19 July 2012
19thInternational AIDS Conference
The 19th International AIDS Conference will take place in Washington DC, USA from 22 to 27 July 2012. The conference theme is “Turning the Tide Together”, which captures the defining moment in the AIDS epidemic where the science tells us we can turn the tide on HIV. South Africa’s theme “Working together we are Turning the Tide” also captures the current sense of hope and the renewed optimism that a change of course in the HIV epidemic is possiblethrough a collective national effort and international collaboration.
AIDS 2012 will unite science, community and leadership from around the globe to develop strategies and mobilize support for translating new evidence into meaningful action that reflects HIV’s complex web of social, human rights and political issues.
The AIDS 2012 programme will present new scientific knowledge and offer many opportunities for structured dialogue on the major issues facing the global response to HIV.
South Africa is signatory to the 2001 United Nations General Assembly Special Session on HIV and AIDS (UNGASS) Declaration of Commitment, the 2006 Political Declaration on Universal Access and 2011 Resolution 65/677: intensifying our Efforts to Eliminate HIV and AIDS.
South African has also submitted a Country‘s Report on Global AIDS Response. The report serves to provide feedback with respect to goals agreed upon and progress made in measuring the South African country`s response on HIV and AIDS using global indicators for the period 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2011. The period under review falls within the timeframe of implementation of the 2007- 2011 National Strategic Plan: HIV & AIDS and STI.
South Africa has a generalised HIV epidemic, which has stabilised over the past four years at a national antenatal prevalence of around 30%. South Africa currently ranks the third highest in the world in terms of the TB burden, with an incidence that has increased by 400% over the past 15 years. There is a wide variation in HIV and TB prevalence by age, race, gender, socio-economic status and geographical location.
The response to HIV and TB falls under key Outcome 2:“A long and healthy life for all South African”. Delivery on this outcome is led by the health sector. Specific focus is placed on four key outputs namely: increasing life expectancy; reducing maternal and child mortality rates; combating HIV and AIDS and TB; and strengthening the effectiveness of the health system. Outcome 2 has effectively brought together government social sector departments (health, basic education, social development, transport and public works and public service and administration) to bring their comparative advantages to bear towards achievements of the key outputs.
At AIDS 2012, South Africa will profile its comprehensive HIV programmes, and health experts will also deliver papers on various issues around education, monitoring, policy, prevention and treatment of HIV.
|Key Messages||Supporting Statements|
Working together, we are Turning the Tideagainst HIV and AIDS.
The dramatic scale-up of HIV programmes has begun to reverse the spread of HIV.
Uniting around the shared vision of a world with zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.
|Assessing how far we have come since the first International AIDS Conference in 1993.||
Women’s month – August 2012
The historical significance of 9 August, National Women’s Day that has led to an annual commemoration, started in 1956 when 20 000 women marched to the Union Buildings. The day celebrates women who led the march to protest the inclusion of women in the pass laws controlling the movements of Blacks. This was coordinated by the Federation of South African Women (Fedsaw).
August was declared women’s month by the Government of South Africa and 9 August is celebrated annually as Women’s Day. The Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities (DWCPD), being the custodian of women empowerment and gender equality, is mandated to lead and coordinate women’s month activities.
This year will focus on addressing the challenges faced by rural women. The theme for 2012 is: “56 Years of Women United Against Unemployment, Poverty and Inequality”. The campaign slogan is “Forward to the Decade on African Women”. The commemoration of the National Women’s Day will take place in Tshwane, Gauteng Province (Union Building) on 9 August 2012 as per the rotational programme.
South Africa is bound by international, regional and sub-regional protocols it ratified and must take all necessary steps to protect women from discrimination and abuse in all spheres.
The country has ratified a number of international and regional instruments that promote gender equality, including the 1979 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (ratified 1995), the 1993 Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women (signed 1996), the 1995 Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Optional Protocol to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), ratified in 2005, and the African Union (AU) Heads of States Solemn Declaration of Gender Equality in Africa (adopted in 2004). The ratification of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development was signed by the President in 2008.
