20 April 2011
- Workers' Day – 1 May
- Promoting the rights of the child
- Elections 2011 - Guidelines on government communication during an election period
- Tourism Indaba
- Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government - May 2011
- Second Africa-India Summit
- World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa
- Group of Eight (G8) meeting
In pre-1994 South Africa, the demand for the annual observance of Workers’ Day as a public holiday became a rallying point for workers and their trade unions and was one of a number of significant annual days to symbolise and mobilise resistance to the apartheid government and its racial policies. 1 May only became an officially recognised public holiday after the democratic elections of 1994.
Workers' Day (May Day) has its origins internationally within the historical struggles of workers and their trade unions for solidarity between working people, in their struggles to win fair employment standards. This included the need to establish a culture of human and worker rights which are enshrined in international law and the national law of those countries aligned to the International Labour Organisation, of which South Africa is a member.
In declaring 2011 as a year of job creation through meaningful economic transformation, government aims to address the twin challenges of poverty and unemployment by forging strategic partnerships with key partners, including labour, business and organised sectors of communities.
- The New Growth Path identifies five priority areas as part of the programme to create jobs through a series of partnerships. The following priority areas are being targeted in a bid to create more jobs: infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the "green" economy and tourism.
- A R9-billion jobs fund will be established to finance new job-creation initiatives over a three-year period and is complemented by the Industrial Development Corporation’s (IDC) R10-billion investment in projects with high job-creation potential over the next five years.
- Government, in partnership with various sectors of society, has made substantial progress in transforming the economy to benefit the majority of South Africans, but the challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality remain. The official jobless rate in South Africa is 24% and poses a serious threat to the country’s economic stability.
- South Africa aims to create five million jobs by 2020 and bring South Africa's unemployment rate down to 15%.
An informed and empowered legion of learners who have the skills to make career decisions is likely to improve the skills profile of the overall population and improve mobility between different levels of education and between education and the labour market.
- The National Skills Development Strategy 3, under the leadership of the Department of Higher Education and Training, represents an explicit government commitment to encouraging the linking of skills development to career paths, career development and promoting sustainable employment and in-work progression.
- The emphasis is on enabling those who do not have relevant technical skills or adequate reading, and writing and numeracy skills to access employment in order to improve the human capital of those who are currently disadvantaged or marginalised from economic activity and the labour market.
- To further ease access to the colleges for students from poor families as well as help the country to meet its needs for intermediate and technical skills, starting from the 2011 academic year, government will incrementally introduce free education for the poor to undergraduate level. From 2011, students in further education and training colleges who qualify for financial aid will be exempted completely from paying academic fees.
- While the democratic Government has always prioritised education, this Administration has articulated and reiterated its commitment to improve the quality of basic education as a defining hallmark of its success.
In fulfilling the mandate entrusted by citizens, government remains committed to ensure the welfare and conditions of service for workers.
- Since the democratisation of South Africa after April 1994, the country’s labour law was among the first areas of law to be reformed.
- The Constitution of South Africa, 1996 contains a Bill of Rights; Chapter Two, which enshrines the rights of all South Africans, more specifically Section 23: Labour Relations; Section 18: Freedom of Association; and Section 27: Healthcare, Food, Water and Social Security.
- Government has put place in progressive labour legislation and key programmes in accordance with the Constitution, which requires laws to be enacted to prevent discrimination, including workplace discrimination.
- In many cases, legislation is supported by codes of practice, which may be statutory codes of practice drawn up by the National Economic Development and Labour Council or non-statutory codes of practice issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
Government has put in place employment protection legislation which has since been passed and implemented and are currently being amended to address dynamics in the labour market.
- The Labour Relations Act (LRA), 1995 (Act 66 of 1995) (Labour Relations Amendment Bill 2010), supports the primacy of collective agreements and emphasises the need for organised labour and business to regulate its relationship through the entering into of collective agreements.
- Bargaining councils, as statutory bodies established by the LRA, 1995 may voluntarily and cooperatively be established by registered unions and employer organisations within a specific economic sector. They represent the centrepiece of the system of bargaining.
- The replacement of the Conciliation Board by the CCMA signals a shift from a highly adversarial model of relations to one based on promoting greater cooperation, industrial peace and social justice.
- South Africa has established specialist labour courts. These courts exist side by side with the traditional courts. The labour courts generally exercise exclusive jurisdiction over specialist labour matters. The Labour Court of South Africa has exclusive jurisdiction over all matters reserved for it under the LRA, 1995.
