24 June 2011
- Presidential Monitoring and Evaluation visit to Limpopo
- Release of the Annual National Assessments (ANAs): 28 June 2011
- International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking – 26 June 2011
- Third Municipal Water Quality Conference
- Nelson Mandela International Day
- State visit by the President of the United Republic of Tanzania
President Jacob Zuma is in the process of undertaking visits to different provinces as part of monitoring and evaluating service delivery, linked to the five priorities of government. The President’s visits to different provinces will focus on one outcome per visit. The objective is to get first-hand experience and report backs on progress and remedial actions. This is in line with the adoption of the outcomes-based approach by government.
The President conducted his first visit to the Eastern Cape and assessed the priority of Education, which is expressed in Outcome 1: Improved quality of basic education. The next visit is planned for Limpopo on 7 July 2011, where the priority of Health will be examined, which is expressed further in Outcome 2.
The health sector is leading and harnessing the efforts to achieve Outcome 2: “A long and healthy life for all South Africans”. The Health Outcome constitutes four key outputs:
- Output 1: Increasing life expectancy where life expectancy must increase from the current 53,5 years for males and 57,2 years for females to 55,5 years for males and 59,2 years for females by 2014. This revision is informed by the expert opinion of the Health Data Advisory and Coordination Committee, established to improve the quality of data on life expectancy and other health-outcome indicators
- Output 2: Decreasing maternal and child mortality rates where South Africa’s Maternal Mortality Ratio must decrease by 75% from the estimated 400 to 625 per 100 000 by 2014. Our child mortality rate must decrease by 66% from the current 69 deaths per 1 000 live births by 2014.
Output 3: Combating HIV and AIDS and decreasing the burden of diseases from tuberculosis (TB)
- Halt and begin to reverse the impact of HIV and AIDS.
- Government has set a target that the TB cure rate must improve from 64% in 2007 to 85% by 2014.
- 80% of eligible people living with HIV and AIDS must access antiretroviral treatment (ART) and new infections must be reduced by 50% by 2014.
- The HIV and AIDS Counselling and Testing (HCT) Campaign is a pivotal intervention for HIV prevention.
- Output 4: Strengthening health system effectiveness – Plans to overhaul the health system and to improve its management and effectiveness are continuing. The health system will be reinvigorated in 2011 based on the Primary Healthcare (PHC) approach.
Government is committed to providing “A long and healthy life for all South Africans” and will make ensure an integrated response to delivering quality health care and services.
Government’s four outputs are premised on the fact that South Africa faces a quadruple burden of diseases consisting of:
- HIV, AIDS and TB
- high maternal and child mortality
- non-communicable diseases
- violence and injuries.
- Interventions to tackle this burden of disease dovetail with efforts to accelerate progress towards the health-related millennium development goals (MDGs) and to address social determinants of ill-health, which lie outside the health sector, such as poverty, lack of potable water, lack of proper sanitation and child neglect.
- There is an interrelationship across the health sector-negotiated Service Delivery Agreement, the 10-Point Plan and the National Health Insurance (NHI), which all contribute towards ensuring that by 2014, the Department of Health would have contributed positively to improving the status of all South Africans.
Government has instituted specific interventions in the health sector to achieve these outputs.
- In April 2010, the President launched the HCT Campaign to encourage 15 million South Africans to undergo testing, not only for HIV, but also for TB and non-communicable diseases such as hypertension and diabetes. This empowers people to know their status and to make an informed decision about protecting their negative status and preventing new infections in future. This campaign is part of the broader prevention programme. As at 31 March 2011, over 11,4 million South Africans had been reached through counselling and 9,7 million people agreed to be tested in the public sector alone.
- Access to ART has also increased by, among other things, the health sector’s decision to train and authorise professional nurses to initiate ART. Progress is being made towards shifting HIV treatment delivery to lower levels of health workers, thus enabling more patients to be reached. To date, access to ART has been extended to 427 995 additional people. This was made up of 380 835 new adult and 37 160 new child patients. This takes the number of people on ART to well over 1,5 million.
- 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 governmental priority, and the Department of Health has invested in numerous interventions, including intensive case finding by visiting homes of known TB patients; use of a new PCR-based technology called GeneXpert to more rapidly diagnose drug susceptible patients as well as rifampicin resistance and the opening of new facilities for in-patient treatment of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB. A total of 19 MDR facilities are now in place.
