Bua Briefs 10 of 2012

19 July 2012

19th International 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.

  • Never has the world been more committed and more united to fight the scourge of HIV and AIDS.  
  • Fewer people are dying of AIDS-related causes. In low- and middle-income countries, ART has averted 2,5 million deaths since 1995.
  • ART has insured that millions of people with HIV are living productive and full lives.
  • Global awareness of the continuing impact of HIV and AIDS is extremely high and the conference will serve to re-energise global, national, and local responses to the pandemic.
  • The conference will ensure that recent momentous scientific advances are harnessed into action that will address means to end the pandemic.

Uniting around the shared vision of a world with zero new HIV infections, zero discrimination and zero AIDS-related deaths.

  • The global AIDS response faces crippling financial challenges that threaten our progress. The first-ever decline in HIV funding in 2010, has the potential to jeopardise the capacity of the international community to close access gaps and sustain progress in coming years.
  • Continued work is needed to maximise synergies and impact between HIV and broader health and development programmes.
  • Slowing the rate of sexual transmission is vital to achieving the vision of a world with zero new infections, as sexual transmission remains the primary mode of transmission globally.
  • Evidence that ART substantially reduces the risk of transmission underscores the need to enhance the integration of programming for HIV prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
Assessing how far we have come since the first International AIDS Conference in 1993.
  • The 19th International AIDS Conference brings together the world’s scientific experts to catalyse and advance scientific knowledge about HIV.
  • The conference presents a chance to assess how far we have come, evaluate recent scientific developments and lessons learnt, and collectively chart a course forward.
  • The most recent research findings will be presented  to promote and enhance scientific collaborations around the world.
  • The conference will ensure that global awareness of the continuing impact of HIV and AIDS is increased, while also re-energising global, national and local responses to the pandemic through public health practice, science, policy, education, the media and other means.
  • It will also serve to advance scientific progress in areas that have the potential to make significant gains in the ability to prevent and treat HIV infection.
  • As it has been done for the past six years, the conference will be evaluated in line with the internationally recognised Code of Ethics. Key findings and recommendations will be documented in an Evaluation Report, which will be posted on the conference website in December 2012.


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

  • Two decades on, there is an increase in numbers of women in Parliament and government.
  • This development can be attributed to the introduction of important legislation that empowers women, including the establishment of statutory bodies and a Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities to advance equality.
  • The statutory and policy architecture for gender equality in the country is comprehensive and multidimensional, with individual laws and policy overlapping to provide seamless protection of the rights of women and girls.
  • Progressive legislation includes the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act, the Employment Equity Act, the Domestic Violence Act, Sexual Offences Act and the Civil Union Act, among others.
  • Government is also in the process of finalising the Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, which will ensure compliance both within government and the private sector with measures intended to promote women empowerment and gender equality.
  • The National Gender Machinery (NGM), as outlined in the 2000 South African National Policy Framework for Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality is “an integrated package” of structures located at various levels of state, civil society and within the statutory bodies, in particular the Commission for Gender Equality.
  • The recently formed Ministry for Women, Children and People with Disabilities is a central coordinating point for the advancement and protection of the rights of women, children and persons with disabilities.
  • The Public Service adopted a Gender Management System – a network of structures, mechanisms and processes – that enables the mainstreaming of gender across government. The Eight Principle Plan for Heads of Departments provides a mandate to see that gender equality becomes a goal in all aspects of government departments.

National indicators show that the equality gap has decreased

  • The achievement of gender parity in schooling enrolments.
  • Progress in addressing the primary healthcare needs of women and girls; (for example, the decline in child mortality and mother-to-child transmission of HIV rates demonstrates the successes of government programmes).
  • Combating violent crimes against women and children identified as a priority.
  • Specialised courts to deal with sexual offences instituted with staff working at these courts empowered with specialised skills.
  • Progressive amendments to the Sexual Offences Act.
  • A comprehensive anti-poverty strategy that addresses increased feminised poverty.
  • The impact of social grants on women’s poverty.
  • Significant progress in achieving gender parity at senior management level within the Public Service.
  • Great strides in the representation of women at political and decision-making levels, placing South Africa currently sixth on the Global Report Index. A number of civil-society, non-governmental and research organisations working in the field of gender equality with significant successes in advocating for and shaping gender legislation; influencing policies and providing evidence of successful methodologies.

