Wednesday, June 10, 2009
From Creamer Media in Johannesburg, I'm Amy Witherden.
In its third HIV/Aids prevalence survey, the Human Sciences Research Council reports that South Africa's infection rate has levelled off at a prevalence of 10,9%, with 5,2-million people estimated to be living with HIV in 2008. HIV prevalence has also declined among children aged from 2 years to 14 years, from 5,6% in 2002 to 2,5% in 2008, and a decline in new infections has also been noted among teenagers aged from 15 years to 19 years.
Dr Olive Shisana, CEO of the HSRC, says that this survey provides promising findings of a changing pattern of HIV infection among children and the youth.
Provincially, the Western Cape, Gauteng, Northern Cape and the Free State reported a drop in HIV infections, while the Eastern Cape HIV prevalence rate increased by 5% in people aged between 15 years and 49 years.
The Eastern Cape provincial Health Department states that the province is bearing the burden of disease displaced from other provinces owing to the movement of migrant workers from the industrial centres of South Africa, back to the Eastern Cape.
In other news, employment and job creation will be at the centre of Gauteng's policy, said Gauteng Premier Nomvula Mokonyane in her State of the Province address yesterday.
These issues become more critical in the context of recession, said Mokonyane, which "compound[s] the challenges of poverty, hunger and unemployment."
Mokonyane promised that the government would tackle the recession with social grants, infrastructure and human resources development, cooperation with business and labour, job creation through the expanded public works programme and the reorganisation of government administration to make it more efficient.
The Premier also promised a reform of local government in her address, emphasising "real delivery issues" and a "new work culture".
In his reply to the Parliamentary debate on the State of the Nation address, President Jacob Zuma said yesterday that the government's objectives based on a stable macroeconomic environment will not change.
Government also has no intention to use the fiscus for general company bail-outs, he said. It is important to ensure that the interventions made did not distract government from its longer-term socioeconomic objectives. The productive capacity of South Africa's economy must be kept intact, explained Zuma, so that the manufacturing, agriculture and mining sectors are ready for an economic recovery.
The President also repeated government's intention to create 500 000 work opportunities this year, as part of its goal of creating about four-million such opportunities by the end of this five-year term.
Also making headlines:
The Rand Merchant Bank Bureau for Economic Research reports that business confidence in South Africa has slipped only slightly in the second quarter.
African nations are more cautious about selling farmland to foreign investors, as governments fear social unrest.
State-owned power utility Eskom maintains that South Africa's electricity supply is at risk if the requested tariff hike is not granted.
And, France and the United Nations warn against military intervention in Madagascar.
That's a roundup of news making headlines today.