- Case finding is being intensified by tracing TB patients and screening their family members at home for TB as well as introducing specialised units for the exclusive management of MDR and extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR TB) and new diagnostic technology (GeneXpert), which dramatically reduces the period of detection. The national TB cure rate has improved steadily. By the end of March 2011, the TB cure rate for South Africa was 71,1% for 2009, as TB outcome indicators are measured with a time lag of one-year, in accordance with protocols of the World Health Organisation (WHO). The TB defaulter rate decreased to 7%.
- South Africa’s maternal mortality rates and child mortality rates are unacceptably high. Diverse interventions have been implemented to improve the health of South African women, mothers and children. Interventions to protect South African children against vaccine-preventable diseases are reflecting the desired results. A key highlight of efforts to decrease maternal and child mortality rates is the significant reduction in the mother-to-child transmission rates of HIV. Empirical evidence suggests that transmission rates have decreased from about 8% to 3,5% nationally. The significant decreases in the rate of mother-to-child transmission of HIV translates to a total of 67 000 lives of South African babies saved.
- The health system is being reinvigorated through the implementation of the new re-engineered PHC model, which places emphasis on the delivery of community-based healthcare. To date, a re-engineered PHC model for South Africa has been developed, with plans to establish PHC teams and medical specialist teams to support the PHC teams. In collaboration with the Department of Basic Education, school health services are being strengthened. Significant progress has also been made with improving the delivery of health facilities, focusing on all the components of infrastructure; health technology; organisational development: and ensuring quality of health services. Provinces have begun to implement core quality standards, starting with self-assessments of their readiness.
- Significant progress has also been made in planning for NHI. The draft National Health Amendment (NHA) Bill, first gazetted in January 2011, has been revised to incorporate the comments received, from mostly the private sector and professional organisations.
- Positive health outcomes require intersectoral strategies. To this end, the national departments of health and of agriculture, forestry and fisheries collaborated to develop food-security vulnerability analysis systems and to strengthen food security through the development of an expanded food security strategy. In collaboration with provinces, food gardens will be established in health facilities. The departments of health, of social development and of public works jointly implemented government’s strategy for combating HIV and AIDS, which simultaneously contributed to reducing unemployment. The departments of health and of correctional services have continued their collaboration aimed at strengthening TB management in correctional facilities. The departments of health and of mineral resources are working with the mining industry to improve TB management.
Release of the Annual National Assessments (ANAs): 28 June 2011
The ANAs are intended to provide regular, well-timed, valid and credible data on learner achievements in the education system. The data will be used for both diagnostic and decision-making purposes. The ANA were written by all Grade One to Six learners in public schools during the week of 8 to 11 February 2011. Over six million learners throughout the country wrote literacy and numeracy tests set nationally by the Department of Basic Education.
The ANA results will be released by the Minister of Basic Education, Ms Angie Motshekga, on 28 June 2011.
The improvement of the quality of learner attainment levels in the schooling system is a top priority of government. The ANA form part of the interventions led by the Department of Basic Education to improve learner achievement by 2014.
- Clear targets have been set for improvement in learner achievement by 2014. The Minister has set a target of improving numeracy and literacy attainment levels of grades three and six from the current average attainment levels of between 27% and 38% to at least 60% by 2014.
- Literacy and numeracy have been identified as critical competencies that underpin educational success across the board. It has been shown that an improvement in literacy and numeracy scores will translate into an improvement in other subjects.
- At the individual learner level, the ANA results will provide teachers with empirical evidence on what the learner is able to do at a particular stage or grade, thus facilitating the development of specific interventions by teachers and schools to improve literacy and numeracy.
- At a systemic level, the ANA will assist district offices to determine where support is most urgently needed in schools. It will also enable districts to advise principals, teachers and parents to plan in a more informed manner to improve the performance of learners.
The release of the report on the ANA provides government with a platform to highlight key government programmes and interventions.
- The positive impact of the Government’s interventions in Early Childhood Development is reflected in the achievement levels of the Foundation Phase.
- The intervention by government in the development and distribution of quality learning and teaching support material through the Learner Workbook initiative allows learners to acquire and apply required skills in a systematic way and to provide a variety of activities to reinforce mathematical and literacy concepts and skills. The workbooks also model good practice by guiding teachers to improve their teaching and to help teachers monitor learner performance in key activities as well as prepare learners for the formats used in various standardised assessments.
