Bua Briefs 6 of 2012

3 May 2012

Sexual violence

The horrific rape of a 17-year-old Soweto girl made international headlines with the story migrating from news agencies to mainstream international print and online media. CNN also generated international broadcast interest in the story. Media have used the incident to highlight the extremely high numbers of rape in South Africa, with the common observation that more than 56 000 rapes were recorded by police in South Africa in 2011.

There has also been substantial coverage on the causes of South Africa’s rape statistics, which in some of the coverage is referred to as a rape crisis.

In the Soweto incident, police moved swiftly to arrest the perpetrators and the seven accused will face several counts of rape, sexual assault, engaging the sexual services of a minor for reward, using a minor to create child pornography, committing a sexual act in the presence of a minor and committing a sexual act in the presence of an adult.

Although Cabinet has since strongly condemned the rape – as did the Minister of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities and various other leading figures – the perception remains that South Africa is not doing enough to fight this scourge.

Key messages Supporting statements
The Soweto incident is an affront to the values and way of life of all South Africans.
  • It is a horrific incident not just because of the circumstances but also because it goes against the society envisioned by our Constitution and regulated by our courts.
  • Government is encouraged by the public outrage and condemnation that followed the incident as a sign of our society’s wholesale rejection of this kind of behaviour.
  • We have a range of programmes which sensitise men and women to their rights and obligations.
  • Police members are themselves educated in issues of sexual violence to improve investigations, prosecutions and victim support.
  • Our courts deal harshly with perpetrators of violence, including sexual violence. It is not uncommon for courts to impose long or life sentences on such perpetrators.
  • This incident challenges us to deal with those in our society who prey on the vulnerable and show no respect for dignity or life.
  • It reveals the best in us by showing how communities and authorities can work together to come to the rescue and support the vulnerable in our society.
  • The incident also shows the need for our society to continue to build strong families and social networks founded on mutual respect, interest, care and support.
Any form of violence against women and children is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.
  • Police moved swiftly to arrest the perpetrators and the seven accused will face several counts of rape, sexual assault, engaging the sexual services of a minor for reward, using a minor to create child pornography, committing a sexual act in the presence of a minor and committing a sexual act in the presence of an adult.
  • Perpetrators of violence against women and children will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
  • The police and the courts are empowered under the Domestic Violence Act, 1998; Sexual Offences Act, 2007; and Children’s Act, 2005 to arrest, prosecute and convict perpetrators of violence against women and children.
  • The South African Police Service (SAPS) has a specialised Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, which ensures that dedicated investigators and other resources are assigned to cases where women and children are affected by violence.
  • The unit also assists in the preparation and support of child/adult witnesses during court procedures in conjunction with other relevant role players such as social workers, educators and victim-support organisations.
Government is committed to stop all forms of abuse perpetrated against women and children.
  • The Department of Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities was established on 10 May 2009 specifically to deal with issues related to the most vulnerable members of our society.
  • The department is working to strengthen partnerships and collaboration with non-governmental organisations, community-based organisations, faith-based organisations, traditional leadership and healers as well as the business sector in developing a coordinated response to address the abuse of women and children.
  • We are committed to a holistic and comprehensive approach that is not only multisectoral in its drive to achieve women empowerment and gender equality, but has a widened scope that continues to involve men and boys as campaigners, as well as survivors who prove that the cycle of violence can be broken.
  • We call on all sectors of society to oppose any form of violence committed against women and children and recommit our efforts to ensure safer communities in which women and children are free to live without fear of being attacked and victimised.
  • We encourage all our communities to get involved in local initiatives to combat violence against women and children as many victims are abused by people they know and trust.
  • Communities have a responsibility to report the abuse of women and children to relevant authorities. The perpetrators cannot be protected.
  • There needs to be heightened community awareness of the seriousness of violence against women and children. These acts will not be tolerated.
Government has put in place facilities, legislation and services which provide support to women and children impacted by on violence.
  • We are continually striving to create a climate which allows victims of violence and abuse to come forward and report such crimes.
  • We have established over 40 Thuthuzela care centres around the country that provide an integrated response of care and support to the victims of violent sexual acts against women and children.
  • The Children’s Act, 2005 and Children’s Amendment Act, 2007 were enacted to, among other things, protect a child from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation.
Government is committed to secure the centrality of the victim, particularly a vulnerable victim.
  • While government acknowledges the decrease in sexual offences, we remain seriously concerned about the increase in rape cases.
  • We have reintroduced the SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit with a special focus on crimes that are prevalent among vulnerable groups.
  • We are improving infrastructure such as victim-friendly rooms at police stations, Thuthuzela care centres, domestic violence shelters and places of safety throughout the country.
  • All our efforts are aimed at ensuring that the victim receives comprehensive care and support, particularly those who are most vulnerable.
  • We have ensured that the services rendered in these facilities are better coordinated and undertaken by officials who receive ongoing and specialised training.
  • The results of the Victim Empowerment Survey undertaken by Statistics South Africa, and published in November 2011, indicate that interventions by government in the fight against crime and the protection of the victims are yielding positive results.


