UNITED NATIONS POPULATION INFORMATION NETWORK (POPIN)
UN Population Division, Department of Economic and Social Affairs,
with support from the UN Population Fund (UNFPA)

94-09-08: Statement of South Africa, H.E. Mr. Abe Williams

ISO: ZAF

 

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The electronic preparation of this document has been done by the

Population Information Network(POPIN) of the United Nations Population

Division in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme

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 AS WRITTEN





    STATEMENT BY MR. BE WILLIAM, MINISTER OF WELFARE AND

    POPULATION DEVELOPMENT, LEADER OF THE SOUTH AFR1CAN

    DELEGATION, IN THE PLENARY OF THE

    INTERNAL CONFERENCE DEVELOPMENT, CAIRO, 8 SEPTEMBER 1994.





MR PRESIDENT, IT IS A GREAT PLEASURE FOR ME TO CONVEY TO

YOU AND THE BUREAU THE CONGRATULATIONS OF THE SOUTH

AFRICAN DELEGATION ON YOUR ELECTION.



MY DELEGATION WISHES TO EXPRESS OUR PROFOUND THANKS TO

EGYPT FOR THE HOSPITALITY WE HAVE EXPERIENCED AND FOR THE

ARRANGEMENTS THAT HAVE BEEN MADE TO ENSURE THE SUCCESS

OF THIS CONFERENCE.



WE ARE MOST GRATEFUL TO THE SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE

CONFERENCE AND HER STAFF FOR THE ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF

PREPARATORY WORK DONE TO ENSURE THAT OUR DELIBERATIONS

CAN TAKE PLACE ON A SOUND FOUNDATION.



IT IS AN HONOUR FOR ME TO LEAD, FOR THE FIRST TIME, A

MINISTERIAL DELEGATION FROM SOUTH AFRICA TO AN



INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE DEALING WITH SUCH AN IMPORTANT

WORLD ISSUE AS THAT OF POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT.



PRESIDENT MANDELA HAS REQUESTED ME TO CONVEY HIS

GREETINGS TO YOU AND TO EXPRESS HIS SINCERE REGRET THAT HE

IS NOT ABLE TO BE PRESENT AT THIS IMPORTANT EVENT. HE HAS

INDICATED HIS STRONG COMMITMENT TO THE WORK OF THIS

CONFERENCE BY SIGNING THE STATEMENT ON POPULATION

STABILIZATION OF THE GLOBAL COMMITTEE OF

PARLIAMENTARIANS ON POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT.



FOR SOUTH AFRICA, THIS CONFERENCE IS AN EVENT ON A PAR WITH

OUR RECENT ACCEPTANCE AS A MEMBER OF THE OAU, THE NON-

ALIGNED MOVEMENT AND THE GROUP OF 77 AND THE RESUMPTION

OF OUR SEAT IN THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE UNITED NATIONS

ON 23 JUNE 1994 - MILESTONES WHICH HAVE SIGNALED SOUTH

AFRICA'S FULL READ MISSION TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY}.



SOUTH AFRICA IS ALREADY PLAYING AN ACTIVE ROLE DI THE

AFFAIRS OF AFRICA AS A MEMBER OF THE OAU AND ONLY LAST

WEEK SOUTH AFRICA WAS ADMITTED TO THE SOUTHERN AFRICAN

DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY.



ON EACH OF THESE OCCASIONS, SOUTH AFRICA HAS Committed

ITSELF TO BE AN ACTIVE AND RESPONSIBLE MEMBER OF THE

WORLD COMMUNITY AND OF OUR REGION. WE WISH TO MAKE THE

SAME COMMITMENT HERE TODAY.



AS A PROUD MEMBER OF THE AFRICAN GROUP, MY GOVERNMENT

HAS STUDIED THE RECOMMENDATIONS EMANATING FROM THE

THIRD AFRICAN POPULATION CONFERENCE HELD IN DAKAR,

SENEGAL, IN DECEMBER 1992. I WISH TO PLACE ON RECORD TODAY

THAT SOUTH AFRICA ENDORSES TEE DAKAR/NGOR DECLARATION

ON POPULATION, FAMILY AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT.