Workers’ Day is also commemorated in the context of dismantling the system of apartheid, which entrenched race-based labour exploitation.
- The purpose of the Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act 55 of 1998), is to ensure workplace equity. It prohibits unfair discrimination in the workplace and guarantees equal opportunity and fair treatment to all employees.
- Given the historical disparities, simply removing discrimination does not in itself result in substantive equality. The Act therefore imposes an obligation on certain employers ("designated employers") to implement affirmative action measures to advance "designated groups".
- The Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act, 2002 (Act 11 of 2002), applies to all employers and workers and regulates the conditions of employments. The amendment to the Act advances economic development and social justice to give effect to the right to fair labour practices referred to in Section 23(1) of the Constitution.
- This Act makes it a criminal offence to employ a child less than 15 years of age or under the minimum school-leaving age, if this is older. Beyond the age of 15 years, no person may employ a child for work that is inappropriate or that negatively affects his/her well-being, education, physical or mental health or spiritual, moral or social development.
Government has instituted other legislation which contributes towards the composite development of South Africans as active participants in our developmental agenda.
- The Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act 97 of 1998) (amended in 2003), provides an institutional framework to devise and implement national, sector and workplace strategies to develop and improve the skills of the South African workforce, including the integration of these strategies within the National Qualifications Framework.
- The Act also provides for learnerships that lead to recognised occupational qualifications as well as provides for the financing of skills development by means of a levy-grant scheme and a National Skills Fund. The Act also aims to provide for and regulate employment services.
- The Occupational Health and Safety Act, 1993 (Act 85 of 1993)(Amended 181 of 1993), aims to provide for the health and safety of persons at work and for the health and safety of persons in connection with the activities of persons at work and to establish an advisory council for occupational health and safety.
- Other key legislation include, but are not limited to, the Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act, 2002 (Act 4 of 2002), Protected Disclosures Act, 2000 (Act 26 of 2000), Promotion of Access to Information Act, 2000 (Act 2 of 2000), and the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 (Act 3 of 2000).
Government is committed to the realisation of the rights of children as one of the highest priorities for action. This commitment is reflected in Section 27 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa as guided by the African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child and the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC). This commitment is also embraced in national legislation such as the Children’s Act, 2005 (Act 38 of 2005 as amended). To give effect to these national and international obligations, a consolidated children’s rights framework, which serves as a guide on all matters pertaining to children was developed.
The Child Protection Week held annually since 1998 under the leadership of the Department of Social Development seeks to educate and mobilise communities to put children first.
- This year the Child Protection Week will commence with the media launch of the national Early Childhood Development (ECD) Campaign in Mpumalanga on 30 May 2011 under the theme: Tshwaragano ka bana – Working together for children.
- The concept of Child Protection Week stems from the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child”, which emphasises the role of the wider community in keeping children safe.
- The Green Ribbon Project was launched during the 2004 Child Protection Week awareness campaign. The green ribbon is symbolic of accepting the obligation that: “I will protect a child”.
- In harnessing the outcomes of all government programmes related to the protection of children’s rights, government departments will be afforded an opportunity to present on their existing strategies. This will ensure that the outcomes of coordinated government programmes become a lived reality for children that secure their future as participating citizens and potential leaders.
Government’s comprehensive ECD services invest in the development of children to enable these potential leaders to break the chain of intergenerational poverty.
- ECD is a cross-cutting programme that includes the health, basic education and social development sectors. This composite approach facilitates effective integrated strategy and investment for the early learning and development of young children.
- The National Integrated Plan for ECD was established in 2004. Its purpose is to facilitate synergy between existing government programmes with the aim of ensuring a more impactful outcome from government on the lives of children.
- The number of children accessing ECD centres grew to 717 657, with more than 428 807 receiving state subsidies by the end of the 2010/11 financial year.
- The Department of Social Development works closely with municipalities in the registration process as the environmental officer from the municipality needs to issue a health certificate that the ECD centre is safe for childcare purposes.
Government, under the leadership of South African Social Security Agency, is committed to addressing child poverty, through the extension of the social safety net for vulnerable children.
A significant policy achievement was the approval by Cabinet of the gradual extension of the Child-Support Grant (CSG) to eligible children between the ages of 15 to 18 years. The extension of the CSP to children up to their 18th birthday will be implemented in three phases until 2012.
- This has seen the total number of children receiving the CSG increasing to over 10,3 million by March 2011, which accounts for over R30 billion of the social grants budget.
