Bua Briefs 9 of 2012

14 June, 2012 - 14:40 -- dimakatso


14 June 2012

Four-millionth electrification connection

Brief

The four-millionth household electrification connection will symbolically be switched-on by the Minister of Public Enterprises, Mr Malusi Gigaba, in the Eastern Cape’s Mnquma Municipality at the Cerhu Location on 12 June 2012.

Government and Eskom have managed to play an integral role in ensuring that South African households have access to essential and basic services. The achievements made thus far only provide a greater drive towards realising our universal access targets.

The event is a key milestone in our journey to universal access to electricity and highlights achievements made when measured against conditions prior to 1994. In 1994, access to basic amenities were divided along racial lines where black townships and rural areas were without basic infrastructure such as electricity, sanitation, water, transport and healthcare when compared with well-resourced commercial farming areas and suburbs for the white population.

Black poverty was starkly juxtaposed to the country’s white wealth, which drove income inequality to be among the highest in the world. More than 12 million people did not have access to clean drinking water and 21 million people did not have adequate sanitation and refuse removal. Less than half the rural population had safe and accessible water supply and only one person in seven had access to adequate sanitation. Before 1994, housing was in crisis with a backlog of approximately three million houses.

In 1994, only 36% of South African households had access to electricity, leaving over three million households unelectrified. At the time, the majority of South Africans were forced to use inferior and unhealthy fuels such as coal, while rural women were burdened with collecting wood.

From 1994, the first democratically elected government, through the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP), began to rectify the history of inequities and socio-economic distress towards advancing human rights through the provision of basic services. In doing so, the RDP targeted to double the number of households that had access to electricity by providing access to electricity for an additional 2,5 million households by the year 2000.

Electricity stimulates economic activity (thus fostering economic growth). It creates employment opportunities and provides basic energy services for households. Electrification has also provided opportunities to create local companies that can assist in implementing electrification projects, development and skilling up local communities and contributing towards employment creation.

The provision of electricity to all South African households is one of the key steps in redressing the social imbalances the apartheid era brought about. However, government’s intent does not end there. The provision of electricity to all is aimed at improving the quality of life of South Africans, especially the marginalised.

The findings from the General Household Survey (GHS), conducted by Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) in July to September 2011, showed that the percentage of South African households that were connected to the main electricity supply increased from 77% in 2002 to 83% in 2011.  

However, challenges remain in ensuring that all households have access to electricity (government’s goal for 100% access). According to the Department of Public Enterprises, about 3,4 million households remain without access to electricity. About 20% of this is in the Eastern Cape. Government has allocated more than R3,1 billion this financial year towards reducing the households who remain unelectrified, of which about R500 million is allocated to Eskom to implement in the Eastern Cape.

The electrification of households was achieved under the Integrated National Electrification Programme (INEP), which aims to achieve 94% universal access to electrification of households by the year 2014. This programme is the backbone of the country’s electricity delivery plan for communities who have previously been underserved in terms of grid and non-grid connections. Since the start of the electrification programme in 1991, a total of 4 050 968 homes have been electrified.

The Mnquma Municipality where the switch-on will take place is located in the south-eastern part of the Eastern Cape and falls under the jurisdiction of the Amathole District Municipality (ADM) which is an amalgamation of the former Butterworth, Ngqamakhwe and Centane areas.

The Godidi Substation Strengthening Project (in Mnquma Municipality) has a value of about R40 million and includes a 20-million volt-amperes (MVA) substation that is meant to support 8 000 new household connections in the greater Centane area. So far, 2 659 connections have been made with a further 3 976 planned for the financial year to bring it up to 6 635 connections by the end of the 2012/13 period. The Ngqamakhwe Strengthening Project (with a cost of about R28 million) also includes a 20-MVA substation that is meant to support 10 604 connections in the greater Ngqamakhwe magisterial area. These connections are planned up to 2015.  

The Mnquma Local Municipality has a total population of approximately 297 663 people, 99% of whom are Xhosa-speaking. The remaining 1% includes English, Afrikaans, Zulu and Sesotho speakers. The municipality consists of approximately 75 410 households with 54% of the community being female.

Eskom has in the past two years been involved in strengthening the network in and around Butterworth and also in anticipation of future electrification connections in the area. Substations and networks involved in this include the Butterworth, Ngqamakhwe and Godidi substations.

