Gauteng and the Western Cape are South Africa’s best performing provinces when it comes to social and environmental outcomes. This is according to the South African Social Progress Index (SPI), launched today during Harambee’s National Solutions Exchange on Youth Employment.
The SPI offers a practical measurement of the impact that government policies have on the ground. The objective of the Index is to deepen the analysis of national performance, replacing a traditional economics-centred approach with one that looks at the social and environmental health of the country using a variety of components, including access to healthcare, shelter, education and a clean environment.
The Index was developed by IQbusiness, in partnership with the Social Progress Imperative – a US-based non-profit organisation which releases a similar index comparing countries across the world on similar measures. South Africa scored 67.44 on the international index, but the overall result obscures the differences between provinces. This is why IQbusiness CEO, Adam Craker, and the CEO of the Social Progress Imperative, Michael Green, together announced the provincial Index results today.
“The provincial SPI was launched to challenge the country to rethink the way it gauges its progress and the way we do business and operate,” says Craker. “It allows us to measure the progress that will enable better decision-making, especially when determining priorities and budgets which can help advance the lives of South Africans.”
Existing data measures were used together to form each component – for example, the number of beneficiaries of the school nutrition programme, infant death rate, and institutional maternal mortality ratio were used to determine a school for Nutrition and Basic Medical Care.
Craker continues, “The provincial breakdown recognises the different factors influencing the outcome of each province and provides learnings to enhance progress in all provinces.”
Gauteng (68.01) and Western Cape (66.70) are the best performers overall, with high scores in most components of the Index. However, crime presents a serious problem for both provinces, with very low Personal Safety and Personal Rights scores pulling their overall scores down.
The lowest score on the provincial SPI was received by the Northern Cape (41.86), with particularly low scores on health and wellness components. The index also highlighted an urgent need to address healthcare deficiencies in the North West and Free State, as well as shocking environmental threats in Mpumalanga. The Eastern Cape received disappointing results in almost all government service delivery components.
National, provincial and local governments can use the Index to guide their decision-making and prioritise service delivery in provinces where it is lacking. Solutions-focused businesses can look to grow jobs, skills and improve outcomes in low-scoring provinces by investing in the solutions needed to plug any gaps in government delivery.