Development Report: SA progressing in many areas


CAPE TOWN: (By Tony Selvester)-– Though South Africa continues to face significant development challenges – including continued high levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality – the country has made progress in a number of areas, the Minister of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Collins Chabane said.

Launching the 2012 Development Indicators Report, Chabane said the sixth edition of the report indicated that Government was on the right track and making progress, despite economic conditions remaining tough.

“Admittedly more needs to be done to achieve the goals we set for ourselves in 1994. However, based on the data presented and other evidence, life has indeed changed since 1994 and we are making progress,” said Chabane.

The report contains 85 indicators clustered in 10 themes, including those of health, education, economic growth, employment and safety and security.

Among other things, the report shows that compared to 1994 – more homes were accessing basic services, matric passes have increased from under 60% to 73% in 2012, the crime rate – although very high – is coming down, infant and child mortality rates are falling and life expectancy has increased.

When it comes to access to basic services the percentage of households with access to potable water has increased from about 60% in 1994 to 96% by 2011/12, while over the same period those with access to electricity increased from about 50% to 76.5% and those with access to sanitation from 50% to 83.4%.

Formal housing has grown by 50% since 1994, translating to an additional 5.6 million formal homes since the country’s first democratic elections.

South Africans’ real incomes are also rising. The percentage of South Africans in the poorest living standards measures group (LSM1 to 3) have fallen from 40% in 2000/2001 to about 12% in 2011, while those in LSM4 to 7 (middle-class) has increased from 42% to about 60%.

However the indicators reveal that the country still faces a number of challenges, including a high crime rate, a poor health and education system and decrease in confidence over the future by South Africans.

The indicators reveal that in 2012 58% of South Africans are confident in a happy future, compared to 72% in 2000, while 39% last year believed race relations are improving compared to 72% in 2000.

The indicators also reveal that drug-related crimes have increased – from 135.1 per 100 000 people in 2003/2004 to 348.5 in 2011/12 – and a backlog in land claims and falling social cohesion among race groups.

Chabane attributed the increase in drug-related crimes as possibly the result of police-initiated efforts or the increase in the number of crime syndicates and dealers.

The indicators also reveal that though inequality has slipped slightly and poverty has fallen, the country’s high unemployment rate – particularly among youth aged below 24 – has remained largely unchanged over the last decade.

The unemployment level dipped only slightly between 2006 and 2008 when the economy was experiencing growth of above five percent, falling to a low of 22.3%, and rose to 25.1% in 2012.

Added to this the Gini coefficient, which indicate inequality has slipped slightly from 0.7 in 2000 to 0.69 in 2010 (with one representing complete inequality and 0 representing complete equality), but has risen in certain provinces.

The Western Cape has the lowest Gini coefficient at 0.62, while the North West has the highest.

The biggest increases in inequality were in Mpumalanga (from 0.63 to 0.69 between 2000 and 2010) and in the North West (from 0.67 to 0.73 over the same period), while the biggest decline was in the Free State from 0.72 to 0.67 over the same period.

The department was busy aligning all its strategic plans with the National Development Plan and by the time these are presented in Parliament, all would be aligned to the plan, Chabane said.

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