When South Africa celebrated 10 years of freedom in 2004, there were celebrations across the world in countries whose peoples had helped to bring freedom to South Africa through their solidarity, and who today are partners in reconstruction and development.
As government took stock of the First Decade of Freedom in Towards a Ten Year Review, it was able to document great progress by South Africans in pursuit of their goals, as well as the challenges that face the nation as it traverses the second decade of its freedom towards 2014.
In its third democratic elections, in April 2004, the country gave an increased mandate to the Government’s programme for reconstruction and development and for the entrenchment of the rights inscribed in the Constitution. It mandated government specifically to create the conditions for halving unemployment and poverty by 2014. Following these elections, Thabo Mbeki was appointed to a second term of office as President of South Africa – a position he relinquished in September 2008, following the decision of the National Executive Committee of the ANC to recall him. Parliament elected Kgalema Motlanthe as President of South Africa on 25 September 2008.
Local government elections in 2006, following a long period of civic unrest as communities protested against a mixed record of service delivery, saw increased participation compared with the previous local elections, as well as increased support for the ruling party based on a manifesto for a concerted effort, in partnership with communities, to make local government work better.
South Africa held national and provincial elections to elect a new National Assembly as well as the provincial legislature in each province on 22 April 2009. Some 23 million people were registered for the 2009 general election, which were about 2,5 million more than in 2004. About 77% of registered voters took part in the election. The results for the top five parties were as follows: the ANC achieved 65,9%; the DA 16,6%; the newly formed Congress of the People 7,4%; the IFP 4,5%; and the Independent Democrats 0,9% of the votes cast.
Jacob Zuma was inaugurated as President of South Africa on 9 May 2009. Shortly thereafter, President Zuma announced several changes to current government departments and the creation of new structures within The Presidency. The latter essentially comprises the Ministry for Performance Monitoring, Evaluation and Administration and the National Planning Ministry, in keeping with the new administration’s approach to intensify government delivery through an outcomes-based approach, coupled with a government-wide monitoring and evaluation system.
Government has adopted 12 outcomes as focus areas for its work. These included among others:
improving the quality of basic education and health services
strengthening the fight against crime
creating decent employment through inclusive growth
boosting skills development.
It also included ensuring food security for all, building sustainable human settlements and an improved quality of household life, improving local government structures and an efficient and development-oriented public service.
A major part of making the outcomes a reality lies in escalating the extent to which government departments are accountable for their delivery areas. The President has signed performance agreements with all 34 Cabinet ministers.
Delivery agreements further unpack each outcome and each output and the requirements to reach the targets. The performance monitoring and evaluation systems that have been put in place continue to be built upon so that the work of government towards achieving these outcomes is consistently tracked.
A significant milestone for South Africa in the Second Decade of Freedom was the successful hosting of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™.
The tournament, which was the first World Cup on African soil, demonstrated that South Africa has the infrastructure and capability to warrant serious investment consideration. It also showcased South Africa and its people to the world.
The 2011 local government elections, held in May, were characterised by lively and respectful campaigning with all political parties free to engage with voters in all areas. The Independent Electoral Commission high-lighted decreased voter apathy and achieved an impressive 57,6% registered voter turn-out – an improvement from the previous local government elections, which scored below the 50% mark. The ANC won the highest number of seats and councils – 198 councils and 5 633 seats, constituting 62% of the vote. The DA came second with 18 councils,1 555 seats and 23,9% support. The ANC and DA were followed by the IFP and Cope.
As part of government’s commitment to secure a better quality of life for all, the National Planning Commission (NPC) in The Presidency finalised the draft National Development Plan: Vision for 2030 in 2011. The plan was a step in the process of charting a new path for South Africa.
By 2030, government seeks to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality. The plan was the product of not just the NPC but also tens of thousands of ordinary South Africans who shared their dreams, hopes and ideas for the future.
In August 2012, the Chairperson of the NPC, Minister Trevor Manuel, handed the revised National Development Plan 2030 over to President Zuma during a Joint Sitting of both Houses in Parliament. The revised document, entitled Our future – make it work, is a policy blueprint for eliminating poverty and reducing inequality in South Africa by 2030.
Implementation of the plan will be broken up into five-year chunks, in line with the electoral cycle, with the 2014 to 2019 medium-term strategic framework forming the first five-year building block of the plan.
The Presidency will lead the formulation of the 2014 to 2019 medium-term strategic framework, which includes key targets from the NDP and other plans such as the New Growth Path, National Infrastructure Plan and Industry Policy Action Plan.
The Presidency and National Treasury will work with government departments to clarify roles and responsibilities, ensure that plans and budgets are aligned, and develop clear performance indicators for each programme.
Government will focus on areas where implementation of existing policies need to improve and hold focused dialogues to overcome obstacles to implementation. It will also engage with other sectors to understand how they are contributing to the NDP’s implementation and to identify any obstacles they face.
The 2019 to 2024 and 2024 to 2029 planning cycles will be used to initiate the remaining activities and will be informed by a performance review of the previous cycle.
Designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1908, building began in 1909 and was completed by 1913. At the time, it was the largest building in the country and possibly the largest construction work under- taken in the Southern Hemisphere. It took about 1 265 artisans, workmen and labourers almost three years to build, using 14 million bricks for the interior office walls, half a million cubic feet of freestone, 74 000 cubic yards of concrete, 40 000 bags of cement and 20 000 cubic feet of granite.
The objective of a better life for the people of South Africa, the continent of Africa and the world at large was at the heart of the country’s successful hosting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change’s 17th Conference of the Parties in Durban towards the end of 2011. Aware of the fact that Africa is the continent most affected by the impact of climate change, South Africa was committed to ensure that Durban delivered a fair and balanced out- come that would help secure the future of our planet. The resulting Durban Platform outcome was a coup for South Africa and the African continent.