- As part of the social assistance programme, government has developed policies for the Foster Care Grant which is aimed at children who are in need of care. At the end of the 2010/11 financial year, foster care benefited over 512 000 children.
- As part of government‘s ongoing efforts to build a caring society, the Department of Social Development has developed a new adoption strategy which aims to promote adoption as a permanent placement option for children in South Africa. The best interests of the child are the main determining factors whenever adoption is considered.
- By the end of March 2011, 2 236 national and 2 436 intercountry adoptions were registered. The Children’s Act, 2005 regulates both local and intercountry adoptions and provides for a Register for Adoptable Children and Adoptive Parents.
It is normal practice in most democracies that during an election period, particular attention is paid to ensuring that government communication structures and officials do not act in a way that advantages or disadvantages participants in the electoral contest.
On 31 March 1999, Cabinet decided on a framework to be formulated to regulate against the dissemination of government information during election periods in a way that is to the advantage of one political party and to the disadvantage of others.
The guidelines were adopted during the local government elections in 2000 and the national and provincial elections in 2004. However, as outlined in Section 3, it is important to note that the provisions of the Public Service Act, 1994 (Act 103 of 1994), were amended in 2007. They assist government communicators and other relevant public servants in determining the specific parameters within which they should conduct their work during an election period.
Scope of application
According to the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC), an election period is the period during which the IEC's Code of Conduct and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s regulations apply. This period is determined once the date for the election has been announced, party lists are submitted and participating parties and candidates confirmed. The period ends when election results are certified and announced.
The regulations state that during an election period:
- state-financed media will not be used for the purpose of promoting or prejudicing the interests of any political party
- state-financed media should continue to be used for the distribution and dissemination of government information.
State-financed media means any newspaper, book, periodical, pamphlet, poster, media release or other printed matter, or statement, or any audio and video material, or any information in electronic format such as CD-ROM, Internet or e-mail, which is produced and disseminated to the public, and which is financed by, and directly under the control of, government. Examples of state-financed media include BuaNewsOnline, internal and external government newsletters and magazines.
These regulations apply only to communicators and other relevant public servants. Ministers, deputy ministers, premiers, MECs and all political representatives, contractual workers and employees in role-playing posts in government are regulated by the Ministerial Handbook.
Public Service Regulations, 2001
Paragraph C.2.7 of the Code of Conduct for the Public Service provides that: “an employee does not abuse her or his position in the Public Service to promote or prejudice the interest of any political party or interest group”. Paragraph C.2.9 provides that “an employee recognises the public’s right of access to information, excluding information that is specifically protected by law”.
Public Service Amendment Act, 2007 (Act 30 of 2007)
Employees may be candidates
Employees employed in terms of the Public Service Act, 1994 are permitted to be candidates for elections subject to the Public Service Code of Conduct and the limits prescribed by regulation by the Minister for the Public Service and Administration (Section 36 of the Public Service Act, 1994).
Informing department of candidacy and leave during election
The Public Service Regulations provide that:
- an employee must not later than the next working day after he or she is issued with a certificate in terms of Section 31(3) of the Electoral Act, 1998 (Act 73 of 1998), inform his or her department in writing that he/she is a candidate for election
- the employee must furnish a copy of the certificate to the department
- the employee will be deemed to be on annual leave (and unpaid leave, if insufficient annual leave) from the date the certificates are issued until the election results are finalised (Public Service Regulation Chapter 2(d) of the Public Service Regulations).
Employees elected as full- or part-time candidates
If an employee is elected and assumes office, the employee is deemed as having resigned from the Public Service with effect from the date immediately before the date he/she assumes office as a full-time municipal councillor (See Section 36 of the Public Service Act, 1994). An employee elected as a part-time municipal councillor may continue as an employee, but must seek approval in terms of Section 30 of the Public Service Act, 1994 from his/ her executive authority to receive remuneration as councillor (Also see Public Service Regulation Chapter 2 C5. 5).
Conduct of all employees regarding elections
As to the conduct of employees, the Public Service Code of Conduct stipulates that an employee (including those who are candidates):
- may not abuse his/her position in the Public Service to promote or prejudice the interest of any political party
- must refrain from party-political activities in the workplace (Chapter 2 of the Public Service Regulations).
Constitutional rights and obligations
During an election period, these and other provisions of the Act continue to apply to all public servants. Communication agencies and components of government and their employees have to exercise special care to ensure that their media products, statements and public events do not promote or prejudice any political party.
Government communicators and their departments should continue meeting the obligation of government to provide information to the people.
