At the beginning of 2008, almost as soon as most South Africans returned to their everyday lives, having enjoyed a relaxing summer holiday, the perfect storm erupted. In quick succession there has been the unanimous unseating of the country’s President as leader of the ANC in December 2007, followed by a nationwide power crisis with regular “load shedding” which started in January 2008 and which we are told this will continue until after 2010. In addition South Africans are dealing with the perceived high level of crime (perception is reality), increasingly high levels of inflation (9.4% in February 2008), petrol at the highest levels ever and according to the popular media and dinner talk, more people than ever are considering immigrating to greener pastures.
I believe that part of the reason South Africa is going through such a great deal of mass negativity at present is because South Africans are constantly bombarded with bad news. I believe that if everyone in South Africa keeps reading, talking, thinking, and worrying about the bad stuff all the time, it will end up happening because everyone is attracting it.
After the last few months one may ask “Is there any good news about South Africa?” Yes!! After digging around on the internet, I have found plenty of good news about South Africa, which I would like to share with you to help put the constant bad news in perspective:
Although the price of petrol in South Africa has increased dramatically it is still amongst the cheapest in the world. The highest price in South Africa is the Gauteng (inland) price for 95 octane unleaded petrol which as at 2 April 2008 is R8.91 per litre. In contrast according to a survey of 9 700 petrol stations in the UK, for unleaded petrol, the minimum price in the UK is £1.03, the average price is £1.07 and the highest price £1.19 per litre. Using an exchange rate of £1=R15, this means that the average price per litre in the UK is over R16 per litre, nearly double South Africa’s price.
Housing in South Africa is still amongst the cheapest in the world. According to the April ABSA housing index the average price for middle segment housing (Residential houses nationwide between 80m2 and 400m2 ) is just R929 000. In contrast according to the BBC News Survey of UK house prices (which fell 3.6% in the last year) as at February 2008 the nationwide average is currently (Rand figures are conservatively calculated at £1=R15):
*Detached (A house not joined to any other) £342 800 (R5 142 000)
*Semi-Detached (A house which is joined to another house on one side) £200 037 (R3 000 555)
*Terraced (Streets of houses joined together in long rows) £176 732 (R2 650 980)
*Flat (A flat is part of a bigger building where all the flats share a front door) £200 967 (R3 014 505)
According to Statistics South Africa the unemployment rate fell fractionally to 23% in September 2007—the lowest since records began in 2001. The government’s target is to cut the rate to 14% by 2014
Winning the War on Crime
The United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute have conducted research on the victims of crime which shows the picture of South African crime as more typical of a developing country. These statistics show that South Africa has lower rates of violent crime than many African and South American countries.
According to the South African Police Service Statistics, the incidence of most types of crime has reduced since 2001. Their latest report for the 6 month period April to September each year since 2001 reveals the following rates of incidence per 100 000 of the population.. conservatory roofs cardiff