MR PRESIDENT, IN APRIL 1994 SOUTH AFRICA EMBARKED ON A

PROCESS OF POLITICAL TRANSFORMATION WHICH HAS IN SOME

QUARTERS BEEN CHARACTERIZED AS MIRACULOUS.



IN ONE OF ITS FIRST MAJOR ACTS OF POLICY-MAKING,THE NEW

GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY ADOPTED A RECONSTRUCTION

AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME AS THE FRAMEWORK FOR ALL ITS

POLICIES AND PROGRAMMES. ALL GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND

PROGRAMS, INCLUDING THE POPULATION POLICIES AND

PROGRAMMES, ARE UNDER REVIEW.



THE GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY IS WELL AWARE THAT IT

HAS SPECIFIC POPULATION CHALLENGES TO FACE IN ITS QUEST FOR

THE DEVELOPMENT OF ALL SOUTH AFRICANS.



EXISTING NATIONAL DATA ON FERTILITY, MORTALITY, MIGRATION,

URBANIZATION AND OVERALL POPULATION SIZE, STRUCTURE AND

DISTRIBUTION DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE TRUE SITUATION

OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN POPULATION. THERE ARE UNDERCOATS

ON, FOR EXAMPLE, THE URBANIZATION RATE, BIRTH RATES AND

OTHER VITAL STATISTICS. NATIONAL STATISTICS ARE UNRELIABLE

AND INCOMPLETE BECAUSE OF THE POLITICAL FRAGMENTATION OF

SOUTH AFRICA UNDER PREVIOUS POLICIES. NEVERTHELESS,

ESTIMATES INDICATE THAT THE POPULATION OF SOUTH AFRICA IS

CURRENTLY NOT LESS THAN 40 MILLION, AND THAT THE

POPULATION IS GROWING AT AN ANNUAL RATE OF MORE THAN 2%.



THE POPULATION OF SOUTH AFRICA HAS A LARGE YOUTHFUL

SEGMENT AND A SMALL BUT GROWING ELDERLY POPULATION. IT

IS ESTIMATED THAT 40% OF THE POPULATION IS YOUNGER THAN 15

YEARS AND 4% IS 65 YEARS AND OLDER THE MEDIANAGE OF THE

POPULATION IS ESTIMATED AS BETWEEN 19 AND 20 YEARS. THE

YOUTHFUL NATURE OF THE SOUTH AFRICAN POPULATION WILL

REQUIRE SPECIAL ATTENTION TO THE PROVISION OF EDUCATIONAL

AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES AND EMPLOYMENT.



PREVIOUS POLICIES AND SPECIFIC DEMOGRAPHIC PATTERNS HAVE

HAD AN IMPACT ON SOUTH AFRICA'S DEMOGRAPHIC PROFILE.

FERTILITY, MIGRATION AND MORTALITY PATTERNS AND

ADOLESCENT PARENTHOOD WERE AFFECTED BY THESE POLICIES.



RECENT ESTIMATES OF VITAL DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS REFLECT

THE FOLLOWING DISPARITIES IN DEVELOPMENT:



    UNEMPLOYMENT FIGURES CONSISTENTLY INDICATE

     DISPARITIES IN TERMS OF RACE, GENDER AND AGE.



    LITERACY AND EDUCATIONAL LEVELS ARE LOW, WITH TEE

    LOWEST LEVELS AMONG WOMEN.



    HEALTH SERVICES ARE UNEQUALLY-ALLY DISTRIBUTED,

    ESPECIALLY IN TERMS OF URBAN AND RURAL AREAS.



    GENDER DIFFERENCES IN VITAL DEVELOPMENT INDICATORS

    SHOW THAT WOMEN FALL FAR BEHIND IN EDUCATION,



    EMPLOYMENT AND SOCIAL SERVICES.



THESE DISPARITIES HAVE A NEGATIVE EFFECT ON FERTILITY,

MORTALITY AND MIGRATION. THEY ALSO POINT TO SPECIFIC

PRIORITIES TO BE ADDRESSED IN THE FUTURE.