- Government aims to strengthen curriculum delivery through the finalisation of the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statement, which is intended to provide teachers with a single curriculum document per subject per phase. This draws heavily on the existing curriculum but in all cases provides greater specification of content, while prescribing sequence and pace by presenting the content per term per grade.
- Government recognises that teacher development is instrumental in the attainment of all targets set by government, and is in the process of finalising the Integrated Teacher Development Strategy.
- Government is fully aware of the enormity of the programmes for the next three years and beyond and has finalised and put in place resources to implement the long-term education plan for the entire basic education system, Action Plan 2014: Towards the realisation of Schooling 2025, which will improve the lives of all South Africans for the better.
- The Accelerated Schools’ Infrastructure Delivery Initiative (ASIDI) adds significant focus and momentum to the department’s Schooling 2025 vision and plan. The Norms and Standards for Basic School Functionality were approved for implementation in line with the ASIDI Plan. The main goal is to eradicate mud schools and unsafe structures.
Education is known to be the greatest liberator and leveller of poverty, where people who have managed to gain better quality of education have more economic and social opportunities available to improve their personal lives as well as the lives of their families and communities.
- ANAs are geared towards improving the quality of education where the results will inform many decisions that the department must take regarding tracking and improving the quality of learning and teaching in the system. The ANAs generate standardised evidence for monitoring the progress in government’s programme to lay solid foundations for learning.
- The first ANA has been successfully conducted and baseline evidence for monitoring the progress of the education system is now available to help the system to plan appropriate interventions.
- Education is a priority for all communities. Government calls on all stakeholders to engage with the ANA results and partner with government in support of the non-negotiables in education.
- The Hands up 4 Education Campaign will be launched under the leadership of the Department of Basic Education. This campaign calls on all South Africans to actively assist and support the projects, programmes and efforts of the department in its mission of ensuring quality basic education for all.
In raising our hands in support of education, South Africans are making a symbolic statement that highlights our practical support for learners, teachers and schools.
Substance abuse is a major contributor to crime, poverty, reduced productivity, unemployment, dysfunctional family life, political instability, the escalation of chronic diseases such HIV and AIDS and tuberculosis, injury and premature death. Substance abuse reaches across social, racial, cultural, language, religious and gender boundaries and affects everyone directly or indirectly.
The United Nations General Assembly in its resolution 42/112 of 7 December 1987 declared 26 June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.
Government, under the leadership of the Department of Social Development, will be commemorating 26 June in Fezile Dabi District Municipality, Sasolburg, in the Free State. This will be done in collaboration with the Central Drug Authority (CDA) and Free State Provincial Department of Social Development and other important stakeholders in the field of substance abuse. This national event on 26 June 2011 will be preceded by a series of events, including community summits, door-to-door drug awareness campaigns, youth dialogues and broad dissemination of information.
Government has prioritised the immediate and existing threat of alcohol and substance abuse towards South Africans and our democracy.
- Cabinet established an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Substance Abuse to coordinate and support the launch of a national anti-substance abuse campaign to strengthen measures to combat alcohol and substance abuse in South Africa.
- The national campaign was launched on 14 October 2010 under the theme: No Place for Drugs in my Community and culminated in provincial summits which served as a build-up to the Second Biennial Summit held in March 2011 in Durban.
- The Second Biennial Summit led to the adoption of a national declaration and a National Programme of Action that guided the development of the new National Master Drug Plan (NDMP), which serves as a blueprint for all stakeholders, including the IMC, CDA, provincial substance abuse forums as well as the local drug action committees.
- The Department of Social Development will finalise regulations in this financial year in order to bring the Prevention of and Treatment for Substance Abuse Act, 2008 (Act 70 of 2008), into operation.
Government has adopted an integrated approach to address substance and alcohol abuse by ensuring that these societal ills do not erode the gains of government programmes.
- There are plans to set up an interdepartmental operational unit that will implement measures to stem the drug problem across its entire value chain.
- This year, the Minister of Social Development will appoint new members of the CDA members to advise Cabinet, plan, coordinate, and promote measures to combat alcohol and substance abuse in South Africa.
- Government will implement a continuum of care and a public health approach provides for prevention, early detection, treatment, rehabilitation and aftercare services.
- Government plans to put in place systems to enhance data collection and related capacity-building activities to help design, implement and evaluate prevention and treatment services, which are evidence-based.