They should continue exercising their responsibility to articulate, promote and defend the policies, programmes and actions of government.
Like all other South Africans, communication officers have freedom of association. Subject to the provisions of the Public Service Amendment Act, 2007 and Public Service Regulations, they may belong to any political party of their choice.
The Tourism Indaba 2011 will take place under the theme Playing Globally, Winning Locally between 7 and 10 May 2011 at the Albert Luthuli Convention Centre in Durban. As one of the largest tourism marketing events on the African continent, Indaba 2011 will draw an estimated 13 000 international and local delegates from the tourism sector and related industries. A key focus of Indaba 2011 is the newly launched National Tourism Sector Strategy (NTSS).
Government has identified tourism as one of the key contributing sectors to grow the economy and create decent work.
- The NTSS intends to make tourism a fundamental pillar of the economy by boosting tourism’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) from an estimated R189,4 billion in 2009 to R499 billion by 2020.
- To assist government in reaching its job-creation objective, the NTSS commits the tourism industry to consolidate efforts to create up to 225 000 new and 400 000 indirect jobs by 2020.
- The departments of labour and of education are planning to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the tourism industry and other relevant entities by April 2012 and design a plan to ensure that decent work is provided across the industry. The MOU will aim to achieve 90% compliance among tourism enterprises by 2020.
- By 2020, the Department of Tourism and stakeholders will aim to attract R35 billion more in public-sector/government investment in tourism infrastructure and R1 billion more in foreign direct investment (FDI) in the sector, and to increase private-sector capital formation for tourism-related products.
Government in partnership with the tourism industry aims to position South Africa as one of the top 20 tourism destinations globally by 2020.
- Tourism is determined to increase the number of foreign tourist arrivals from 8,1 million in 2010 to 15 million by 2020, which will hold major economic benefits for South Africans.
- The NTSS plans to grow the value of regional African tourism by establishing five marketing offices in key African markets by 2020.
- Niche product development, new international markets, especially in the East, and rural tourism development will contribute to the achievements of the 2020 targets.
- The strategy aims to decrease the South African seasonality index of all international arrivals from the 2009 baseline of 1,13% to 0,5% by 2020, and to facilitate a 10% and 5% increase in bed nights spent in low season by foreign and domestic visitors respectively.
South Africa continues to reposition itself as a country of choice following the successful hosting of the 2010 World Cup and numerous other international conferences and sporting events.
- 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.
- During 2011, the National Convention Bureau will be established to consolidate, coordinate and strengthen tourism’s efforts to attract meetings and conventions to South Africa.
- The Tourism Service Excellence Initiative will continue to improve client service in the tourism industry to create experiences which equal or surpass the expectations of foreign and domestic tourists and encourage repeat visits.
- A national visitor satisfaction index will be set up for foreigners and locals, and service issues hampering domestic tourism in particular will be tracked and addressed.
Tourism players will provide more affordable and accessible tourism experiences for the domestic market, which will include travel packages that accommodate the broader South African population.
- The tourism strategy aims to reach its 2020 target by changing the perceptions of upper and middle-class South Africans on local travel; to increase the number of first-time domestic holiday travellers; as well as encourage the South African black population to travel for leisure.
- Domestic tourism is the largest contributor to tourist volume in South Africa, with 79% of all volume in 2010 derived from domestic tourists. The NTSS aims to increase the domestic tourism GDP to 60% of tourism’s overall contribution to GDP by 2020, compared to the 2009 baseline of 52%.
- Given that domestic tourism is the main sustainability factor for successful destinations, government aspires to increase the number of domestic trips from 29,7 million in 2010 to 54 million by 2020.
- The NTSS aims for an equal distribution of tourists across the country by getting the sector to work towards increasing the share of bed nights in least visited provinces from 3,8 % in 2009 to 10% in 2020 and night spent in mid-level visited provinces from 22,7% in 2009 to 35% in 2020.
Transformation of the tourism sector is vital to ensure sustainable growth and development in the tourism industry, and government will work towards increasing the number of tourism programmes and projects which are led by and benefiting communities.
- Government will develop and implement strategies and programmes to promote businesses with a Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) scorecard and to encourage businesses to improve their scores and reach the Tourism Charter targets.
- The NTSS target for the tourism industry is to be 70% BBBEE-compliant by 2014 and to improve the number of companies meeting the Tourism Charter targets.
- The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform plans to sign a MOU with the tourism industry and other agencies by April 2012, which will also address issues of land ownership and tourism investment.