Key Messages Supporting Statements
Our aim is electricity for all.
  • Government is on track to redress the imbalances created by apartheid and ensure electricity for all.
  • The switch-on of the 4-millionth home is an important milestone in our journey to meet the basic needs of South Africans, which began in 1994 as part of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).
  • In 1994, only 36% of South African households had access to electricity, leaving over three million households un-electrified.
  • The dire situation perpetuated by apartheid extended into our education and health systems with 86% of black schools and over 4 ,000 clinics left in the dark.
  • When the new Government came to power in 1994 and as part of the Reconstruction and Development Programme (the RDP), Eskom was given a task by government to complete 1.75 million rural electricity connections by the year 2000. This target was achieved at the end of 1999 with Eskom having completed 1 750 750 connections.
  • In 2009, the World Energy Council (WEC) commended South Africa for its INEP national electrification programme aand electricity access which had improved the population’s quality of life.

Every electricity connection changes lives.

 

  • Life is getting better for many South Africans with each passing day as access to basic services have become a reality.
  • Through the Free Basic Energy (FBE) Programme, low-income households are eligible for 50kWh of free electricity per month, ensuring that they also benefit from the INEP.
  • At the end of March 2011, Eskom had connected four million rural customers as part of the Integrated National Electrification Programme (INEP), which government introduced to coordinate electrification in the country.
  • This has brought the overall level of rural electrification in South Africa from 36% in 1994 to 83% household connections currently. Rural electrification has increased from 12% in 1994 to almost 60%  at the moment.
  • Further, more than 11 000 schools have been electrified and 400 clinics have also been electrified since 1991, allowing for better quality of services to thousands of South Africans who access these facilities.

We are ahead of the curve, but there’s still work to be done.

  • Considering population and household growth, the switch-on of the fourth-millionth connection is a significant achievement against a continuously moving target.
  • Government and particularly, Eskom, continue to consider options and innovative ways to get electricity to communities and households that do not have electricity quicker and more cost- effectively.
  • There have been challenges in the process, which include the increase in costs for connections and , but also accessing the households as the roll- out gets to sparsely populated.  areas amongst others.  
  • Challenges remain in ensuring that all households have access to electricity (government’s goal for 100% access). About 3.4 million households remain without access to electricity. About 20% of these are in the Eastern Cape.
  • Government has allocated more than R3.1 billion this financial year towards reducing households who remain un-electrified, of which about R500 million is allocated to Eskom to implement in the Eastern Cape.
  • There is a greater need for improved coordination between implementing agents, particularly Eskom and municipalities, in light of the challenges that some of the municipalities face in implementing electrification projects.
  • Eskom is putting together a framework within which they can work with municipalities, particularly the ones that are struggling to, amongst other things, achieve greater improvement in increasing electrification connections.
  • Government is attending to backlogs that which exist in KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Cape, and Gauteng as well as certain areas in and around the eight metropolitan municipalities.
Achievements of universal access are testament to both Ggovernment’s and Eskom’s partnership and commitment. 

Government sees the State-Owned Enterprise as playing a very important developmental role in our economy, particularly in creating jobs and training skilled people, and also in stimulating local industry.

Key success factors achieved by Eskom during this time period include:

  • Reducing the average cost per connection in real terms from the initial R4 500 to R2 800 in up to 2003/04, after this period which the cost increased due to strengthened as more distribution strengthening and servicing conducted to sparsely populated rural areas. increase costs
  • Connecting an average of 300 000 households per year. annum
  • Developing technology and standards for both urban and rural reticulation.
  • Access to electricity alone was not sufficient. The Government approved the FBE Policy aimed at supporting the poor and the indigent to get access to this basic service  of electricity.

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G20 Summit

Brief:

The 2012 The Group of Twenty (G20) Summit will be held in Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, in Mexico, on the 18 and 19 June 2012. The summit is the seventh meeting of the G-20 Heads of Government.

The G20 is the leading forum for international cooperation on global economic and financial matters. It brings together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies.

The main objective of the G20 is to achieve global economic stability and , sustainable growth, through the promotion of global economic coordination between its members. It also promotes financial regulations to reduce risks and prevent future financial crises.

The summit takes place against the backdrop of a euro zone debt crisis that which is threatening the European monetary union. The developments in Europe have already had a negative impact on global financial markets.

It can be anticipated that problems experienced in Europe will dominate discussions at the summit. This could further overshadow the G20’s commitments to promote shared growth and narrow the development gap of developing nations.