- Alcohol abuse in general and especially during pregnancy is also a worrying factor for government. Government, under the leadership of the Department of Social Development held the Foetal Alcohol Syndrome Indaba in November 2010 in partnership with South African Breweries and the CDA.
Through its community mobilisation campaign against alcohol and substance abuse, government continues to prioritise the mobilising of its people to act decisively in dealing with substance abuse.
- The Anti-Substance Abuse Campaign, developed in partnership with the CDA, calls on all sectors of our society to help mobilise social conscience against alcohol and substance abuse.
- Government calls on all South Africans to join the Anti-Substance Abuse Campaign. We all have a shared responsibility to fight alcohol and substance abuse, which is a joint responsibility of government and civil society. Government is already in partnership with various non-governmental and civil-society organisations.
- By increasing awareness and providing factual information on the negative socio- economic effects of substance abuse, the campaign aims to bring about behavioural changes of communities’ attitudes.
- The campaign emphasises the importance of community support in prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and acceptance for those addicted to substances to help break the stigma and promote recovery.
- Feedback to communities on the resolutions of the second national Biennial Anti-Substance Abuse Summit will be provided during the community provincial summits. Local drug action committees will develop local action plans to address alcohol and substance abuse at local level.
In creating an informed and empowered legion of young people who are able to realise their potential of becoming active agents for socio-economic change, government has put in place programmes and interventions aimed at addressing the ever-increasing challenge of substance abuse facing our youth.
- Ke moja (I’m fine without drugs) is a government programme that is aimed at creating awareness, increasing understanding and capacitating youth to deal with challenges relating to substance abuse.
- The Criminal Justice System has also intensified that national campaign against substance abuse by using the full might of the law to combat trafficking and supply of illegal drugs and associated crimes such as domestic violence and road carnage.
- To mitigate the challenge of youth being targeted in schools by drug lords, the NDMP also aims to ensure that schools offer effective drug education programmes by giving learners facts regarding the danger of drug use, thus helping them develop an anti-drug attitude.
- Government has also renewed its commitment to build recreational facilities and sports facilities for the youth in both urban and rural areas, which is aligned to the NDMP 2006 – 2011, which calls for youth-targeted intervention programmes such as the use of drama, music and sport to motivate young people against substance abuse.
- The Second Biennial Summit committed to accelerated action through intensifying campaigns that seek to inform and/or educate people, in particular young people, about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.
The Department of Water Affairs and the Water Institute of Southern Africa (WISA) will host the third Municipal Water Quality Conference from 27 June to 1 July 2011 in Cape Town. The conference is themed: Reshaping the South African Municipal Water Quality Landscape and will focus on the management of drinking water quality and wastewater services. The Blue Drop Report and Green Drop Report on municipal water service performance will be presented at the conference.
Government is determined to provide the best quality water in line with internationally acceptable standards.
- South Africa has made huge progress in its drinking water quality. Drinking water quality measured 96% in June 2009, compared to 2008 when the country's towns and municipalities scored on average 93,3&.
- The consistent improvement is due to the implementation of the Blue Drop Certification Programme, which monitors the quality of drinking water and highlights areas at local government level where water quality management needs to be strengthened.
- South Africa’s Blue Drop Certification was well received at the World Health Organisation (WHO) Drinking Water Regulators Network, making the country’s drinking water favourably comparable with the best in the world.
- South Africa implemented the WHO’s Water Safety Plans with the assistance of the Drinking Water Inspectorate of the United Kingdom (UK), which assisted 140 water supply systems locally to comply with the WHO’s new approach to water safety planning.
- Compliance monitoring and enforcement capacity have been increased to 21 water management inspectors, resulting in 141 pre-directives, 26 directives and 25 cases currently being before the courts.
South Africa’s waste water treatment works is a priority for government and forms part of its Programme of Action.
- Government has set stringent criteria to improve the state of the waste water treatment works and has a target of 90% compliance for the country’s waste water management systems.
- The Green Drop Certification Programme is an important step in identifying the problems in waste water treatment and ensures that local authorities are capacitated on the key elements required for effective waste water management.
- Government is introducing a global first innovation to develop a Waste Water Risk Abatement Planning (W2RAP) process, which is a risk assessment system to ensure that safety standards of waste water and drinking water meet WHO standards.