The Department of Tourism will persuade the industry to adhere to “responsible tourism” standards and practices which aim to maximise economic, social and environmental benefits and minimise costs to destinations.
Southern African Development Community (SADC) Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government - May 2011
President Jacob Zuma will attend the SADC Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government to discuss the regional concerns, including the situations in Madagascar and Zimbabwe.
This follows the call from the Troika of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security, which met in Zambia on 31 March 2011. The Troika consists of Zambia, Mozambique and South Africa.
In a separate but related development, in preparation for the Second Tripartite Summit of the SADC-East African Community-Common Market of East and Southern Africa (SADC-EAC-Comesa) in June 2011 in South Africa, a tripartite ministerial meeting is scheduled from 13 to 14 May in Lusaka, Zambia.
SADC remains the most important vehicle to address common concerns in the southern African region.
- Despite the global economic meltdown, SADC’s regional economy grew by 2,1% in 2008/09 whereas the global economy contracted by 0,6% and developed economies by 3,2% during the time under review.
- South Africa remains committed to the consolidation of the African Agenda by supporting multilateral and bilateral cooperation. It is committed to the strengthening of continental institutions which are critical in responding to the challenges of poverty and underdevelopment.
- South Africa will continue to support initiatives to ensure peace and security on the continent within the context of the African Union Peace and Security Council of which it is a member from 2010 to 2012 and also as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Peace and Security Council (UNSC) assumed from January 2011.
- President Zuma is the SADC facilitator on Zimbabwe and South Africa will assume the Chair of the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security in August 2011. Its role will include to collectively lead SADC in implementing its peace and security agenda and to give policy direction in between the summits.
SADC remains seized with political developments in the region and addressing the political and socio-economic challenges facing some of the member states.
- South Africa supports the SADC Organ Troika and its recent communiqué to immediately stop violence, intimidation and hate speech in Zimbabwe. South Africa also calls on all stakeholders to implement all provisions set out by the Global Political Agreement; and to complete all necessary steps towards the elections, including amendments to the Constitution and a referendum.
- In consultation with SADC, South Africa will continue facilitating dialogue between political parties in Zimbabwe in search of a mutually beneficial solution. South Africa is committed to ensuring that the election roadmap be negotiated, implemented and committed to by all parties in realising the consolidation of democracy in Zimbabwe.
- South Africa supports the SADC mediation initiatives as undertaken by the appointed mediator, former President Joachim Chissano, in his efforts to help the Malagasy people in finding a lasting solution to the crisis facing the country.
- There is an urgent need to restore constitutional order in Madagascar and the SADC Organ Troika has urged all Malagasy political actors to reject violence or threat to use violence during the transition; and to cooperate and support the work of the SADC mediators towards free, fair and credible elections.
South Africa contributes to accelerating economic integration of the SADC region and is committed to the promotion of intraregional 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 Zuma champions the rail and road infrastructure sector (North-South Corridor), emanating from the July 2010 African Union 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.
The Second Tripartite Summit aims to launch the Trilateral (T‑FTA) negotiations and to address the issues of regional infrastructure and the free movement of business persons.
- 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 intensifying 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.
- 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
- 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 future engagement
- it is proposed that the infrastructure programme, namely the North-South Corridor proceeds on a separate track.
South Africa will participate in the second Africa-India Summit at the seat of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, from 20 to 25 May 2011 under the theme Enhancing Partnership: Shared Vision. The summit is expected to highlight progress following the inaugural summit that was held in New Delhi, India, in April 2008.
South Africa participates in the summit within the context of strengthening Africa-Asia relations in general and more particularly Africa-India relations in consolidating South-South cooperation.
The Africa-India Summit provides a platform for both countries to strengthen their multisectoral partnership to tackle opportunities and challenges.
- The first India-Africa Summit in 2008 built on the foundations of the historical relationship between the two, and created a roadmap for structured engagement and cooperation. Two historic documents, the Delhi Declaration and the India Africa Framework of Cooperation, were adopted at the end of the summit. These articulate issues of bilateral, regional and international interests as well as areas of cooperation.
- At the 2008 Summit, India expanded unilateral duty-free and preferential market access for exports from all the 50 least developed countries, 34 of which are in Africa, and its offer of lines of credit amounting to $5,4 billion.
- Two-way trade has increased from US$5,5 billion in 2001/02 to around US$36 billion in 2008/09, representing an almost seven-fold increase. Bilateral investment is approximately US$17 billion.
