We have achieved, but can do more

2011-12-17 13:59

As government, we would like to introduce our own new and exciting rhythm for the faithful report-card followers

A balanced beat that does not just focus on the personalities in government who supposedly scored an “A” for achievement or an “F” for failure, but rather on the programmes and actual performance of government as a whole.

We are ending the year on a high note after successfully hosting COP17 in Durban, which boosted our international exposure and showed we do not shy away from providing leadership on a range of issues to facilitate global dialogue towards commendable resolutions.

It’s President Jacob Zuma’s leadership that set the tone for such achievement throughout the year, starting with the State of the Nation Address, which laid out bold steps for government commitments both at home and abroad.

This year, as the world’s economy continued to struggle and we felt the impact in our country, government persisted with its efforts to create jobs.

The launch of the Jobs Fund in June was an innovative approach that departed from existing development-financing instruments by providing grants instead of loans.

We took steps to improve the social wage by linking the public infrastructure investment programme to a radically expanded public works programme and community work programme.

These included initiatives such as the S’hamba Sonkhe road maintenance programme to rehabilitate damaged roads at an investment of more than R6.4 billion, creating 66 000 job opportunities.

Other initiatives included the Department of Water Affairs’ working for water programme, the working for land programme and the rural youth employment programme.

The community works programme created 89?689 job opportunities across 45 municipalities, covering 417 wards throughout the country between April last year and March this year.

Government drove various employment schemes, the largest being the Kha Ri Gude mass literacy campaign, involving close to 40 000 matric volunteers to provide adult basic education and training to more than 600 000 learners this year.

In other areas, government continued to improve social equity by ensuring universal access to basic services, healthcare, affordable transport and providing access to affordable and quality education.

According to the General Household Survey – the results were published in July this year – the percentage of South African households connected to the main electricity supply has increased relatively consistently from 76.8% in 2002 to 82% last year.

The same survey recorded that 93% of South African households last year had access to safe water compared to 88.7% in 2002.

Nationwide, the percentage of households with no toilets or with bucket toilets decreased from 12.6% in 2002 to 6.1% last year.

In the spirit of working together, this year government stepped up its social dialogue through various social accords signed on basic education, skills development, the green economy and local procurement.

These accords commit organised business, organised labour, government and civil society to specific partnerships in pursuit of developmental aims in the relevant areas.

We deal with our challenges within a framework of five national priorities, at the heart of which is the critical effort to create jobs.

These priorities are safety, health, education, employment and rural development.

We report on progress without fail and with brutal honesty.

On the education front, the annualplease leave as is.

This is the name of a particular assessmentnational assessments in literacy and numeracy were administered nationally in February this year to about six million learners from
grades 1 to 6.

While the results did not meet our expectations, it guided us to put in place key interventions, such as the finalisation of the national literacy and numeracy strategy, as a tool to accelerate key literacy and numeracy outcomes at school level.

In the area of HIV, we began a massive HIV counselling and testing campaign which reached 14.7 million people by June this year, with a total of 13.7 million South Africans agreeing to be tested.

By September, a total of 1.6 million patients had been initiated to antiretroviral therapy.

This year, government launched a number of new policy initiatives such as a green paper on land reform, the national health insurance scheme and the National Planning Commission’s draft national development plan.

In the course of this year, we also implemented the National Consumer Act, which has given South Africans invaluable consumer protection; while the overhauled Companies Act reduces red tape for businesses.

As government, we are the first to admit that we continue to face many challenges and more needs to be done.

However, we challenge anyone to dispute the fact that conditions in South Africa have fundamentally improved with each passing day since 1994.

We don’t shy away from scrutiny as it can only serve to sharpen our resolve.

But we believe the scrutiny must be based on facts and must be designed to take the country forward rather than ridicule the efforts many sectors are making to ensure we enjoy a better life.

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