8 March 2012
Human Rights Day – 21 March 2012
Theme: Working together to promote unity in diversity and human dignity for all.
Human Rights Day is a national day that is commemorated annually on 21 March to remind South Africans about the sacrifices that accompanied the struggle for the attainment of democracy in South Africa.
South Africans worked tirelessly for the transformation of our country to an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law.
The massacres in Sharpeville and Langa continue to serve as a historical reminder to all of us to make an effort towards protecting human rights and dignity.
Following the Sharpeville massacre, the United Nations declared 21 March the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Human Rights Day seeks to educate all South Africans about their human rights and obligations and make citizens aware of government services and programmes which give effect to ensuring that their human rights become a lived reality.
The Constitution places a requirement on the Government to give effect to the Bill of Rights through the enactment of relevant legislation. The Constitution also creates various institutions for the protection of South Africa's constitutional democracy. These include the Office of the Public Protector, the Commission on Gender Equality, the Human Rights Commission and the Commission for the Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities.
On 21 March 2012, President Jacob Zuma is expected to go on a walkabout at the Walter Sisulu Square in Kliptown, Soweto. The President will then proceed to the Walter Sisulu Hall to deliver a public lecture. Some 1 600 people are expected to attend.
|Key messages||Supporting statements|
|This year marks the 16th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which gives full expression to our democratic ideals.||
|Access to basic services restores the dignity of people.||
|Government is committed to the protection of vulnerable groups against victimisation.||
|Significant progress has been made since the end of apartheid in 1994 in fulfilling the rights of children in South Africa.||
National Water Week 5 – 11 March 2012
Every year during the month of March, the Department of Water Affairs celebrates National Water Week in South Africa, which also features World Water Day on 22 March.
The primary aim of this campaign is to raise awareness among South Africans about the role of water in social and economic development, including the need to get citizens to change their attitudes towards water use. The campaign emphasises water conservation as one of the major interventions that South Africans need to appreciate if we are to guarantee water security and availability for the country. It also highlights the centrality of water as a resource in the well-being of both the environment and the people.
March is also Human Rights Month in South Africa and as such, 21 March will see the country celebrating human rights achievements. This contributes to the National Water Week Campaign by placing emphasis on water being a human right in this country, as enshrined in our Constitution.
Government upholds its constitutional duty to provide water services and other basic services to South Africans for sustainable livelihoods. The Water Week Campaign will also focus on the human rights aspect of water, which emphasises the angle that such a right is accompanied by a responsibility to conserve and respect it.
|Key messages||Supporting statements|
|South Africa is a water- scarce country, and its water resources are finite.||
|The demand for water is increasing due to rapid economic growth, population growth and other social development needs.||
|The threat of climate change and environmental degradation is also a challenge for the future availability of water resources.||
|We must increase our efforts towards enforcement and compliance of water laws to guarantee water security and the sustainability of the resource.||
|Conservation and water-use efficiency will ensure that South Africa survives the much talked about water crisis.||
Gauteng moves to bolster capacity ahead of R30,6-billion infrastructure roll-out
Gauteng Finance MEC, Mandla Nkomfe, has announced that the province would deal with incapacity and infrastructure underspending when unveiling a R30,6-billion infrastructure roll-out as part of a three-year expenditure plan. Other initiatives are also underway to employ greater numbers of technical staff at departments, such as education, health and infrastructure development and roads and transport as well as to establish relationships with private-sector organisations that could help bolster the province's planning, project-management and contract-management capacity.
The Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi, is set to forge ahead with his campaign to ban alcohol advertisements. Minister Motsoaledi noted that a number of people were in hospital, with some being disabled, due to excessive intake of alcohol. He said the move was in a bid to reduce the number of non-communicable diseases caused mostly by cigarettes, alcohol and lack of exercise.
Construction on massive vehicle plant to begin soon
China's leading auto manufacturer, First Automobile Works' (FAW), has signed a contract for the construction of a multi-million rand Chinese vehicle manufacturing plant in the Eastern Cape. FAW's decision to build the plant in South Africa is one of the biggest manufacturing investments by China in the country so far. Once completed, the truck assembly facility is expected to create between 500 and 800 jobs, with more jobs being created when the company starts producing an additional 30 000 passenger vehicles annually.
Global study examines state of business innovation in South Africa
South African business executives have identified the energy and healthcare sectors as those that can benefit the most from innovation, and requested government support in research and development (R&D). Findings from the second GE Innovation Barometer found that 86% of South African business leaders believed that innovation "is the best way to create jobs". Sixty-two per cent of South African respondents expressed confidence with the allocation towards R&D while 32% of South African respondents expressed satisfaction with the allocation to job creation.
Government making strides in creating jobs in rural areas
Government has taken initiatives to create jobs and work opportunities through the implementation of different initiatives in rural areas. The Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform, Mr Gugile Nkwinti, said initiatives to improve employment opportunities and economic livelihoods included the implementation of the Aquaculture Programme and the Inland Fisheries Programme that will be launched during this financial year.
Trade and industry
R1-billion metal coating plant opened
The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, opened the R1-billion metal coating facility in Cato Ridge, KwaZulu-Natal. Minister Davies emphasised the linkages between infrastructure development and manufacturing and highlighted that investment projects that enhanced productive capacity such as the metal coating facility be noted and supported. The Minister said the event was testimony to the important partnership that had been built between business and government and the role that business was playing towards the country's economic and industrial development.
Safety and security
Stipend for Metro Police trainees
Five hundred newly recruited Tshwane Metro Police trainees are to get a monthly stipend of R3 000. The group will undergo training with the intention of progressing, on completion of the programme, to a level where they can be appointed permanently as fully fledged constables at a higher salary.
South Africa, Egypt solidify relations
South Africa has reaffirmed its commitment to working with Egypt in their process towards democratic rule. The Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim, was in Egypt to consolidate bilateral relations between the two countries. South Africa views Egypt as a strategic partner on the African continent at both bilateral and multilateral level.