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Top 10 problems in South Africa that need government’s urgent attention


The Bureau for Economic Research (BER) has published a new report reflecting on South Africa’s developmental progress, and the challenges still facing the country as the government continues to fall behind on reaching its targets.

At the end of 2021, the BER in collaboration with its partners completed the annual Assessment Report of South Africa’s progress towards its development objectives.

The report draws from the array of developmental targets included in the NDP, which align with the seven priorities of the Sixth Administration – listed by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his 2019 State of the Nation Address.

It also takes more recent policy frameworks like the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan (ERRP) into account, as well as Operation Vulindlela located in the Presidency and which supports the implementation of several components of the ERRP.

One of the chapters highlighted in the report refers to the most important problems that the government needs to address.

The BER noted that unemployment remains the biggest concern. Stats SA recently published South Africa’s employment statistics for the fourth quarter of 2021. At 35.3%, it is common knowledge that South Africa has among the highest rates of unemployment in the world, said the BER.

“Unemployment, together with the GDP growth rate, are arguably the two indicators most often used to gain a view of South Africa’s level of economic development. These are important measures to track our progress (or lack thereof) in achieving the National Development Plan’s (NDP) objective of a better life for all, but there are many other indicators that should also inform our understanding of the state of affairs, the research unit said.

Corruption, it said also remains among one of the most pressing problems in the country. In light of the 2021 municipal elections, perceptions about the level of corruption among local government councillors are particularly worrying, it said.

The Corruption Perception Index score measures the perceived levels of corruption in the public sector. SA’s score improved slightly from 43 points in 2018 to 44 points in 2019, but in 2020 SA maintained the same score as it had in 2019. Its rank, however, improved from 70th place in 2019 to 69th in 2020.

The BER’s report found that 61% of respondents rate the performance in handling the fight against corruption in government as “very badly”.


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