Mexico will encourage the active and vigorous participation of non-members, international organisations, think tanks and the private sector in order to make the G20 dialogue as inclusive, open and transparent as possible.

With this goal in mind, Mexico has established the following priorities:

  1. economic stabilisation and structural reforms as foundations for growth and employment.
  2. strengthening the financial system and fostering financial inclusion to promote economic growth.
  3. improving the international financial architecture in an interconnected world.
  4. enhancing food security and addressing commodity price volatility.
  5. promoting sustainable development, green growth and the fight against climate change.
Key Messages Supporting Statements

The G20 plays an important role in the global economy.

 

  • The G20 is the premier forum for international cooperation oin the most important aspects of global economic and financial issues.
  • The grouping brings together the world’s major advanced and emerging economies to ensure global economic stability and sustainable growth.
  • The founding mandate of the G20 in 1999 was for it to “prevent another regional and global financial crisis”.
  • The G20 includes 19 country members and the European Union, which together represent around 90% of global gross domestic product (GDP) GDP, 80% of global trade and two -thirds of the world’s population.
  • South Africa is committed to active participation and policy leadership within the G20.

Many solutions are to be found in other developing countries.

 

  • The G20, while representing a systemically important group of countries, does not possess all elements of a solution to global recovery.
  • The G20 has a key responsibility to ensure that the voices of those not in the G20 are continuously heard.
  • South Africa advocates for a more systematic and effective collaboration between the G20 and non-members of the G20 in considering options to further strengthen the formulation, development and implementation of global economic policy.
  • South Africa welcomes the close co-operation between the Commonwealth and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie (OIF) in strengthening relations with the G20.
  • According to the Open Budget Index 2010, South Africa has the most transparent budget in the world. (International Budget Partnership).
  • WorldAudit.org ranks South Africa as the 47th least corrupt nation out of 150 nations surveyed in 2011, ahead of Italy, Greece and all the other Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) nations. Transparency International ranks South Africa 64th out of 150 countries in its Corruption Perception Index 2011.

The G20 must act decisively on Europe’s debt crisis.

 

  • The sovereign debt crisis, which continues to play out in Europe, is a stark reminder of the importance of fiscal stability and sustainability.
  • The continuing vulnerability of several larger European economies presents serious negative implications for the global economy.
  • European countries need to work together to resolve the debt problems that which hhave created volatility and uncertainty in the world economy.
  • South Africa urges G20 members to put the interest of the global economy ahead of narrow short-term national interests.

It is important to contain the risks that come with the liberalisation of financial markets.

 

 