- The introduction of the targeted risk-based regulations ensures that all municipalities are informed on the site-specific risks posed to their wastewater operations with tangible targets set for improved planning. All 162 water services authorities (WSAs) (municipalities) have been provided with waste water risk profiles for structured planning.
- Government is working with municipalities to address challenges such as effluent discharges into rivers and streams, aging water infrastructure at municipal level and the state of the waste water treatment works and obtained assistance from a UK waste water specialist to improve at least six WSAs. .
Government has intervened with urgency to protect the country’s water system by addressing the problem of Acid Mine Drainage (AMD).
- Cabinet has approved the recommendations of a team of experts on the threats posed by AMD in parts of Gauteng, and agreed that work on tackling the problem should start immediately.
- Given the serious challenges with AMD on the Witwatersrand, the pumping and treatment of mine water is deemed critical and will be implemented in the western, central and eastern basins as a matter of urgency.
- The partial treatment of mine water to neutralise acidity and remove metals will be acceptable in the short term, however, in the medium to long term, mine water needs to be treated to a quality suitable for direct or indirect use.
- Government is working towards a permanent solution together with experts from the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the Water Research Commission, the Council for Geoscience, and the departments of science and technology, of water affairs and of environmental affairs.
Government has earmarked R225 million to initiate the programme while a portion of the R3,6-billion for water infrastructure and services allocated in the 2011/12 National Budget will also be used toward solving the AMD issue.
From 2010, 18 July was declared by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as Nelson Mandela International Day. This day also coincides with the icon’s birthday. The celebration of this international day recognises and gives credence to the former President’s commitment to human rights, conflict resolution and reconciliation.
The 2011 theme of Nelson Mandela Day is: Working Together to Build a Caring Society, which highlights government’s call to every individual to participate by providing service to fellow South Africans.
Mandela Day was created to inspire people to embrace the values of democracy and contribute towards the ideals of ensuring a just and fair society.
- President Jacob Zuma first introduced the concept of Nelson Mandela Day in 2009, to motivate a nationwide campaign to get the public involved in charitable activities.
- In November 2009, the UNGA paid tribute to Mandela by adopting a resolution to make the international community aware of his humanitarian work.
- The campaign aims to showcase the work of the Nelson Mandela charitable organisations (Nelson Mandela Foundation, Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Mandela Rhodes Foundation) and raise funds to support their continuing work.
- The Mandela Day Campaign message encourages people to use 67 minutes of their time to support a chosen charity or serve in their local community. The 67 minutes symbolically represent the number of years the former President fought for human rights and the abolition of apartheid.
This day recognises the icon’s leading role in and support for Africa's struggle for liberation and unity, and his outstanding contribution to the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist democratic South Africa.
- Mr Mandela became South Africa’s first democratically elected president in 1994. As a champion of reconciliation, he was instrumental in the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, which was set up by South Africa’s Government of National Unity to help deal with the atrocities of apartheid.
- Before his presidency, Mandela was heavily involved in anti-apartheid activities. He served 27 years in prison, many of which were spent with other sentenced freedom fighters.
- While officially retired, he continues to voice his opinion on topical humanitarian issues and campaigns globally for peace, children and the fight against HIV and AIDS.
- Government calls on all South Africans to contribute to the social and economic security of Africans, by living the values of our Constitution that provides for the rights of all people living in our country and the affirms democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom for all.
The President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, will pay a state visit to South Africa from 19 to 20 July 2011. The visit takes place within the context of strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries and consolidating the African Agenda. South Africa and Tanzania are both members of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) and the African Union (AU), while Tanzania is also a member of the East African Community (EAC).
As a major role player in the AU, the SADC and East Africa's development and peacekeeping activities, Tanzania's relations with South Africa are seen as vital.
- In 1998, South Africa started a process of formalising economic relations with the first Economic Bilateral Meeting occurring in 2003. Focus areas included development, research and technology, trade facilitation, development of physical and economic infrastructures and spatial development initiatives (SDIs).
- The Presidential Economic Commission was enacted in 2005, providing the required cooperative framework to manage the development and implementation of bilateral projects and the SDI programmes.
- South Africa supports infrastructure development and trade facilitation on the continent largely through the SDI methodology. The Mtwara Corridor – a New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) priority project in Tanzania – now has investors partnering towards the implementation.
- South Africa advocates advancing work on cross-border infrastructural development and sectoral cooperation 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 AU Summit which launched the Nepad priority infrastructure initiative.
