SA to Spend Up to R43bn in Response to Issues Highlighted in Peer Review Process
BYLINE: Hans Pienaar
THE government will be spending up to R43.5 billion on fixing problems identified by the African Peer Review Mechanism process, according to a draft three-year programme of action presented to civil society and business groups.
However, the exact amount is not clear and analysts say discussions with the government seemed to indicate that little of this amount would be new funding. They also criticise the programme of action (POA), the last stage in the complex review mechanism process, for ignoring almost half of the recommendations made by peer reviewers.
South Africa's peer review has been dogged by delays, contradictions and accusations of avoiding transparency and oversight by bodies outside government. The drafting of the POA appears to continue the situation, with two documents presenting different estimates of the total cost.
One draft, given to civil society bodies 48 hours ahead of a workshop on September 10, puts the "total cost estimate" at R13.9bn. Another, presented to the Nepad business forum (NBF) on September 18, speaks of R43.5bn.
In its presentation to the NBF, the government said the POA addressed the "fundamental challenges facing South African society: poverty, unemployment, crime and under-development, as well as HIV/Aids". Among the results it hoped to achieve were:
l The strengthening of a human rights culture;
l A perceptible decrease in levels of crime and violence, in particular against women and children;
l Better access to justice;
l Forums and mechanisms for social dialogue and participation in the provision and monitoring of public services;
l Unemployment to be halved by 2014;
l Improved effectiveness and efficiency of the education system;
l A holistic approach to combating HIV/Aids; and
l Universal access to basic rights and services such as clean water and electricity. …