We are in the home stretch, 2015 is just around the corner and this Millennium Development Goals report, the fifth in a series of reports since the adoption of the MDG‟s in 2000, is critical in understanding and knowing whether we are going to achieve all the goals by 2015.
It is important to reiterate that South Africa was always a willing signatory to the MDGs because it aligned itself seamlessly with a vision expressed and supported by millions of South Africans when they assembled in Kliptown in 1955, which they called the Freedom Charter which became an important base document to South Africa’s supreme law, the Constitution. It is therefore, true to say that the goals were an integral part of the on-going work and challenges taken on by the post-apartheid government.
It is also instructive to note that this commitment is the bedrock of Vision 2030 as it is espoused in our National Development Plan:
“By 2030, we seek to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality. We seek a country wherein all citizens have the capabilities to grasp the ever-broadening opportunities available. Our plan is to change the life chances of millions of our people, especially the youth; life chances that remain stunted by our apartheid history.” (National Development Plan, p5).
But as this report so vividly illustrates, there are still so many challenges in our endeavour to ensure that we achieve the MDG goals. We are confident that we have dealt effectively with the goal to half extreme poverty but we remain deeply concerned that relative inequality remains high, as measured by the Gini coefficient. This is so in part because of the high unemployment rate and the low labour force participation rate in our country.
The current report also shows that we have gone beyond the achievements related to the universal access to education, to also include indicators on the efficiency, quality and outputs of the education system.
The seeming paucity of good information from the perspective of utility, accessibility and relevance seriously underscores the importance of producing such for South Africa. This is certainly true when progress made in improving maternal mortality is considered, as there is actually an absence of consensus on the actual level of maternal mortality in South Africa, owing to different data sources and methodology. But we do know and there is an agreement that the counting is lagging behind in the target of reducing the maternal mortality ratio.
But as South Africans, we hold each other accountable as we re-affirm our commitment to the MDG goals and the achievement thereof.
Full Report – Millennium Development Goals report 2013 PDF (4.5MB)