  • In the current global economic context, the G20 has placed specific emphasis on the importance for better international cooperation among revenue authorities as cross-border tax avoidance and evasion have become easier with the liberalisation of financial markets.
  • South Africa joined 12 other countries in signing the Convention on Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters at the G20 Summit in Cannes, France.
  • The benefit for South Africa in signing the convention is that our country, through the South African Revenue Service, will have the benefit of exchange of information, simultaneous tax examinations (audits) between revenue administrations of different countries, assistance in recovery and measures of conservancy, and the service of documents with other parties to the convention.
  • According to the Global Competitiveness Report 2011/12, South Africa is ranked first in respect of auditing and reporting.
The South African economy continues to remain resilient. 
  • South Africa’s prudent fiscal policies over the past decade have held the country in good stead despite the continuing global economic uncertainty.
  • The domestic economy is showing signs of moderate growth but the external environment remains weak and poses some risks locally.
  • Economic data from the South African Reserve Bank for the last quarter of 2011, showed that household consumption and investment were growing robustly.
  • South Africa is well placed to stimulate further development and encourage economic growth and recovery through its counter-cyclical investment in infrastructure.
  • The World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY), ranking the world’s top 59 countries as measured by size of GDP, has moved South Africa two notches higher and is now rated 50.
  • According to the WCY, South Africa's performance in government efficiency had improved to 29 from 32 in 2011.
Equitable trade can make an indispensable contribution to economic growth, reducing poverty and achieving the millennium development goals (MDGs).
  • The BRICS grouping of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa calls on the G20 to strengthen its coordination and find ways to improve the multilateral trading system to address current global economic uncertainties.
  • It is important for all economies to pursue a sustainable and “development-friendly” integration in global trade, including adjustment strategies for their industries and workforce, as well as the appropriate social and sectoral policies to respond to existing structural vulnerabilities.
  • The BRICS bloc is committed to the Doha Development Round; the conclusion of the Doha would be a significant step in this direction and urges the G20 to work towards this.
  • While global value chains were playing an increasing role in trade, many sectors, industries and even countries were not participating in global value chains as fully as others.
  • In order for global value chains to serve as instruments of growth and development, it would be important to develop a deeper understanding of their developmental impact and the conditions under which they can be used to achieve long term socio-economic gains.
  • Obstacles should not be placed in the way of the development and effective functioning of global value chains "for protectionist reasons".
The G20 must become more responsive to the needs of the developing regions.
  • Developed countries must mobilise resources to support growth and development in developing countries.
  • Several economies in Africa and the developing world continue to grow quicker than the main developed economies.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa is projected to grow at an average of 5%, which would make the continent only second to emerging Asia as the fastest growing region in the world.
  • The development gap must be narrowed and poverty reduced to achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth to ensure a robust and resilient global economy.
  • South Africa continues to advocate the reform of the international financial institutions to ensure that emerging markets and developing countries have greater voice and representation.
Travel and tourism are vehicles for job creation.
  • South Africa welcomes the inclusion of tourism, as a key item on the agenda at the G20 Leaders’ Summit.
  • Priority should be given to facilitating travel and tourism to ensure that tourism can play a key role in creating employment opportunities, both directly and indirectly, through linkages to the local economy, raising national income, improving the balance of payments and boosting economic growth.
  • Preliminary research by the United Nations World Tourism Organisation and World Travel and Tourism Council shows that in 2011, 656 million international tourists visited G20 countries. Of these, an estimated 109 million tourists originated from source markets which required a visa. This represents 17% of the total international tourism market to the G20.
  • Improvements in visa facilitation could result in opportunities to stimulate wealth creation and job generation.
  • Productivity and service quality of the tourism sector offer a unique opportunity for poverty reduction and an entry point, especially for young workers.
  • 43% of all international tourists globally arrive by air. Civilian air transport, which involves some 1 570 airlines, operating 24 000 commercial aircrafts serving 3 850 airports and which connects just under 35 000 city pairs globally forms the lifeblood of the tourism industry.
  • It is our view that unilaterally introduced and unfair taxes on air transport or retaliatory taxes will ultimately have a negative effect on tourists and those employed in the tourism sector. We need a sensible and reasonable global solution for this transnational sector.

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Rio+20 Conference

Brief

The United Nations (UN) Conference on Sustainable Development, also known as the Rio+20 Conference, will take place from 20 to 22 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Rio+20 is a milestone in a series of major UN conferences, in which the 1992 Earth Summit/UNU Conference on Environment and Development was the centrepiece, putting sustainable development as a top priority on the agenda of the UN and the international community.

Rio+20 will mark the following anniversaries:

At the 2002 WSSD in Johannesburg, the JPOI was agreed upon which affirmed the UN’s commitment to full implementation of Agenda 21.

The next few months will also lead and inform what will happen at the next 2012 UN Climate Change Conference, COP 18/CMP 8 (the 18th Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC, plus the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol) to take place in Qatar from 26 November to 7 December 2012.

Rio+20 has a broader task, but in many ways the focus of the green economy is catalysed by some of the discussions on climate change, and the need to rapidly reduce carbon emissions towards a low-carbon model of development.

The objective of Rio+20 is “to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges”.

Rio+20 will focus on two themes:
•    a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication
•    the institutional framework for sustainable development.

More than 120 heads of state have registered to attend Rio+20 and some 50 000 people, including business executives, mayors, representatives of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), youth and indigenous people are expected to participate in both official and informal events during the conference.

Member states of the African Union have submitted a common African Position for Rio+20. African countries are primarily responsible for driving their own sustainable development agenda, and have established and strengthened regional, subregional and national organisations to participate in the development process.

African countries acknowledge and emphasise that the critical foundation for sustainable development lies in good governance, strong and responsive institutions, wealth creation, social equity and equality, poverty eradication and environmental sustainability, as well as sustained progress in the achievement of internationally agreed commitments, including the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Edna Molewa, will lead the South African delegation to Rio+20. Negotiations will take place in regional blocs. The Minister of Sustainable Development, Forestry Economy and the Environment from the Republic of Congo, Mr Henri Djombo, will be the coordinator of Africa’s common position for Rio+20. South Africa will also align itself with the G77 developing states. The Rio+20 Secretariat is headed by Conference Secretary-General, Sha Zukang.

Key Messages Supporting Statements

From Durban to Rio – building on the success of COP17.

