Bua Briefs 145

23 September 2009

The 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA-64) and forthcoming forums (G-20 and Africa-South America [ASA] Summits)

South Africa will participate in three major international summits: the UNGA-64, the third G-20 Summit and the second ASA Summit. These forums will deliberate on the implementation of the millennium development goals (MDGs), climate change, the impact of the global financial crisis and the promotion of international peace and security under the leadership of the UN Security Council in partnership with respective regional organisations.

South Africa must take advantage of international multilateral forums to interact with the world to advance the interests of developing nations.

  • Poverty eradication and the achievement of the MDGs remain high on our agenda.
  • The global economic crisis is influencing the ability of countries to achieve their targets.
  • We will continue to advance South-South relations to eradicate poverty and promote development and prosperity among countries of the South, through among other things, economic diplomacy.
  • Our participation will be guided by government priorities and a foreign policy of engagement in multilateral processes as they relate to the promotion of international peace and security.

Climate change is a major threat to economic growth, sustainable development and achievement of the MDGs.

  • We have firmly expressed our commitment as signatories upon ratification of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change and its Kyoto Protocol in 1997.
  • We are committed to the reduction of emissions over a reasonable period of time, taking our own growth trajectory into account.
  • We should share the burden of responsibility. Developed countries should take the lead in reducing emission reductions by between 80% and 95% below 1990 levels by mid-century.
  • Our continent contributes very little to the current climate crisis; however, we are vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to the high dependence on rain-fed agriculture, widespread poverty and weak institutional capacity.

The international community must place greater focus on the needs of developing countries, in the implementation of solutions to the economic crisis.

  • The current financial, economic and food crises require that we redouble our efforts in meeting the needs of the most vulnerable.
  • The commitments made to developing nations to ensure that the global economic crisis will not hamper efforts to achieve the MDGs must come to fruition.
  • Governments and regional and international institutions must enhance the mobilisation of domestic resources and stabilise finances to prevent a deep slowdown and economic upheaval.
  • An action plan to implement policies to reform and strengthen transparency and accountability of the Bretton Woods Institutions is urgently required

South Africa supports the efforts to advance and promote international peace and security in the world.

  • We support the eradication of the illicit trade in small arms and light weapons and the full implementation of all the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty in pursuit of the goal of achieving a world free from nuclear weapons.
  • Working with the Non-Aligned Movement countries, we continue to press the UN Security Council to discharge its mandate with regard to the preservation and maintenance of international peace and security.
  • In the context of the African Agenda, South Africa will continue to actively work towards Africa’s development, the promotion of human rights and the achievement of sustainable peace on the continent.


Social Development Month 2009

Social Development Month will be launched on 1 October to commemorate the International Day of Older Persons.

This year, the month will ensure heightened focus on fighting poverty guided by the theme: Working Together We Can Do More To Intensify the War Against Poverty. Several activities and milestones will highlight programmes of the Department of Social Development in the form of events, outreach programmes and exhibitions.

The advances in putting in place a comprehensive safety net for vulnerable South Africans is particularly important in light of the impact of the global crisis on sustainable livelihoods.

  • Currently, over 13 million citizens are receiving social benefits – of these, nine million are children.
  • Since July 2008, over 70 000 men aged 63 and 64 years have received grants as a result of the age equalisation policy.
  • To provide a direct response to poverty and vulnerability in the context of rising food prices, the department ensures that qualifying vulnerable citizens receive Social Relief of Distress to address temporary provision of assistance to those in dire situations.
  • Working together, we can ensure that our country develops, the poor and vulnerable are protected and opportunities are accessible for all to progress.

Our broad-based partnerships between government, non-governmental organisations, business and development partners will ensure that we address the ills of society.

  • Partnerships between the National Action Committee for Children Affected by HIV and AIDS, a multisectoral team consisting of government, faith- and community-based organisations, civil society, the business sector, the United Nations Children’s Fund and Save the Children, continue to focus on the care and support of orphans and vulnerable children.
  • In line with the National Gender Machinery’s Men and Gender Equality Programme, we have developed a strategy for the engagement of men and boys in the prevention of gender-based violence.
  • All provinces are guided by national drug master plans to assist municipalities in establishing local drug action committees in which officials and members of the community formulate local plans of action to combat substance abuse in their areas.
  • The South African Depression and Anxiety Group has partnered with the Department of Social Development to launch a national toll-free substance abuse helpline – the first in South Africa to offer free substance-abuse support and counselling services nationwide

Working together we can do more, to intensify the war against poverty



Infrastructural development

  • Red Cross Children's Hospital opens R125-million complex
    The new Operating Theatre Complex at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital in Cape Town has officially opened. The hospital is the only stand-alone, specialist hospital in southern Africa dedicated entirely to children. The refurbished and expanded complex has increased from four to eight new theatres and is set to advance the hospital and keep it abreast of modern surgical techniques and technology

Science and technology

  • Sumbandila satellite launched into space
    South Africa's Sumbandila satellite was launched into space from a space base in Kazakhastan. The main objectives of the –SumbandilaSat programme are to strengthen the technological capabilities and space resources that exist in South Africa, develop capacity in satellite engineering and provide Earth observation data for a wide range of applications


  • World Cup build-up can speed up economic recovery
    South African economists say the build-up to the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ can speed up the country's economic recovery and that economic confidence is expected to rise as the tournament approaches.
  • South African films to receive government aid
    Film-makers receiving rebates from the Department of Trade and Industry will in future be paid during the course of the production process and no longer at the end.
  • High-income black households show dramatic growth.
    A research report titled, Household Income and Expenditure Patterns and Trends, 2007 – 2008, and released by the Bureau of Market Research highlights that, growing from a low base, the number of black households in the highest income group (R750 000 plus) grew dramatically during the past decade.


  • Higher Education
    Parliament is exploring the possibility of establishing universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga. The Portfolio Committee on Higher Education will engage the provincial education departments and other stakeholders in these areas to explore the skills needs and how best to phase in a university for each province.