- India is also a member of the influential Commonwealth organisation and the trilateral (and tricontinental) India-Brazil-South Africa (IBSA) initiative gives it a strategic advantage to engage with the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and Sub-Saharan Africa.
India supports Africa’s developmental agenda through technology and skills transfer, which increases Africa’s competitiveness.
Africa is the largest recipient of India’s technical cooperation programme. At the 2008 Summit, India extended several lines of credit to African countries for specific infrastructure development projects.
- India is working with the AU to set up and run for the first three years, vocational and educational institutions in Africa, with plans for the first site to be opened in less than a year. India is the only Asian member country of the AU’s Capacity-Building Foundation.
- As part of the education initiative, India has nearly doubled the number of scholarships for African students to more than 500. India’s flagship aid initiative has been the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation, which provides training and education to scholars and leaders from developing countries.
- India also assisted in ushering in a green revolution in Africa through holistic capacity-building in agricultural production, storage and transportation.
- India’s aid to Africa has grown at an annual growth rate of 22% over the past 10 years. The Indian-sponsored Pan-African e-Network (in partnership with the AU) links 53 countries through tele-medicine, -education and -governance, and plays a crucial role in fostering skills and human resources that are critical for Africa to develop in a sustainable way.
Africa and India, as members of the developing world, share common positions on the reform of global political and economic governance.
- India and Africa have agreed that they would support each other during their lobbying for permanent representation on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).
- UNSC reform should give top priority to increasing the representation of developing countries, in particular that of African countries, to the council and its decision-making process. The changes should include not only expansion of the representation of the council, but also improvement of its working methods.
- By 2008, India had emerged as the largest contributor to UN-mandated operations in Africa, with a cumulative effort totalling more than 30 000 personnel involved in peacekeeping, and humanitarian and electoral missions.
- South Africa and its key allies in Africa, the G77 and China and the BASIC countries – South Africa, India, China and Brazil – appeal for an inclusive, fair and effective climate-change deal, which is favourable to both developed and developing countries. India is leading a campaign to re-write intellectual property rights in favour of all the developing countries, particularly for oil clean technology.
South Africa is a key player in strengthening Africa’s partnership with India.
- South Africa remains committed to the consolidation of the African Agenda and supports multilateral and bilateral cooperation, with a view to ensuring a better Africa and a better world for all who live in it.
- South Africa is part of the IBSA dialogue forum and recently joined the emerging economies BRICS group (Brazil, Russia, India and China). South Africa’s participation in these forums aims to ensure that Africa continues to benefit from BRICS in the priority areas identified by the AU.
- All BRICS countries will serve on the UNSC in 2011 as permanent (China and the Russian Federation) or non-permanent members (Brazil, India and South Africa).
- Bilateral trade between South Africa and India is expected to reach US$15 billion by the end of the 2010 financial year, up from an original estimate of US$10 billion. India is placed as the 11th largest economy in the world and South Africa at 27th.
Heads of state and government, including prominent business leaders from around the continent will gather in Cape Town, for the annual meeting of the WEF Africa from 4 to 6 May 2011.The theme and structure of the meeting will focus on From Vision to Action, Africa’s Next Chapter. Last year, the forum was attended by 13 African heads of state and government and more than 1 000 participants from 85 countries.
The WEF Africa provides a platform that fosters interaction among key stakeholders on how to advance Africa’s socio-economic development.
- The WEF Africa allows African leaders, international organisations and the private sector the opportunity to develop innovative partnerships that will address the continent’s developmental and economic priorities and challenges in an interactive manner.
- The theme for the meeting will focus deliberations on how African countries, communities and companies can move the continent forward in view of the unfolding global transformation.
- The WEF Africa provides an international platform for South Africa to present the growing range of developments and opportunities within the country that are of interest to the international investor community.
The rapid economic growth and deeper integration of African economies into the global system holds the potential of uplifting the state of the world economy.
- Africa has demonstrated greater than expected resilience through the global economic crisis and has become one of the fastest-growing regions in the world with the International Monetary Fund forecasting growth of 5,3% in 2011.
- Over the past decade, Africa’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth topped the global average. For instance, growth in sub-Saharan Africa over the last 10 years averaged 4,4%, compared to an average of 2,7% for the global economy as a whole.
- Africa’s economic success has largely been enabled by improved political and macroeconomic stability, strengthened political commitment to private-sector investment and steps to improve access to basic education and social services.
- The continent represents a growing market with a billion people and is well positioned to profit from the commodity boom with Africa being a major exporter of commodities, ranging from rich minerals to petroleum.
