SA crime down since 1994 - Zuma

2014-03-11 14:45
President Jacob Zuma. (File, AFP)

President Jacob Zuma. (File, AFP)

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Pretoria - Serious crime in South Africa has been declining since the advent of democracy, President Jacob Zuma said on Tuesday.

"Compatriots, with regards to safety and security, the levels of serious crime and property crime have declined since 1994," said Zuma.

"However, crime levels remain high, particularly crime against vulnerable groups, such as women and children, which require continued intensive focus."

Zuma was releasing South Africa's 20-year review document at the Sefako Makgatho presidential guesthouse in Pretoria.

He said government had implemented several mechanisms and institutions since 1994 to combat corruption.

"These [mechanisms] are now being strengthened by implementing measures, such as preventing public servants from doing business with the state and better management of the risks related to government procurement processes.

"Corruption is not only a public-sector problem, and the country response has to include the private sector as well," he said.

Enormous backlogs

Zuma said government had made significant headway in the provision of services, including health care, education, water and sanitation.

"The country's improved response to HIV and Aids and tuberculosis has resulted in dramatic improvements in health outcomes, such as increased life expectancy, reduced infant and child mortality rates, and tuberculosis treatment outcomes," he said.

"South Africa's HIV and Aids response has now received international acclaim. There has also been a significant reduction in malaria cases and deaths due to malaria. Severe malnutrition has also significantly declined."

Looking ahead, Zuma said significant investments would be made for the provision of water, electricity, sanitation, schools, colleges, and housing, among others.

"With regards to basic services, it is impressive that a number of municipalities which had little or no pre-existing institutional foundations, have been able to deliver basic services to thousands of people who did not have them before in the past two decades.

"Some of the municipalities were geared towards serving a minority before 1994. The focus is now on reaching communities that are still waiting, particularly in informal settlements in urban areas and in remote rural areas," he said.

Government had inherited enormous backlogs in the infrastructure required to deliver basic services.

"We are also still dealing with the impact of the Bantu education system which was designed to keep the black majority confined to unskilled labour," he said.

But much work remained for government and citizens to achieve the expectations and aspirations of the nation.

Senior government officials, business executives, analysts, and media personnel packed the room at the guesthouse as Zuma read out the review document.

Zuma said the review was dedicated to former president Nelson Mandela who died in December.
- SAPA
Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  pretoria  |  crime
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