South Africa has continued to build on its international profile.
On 1 January 2011, South Africa began its second term as a nonpermanent member of the UN Security Council (UNSC) for the period 2011 and 2012. South Africa served alongside the permanent five members, China, France, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom and the United States of America, and elected members Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Colombia, Gabon, Germany, India, Lebanon, Nigeria and Portugal. It was the UNSC President in January 2012, which saw the adoption of Resolution 2033 that provides for closer cooperation between the UN and the African Union (AU).
In the conduct of its international relations, South Africa is committed to garner support for its domestic priorities, promote the interests of the African continent, enhance democracy and human rights, uphold justice and international law in relations between nations, seek the peaceful resolution of conflicts and promote economic development through regional and international cooperation in an interdependent world.
In July 2012, Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, then Minister of Home Affairs, was elected as the first female head of the AU Commission and the first person from South Africa to hold this position. In September 2012, she received the UN South-South Award for Global Leadership.
In November 2012, South Africa was elected by the members of the UN General Assembly to the UN’s 47-member Economic and Social Council (Ecosoc). Ecosoc is one of the principal organs of the UN, alongside the Security Council and General Assembly. South Africa completed its two-year non-renewable, non-permanent membership of the Security Council on 31 December 2012, and immediately assumed the membership of Ecosoc on 1 January 2013. South Africa last served in Ecosoc from 2004 to 2006.
On 8 January 2012, Africa’s oldest liberation movement, the ANC, celebrated 100 years of existence. This was a historic achievement, not only for the movement, but also for South Africa, the continent and the world. Thousands of ordinary South Africans, political and religious leaders attended the centenary celebrations which were held in Mangaung, Free State, the birthplace of the ANC.
In December 2012, President Zuma was re-elected as the President of the ANC during the ruling party’s congress in Mangaung. Cyril Ramaphosa was elected as the party’s deputy president.
On 25 May 2012 the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) Organisation announced that the SKA Project would be shared between South Africa and Australia, with a majority share coming to South Africa.
Following a competitive bidding process, South Africa and Australia were both short listed in 2006 as potential sites for building the SKA. Both countries have invested a huge amount in this project – including building pathfinder radio telescopes with associated physical infrastructure, and developing capacity with the skills and expertise to build and use the SKA.
The full dish array and the dense aperture array will be built in Africa. The core, i.e. the region with the highest concentration of receivers, will be constructed in the Northern Cape, about 80 km from the town of Carnarvon (the same site where the MeerKAT is being constructed). The sparse aperture array (low frequency array) will be built in Western Australia. Over the next four years, teams of radio astronomy scientists and engineers from around the world will work together to scope and finalise the design of the SKA.
Released in September 2012, the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2012/13 confirmed that South Africa remained the most competitive economy in sub-Saharan Africa. The report said South Africa’s financial market development, which was ranked third, indicated high confidence in the country’s financial markets at a time when trust was returning only slowly in many other parts of the world.
On 30 October 2012, Stats SA released the Census 2011 results. The census, which ana- lysed the country’s demographics, population distribution and access to services, average household size, income, migration, and mortality, was the third national population and housing count in post-apartheid South Africa. The exercise saw 156 000 field staff employed to count more than 14,6 million households.
Results showed that the country’s population grew to 51,8 million people from 44,8 million in 2001, representing a 15,5% increase over the last decade.
Results also indicate that Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal account for 42% of South Africa’s population, with Gauteng overtaking KwaZulu-Natal as the most populous province in the country, surpassing it by two million.
The fastest growing province in South Africa is the Western Cape that grew at 29%, followed by Gauteng, Mpumalanga and North West, which grew collectively at 26% between the two censuses. The rest of the provinces grew at 6%.
During 2012, South African sports stars excelled in various sporting codes. The country produced three Olympic champions and eight Paralympic golds. Chad le Clos made head- lines worldwide when he beat Michael Phelps in the 200-m butterfly to win gold.
The mining sector, which is historically the backbone of South Africa’s economy, faced labour unrest during 2012, culminating in wildcat strikes at Marikana where sadly more than 44 people were killed. An inter-ministerial committee made up of senior Cabinet ministers was established to assist families, while a judicial commission of inquiry led by Judge Ian Farlam investigated the tragic events.
While the events at Marikana had repercussions on the country’s political economy, it also brought together government, business leaders, labour unions and various other stakeholders, who met in October 2012. Out of this meeting came an agreement to work together to strengthen bargaining, address the housing problems and living conditions in mining towns and identify measures to reduce inequality, create better standards of living and above all, create and sustain open channels of communication to prevent similar events from ever happening again.
Violent strikes by farm workers, especially in the Western Cape, which started in November 2012, led to the announcement of a new minimum wage of R105 per day for farm workers for the next three years, starting from 1 March 2013. The minister’s announcement was preceded by a taxing process by the Employment Conditions Commission.
In January 2013, Amina Cachalia, a staunch anti-apartheid activist, passed away at the age of 82. Cachalia participated in the 1952 Defiance Campaign and the 1956 Women’s March against the apartheid pass laws. In 2004, she received the Order of Luthuli in Bronze for her lifetime contribution to the struggle for gender equality, non- racialism and a free and democratic South Africa.
Another struggle veteran, Phyllis Naidoo, died in February 2013 at the age of 85. Naidoo, who was also well-known as an author, wrote seven books, including the “Footsteps” series and Le Rona Re Batho: An Account of the 1982 Maseru Massacre. In 2003, she received the Order of Luthuli in silver for her outstanding contribution to human rights and the struggle against apartheid.