There is only one society, and every person and institution must “Play Your Part” to join forces to eradicate gender inequality

  • Our Constitution (1996) recognises women as equal citizens, with equal rights and responsibilities.
  • Media portrayal of women also impacts on how young girls perceive themselves and makes it difficult for society not to be influenced by the overwhelming message to objectify women.
  • Institutions of democracy must prioritise addressing issues facing women, especially gender-based violence and representation of women in our economy and society.
  • In line with government’s vision of equity across all institutions, a critical approach is gender mainstreaming, which is a strategy for making women’s as well as men’s concerns and experiences an integral dimension of the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes.
  • Government calls on all South Africans and organisations to action for partnerships that gives expression to our commitment in ensuring that women become fully functioning agents in our developmental agenda.
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 has endorsed a number of legislations to create an enabling environment for women, and to improve their participation in income-generating activities in the economy since 1994.
  • Government is committed to ensuring that it takes collective action for the active development and implementation of policies and practices that address the needs of poor women.
  • The Labour Force Survey (Stats SA, 2011) demonstrates the inequalities which exist in the formal economy where women dominate in sectors regarded as traditionally “soft and female,” such as social services, while fewer women can be found in traditionally male-dominated sectors such as mining and engineering.
  • Female-headed household are generally much poorer than men, and are more likely to live below R570 a month. This is especially the case in the rural areas and thus renders women more vulnerable to food insecurity.
Government prioritises uplifting women’s economic and rural development
  • The Agricultural Women Empowerment Programme includes the Agricultural Development Finance Programme. A total number of 29 538 community members benefitted from the cooperative initiatives as community projects. Of these, 20 078 are women against 9 460 men across all provinces.
  • The Micro Agricultural Finance Institution of South Africa Programme benefitted 7 229 people to an amount of R65 million. Of this, 744 were women. A total of R22 222 333, 00 was allocated for various projects under women’s leadership. Land Care projects are responsible for empowering communities targeting women and children. A total number of 634 518 community members benefitted from these programmes, of whom 411 167 were women as against 223 351 men.
  • Food security measures included a total number of 43 200 community projects and 162 food production packs. A total number of 157 694 community members benefitted from these projects across the country. Of these, 115 929 were women as against 36 597 men.
  • The Comprehensive and Agricultural Support Programme benefitted a total number of 165 679 community members. Of these, 28 709 were women against 55 075 men, from all nine provinces.
  • Government is working on engendering the New Growth Path Framework and the Green Fund so that these initiatives are gender and disability responsive and that women and people with disabilities benefit from these initiatives, including the Jobs Fund.
All South Africans and communities must partner with government and actively fight all forms of violence against women and children.
  • Speak out against woman and child abuse. Encourage silent female victims to talk about abuse and ensure that they get help.
  • Men are critical partners in the fight against the abuse of women and children.
  • Families must stick together to create a safe environment for women and children. Parents and adults: don’t expose your children to sexual and violent material such as pornography, etc.
  • Government has identified factors such as law reform on bail, sentencing, victim empowerment, capacity-building, extending access to courts to previously disadvantaged areas and integrated responses, as critical pillars of the fight to end violence against women.
  • Thuthuzela care centres were introduced as part of South Africa’s Anti-Rape Strategy, aiming to reduce secondary victimisation, improve conviction rates and reduce the cycle time for finalisation of cases.
  • These 24-hour one-stop centres where rape victims have access to all services such as the police, counselling, doctors, court preparation and prosecution. During 2009, a total of 10 213 matters were reported at the Thuthuzela care centres.
  • The Sexual Offences and Crime Unit in the National Prosecuting Authority highlights that in 2010/11 there was an increase in capacitation of prosecutors with a total of 180 prosecutors trained on the comprehensive manual on maintenance matters in line with the Maintenance Act and latest developments in law, 349 prosecutors trained on the Child Justice Act, 102 prosecutors received integrated domestic violence skills manual training and 79 prosecutors were trained on human trafficking-related topics.
  • Government has established a task team to investigate the resuscitation of sexual offences courts, which have shown impressive conviction rates in certain parts of the country in the past.
  • The task team will look into practical steps that will ensure that these courts benefit the entire population and not selected communities as was the practice in the piloted sites.
  • Processes are underway to establish the number of sexual offences cases, which have been put on hold to identify additional capacity that may be required through the case-backlog courts.
  • Government is confident that the re-introduction of family violence, child protection and sexual offences units in the police, as well as the establishment of the intersectoral task team to look into the viability of prioritising such cases through specialised sexual offences courts will ensure that we deal with these heinous crimes effectively.
  • The approval of the Prevention and Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill, 2010 by the National Assembly will strengthen the fight against sexual offences and assist in protecting vulnerable people, especially women and children.



International relations

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.

Social cohesion

Nelson Mandela

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.

Environmental affairs

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.