  • The final outcome of COP17 was historic and precedent-setting, ranking with the 1997 conference where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted.
  • The developments at COP17 relating to climate finance take us forward and represent an important step in the right direction. This is important for a lot of countries, which do not have fiscal space to make the investments required to adapt and mitigate social risk.
  • Rio+20 is an important step and mark on the policy trajectory for policy reform and practice. COP 17 experienced a number of challenges, but a number of signals and defining steps were identified.
  • Rio+20 can build on the foundation built in Durban, and can serve as a catalyst for the further framework that needs to be created within the broader focus of sustainable development. 

Rio+20 must accelerate political commitment towards the implementation of sustainable development goals.

  • Rio+20 should review implementation of sustainable development over the past 20 years, but also address emerging challenges in implementing sustainable development over the next 20 years.
  • It is critical to ensure policy space of each country to define their own paths towards sustainability in their economy.
  • Environment management issues must be mainstreamed into economic and social development processes in national policies and within the UN systems in order to achieve sustainable development and to meet the MDGs.
  • The positioning of environment management as a major contributor to job creation and the fight against poverty contributes towards sustainable development.

Sustainable development remains an overarching objective with the “green economy” as one of the critical tools towards achieving it.

  • The global elaboration of a “green economy” should be in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, but also take in consideration diverse national features of developing and developed countries.
  • Green economy policies in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication should be developed in accordance with the principles in the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development.
  • The green economy should be consistent with sustainable development principles by balancing economic, environmental and social development objectives.

We are committed to a green economy growth path which will protect the environment and create jobs.

  • In 2011, government, business and labour signed the Green Economy Accord, which is a partnership to create 300 000 new green jobs by 2020.
  • South Africa moving to a green economy is part of the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). South Africa committed itself to implementing appropriate mitigation actions, which will result in the reduction of emissions by 34% in 2020 and by 42% in 2025.
  • National Treasury has made available R800 million for the Green Fund over the next two financial years to achieve our transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and green economy growth path.
  • To increase energy capacity, we will continue searching for renewable energy sources, especially solar electricity and biofuels as we implement the Green Economy Accord with economic stakeholders. To date, we have installed more than 220 000 solar geysers nationwide.
  • The potential of the solar water heater sector is large as government has targeted the installation of one million units by 2014/15 and has allocated R4,7 billion over the next three years to achieve this goal. So far, 244 964 units have been installed.
  • Government has identified the green economy as one of the key elements in the New Growth Path as well as in the Industrial Policy Action Plan.
  • Through green technologies and systems, we will help people out of poverty to ensure long-term economic growth.
  • The green economy offers substantial opportunities for job creation and development in the environmental goods and services sector, particularly in biodiversity, waste and natural resource management services. 

Africa will be the worst-affected continent by climate change.

  • The JPOI recognises the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) as providing the framework for sustainable development on the continent. We reaffirm our commitment to Nepad and acknowledge the need to achieve its objectives.
  • Africa is largely dependent on natural resources to achieve growth and development, which may be hindered by the impact of climate change. Notwithstanding its low GHG emissions, it is the continent that will be the worst affected by climate change, mainly because of its low adaptive capacity.
  • The transition to a green economy could offer new opportunities for advancing the achievement of Africa’s sustainable development objectives through economic growth, employment creation, and the reduction of poverty and inequalities, in accordance with the principles and recommendations of the 1992 Rio Summit and the 2002 WSSD.
  • The African 10-Year Framework of the Programme on Sustainable Consumption and Production, as endorsed by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment  and the AU, and the subsequent activities on developing national local sustainable consumption and production action plans should be used and supported to contribute to the promotion of sustainable industrial development and the green economy.
  • We call for making sustainable land-use in agriculture, food security, energy and forestry a cornerstone of the green economy for sustainable development and poverty eradication.
Rio+20 must focus on delivering the Means of Implementation.