- Africa has massive growth potential with 60% of the world’s uncultivated agricultural land and the youngest age profile of any continent. The continent’s solid economic foundation is seen in Africa’s external debt falling from two-thirds of GDP in 2000 to just over a fifth in 2010.
South Africa is committed to advancing the African Agenda and securing greater equity within the international system.
- Based on our commitment to African growth and development, South Africa is using its economic base to establish itself as a strong regional economic partner and investor that plays a critical role in peace and stability on the African continent.
- South Africa promotes the national, regional and continental socio-economic development imperatives, as embodied in the New Partnership for Africa’s Development's principles and objectives.
- South Africa is committed to regional market integration that is developmental in nature and recognises that its destiny is inextricably linked to that of the region and the continent.
- Through our participation in the African Union (AU), we are key role players in the fast-changing global governance landscape, often providing a link between Africa, developing countries and international structures.
- South Africa has been assigned by the AU to champion the building of Africa’s north-south rail and road links to assist in the development of key continental infrastructure.
There are signs that an economic recovery in South Africa is underway and there is renewed buoyancy in our markets.
- Positive economic growth over successive quarters in 2010 and a modest recovery in revenue collection to R674.2 billion, slightly more than the target of R672.2 billion, indicates that our economy is regaining its growth momentum.
- Our economic development is strongly driven by real physical investment – road and rail construction, new power stations, housing, water and sanitation systems – which is a total investment of R846 billion.
- Due to the higher than estimated collection in tax revenue, the financial deficit is expected to decrease to 5% of GDP from 5,3%, and narrow to 4,8% in 2012/13.
- The South African economy is expected to continue to recover over the medium term with good indications that the economy might grow faster than anticipated. Projected GDP growth for the year is 3,4%.
The 37th G8 Summit will be held from 26 to 27 May 2011 in Deauville, France. The G8 is an informal group of advanced economies – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America – which meets once a year at a summit of heads of state and government.
Since 2001, some of the world’s developing countries, including South Africa, have been invited to G8 outreach sessions (G8+5), which are held on the margins of the summit. South Africa participates in the summit to strengthen North-South relations and to advance the African Agenda.
The role of the G8 has evolved with the dynamic changing global environment but the initial strategic purpose of the forum remains.
- The September 2009 Pittsburgh Summit marked a milestone in the reform of global governance by making the Group of 20 (G20) the premier forum for international economic cooperation to reflect the new global balances and the growing role of emerging economies.
- The “new G8” will avoid duplication of the G20 Agenda, and in addition to peace and security issues and the partnership with Africa, it will focus on issues of common interest to the most advanced economies.
- G8 members account for 15% of world population, 65% of gross domestic product and two-thirds of international trade.
- The G8 plays a major role in rallying support for development, especially in Africa. A priority of the French G8 Presidency is to monitor the G8 countries’ commitments to Africa, especially in the areas of health and food security.
South Africa participates in the G8 outreach sessions in its efforts to consolidate the African Agenda.
- South Africa is dedicated to African unity and integration within the framework of the Constitutive Act of the African Union (AU). This includes the strengthening of continental institutions, which are critical in responding to the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment, peace, security and stability on the continent.
- The G8 has a strong and longstanding partnership with Africa. The leaders of the founding countries of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) as well as the chairs of the AU have been involved in the G8 Summit for a number of years.
- At the Kananaskis Summit in 2002, the G8 adopted an action plan for Africa and set up a network of Africa personal representatives of the G8 Heads of State and Government to strengthen dialogue with Nepad. In 2003, the Africa Partnership Forum was launched to extend dialogue to the main bilateral and multilateral partners in Africa’s development.
At the 2005 Gleneagles Summit, the G8 members and other donors pledged to increase their official development assistance (ODA) to Africa by $25 billion by 2010, which is double the 2004 amount. In 2009, ODA for Africa rose to $47 billion, an increase of $22 billion since 2004. The G8 countries provide almost 70% of total global ODA, and allocate an average of 36% of that aid to Africa. Other G8 actions for Africa include:
- Cancellation of the poorest countries’ debt, to which the G8 has made a strong contribution since the Lyon Summit in 1996.
- The creation of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria in 2001 to spur efforts to combat those pandemics. Since then, the fund has provided the bulk of funding for access to AIDS treatment and has thus made a major contribution to achieving the goal of universal access to AIDS treatment.
