PRETORIA, South African Sport and Recreation Minister Thulas Nxesi has congratulated Banyana Banyana, the country’s national women’s football team, for being crowned the 2017 COSAFA (Council of Southern Africa Football Associations) Women’s Champions.B…

Concern as SA drops in Global Competitiveness Index


Brand South Africa has expressed concern at South Africa’s declined performance in the 2017-2018 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Index (WEF GCI).

South Africa now ranks 61 out of 137 economies assessed in the annual survey published on Tuesday. The WEF’s GCI found Switzerland to be the world’s most competitive economy, narrowly ahead of the United States and Singapore.

Brand South Africa’s Chief Executive Officer Dr Kingsley Makhubela on Wednesday said the country’s declined competitiveness profile can be attributed to low Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

South Africa’s declined competitiveness profile can be attributed to low GDP growth forecasts at just 1% in 2017 and 1.2 % in 2018 � hit by persistently low international demand for its commodities, said Makhubela.

South Africa regressed 14 positions from the 2016-2017 WEF GCI results. Following on two years where the country made strong progress in the global competitiveness rankings, this year’s results are a wake-up call to the nation.

Makhubela said it is concerning that the financial sector has been affected by uncertainty.

It is also concerning that the financial sector has been affected by uncertainty as can be seen in the dramatic drop in performance in this indicator, while historically low levels of business confidence have now clearly impacted on the competitiveness profile of the Nation Brand.

We note decreasing competitiveness in institutions, macro-economic environment, goods and market efficiency, and financial market development. [This then means] that both government and the private sector should take heed of the deteriorating competitiveness indicators, he said.

Brand SA said while it notes the overall drop in competitiveness of the South African economy, the country improved on labour market efficiency by four positions (93/137), infrastructure improved with three positions (61/137), and health and primary education with two positions (121/137).

This means that all is not lost, however, as a nation there are several lessons to take from the WEF report indicators. As an open and transparent democratic system, leaders and public officials have to work much harder on maintaining high ethical standards in their conduct especially as it pertains to the fight against corruption and wastefulness in the public sector.

Having said that, the private sector � especially in the financial sector, should pay attention to the drop in performance in the sector’s competitiveness, said Dr Makhubela.

It is important to note that the executive opinion survey sample had drastically increased between 2016 and 2017 from 44 to 170 respectively. This means that a completely new sample informed the opinion survey conducted for the 2017 index.

WEF notes that the year-on-year change in the sample constitutes a structural break in how the results are reflected. Additionally, unlike previous years, the South African Opinion Survey was solely conducted online.

Brand South Africa is the official marketing agency of South Africa, with a mandate to build the country’s brand reputation, in order to improve its global competitiveness.

Its aim is also to build pride and patriotism among South Africans, in order to contribute to social cohesion and nation brand ambassadorship.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Western Social Development on Child Probation Services Workshop


Child Probation Services Workshop: Department to establish child justice Task Team

The Western Cape Department of Social Development (DSD) will establish a Task Team within the Provincial Child Justice Forum, to tackle issues affecting the smooth implementation of the Child Justice Act of 2008.

This comes in the wake of a multi-stakeholder Child Probation Services Workshop held last week. The department invited all key role-players in the administration of the Child Justice Act, including the;

South African Police Services

DSD Probation Officers (social workers)

The Department of Justice & Constitutional Development

The Department of Correctional Services

The Judiciary (Children’s Court Judges and Magistrates)

The National Prosecuting Authority

Secure Care Centre managers

Key child justice NGO partners.

The aim of the workshop was to build consensus on best operating procedures with regards to the administration of justice to children who are in conflict with the law. Additionally, the workshop aimed to build better cooperation among stakeholders and discuss interventions which could deal with shared challenges in administering the Act.

In his address to the workshop, Western Cape Social Development Minister, Albert Fritz, made it clear that our efforts as role-players must be to ever increasingly divert children away from the criminal justice system and into affirming social programmes.

We must work harder to create opportunities for children that’ll see them avoid choosing a life of crime completely, whilst simultaneously improving our coordination of services under the Child Justice Act in the best interests of the child, said Minister Fritz.

As a department, we will continue to invest heavily in our provision of highly trained and specialised Probation Officers and in our Secure Care Centres, said Minister Fritz.

The department has 89 Probation Officers, and 48 Assistant Probation Officers within the staff complement. These are qualified social workers employed by DSD, and are specialists in the child justice system. Their core functions include amongst other things, behavior management, crime prevention, conducting pre-sentencing investigations, and the compilation and presentation of reports to courts.

Crimes committed by children were increasingly becoming more serious and more violent. The most common offences committed by children within our Secure Care Centres, murder, common assault, housebreaking & theft, attempted murder, and rape.

Most sentenced children are in detention periods for short periods, however there is an increase in children serving longer detention periods.

The department has 4 in-house and funds 2 NGO operated Secure Care Centres. These are not prisons, therefore our security and containment measures are not as restrictive. The focus is on rehabilitation and the constructive development of the child.

As a department we remain committed to rendering quality services to all children, including children in conflict with the law. Key to our efforts will be to ensure we can cooperate efficiently with our Child Justice Act partners.

Source: Government of South Africa