As the World Parks Congress theme "Benefits beyond Boundaries" began to unfold at the International Convention Centre in Durban this week, it became clear that spin-offs from protected areas are difficult to measure in monetary terms.
South Africa set itself the target of increasing land under formal conservation from 5.4% in 1994 to 8% by 2010. The country is well on track, with close on 400 000 hectares having been added, and plans to designate a further 121 000 hectares - in what would be the single largest proclamation of land for the country's national parks since 1931.
South Africa has welcomed the publication of a United Nations report on the state of protected areas around the world, saying the document is an important source of information for the conservation community and government agencies.
Africa's efforts to conserve its rich biodiversity and natural heritage have received a shot in the arm with the announcement of increased lending by the World Bank.
Over 20 million South Africans are on the National Common Voters' Roll to be used in the 2004 elections, with over 4 million eligible to vote for the first time. 54% of the country's eligible voters are women, 44% are younger than 35, and 64% live in urban areas.
South Africa has set up a medical research unit to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of traditional African medicines, to develop new remedies for chronic conditions, to safeguard indigenous knowledge, and to provide consumer information and protection.
South Africa's health minister has appointed a Medicines Pricing Committee to help shape a more transparent pricing system for medicines in the country.
South Africa and Namibia have signed a treaty establishing one of the largest conservation parks in southern Africa, spanning over 5 000 square kilometres and featuring the world's second-largest canyon, spectacular desert scenery, and one of the most species-rich arid zones in the world.
Pharmaceutical manufacturers are on a drive to raise awareness around the benefits of using generic medicines, which could greatly reduce health care costs in the country.
A revolutionary financial system set to be introduced by the department of justice will allow divorced women to draw their maintenance money from automatic teller machines installed at magistrates courts throughout South Africa.