SA good on tolerance but fails on health and safety

03 July 2017 - 12:54 By Suthentira Govender
The burden of infectious diseases and high rates of infant and maternal mortality continue to bedevil our progress, said professor Jerry Coovadia of the Active Citizens Movement.
The burden of infectious diseases and high rates of infant and maternal mortality continue to bedevil our progress, said professor Jerry Coovadia of the Active Citizens Movement.
Image: REUTERS

South Africa can brag about its high level of tolerance‚ but it when comes to personal safety the country's ranking is dismal.

That’s according to the latest Social Progress Index‚ which measures various nations’ provision of healthcare‚ education‚ housing‚ rights‚ tolerance and environment.

South Africa received an overall ranking of 66‚ from US-based non-profit organisation Social Progress Imperative‚ in the measure of 128 countries.

Denmark emerged as the top-ranked nation for social progress‚ with northern European countries dominating the index‚ occupying seven of the top 10 rankings.

The most improved countries of the list from 2014 to 2017 were Myanmar and Nigeria‚ while Hungary and Nicaragua saw the biggest declines.

On tolerance and inclusion South Africa ranked 36th in the world‚ one of its best results. It displayed a relatively high tolerance for homosexuals‚ according to the index results.

However the country featured poorly across a wide range of measures‚ its worst ranking being personal safety‚ at 123‚ thanks to a high level of violent crime.

Regarding nutrition and basic medical care‚ South Africa came in at 83. The high maternal mortality rate‚ high child mortality rate and high number of deaths from infectious diseases accounted for the poor performance.

South Africa performed well on both personal freedom and choice‚ enjoying a ranking of 33.

It ranked 80th for provision of water and sanitation and 88th for housing. It was 84th in the access to basic knowledge category.

Professor Jerry Coovadia of the Active Citizens Movement said in the areas of health care‚ "despite substantial investment our public health care system is tottering on the brink of collapse in many provinces‚ due to a combination of poor political decision-making and control‚ corruption and mismanagement on an epic scale.

“The burden of infectious diseases and high rates of infant and maternal mortality continue to bedevil our progress”.

Coovadia was not surprised by the dismal personal safety ranking‚ “in view of the high rates of violent crime‚ including an astonishingly bizarre record of domestic violence".

“South Africa’s progressive constitutional regime accounts for its positive showing in relation to the indices of personal freedom and choice‚ tolerance and inclusion‚” he said.

“It is perhaps an indication of the social bias of this index that it grudgingly concedes that these results are achieved thanks to its ’tolerance’ of immigrants and homosexuals.”

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