people have benefited through skills acquisition from the "Training of the Unemployed" Initiative. This is a joint venture between the Department of Labour and the Manufacturing, Engineering and Related Services Sector Education and Training Authority, which forms part of government's R2,4-billion training lay-off programme that was launched last year.
Tourism industry ready for influx of World Cup fans
SA Tourism reported that two thirds of South African tourism businesses were polishing up their service in preparation for the influx of 2010 fans. According to a Tourism Update Online poll, 70% of related businesses were excited and looking forward to the World Cup.
South Africa’s foreign visitors rise, World Cup to boost
The number of foreign visitors in South Africa rose by 3,6% in 2009, backing a global downturn in the sector, with slightly more arrivals expected this year partly due to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
Soccer City ready to host the world
Soccer City has been declared ready and was officially handed over to the Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Amos Masondo.