The opposition Democratic Alliance party says it is of serious concern that South Africa ranks lower than Zambia or Angola on the 2012 Global Peace Index (GPI).
The party says it wants a parliamentary debate on the GPI, in which South Africa was ranked 127th out of 158 countries, dropping 29 places from number 98 in 2007. The GPI was released some two weeks ago. “The GPI clearly highlights government’s failure to ensure that all South Africans can live lives free from fear,” DA Shadow Minister of Police Dianne Kohler Barnard said in a statement as the ruling African National Congress held its five-yearly policy conference.
“In addition to exposing government’s failure to protect citizens from high levels of violent and contact crime, the Index also sheds light on its inability to ensure the social and economic safety and security of South Africans,” Kohler Barnard added. “It is imperative that a meaningful debate is undertaken by Parliament, as the representative voice for the people of this country, to assess levels of physical, political, social and economic safety and security and to find effective ways of ensuring that all South Africans feel safe,” Kohler Barnard averred.
“South Africa ranks far behind countries such as Zambia (51), Angola (95), Mozambique (48), Tanzania (55), Cambodia (108) and Vietnam (34). We also perform worse than countries such as Algeria (121), Tunisia (72) and Egypt (111), where governments were recently toppled through uprisings,” many triggered by socio-economic problems.
The report added that for the first time since 2007, Sub-Saharan Africa was not the least peaceful region in the world. Instead, the region had increased steadily in levels of peacefulness since 2007.
“The Middle East and North Africa is now the least peaceful region, reflecting the upheaval and instability caused by the Arab Spring,” it said, adding that for the sixth consecutive year, Western Europe remained “markedly the most peaceful region with the majority of its countries in the top 20.”
They also venture that the world as a whole had become more peaceful for the first time since 2009. “All regions excluding the Middle East and North Africa saw an improvement in levels of overall peacefulness.”
The GPI was developed by the Institute for Economics and Peace, in conjunction with the Economist Intelligence Unit and with the guidance of an international team of academics and peace experts. The Index is composed of 23 indicators, including perceived criminality in society, access to weapons, violent demonstrations, political terror and instability and deaths from internal conflicts. The Index has been tested against a range of potential drivers or determinants of peace, including levels of democracy and transparency, education and material well-being.