SA getting better


South Africa is showing gentle improvement in human and economic development, according to the latest South African Development Index (SADI) released on Friday. “Of the six policy areas tracked by this index, three policy areas showed improvement and three remained the same,” the SADI found.

The economic policy area showed a slight increase of 0.03 points, health policy area an increase of 0.4 points and the crime sector and improvement of 0.52 points, the South African Press Association reports. Education, living conditions and gender remained unchanged. “Overall therefore, the index recorded an increase from 101.95 points to 102.79 points.”

The SADI was released by the SA Institute of Race Relations (SAIRR).

It assesses performance by 26 indicators in six areas and its indicators are weighted to a total score of 100. Increases are seen as positive and decreases as negative. The previous SADI, published in June 2011, showed an increase from 101.66 to 101.95 points. In the latest index, South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), seasonally adjusted and annualised at constant 2005 prices, increased from R1.859 billion in the fourth quarter of 2010 to R1.881bn in the first quarter of 2011. This was an increase of 1.19%.

South Africa’s per capita GDP increased slightly from R37 180 in the fourth quarter of 2010 to R37 632 in the first quarter of 2011, an increase of 1.22% or R452. The unemployment rate rose from 25.2% in the second quarter of 2010 to 25.7% for the same quarter in 2011. This was an increase of just under 2%. Youth unemployment declined from 51.2% in the second quarter of 2010 to 49.8% in the second quarter of this year, a decrease of 2.81%. The education index data remained unchanged.

Life expectancy at birth for males increased from 54.3 years in 2010 to 54.9 in 2011, an increase of 1.1%. Life expectancy at birth for females rose from 58.5 in 2010 to 59.1 in 2011, an increase of 1.03%. The infant mortality rate per 1000 declined from 39.1 in 2010 to 37.9 in 2011, a drop of 3.07%. However, the immunisation rate for children under a year declined from 95.3% in 2010 to 89.4% in 2011, a decrease of 6.19%.

The total number of HIV infections declined from 5 813 088 million in 2010 to 5 577 812 million in 2011. This was a decline of 235 276, or 4.05%. The proportion of people with HIV in South Africa fell from 11.8% in 2010 to 11% this year, a decline of 6.78%. The ratio of public sector doctors per 100,000 people increased from 27.3 in 2010 to 29 in 2011. This was an increase of 6.23%.

Public sector nursing assistants per 100 000 people increased from 84.2 in 2010 to 87.7 in 2011, growth of 4.16%. The index’s living conditions and gender scores remained unchanged.

Households living in formal dwellings stayed at 76.9%; households with access to piped water at 89.2%; households using electricity for heating at 45.6% and households with access to flush toilets at 59.9%. The labour market participation rate for females was 47.6% and the number of professional female employees was slightly higher at 328 000, from 321 000. Total serious crimes per 100 000 declined from 4298 in 2010 to 4144 in 2011. This was a decrease of 3.59%.

The murder rate per 100,000 declined from 34.1 in 2010 to 31.9 in 2011, a 6.45% decline.

The SAIRR gets its data from its own surveys, Statistics SA, the department of trade and industry, the SA Reserve Bank and the Health Systems Trust.