TEE RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME IS AN

INTEGRATED, COHERENT SOCIO-ECONOMIC POLICY FRAME WORK

IT SEEKS TO MOBILIZE PEOPLE AND RESOURCES TOWARD THE

BUILDING OF A DEMOCRATIC, NON-RACIAL AND NON-SEXIST FUTURE

FOR OUR COUNTRY. IT RESTS ON SIX BASIC PRINCIPLES, NAMELY:



 AN INTEGRATED AND SUSTAINABLE PROGRAMME WITHIN OUR

  MEANS;



  A PEOPLE- AND COMMUNITY-DRIVEN PROCESS;

  PEACE AND SECURITY FOR ALL;



  NATION-BUILDING;



  LINKING RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT; AND



  DEMOCRATIZING THE COUNTRY.



THESE PRINCIPLES WILL BE IMPLEMENTED TROUGH THE

FOLLOWING KEY PROGRAMMES:



    FIRSTLY, MEETING THE BASIC NEEDS OF OUR PEOPLE

    THROUGH JOB CREATION, LAND REFORM, THE PROVISION

    OF HOUSING, WATER AND SANITATION, ENERGY AND

    ELECTRIFICATION, TELECOMMUNICATIONS, TRANSPORT, A

    CLEAN AND HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT, NUTRITION, HEALTH

    CARE AND SOCIAL WELFARE.



    SECONDLY, DEVELOPING HUMAN RESOURCES, WHICH

    INCLUDES EDUCATION AND TRAINING, YOUTH DEVELOPMENT,

    AN ARTS AND CULTURE PROGRAMME AND ENSURING ACCESS

    TO SPORT AND RECREATION.



    A THIRD KEY PROGRAMME OF THE RECONSTRUCTION AND

    DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME IS BUILDING THE ECONOMY OF

    SOUTH AFRICA.



    AND LASTLY, DEMOCRATIZING THE STATE AND SOCIETY.



TURNING TO THE QUESTION OF POPULATION POLICY AS AN

INTEGRAL PART OF THE RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

PROGRAMME WHICH I HAVE OUTLINED, IT IS IMPORTANT TO STATE

THAT THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH AFRICAN ACKNOWLEDGES THE

LINK BETWEEN SOCIO-ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND



DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS. THE INTEGRATION OF PEOPLE-

DEVELOPMENT THROUGH EDUCATION AND TRAINING, CREATING AN

ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT THAT FOSTERS THE CREATION OF JOBS,

AND THE PROVISION FOR BASIC NEEDS SUCH AS HEALTH CARE AND

WELFARE SERVICES, ARE IMPORTANT.



SOUTH AFRICA DOES NOT AT PRESENT HAVE A POPULATION POLICY

ACCEPTED BY ALL PARTIES. A POPULATION POLICY IS THEREFORE

CURRENTLY BEING CONSIDERED IN RELATION TO THE BASIC

PRINCIPLES OF THE RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT

PROGRAMME, TAKING INTO ACCOUNT DEMOGRAPHIC FACTORS IN

PLANNING, MONITORING AND EVALUATING DEVELOPMENT

PRDGRAMMES.



AS PART OF A COHERENT DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY, THE

GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY WILL EMBARK ON A

COMPREHENSIVE POPULATION CENSUS AND REGULAR SURVEYS TO

MONITOR DEVELOPMENT.



THE IMPORTANT LINKAGES OF GENDER EQUITY AND THE

EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN WITH POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT

HAVE BEEN CONSISTENTLY HIGHLIGHTED IN THE PREPARATORY

PROCESSES FOR THIS CONFERENCE. THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS

ISSUE IS FULLY ACCEPTED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF SOUTH AFRICA.



THE NEW CONSTITUTION OF SOUTH AFRICA INTRODUCES

PROTECTION FOR THE FUNDAMENTAL RIGHTS OF ALL SOUTH

AFRICANS. THE BILL OF RIGHTS HAS SPECIFIC RELEVANCE TO THE

SITUATION OF WOMEN, AS IT FULLY ENTRENCHES GENDER



EQUALITY, WHICH HAS GREAT SIGNIFICANCE FOR GENDER EQUITY

AND THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN. THIS NEW LEGAL POSITION OF

WOMEN IS AN ESSENTIAL BASIS FOR REDRESSING THE SITUATION OF

WOMEN IN A PRACTICAL WAY.



