SA says progress made on UN goals

2012-07-21 17:33

2010 report showed a backlog in achieving Millennium Development Goals, but state says some targets will be met

Social development director-general Vusi Madonsela says South Africa will report a lot of progress on its next Millennium Development Goals submission to the UN.

Madonsela said government was on track to meet some key targets, although some indicators in the 2010 report suggested South Africa was lagging behind in meeting the goals.

In 2000, the world’s political leaders committed to achieving eight goals by 2014 in a bid to improve people’s living standards across the world.

Speaking to City Press after the launch of this year’s global Millennium Development Report in Pretoria, Madonsela said government interventions like social grants and poverty alleviation programmes had contributed to the goal of reducing poverty.

He said the country was also doing well when it came to universal access to primary education.

The primary school enrolment rate was now estimated at 99%.

But Unisa education Professor Veronica McKay said although primary school participation had increased, there were no indicators of the quality of education children were getting.

The country’s UN resident coordinator, Agostinho Zacarias, has also questioned the quality of primary school education in South Africa, saying good ­education was important for economic growth.

Madonsela said quality was something President Jacob Zuma’s administration was addressing.

“The issue of quality is what has always troubled us. Raising the quality of basic education is one of the things the new administration adopted as one of the outcomes we seek to achieve,” he said.

Madonsela said government was prioritising early childhood development because the first 1 000 days of a child’s life played a key role in determining whether they succeeded in areas such as education later in life.

The 2010 report suggested government might not achieve in many of the indicators.

“Some of these indicators are very difficult to domesticate because this is a global programme. You find that in relation to our domestic situation some indicators are difficult to measure and achieve,” Madonsela said.

“But on those that we think are tangible, such as whether or not people have the means to purchase basic necessities through income support from the state, we can say we have done very well on improving (life).”

The 2012 global report paints a picture of a world in which extreme poverty is declining in many regions and in which the lot of slum dwellers seems to be improving.

But hunger remains a problem, and the reduction of child malnutrition has been slow everywhere.

Targets 2015

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