Second Decade of Freedom For South Africans

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, President 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 newlyformed 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 adopted 14 outcomes as its focus areas. These include among other things:

  • 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 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 then 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.

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.

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.

On 25 May 2012 the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organisation announced that the SKA Project would be shared between South Africa and Australia, with a majority share coming to South Africa.

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 receiv- ers, will be constructed in the Northern Cape, about 80 km from the town of Carnarvon (the same site where the MeerKAT is being con- structed). The sparse aperture array (low-fre- quency 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.

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 posi- tion. 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 Coun- cil (Ecosoc). It 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.

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.

On 30 October 2012, Statistics South Africa released the Census 2011 results. The census, which analysed 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. 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.

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.

In July 2013, Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka was appointed executive director of the UN Women Entity for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women, and Geraldine Fraser-Moleketi was appointed director in the UN Development Programme’s Bureau for Development Policy.

While receiving intensive medical care at home for a lung infection after spending three months in hospital, South Africa’s first democratically elected President and anti-apartheid icon, Nelson Mandela, died at the age of 95, on 5 December 2013.

Mr Mandela led South Africa’s transition from white-minority rule in the 1990s, after serving 27 years in prison for his political activities.

His body lay in state at the Union Buildings from 11 to 13 December. He was buried in his home town of Qunu in the Eastern Cape on 15 December 2013.

South Africa celebrated 20 Years of Freedom in 2014, which was a historic milestone for the country.

The Twenty Year Review, which was released in 2013, and the National Planning Commission’s 2011 Diagnostic Report, highlight that poverty, inequality and unemployment continue to negatively affect the lives of many people.

Despite progress in reducing rural poverty and increasing access to basic services in rural areas over the past 20 years, rural areas are still characterised by great poverty and inequality. As stated in the NDP, by 2030 South Africa’s rural communities must have better opportunities to participate fully in the economic, social and political life of the country.

Government’s programme of radical economic transformation is about placing the economy on a qualitatively different path that ensures more rapid, sustainable growth, higher investment, increased employment, reduced inequality and deracialisation of the economy. The NDP sets a growth target of at least 5% a year, and emphasises measures to ensure that the benefits of growth are equitably shared.

The 2014 South African general election to elect a new National Assembly and new provincial legislatures in each province was held on 7 May 2014. It was the fifth election held in South Africa under conditions of universal adult suffrage since the end of the apartheid era in 1994, and the first held since the death of Nelson Mandela. It was also the first time that South African expatriates were allowed to vote in a South African national election.

The National Assembly election was won by the ANC (62,1%). The official opposition, Democratic Alliance (DA) won 22,2% of the votes, while the newly formed Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) obtained 6,4% of the vote. Eight of the nine provincial legislatures were won by the ANC. The EFF obtained over 10% of the votes in Gauteng, Limpopo and North West, and beat the DA to second place in Limpopo and North West. In the other six provinces won by the ANC, the DA obtained second place. In the Western Cape, the only province not won by the ANC, the DA increased its majority from 51,5% to 59,4%.

The September 2014 Quarterly Employment Statistics report, released on 11 December 2014, showed that despite job losses recorded in some of the sectors of the economy, there were quarter- on-quarter increases reported by the mining (8 000), finance (6 000) and trade (4 000) industries.

Year-on-year, an additional 83 000 formal jobs were created between September 2013 and September 2014. This reflects an annual increase of 1,0%. The largest increase was recorded by community services industry (73 000), followed by the trade and finance industries, with 21 000 and 20 000 jobs respectively.

Gross earnings paid to employees increased by R18,9 billion from R409 billion in June 2014 to R428 billion in September 2014. The mining industry recorded the largest quarterly percentage increase of 20,9% in earnings.


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