- South Africa and Tanzania enjoy healthy trade relations. South Africa's exports to Tanzania are predominantly in manufacturing: machinery, mechanical appliances, paper, rubber products, vehicles, iron, steel, services and technology.
South Africa and Tanzania are committed to the unification of the African continent within the framework of the AU and support the strengthening of continental economic integration through the regional economic communities (RECs).
- Under the SADC umbrella, the countries are committed to intensifying efforts to deepen developmental regional integration in southern Africa as well as across Africa. Africa's three main regional blocs namely the SADC, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the EAC are progressing towards harmonising their projects to full regional integration.
- The major highlight of the RECs is the ultimate creation of a free trade area, literally from Cape to Cairo, with a combined gross domestic product of about $625 billion and a combined population of 527 million.
- Regional integration has enormous benefits for Africa such as boosting trade as well as allowing the region to negotiate global trade deals as a single bloc. Other areas of cooperation for the three blocs include infrastructure development, energy, investment promotion and air transport liberalisation.
- South Africa and Tanzania held bilateral discussions on developing a comprehensive approach toward immigration in the SADC region in May 2011. This included the implementation of the visa waiver agreement, which was finalised in 2007.
South Africa remains deeply committed to achieving global priorities with a view to ensuring a better world for all who live in it.
- Within the context of the AU Peace and Security Council, South Africa continues to support initiatives to ensure peace and security on the continent. South Africa also supports post-conflict reconstruction and development in Africa, in among other countries, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and Burundi.
- South Africa will use its two-year term as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council as an opportunity to contribute to reforming the working methods of the council and to work towards the achievement of a representative, legitimate and more effective council.
- Tanzania has played a leadership role in the resolution of conflict in the Great Lakes Region, as evidenced by the success of the historic Burundi Peace Process, an initiative of the late Tanzanian President, Julius Nyerere.
- As developmental states, Tanzania and South Africa share similar developmental challenges, including, among other things, the improvement of living conditions of all their peoples in line with the millennium development goals, climate change and energy security.
Presidency-DIRCO-National Treasury-DBSA-AfD Development Conference (29 June) and The Group of 20 (G20) Development Working Group Meeting (30 June – 2 July) Advancing the G20 Development Agenda
- South Africa hosted a development conference at the International Convention Centre in Cape Town on 29 June 2011 to discuss Infrastructure for Inclusive Growth. The purpose of this event was to sustain debate on infrastructure-related issues, as speakers and discussants explored trade and regional integration; infrastructure for improved productivity in agriculture; infrastructure financing; and greening infrastructure. This conference was hosted by the South African Government, led by The Presidency, National Treasury and the Department of International Relations and Cooperation in partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa and the Agence Française de Développement.
- The Development Conference included national and regional stakeholders and experts in this field. South Africa sought to ensure that the ideas, debates and knowledge-sharing emanating from these discussions were taken to the G20 Development Working Group (G20 DWG) meeting, which took place from 30 June to 2 July. South Africa, Korea and France co-chair the G20 DWG, which is tasked with implementing the G20 Multi-Year Action Plan in support of the Seoul Development Consensus for Shared Growth agreed to by heads of state in Seoul in November 2010.
- At their meeting, the G20 DWG assessed progress made in identifying challenges and strategies to respond to development constraints in developing countries, especially in the areas of infrastructure investment, human resource development, trade, private investment, job creation, food security, social protection and remittances, financial inclusion and domestic resource mobilisation.
- About the G20 Development Agenda in 2011
- In line with the G20 objective of sustaining the economic recovery momentum and enabling global growth, the leaders, at the Seoul Summit in November 2010, adopted a programme of work focused on addressing growth and development constraints.
- The development debate in this regard goes beyond aid and also looks at how existing development instruments can be made more relevant and responsive to the needs of low-income and developing countries. It gives particular emphasis to improved coordination between the international organisations and institutions that effectively make up international governance and information on these issues.
- Under the French Presidency in 2011, with respect to the G20’s Development Agenda, France has indicated that it will be giving particular emphasis to infrastructure and global food security. South Africa has prioritised regional infrastructure and food security in Africa, in line with the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the African Union.