World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa

The 22nd WEF on Africa will take place in Ethiopia from 9 to 11 May 2012. It is expected that over 900 participants from more than 60 countries will attend the meeting. The meeting is convened under the theme: Shaping Africa's Transformation, which will focus on three key issues:

  • Strengthening leadership and governance
  • accelerating investment in frontier markets (including agriculture, manufacturing and telecommunications)
  • innovation (in health, entrepreneurship and new media).

Ethiopia is among the continent’s fast-growing economies with analysts predicting that seven of the fastest-growing economies in the world over the next five years will be in sub-Saharan Africa. These will include Ethiopia, Mozambique, Tanzania, Congo, Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana. Over the last decade, six of the world’s 10 fastest-growing economies were in Africa. The outlook for the continent continues to be optimistic at a time when the rest of the world is facing major political and economic challenges. According to the International Monetary Fund, region-wide gross domestic product (GDP) growth averaged 5,5% from 2000 to 2010, more than double the rate we had in Africa during the 1980s and 1990s. 


It is, however, not possible to have sustainable economic and social transformation without growth, and these growth patterns provide an unprecedented opportunity for us to explore how we can use these changes to give real opportunities for people living on the continent. After almost three decades of stagnation and decline, the optimism many feel in reading this growth data is understandable, but for Africa to reach it growth potential, it has to overcome a number of fundamental challenges. These include the “shocks” to economies of price volatility (which risks driving inflation and resulting in macroeconomic instability), unemployment or exclusion from the benefits of growth and vulnerability due to food insecurity. There are also risks of environmental pressures due to the adverse effects of climate change.

The continent is also highly diverse, and for some countries, growth has also slowed or stalled due to political instability or other internal and external factors. We also cannot shy away from the fact that our continent continues to have the highest poverty rate and lowest human development indicators in the world. It is therefore vital that there is intensified cooperation and strong leadership towards ensuring that we transform Africa’s growth story into shared opportunities for present and future generations. The spread of peace and good governance is providing Africa’s entrepreneurs with the necessary conducive environment to promote themselves and establish their industries. Around two thirds of governments in Africa are democratically elected, compared with just eight in 1991. The newest democratic states are South Sudan, Guinea Conakry, Niger and Côte d'Ivoire.

Key messages Supporting statements
South Africa is a key economy in the effort to ensure Africa's growth transforms the lives of African people.
Africa is a rising star – The continent is regarded as one of the fastest-growing regions in the world.
  • Over the last eight years, the African continent has been home to six of the world’s fastest 10 growing economies. Africa has grown faster than East Asia.
  • Africa’s improved economic prospects have largely been attributed to actions taken by African countries themselves to end political conflict, improve governance and create better macroeconomic conditions.
  • The Africa Progress Report 2011 shows African economies have experienced comparatively swift recoveries from the global financial crisis, leading to expected continental growth of 5,5% in 2011 and 5,8% in 2012.
  • According to the 2010 Mckinsey Global Institute Report, Lions on the Move: The Progress and Potential of African Economies, while natural resources account for just about a quarter of GDP growth from 2000 through 2008, other industries, particularly manufacturing and services, contributed the rest.
  • Africa will benefit from globalisation, which is expected to spur demand for commodities, while the continent’s growth into the future can be driven by harnessing social and demographic changes currently underway.
South Africa is the gateway to the continent.
  • The strength and sophistication of South Africa’s financial system has turned it into a true gateway for investment into, and development of Africa. Efforts are underway to develop and integrate Africa’s financial markets.
  • South African businesses have been developing business interests in the continent with many companies already expanding their presence into Africa. Eight out of the 10 largest companies in Africa are based in South Africa.
  • To ensure that it remains the leading economy on the continent, South Africa’s fiscal framework, which is supportive of the economy over the medium term, is aided by interventions to boost sustainable long-term growth
  • Our fiscal position will be reinforced over the medium term through improved revenue performance and real increase in spending.
  • A budget deficit of 4,6% of GDP is projected in 2012/13 and planned to be reduced to 3% of GDP in 2014/15. Public debt will stabilise at about 38% of GDP.
  • In the midst of the extended global economic difficulties, South Africa has undertaken to support job creation, maintain the value of the social wage and finance economic transformation as outlined in its New Growth Path (NGP), which is helping rebalance and restructure the South African economy.
  • South Africa has identified massive infrastructure projects as key to boosting the country's economic growth rate and creating employment. Over the Medium Term Expenditure Framework period, infrastructure plans amount to R845 billion, providing a considerable opportunity for local construction and manufacturing development as well as job creation.
Africa's opportunities abound – Infrastructure continues to be a major driver of strong economic growth in Africa.
  • Infrastructure developments such as the North-South Road and Rail Corridor across eight countries in eastern and southern Africa holds the potential to secure sustainable growth. It is calculated that as the continent continues to narrow its infrastructure gap, economic growth will receive a further boost – perhaps by as much as two percentage points a year.
  • The growth of the information and communications technology sector in Africa has been phenomenal. Ten years ago, there were fewer than 10 million Internet users on the continent; today they number almost 100 million.
  • Due to the lack of fixed-line Internet infrastructure, roughly 39% of mobile users access the Internet via mobile phone connections. This has opened a new portal, in especially deep and semi-rural areas, for assistance in health and education.
  • The number of mobile phone users has multiplied 33 times to 316 million users since 2000 – a positive sign for African economies as it is estimated that for every 10 new mobile phones per 100 people a country adds, GDP is likely to increase by 0,8 percentage points.
Africa is emerging as one of the engines of consumer growth.
  • Africa’s investment climate will be supported by the rise in commodity prices; a youthful, increasingly educated population; rapid urbanisation of the African urban consumer; and the growth of the affluent middle class. It is estimated Africa’s collective GDP will reach $2,6 trillion in 2020 and consumer spending $1,4 trillion.
  • A market consisting of 26 countries, with a population of about 600 million people and a combined GDP of $1 trillion will be created by the continental free trade area that is being established.
  • Africa’s demographic composition will fuel long-term growth as it will enjoy a demographic competitive advantage of young, energetic and increasingly educated workers to power the continent’s services and manufacturing sectors when compared to other regions’ rapidly aging population.
  • In 2010, 42% of sub-Saharan Africa’s population was younger than 14 years old. By 2050, the continent will be home to one in five of the planet's young people and it will have the world’s largest workforce of 1,2 billion. In that year, one in four workers in the world will be African, compared to one in eight from China, reversing today’s balance.



