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South Africa: APRM Report Shows SA has Improved
Source: www.sanews.gov.za
Source Date: Friday, January 31, 2014
Focus: ICT for MDGs, Institution and HR Management
Country: South Africa
Created: Jan 31, 2014

The report, compiled by different sectors of society, focuses on democracy and political governance, economic governance and management, corporate governance and socio-economic development.

“The report on democracy and political governance reflects that South Africa has achieved better scores in the areas of political stability, good citizenship and poverty alleviation over the period 2009 to 2011,” said Zuma.

He added that amongst the positive developments during the reporting period were the successful Local Government Elections held in May 2011, which were declared free and fair, as were the General Elections in 2009.

The APRM was established in 2003 under the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (Nepad) and is used as an instrument that is voluntarily acceded to by African Union (AU) Member States. There are currently 33 AU Member States participating in the APRM process.

The mandate of the APRM is to ensure that the policies and practices of participating states conform to the agreed political, economic and corporate governance values, codes and standards on democracy, political, economic and corporate governance, as contained in the 2003 Abuja Declaration on Democracy, Political, Economic and Corporate Governance.

With regards to economic governance and management, Zuma noted that South Africa continued to consolidate the foundations of strong economic management since the dawn of democracy.

“Since the last reporting period, the country has taken practical steps to encourage and enforce training for government officials in the area of financial management, with institutions such as the National Treasury and Auditor General intensifying efforts to build sound financial management capacity within the public sector,” Zuma said.

He noted that in pursuit of corporate governance, South Africa continued to ensure that transformation of the business sector and the economy, through sturdy corporate governance legislation and various policy measures, served the development agenda of the country.

The Companies Act of 2008, for example, was cited as seeking to facilitate the ease of doing business in relation to the formalisation of corporate entities and the provision of a supportive and enabling environment for efficient growth of well-governed and credible business.

Socio-economic development

In relation to socio-economic development, South Africa demonstrated progress in prioritising this aspect of the development of its people.

Government had made significant improvements in addressing the adverse effects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, with over 20 million people tested for HIV since the country introduced its voluntary counselling and testing campaign in 2010.

“This watershed moment marked a threefold increase from the previous trends, with ARV sites being increased from 490 in February 2010 to 3 000 in April 2012. In addition to this, as of January 2013 more than 20 million South Africans now know their status and have undergone counselling,” added Zuma.

However, government acknowledged some of the challenges still faced in consolidating democracy and political governance, which included service delivery challenges, instances of xenophobia and violence against women and children.

At the African Union meeting, the report has received a positive response.

In his assessment, Proffesor Amos Sawyer, the Lead Panel Member in charge of South Africa at the APRM, said remarkable progress had been made in realising the aspirations of South African people.

"On corporate governance, South Africa continues to set standards and best practices, which are in place to stimulate private sector growth,” he said.

Sawyer mentioned the Companies Act of 2008, the Consumer Protection Act of 2011, and the National Consumer Commission as examples.

Other areas where SA received praises included:
• Efforts by government and civil society to fight xenophobia and racism, and entrench the values of Ubuntu and co-existence in South African Society;
• The establishment of the National Planning Commission and the adoption of the National Development Plan;
• Progress on HIV and AIDS;
• Public participation programmes such as Izimbizo; and
• Spearheading regional integration and promoting trade and economic integration.

The report was a product of a broad and inclusive participatory process that saw the National Governing Council of the APRM – the custodians of the national APRM process – travel the length and breadth of South Africa, convening stakeholder consultative conferences in all the provinces during the 2012/13 financial year.
Zuma thanked the council for its work and dedication in seeing the project through to completion.

“Above all, I wish to thank all South Africans who took time out to participate in the consultative processes and shared their experiences, which resulted in this comprehensive and rich report.”
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