Hon Speaker, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon Members of Parliament, and fellow South Africans, the ANC's Strategy and Tactics states that:
... the battle against crime cannot be separated from the war on want.
Yes, indeed, the "battle against crime cannot be separated from the war on want." Lack of access to economic opportunities, lack of land ownership, and lack of education and training, which affects 42% of South Africa's female population, particularly those in rural areas, leave them vulnerable and susceptible to crime.
The crime statistics released by the Minister of Police indicate a steady decrease of 11,1% in crimes against women. Statistics on crimes against children indicate a decrease of 12,4%. While these trends are welcomed, the figures remain unacceptably high, particularly because many of these are serious crimes such as murder, rape and other violent crimes.
For instance, in yesterday's Sowetan newspaper, a gruesome article stated that a father raped his biological one-month-old and two-year-old little innocent girls while their mother attended an evening church service. These occurrences are becoming common in our country.
However, hon Van der Merwe, we have not failed; we are facing the scourge head-on. What complicates the situation is the fact that law enforcement agencies find it difficult to prevent these atrocities because they occur among acquaintances in closed homes and in poor communities.
The crime that is not frequently mentioned is the crime on our roads. Sixty percent of road accident fatalities involve women and children. In every single fatal taxi or bus crash the majority of the people who die are women and children, as they are the ones who, in the main, use public transport. Road crashes bring frustration and a sense of loss and take away the very freedom that is a vehicle to bring about peace, security and a stable family structures in our society. Road crashes are the largest unnatural killer of children in South Africa.
Many crashes are the result of acts of lawlessness and can easily be regarded as murder, and are therefore crimes. Hon members will remember the recent truck and taxi crash that occurred in Fields Hill, Pinetown, as a result of an allegedly fake licence and unroadworthy truck. Twenty-three people were killed and the majority of them were women and children.
Let me just focus on two key drivers that lead to road crashes. The first one is excessive speed or driving too fast for prevailing circumstances. This accounts for about 30% of all road crashes. The second key driver is drunken driving. It is seriously worrying that there is a remarkable increase in the number of young women between 24 and 35 years of age who drive under the influence of alcohol. During alcohol tests at road blocks, one in four people arrested is a woman. This phenomenon is attributable to a myriad of factors, among which are social trends.
It is for this reason that the Department of Transport has commenced with the 365-Days Road Safety Programme, which is linked with the United Nations Decade of Action for Road Safety pillars and, of course, the four Es. These are: education, which is awareness, enforcement of the law, engineering and evaluation. Our call to all citizens is to obey the rules of the road and not commit road-related crimes.
Women's and children's rights are entrenched in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Directed by the belief that "the battle against crime cannot be separated from the war on want", the ANC-led government has vigorously pursued the national agenda for women's empowerment to provide them with a higher quality of life and reduce the level of poverty among them, so that they too can contribute to the economic development of this country.
Let me mention but a few of the significant strides made by the government in addressing these challenges. There is the remarkable milestone of the broadening of the ownership of assets, including houses and land, to historically disadvantaged groups such as women and rural communities, as articulated in the National Development Plan's 2030 vision.
From October 2010, when the New Growth Path was adopted, to May this year, more than 646 000 new jobs were created. Of these, 366 000 new jobs were created particularly for women, which is 57% of the total new employment package that was created. No doubt we are on course and no doubt we are not failing.
The New Growth Path calls for greater economic inclusion through small business and youth development. Policies before 1994 largely excluded young black people. Hon Waters, how hilarious that those responsible for youth exclusion suddenly go around spreading the propaganda that they care about young black people! This, simply because all they want is their vote and nothing else. [Interjections.] Remember Judge Leon, the father of the former DA leader Mr Tony Leon, sentenced Solomon Mahlangu to death for fighting for black youth economic inclusion, and this is a fact. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
Prior to 1994 there were between 8 million and 9 million employed South Africans. Today we have more than 13,6 million employed people, which is more than 4 million new jobs created under democracy. Today 1,6 million more young people under 35 years of age are working than in 1995.
The enrolment of young women in schools and universities has also increased dramatically. In fact, in less than a decade we have doubled the number of graduates in the labour market.
Just this year the Youth Employment Accord was signed, bringing together the full efforts of both the public and private sectors. The accord provides for a comprehensive approach which includes incentives, commitments and actions to address the youth employment challenge.
In transport, a historically male-dominated sector, we have taken concrete steps to empower women and youth, both in government and in the industry at large. During the 2012-13 financial year, the SA National Roads Agency Limited trained 21 034 people, of whom 9 470 were women, in road-building projects at a cost of about R23 million.
We established a Women in Rail Programme and R1 billion is allocated for this financial year to empower and improve women's representation and facilitate technical skills development and support.
In the maritime sector we have sent 11 masters and two doctoral female students to study maritime-related courses at Malm University in Sweden. We are making a concerted effort to transform the aviation industry in regards to gender parity and racial representation. The doubting Thomases can continue with their pessimism; we are on course.
To fight crime against women and children, the SA Police Service has established victim-friendly rooms at station level and Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units, FCS Units at cluster level. A total of 83,18%, of convictions which is 37 457, were secured. The conviction rate in crimes committed against children younger than 18 years sent to court is 75,98%. In total about 499 life sentences was brought about by the FCS Units on crimes against women and children.
However, government cannot fight crime alone. We would like to thank communities for playing an active role in reporting crime. We urge communities not to take the law into their hands, but to work with the state law enforcement agencies.
We call upon those good men to provide leadership in their communities and say, "Not in our name - our political will to fight crime is unyielding and we are soldiering on."
Working together with communities, the public sector, the private sector and civil society, we shall stand our ground and reduce road fatalities and injuries. We shall improve the lives of women and young people. We shall reduce all crimes against women, children and all South African citizens. We have created a more inclusive economy that seeks to address the needs of all South Africans - the 51 million people of South Africa - and not just the 4 million that were provided for during the apartheid era, from which many seated in this House benefited.
As we approach the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence against Women and Children, we must, at all material times, fight against the abuse of women and children. More than ever before, we are resolute in making a difference and we are definitely on course.
As a matter of fact, I wanted to respond to hon Walters but unfortunately he displayed laziness by coming here, selectively reading a commission's report and merely committing plagiarism. So, I have nothing to say to him. I thank you. [Interjections.] [Applause.]