- Of the themes under consideration in the G20 DWG, South Africa has given particular emphasis to domestic resource mobilisation, financial inclusion, private investment and job creation.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety
South Africa is participating in the IAEA Ministerial Conference on Nuclear Safety from 20 to 24 June 2011 in Vienna, Austria. The overall objective of the conference is to strengthen nuclear safety throughout the world by drawing on lessons from the nuclear accident that took place at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant in Japan on 11 March 2011, which was caused by a devastating earthquake and tsunami.
South Africa will incorporate experiences from other countries as well as lessons from the Fukushima accident into the design of its nuclear power programme, including its current operations.
- South Africa has a good safety record in nuclear energy generation for peaceful purposes, and strives to align itself with leading international standards and practices on safety.
- Nuclear energy will in future contribute more significantly to South Africa’s energy mix. The Integrated Resource Plan (IRP2010) – which identifies future energy demand and energy composition – proposes a 14% base-load nuclear energy in South Africa’s energy mix.
- Although the details around the nuclear energy plan are still to be finalised, it is intended that nuclear power will be increased in the energy mix from 2023. The nuclear build programme will be benchmarked against the highest global standards and intends to use pressurised water reactors.
- South Africa will increase the safety requirements of nuclear technology, selecting the sites for the power stations in areas that are less susceptible to seismic activity, as well as further strengthen dedicated institutional mechanisms for dealing with nuclear safety. This will include rigorous awareness-building regarding nuclear power to ensure communities are better informed of the risks and benefits.
South Africa advocates for the right of all states to develop nuclear technology for peaceful purposes and promotes nuclear energy as part of the solution to combat green house gas emissions and ensure security of energy supply.
- South Africa is currently heavily dependent on energy technologies which are not environmentally friendly and this has implications for South Africa’s future economic development, especially in the context of the international climate change negotiations.
- The South African nuclear policy commits government to ensure that the nuclear activities take place within the framework of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and other international obligations and commitments.
- South Africa believes that the pursuance of energy security is a global responsibility, where unwarranted restrictions must therefore not be imposed on the right of states to pursue nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.
- In addressing the growing energy crisis facing developing countries, which is exacerbated by capacity constraints in the power sector, South Africa’s continues to pursue its interest in expanding its civilian nuclear energy programme.
- South Africa is committed to meeting its long-term climate change mitigation objectives, and pursuing an energy strategy compatible with commitments made in Copenhagen and according the economic development plans. South Africa will host the next United Nations Climate Change Summit (COP17) in Durban at the end of this year.
Success in fight against infant AIDS infections
The Medical Research Council has confirmed that Africa’s programme to prevent HIV in babies has achieved a 96,5% success rate in wiping out transmission from infected pregnant mothers. At the same time, routinely collected data reveal that more than 80% of patients on antiretrovirals in South Africa are still alive five years into their treatment programme, despite deaths being under-reported.
Swiss boost for South Africa’s bid to roll out vital drugs
South Africa is poised to take a giant leap towards reducing its dependence on the patented pharmaceutical imports it requires to fight HIV, malaria and tuberculosis. One of the leading producers of pharmaceutical ingredients, Lonza, is negotiating an agreement to establish a manufacturing plant in South Africa’s Pelindaba nuclear facility.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) raises South Africa’s growth forecast
According to Business Report, the IMF has raised its growth forecast for South Africa in an update to its latest World Economic Outlook, exceeding an upgraded forecast for emerging and developing economies as a whole, and in contrast to a lowered forecast for advanced economies.
Cape Town shortlisted for World Design Capital 2014
Cape Town has received the welcome news that the city has been shortlisted for World Design Capital 2014. From a team of 56 hopefuls, Cape Town now stands alongside just two other world cities, Dublin and Bilbao, in the race to earn the World Design Capital title, which will be announced in October 2011.
Department of Science and Technology and Microsoft agree on information and communications technology (ICT) partnership
The Department of Science and Technology and Microsoft South Africa have signed a memorandum of understanding that will see the two fast-tracking high-performance computing, human capital and enterprise development in the country. According to Science and Technology Director-General Phil Mjwara and Microsoft South Africa MD Mteto Nyati, the deal will pave the way for foreign direct investment in research and development and harness existing ICT skills programmes to support knowledge-generating capacity.
The Nelson Mandela Foundation has called on South Africans to participate in the second Nelson Mandela Day to be marked worldwide on the elderly statesman's 93rd birthday on 18 July. A host of activities are set to take place around the country, with individuals and organisations committing more than an hour of their time doing community work.