- In 2004, the G8 pledged to train 75 000 African troops for peacekeeping and security, mainly in Africa. This pledge has largely been fulfilled.
For the G8 to remain relevant and credible in a rapidly changing global environment, it will have to ensure it becomes responsive to the needs and challenges of the developing world.
- South Africa continues engagement with the G8 on key political and economic areas that seek to promote the evolution of an equitable global system of economic governance.
- The G8 at its 2008 Yokohama Summit in Japan, considered the inclusion of Mexico, Brazil, India, China and South Africa, therefore expanding the forum to 13 permanent members which would make it more representative and responsive to the needs of the developing world.
- South Africa advocates for countries of the North to be more responsive to the needs of developing countries, and for countries of the South, which represent the majority of developing countries in the world, to play a more visible role in global affairs.
- South Africa is committed to the reform of institutions of global governance, including the comprehensive reform of the United Nations (UN), which includes the expansion of the UN Security Council (UNSC) to achieve sustainable global socio-economic and political development.
The G8 must focus on the fulfilment of commitments towards the achievement of internationally agreed development goals.
- South Africa prioritises the voice of the South as it engages with the North, where developed countries have a responsibility to provide technology and support to developing countries in their aim to redress their economic and social challenges, within the context of global challenges such as climate change, health provision, energy and food security.
- With only five years left to achieve the millennium development goals (MDGs), all nations need a far greater sense of urgency if the targets are to be met. South Africa is concerned by the fact that, internationally, progress in achieving the MDGs in Africa (especially Sub-Saharan Africa) still remains slow.
- South Africa encourages international cooperation to achieve the targets, especially in light of the impact that recent global economic events have had on developing countries. The need for a speedy implementation of the international resolutions, in particular the deployment of resources to salvage vulnerable economies cannot be overemphasised.
- 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 the developmental agenda of the South. The next Climate Change Conference (COP 17) will be held in South Africa in November 2011.
South Africa’s employment figures rise for the first time in two years
According to the latest Adcorp Employment Index, employment grew at its highest level in two years in March, creating temporary employment. Adcorp confirms: “This is the first time in over two-and half years that all sectors, occupations and employment types recorded positive growth.”
Friendly South Africa rated among the tops
The International Expat Explorer survey shows that South Africa has been rated among the top three friendliest countries in the world to live in. Laura Vercueil, spokesperson for the JHB Tourism Company, comments: “This comes as no surprise as South Africa is a great country to live in. We should be proud of our country and the fact that people out there would rather live here than elsewhere.”
New era for Africa with South Africa in BRICS
South Africa's inclusion in BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) has added new geopolitical significance to the continent, with the country gaining muscle among global investors. The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, said the continent recognised South Africa as a growing region and Africa is expected to benefit economically in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure and Information Technology as well as to help Africa to benefit from more equitable world-governance bodies.
Two new HIV clinics for KwaZulu-Natal
Two new prevention of mother-to-child transmission clinics have been opened in KwaZulu-Natal. The clinics in Dundee Hospital and Wasbank will give women a facility where they can get themselves tested early in their pregnancy for HIV.
R1,9 billion to renovate Eastern Cape hospitals
The Eastern Cape Provincial Health Department has confirmed that R1,9 billion has been allocated for renovating hospitals and clinics in the province. The hospitals are expected provide a conducive working environment for nurses and doctors to do their jobs efficiently and to provide quality healthcare to patients. The renovations will also create jobs and stimulate the local economy.
More South Africans to benefit from grants
The Department of Social Development plans to spend over R104 billion on social grants to assist the most vulnerable people in the country, with the number of beneficiaries projected to grow by one million.
Growth Path of the creative industry
The Department of Arts and Culture in partnership with its national agencies, national departments, provincial and local government is looking at new potential interventions that will bring about job creation on a large scale. The department aims to establish nationally supported cultural precincts. The department has also allocated R9 million to the heritage sector to expand opportunities for youth employment and skills development.
South Africa to host Tournament of Hope
South Africa is set to host its biggest golfing tournament – the World Golf Championship in 2012. The event will draw the top 70 golfers from around the world. The new addition to the country’s golfing calendar has been brought about after much negotiation between the US PGA Tour, the International Federation of PGA Tours and the Sunshine Tours.
Sevens (Rugby) World Series
The South African Rugby Union (SARU) announced that Port Elizabeth and Nelson Mandela Bay have won the bid to host the South African leg of the fast-paced HSBC Sevens World Series rugby tournament for the next five years. The inaugural event will take place in early December this year.