THE GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY IS GIVING FURTHER

IMPETUS TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF WOMEN. IT HAS, AS KEY

OBJECTIVES, THE EMPOWERMENT OF WOMEN AND ELEVATING

THEIR ROLE WITHIN THE DEVELOPMENT PROCESS AND TEE

ECONOMY, IMPROVING THE ACCESS OF WOMEN TO EDUCATION,

JOBS, LAND, HOUSING AND HEALTH SERVICES AS WELL AS

ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT. THESE WILL HAVE IMPORTANT

SPINOFFS FOR INDIVIDUAL DECISION-MAKING POWER OF WOMEN,

INCLUDING CONTROL OVER FERTILITY, MORBIDITY, MORTALITY

AND MIGRATION.



AN IMPORTANT ISSUE IN THE POPULATION AND DEVELOPMENT

EQUATION WHICH THIS CONFERENCE HIGHLIGHTS, IS THAT OF

HEALTH, MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY. THE SOUTH AFRICAN

GOVERNMENT OF NATIONAL UNITY IS COMMITTED TO THE

PROVISION OF HEALTH CARE SERVICES IN ORDER TO IMPROVE THE

MENTAL, PHYSICAL AND SOCIAL HEALTH OF ALL, SOUTH AFRICANS.

THIS WILL BE DONE THROUGH A PRIMARY HEALTH CARE



APPROACH, INTEGRATING PREVENTIVE, PROMOTIVE, CURATIVE AND

REHABILITATIVE SERVICES. HERE THE CHALLENGE IS TO BUILD ON

THE EXISTING FAMILY PLANNING SERVICE, BY IMPROVING THE

RANGE OF CONTRACEPTIVE CHOICES AND BY LNCORPORATAG THE

PREVENTION AND TREATMENT OF SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED

DISEASES, INCLUDING HIV/AIDS, CERVICAL CANCER AND

INFERTILITY.



THERE WILL BE A PROGRAMME TO IMPROVE ACCESS

TO QUALITY ANTENATAL SERVICES, DELIVERY SERVICES AND POSTNATAL

SERVICES FOR ALL WOMEN. SPECIAL SERVICES AIMED AT

ADOLESCENTS, IN PARTICULAR EDUCATION CAMPAIGNS TO COMBAT

ADOLESCENT PARENTHOOD, SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES

AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE AMONG THE YOUTH, ARE TO BE DEVELOPED.

THE NEED TO RE-ORIENT REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SERVICES TO

INCLUDE EDUCATION, COUNSELING AND CONFIDENTIALITY AND TO

PROMOTE PEOPLE'S RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND DIGNITY IS BEING

GIVEN SPECIAL EMPHASIS.



THE RECENT DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION IN SOUTH AFRICA PROVIDES[DES

THE OPPORTUNITY FOR TACKLING DEVELOPMENT ISSUES WITH A

LEGITIMATE GOVERNMENT FRAMEWORK ONE OF THE

CHALLENGES IS TO ASSESS AND ADDRESS THE COUNTRY'S

DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS AND THEIR CONSEQUENCES FOR

DEVELOPMENT IN AN INTEGRATED WAY. THIS IS AN ESSENTIAL

ELEMENT OF RECONSTRUCTION AND DEVELOPMENT.



MR PRESIDENT, MY DELEGATION IS PARTICIPATING ACTIVELY IN

THE WORK OF THIS CONFERENCE. SOUTH AFRICA WISHES TO

CONTRIBUTE MEANINGFULLY TO SEEKING SOLUTIONS TO THE

CRITICAL PROBLEMS WHICH WE MUST ALL ATTEMPT TO

IN AFRICA AND WORLDWIDE AS WE APPROACH THE 21ST CENTURY.



THANK YOU, MR PRESIDENT.


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