Government calls on the developed countries to fulfil previous commitments and pledges to help Africa’s efforts in achieving sustainable development:

  • The commitment of developed countries to allocate 0,7%of their gross domestic product to developing countries in the framework of official development assistance must be met, as well as the target of 0,15% to 0,20% of gross national income for least developed countries.
  • The need to meet the commitment of doubling aid to Africa by 2010 as articulated at the Summit of the Group of Eight, held at Gleneagles in July 2005.
  • The urgent need for the international community to adopt an effective, equitable, durable and development-oriented solution to the debt problems of developing countries, particularly through total debt cancellation and increased concessional financial flows.
  • The need to fully implement the Bali Strategic Plan for Technology Support and Capacity-Building, and the provisions contained in Chapter 34 of Agenda 21 and the JPOI Agreements on technology transfer.
  • The need for a development-oriented universal, rules-based, open, non-discriminatory and equitable multilateral trading system, and to reinvigorate multilateral trade negotiations, to achieve a development-oriented outcome of the Doha Round. We also call for facilitating the accession of developing countries to the World Trade Organisation.
  • The need to recognise that science and technology are vital for the achievement of development goals and that the “technological gap” impedes the capacity of African countries to participate fully in the global economy. It also constitutes a major challenge in their efforts to enhance productive capacity, increase competitiveness, attract private capital flow, generate income and employment, reduce poverty and achieve sustained economic growth and sustainable development.

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Highlights


Education

Seven million learners to write Annual National Assessments (ANAs)
More than seven million learners in Grades 1 to 6 and Grade 9 are to write this year's ANA. The Department of Basic Education has prioritised the ANAs, which put the literacy and numeracy skills of the county's young learners to the test. According to the department, the purpose of the assessments is to establish an objective national benchmark by which to measure literacy and numeracy achievement levels.


Economic boost

Gauteng to prioritise small business
The MEC of Economic Development of the Gauteng Provincial Government (GPG), Ms Qedani Mahlangu, has confirmed that the GPG has allocated more than R112 million to the province's Small Business Development Agency as part of a new strategy to support more entrants into the economy. With close to 3 000 cooperatives assisted with R14 million, about 96% of the approvals for financial support on the Micro-Finance Fund went to women-owned enterprises. More than R8, 3 million was approved for cooperatives in the field of agriculture and production.


Trade and Industry

Report outlines South Africa’s industrial growth opportunities
The Oxford Business Group (OBG) Report on South Africa reflects that the country offers long-term growth prospects despite the challenges it faces. The Minister of Trade and Industry, Dr Rob Davies, said the central message contained in the report is that South Africa offered significant and serious long-term growth and development potential despite the challenges experienced at present. The report articulates a clear message that South Africa is open for business and that the country has great potential to attract investment.


Skills development for youth

Big businesses collaborate to provide formal employment for disadvantaged youths
On 5 June 2012, a group of 50 previously unemployed youth in Cape Town began a three-month career and personal transformation programme that will result in formal employment in the corporate world. These young people are the first Cape Town group to embark on the work readiness bridging programme of Harambee, a national youth employment accelerator that will tackle our country's employment crisis by securing guaranteed employment in local businesses for over 10 000 people aged 18 to 24 over the next two years.


Science and Technology

Gauteng industries well positioned to participate in SKA project
The MEC of Economic Development of the GPG, MEC Ms Qedani Mahlangu, said that Gauteng was “ideally” placed to capture some of the benefits of the R1,5-billion international Square Kilometre Array (SKA) radio telescope projects, which South Africa and Australia will share. The MEC emphasised that there were also opportunities for provincial businesses to participate in the intense data capture and use that could define the next growth phase for new industries.


Economy

World Competitiveness Report 2012 results
The World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY) 2012 was published by Switzerland’s Institute of Management Development. South Africa has moved two notches and is now rated 50 among the 59 countries that were surveyed. In 2011, the country was rated 52. The WCY rankings measure how well countries use, among other things, their economic and human resources to increase their prosperity.

 
Energy 

MEC hails renewable energy hub for province
The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government, along with Durban Municipality, have teamed up with leading international renewable energy institutions to create an R11,2-billion renewable energy hub project due to be completed by 2020. Private investors have committed R400 million to the project during 2011/12. Some R3,8 billion will be invested in 2012 to 2016, while the second phase was expected to attract R5 billion of investment from 2016 to 2020.


United States (US) oil sanctions against Iran
South Africa has been added to the list of countries exempt from the US oil sanctions against Iran. The USA will from 28 June penalise foreign financial institutions over transactions with Iran’s central bank, which handles sales of the country’s key exports.


Skills development

Varsity’s Software Centre a first in South Africa
The first Software Centre of Excellence opened at the University of Stellenbosch (US) to help tackle the shortage of skilled computer specialists in the country. The US and IBM are collaborating to help meet the shortage of computer science skills in the country. The joint initiative will provide equipment and training resources to postgraduate computer science students, helping them develop much-needed technical skills for highly skilled computer scientists.

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