Given the legacy of women’s oppression in general and black women in particular, government’s bias towards working class and rural poor women remains steadfast. Government has made significant progress in empowering women in the political, public and educational spheres, but the marginalization of poor women severely compromises progress.
Despite government programmes and interventions, women continue to be marginalized and discriminated against in terms of economic opportunities, the labour market as well as access to land, credit, and finance. Despite the critical role women play in food production and management of natural resources, they have ownership of a very minute percentage of agricultural land. Rural women’s lack of access to resources and basic services is compounded by their unequal rights in family structures, as well as unequal access to family resources, such as land and livestock.
Within and between race groups, women continue to bear the burden of inequality. South Africa’s rankings on the Gender-Related Development Index (GDI) and the Gender Empowerment Measure (GEM) are quite divergent, with a low GDI score but a relatively high GEM. This reflects the dichotomous nature of South Africa’s transformation process.
According to the Mid-term Review of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, crime statistics indicate that the murder of adult women increased by 5, 6% during the 2010/2011 reporting period. Social contact crimes committed against adult women include common assault (46, 9% of cases), followed by assault through grievous bodily harm. Sexual offences remain unacceptably high.
|Key Messages||Supporting Statements|
Since the onset of democracy, South Africa has taken bold steps to institutionalise gender equality and women empowerment
National indicators show that the equality gap has decreased
There is only one society, and every person and institution must “Play Your Part” to join forces to eradicate gender inequality
|Transformation within and of the economy must be in line with the creation of decent work and sustainable livelihoods as well as rural development||
|Government prioritises uplifting women’s economic and rural development||
|All South Africans and communities must partner with government and actively fight all forms of violence against women and children.||
Chairperson of the African Union Commission
Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has been sworn in on Tuesday as the new chairperson of the African Union Commission after succeeding the former Chairperson, Jean Ping. The leadership handover at the African Union takes place as the organization tackles security crises across the continent. Minister Dlamini-Zuma took the oath of office, at the close of the AU summit in Addis Ababa.
Former President Nelson Mandela turned 94 on 18 July 2012.The entire country has been mobilised to donate 67 minutes of their time towards making a positive contribution to society.In celebration of the day, the Qunu community online project has been launched at the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu outside Umtata in the Eastern Cape. The project is in partnership with Google South Africa, and is aimed at recording and recording the oral history of villages were former President Nelson Mandela spent his early years.
Government welcomes funds to fight rhino poaching
The Department of Environmental Affairs has welcomed the US3 million (about R25m) it received earlier this month from the Global Environment Facility to fight rhino poaching. According to a statement released by the Department, the money would be used for, among other things, the "enhancement of forensic-based technologies", including DNA identification of rhino horn. The Department would sign a memorandum of understanding with the University of Pretoria to "facilitate collaborations to thwart the ongoing scourge of [rhino] poaching". The funding would mainly be used to help improve the capabilities of the university's Veterinary Genetics Laboratory, and a "broad suite of measures" to combat rhino poaching.
The Ministry of Tourism under, Minister Marthinus van Schalkwyk, announced that tourist arrivals showed exceptional growth in the first quarter 2012, with overall arrivals growing by 10.5% over the corresponding period in 2011. A total of 2,267,807 tourists arrived in South Africa in January, February and March. Overseas tourist arrivals grew by 17.8%. This overall growth in tourism could be ascribed to significant investments in the local tourism industry, in time, energy and resources.
South Africa had hosted a series of trade workshops across key markets, numerous travel, trade and media familiarisation trips, and invested in ongoing research into consumer needs providing insight into campaigns which had paid off.
According to the 2012 World Investment Report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), South Africa has entered, at 14th position, a list of 21 countries ranked by international companies as top prospective investment destinations for 2012 to 2014.