Economic issues

Small business funding 

The Minister of Economic Development, Mr Ebrahim Patel, unveiled the Small Enterprise Finance Agency (Sefa), which is a result of a merger between Khula, the South African Micro Finance Apex Fund (Samaf) and the Industrial Development Corporation’s (IDC) small business lending portfolio.


Sefa will be a wholly owned agency of the IDC and will have access to millions of rands of funding from the balance sheet of the corporation. The agency will focus on lending loans of up to R3 million to small businesses. Minister Patel said that they wanted to ensure that the impact was felt in jobs, in sustainable enterprises and in the growth of entrepreneurship in the economy.


The Minister of Tourism, Mr Marthinus Van Schalkwyk, launched the new Domestic Tourism Growth Strategy, which includes South African Tourism’s new domestic marketing campaign called “Whatever you are looking for, it’s right here in South Africa”.

It was also announced that domestic tourism contributed 76% of South Africa’s total tourism volume in 2011, and contributed R20 billion to the country’s economy, which made a substantial contribution to creating and sustaining much-needed jobs.

Minister Van Schalkwyk called on South Africans to be tourists in their own country and to experience what millions of international tourists are drawn to annually – the sheer beauty of their land, its rich culture and heritage and the warmth and hospitality of their fellow citizens.

Minister Van Schalkwyk announced during his Budget Vote that during the past five years, South Africa had outpaced the growth of all competitor locations in the leisure arrivals category. Foreign direct spend in rand terms had grown faster than arrivals, with an 11% per annum growth rate. South Africa's tourism industry had also managed to build on the momentum achieved during a record-breaking 2010 by growing a further 3.3% and attracting over 8.3 million international tourists in 2011.

Tourist numbers were also up thanks to a 6.9% increase in arrivals from the African continent. For the next five years, South Africa had already secured over 200 international conferences, which were estimated to attract 300 000 delegates and provide an economic boost of more than R1.6 billion.

Table Mountain confirmed as a natural wonder of the world

Table Mountain officially confirmed as one of the world’s new seven natural wonders. The mountain was provisionally named a wonder by Swiss foundation New7Wonders in a global poll last year. Hundreds of millions of votes were cast for 28 finalists over three years; these numbers also had to be verified. The other six wonders are the Amazon forest in South America, Halong Bay in Vietnam, the Iguazu Falls in Brazil and Argentina, Jeju Island in South Korea, Komodo Island in Indonesia and the Puerto Princesa underground river in the Philippines.

International relations

South African relations with India

Following a meeting with the Indian President, Ms Pratibha Patil, President Jacob Zuma announced that South Africa would be seeking cooperation with India on the acquisition of some of the skills needed for the infrastructure programme, such as engineering, information and communications technology, computer science, finance, economics and accounting.

South Africa has received enormous support and encouragement from India and our other BRICS partners – Brazil, Russia and China – on our major infrastructure development plans. The President said that government had extended an invitation to Indian business to invest in our infrastructure development programme, in which we are to invest more than R800 billion until 2014. This will translate into R300 billion in the energy sector and R262 billion in transport and logistics projects.

Trade between South Africa and Saudi Arabia

South Africa and Saudi Arabia have agreed to increase total trade between the two countries to a targeted R60 billion within the next five years. This was agreed at the fourth session of the South Africa-Saudi Arabia Joint Economic Commission, which was co-chaired by the Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, and his Saudi counterpart, Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah. 

The Department of Trade and Industry said that the two countries had agreed that the level of investment is far below potential and undertook to work together to explore several initiatives to address the situation. The department further said that South Africa and Saudi had committed themselves to strengthen relations through closer and focused cooperation in areas such as infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and energy, tourism, arts and culture.


Bookmark and Share