Unctad's World Investment Prospects Survey 2012-14, is based on responses from executives of the biggest transnational corporations worldwide, and forms part of the World Investment Report released in Geneva, Switzerland.
The survey indicates that developing economies will continue to enjoy strong foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows in the medium term as they become increasingly important to international companies worldwide.
Among the top five prospective investment destinations in the survey, the US (in 2nd place) stands out as the only developed economy. Of the other four, three - China (1st), India (3rd) and Brazil (5th) - are members of the BRICS grouping of influential emerging economies. Russia, also a BRICS member, is ranked joint 8th with Germany, while South Africa, which joined BRICS in 2011, is ranked 14th together with the Netherlands and Poland.
Also South Africa led the subregion as foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows into sub-Saharan Africa jumped by 25% in 2011. FDI inflows to sub-Saharan Africa soared from US$29.5-billion in 2010 to $36.9-billion in 2011, a level comparable to the peak of $37.3-billion achieved in 2008, prior to the onset of the global financial crisis.
FDI to South Africa rebounded from $1.23-billion in 2010 to $5.81-billion, making South Africa the second-biggest FDI destination on the continent in 2011 after Nigeria, which received $8.92-billion in FDI.
Governance and administration
Tshwane in a strategy to re-vitalise the city centre
Mayor Kgosientso Ramokgopa announced that Tshwane is engaging in a strategy to re-vitalise the city centre. The strategy is aimed at attracting businesses investment to the inner city. The city was putting in effect a long-term strategy, dubbed Tshwane 2055. Key elements of the Tshwane 2055 include an infrastructure-led development; strengthening key economic clusters to gain leverage from growth trends in manufacturing; government and business services, developing a sustainable low-carbon environment and safe, healthy and balanced communities.
Construction of Tshwane bus rapid transit
The City of Tshwane announced the commencement of the construction of the first Tshwane Bus Rapid Transit Project (BRT). The entire system would be operational by October 2015. It is expected that over 10 000 jobs will be created during the construction phase, and about 1 000 sustainable jobs once the system in implemented. These included 529 bus operators and related personnel, 94 employees for the proposed call centre and about 300 workers managing and maintaining the ticketing system.
Science and technology
Partnership for rabies vaccine
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) has entered into a partnership that should the see the research organisation being granted access to a plant-based manufacturing platform for rabies medication.
The CSIR concluded an agreement with Icon Genetics, subsidiary of Nomad Bioscience GmbH in Munich, to conduct royalty-free manufacturing of the rabies vaccine and post-exposure prophylaxis antibodies against rabies for the Sub-Saharan Africa region.
Building of PE wind farm begins
Construction on a wind farm to supply power to the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality is due to start near Port Elizabeth. The company (MetroWind) said it had been given the green light to build and operate a R550 million wind farm in Van Stadens, between Port Elizabeth and Jeffrey's Bay. Construction would begin in September.
According to the company director: "The farm, to be known as MetroWind Van Stadens Farm, is expected to start supplying the municipality and Eskom with power in October next year", adding that: “Eskom would be supplied with power for a period of 20 years”. The project is a step forward in the country's pursuit of clean, renewable energy.
Safety and security
New forensic science laboratory
The South African Police Service opened a forensic science laboratory in Cape Town on 17 July 2012. The laboratory, one of four in South Africa, was built over six years and cost between R500 million and R600 million. This laboratory will serve the Western Cape, Northern Cape and a section of the Eastern Cape. The Minister of Police, Mr Nathi Mthethwa, said “court cases could not be finalised because of delays in forensic examinations, and criminals walked free as a result”. The Minister reported that the laboratory had reported a 63% increase in cases received for the period 2011 to 2012; there had been a 66% reduction in the backlog of examinations for the 2010/11 financial year; there has been a 30% reduction in the backlog for the 2011/12 financial year; and that R63 million had been set aside for the 2011/12 financial year for, among other things, improving skills in the forensic services.