President Mbeki's New Year's Message,
28 December 2001
Fellow South Africans
We are coming towards the end of the year 2001, the
first year of the 21st century. As you know, we have
called this particular century the African century.
What has happened during this first year of the century
has shown what can be done and what needs to be done.
We have moved forward towards peace in the Democratic
Republic of the Congo, and during this coming year South
Africa will be hosting the Inter-Congolese Dialogue,
which will enable the Congolese people to take their
We have moved forward with regard to peace in Burundi,
the transitional government is in place, and units of
our National Defence Force are in Burundi to assist
the people of Burundi to move further forward.
During this year fundamental steps have been taken
towards the African Union and the New Partnership for
Africa's Development. The first summit of the African
Union will be held in our country and therefore during
this coming year, South Africa will assume presidency
of the African Union. The executive headquarters of
the New Partnership for Africa's Development is being
hosted by South Africa at the request of other African
As you know, later this coming year we shall also be
hosting the World Summit for Sustainable Development,
an important process regarding issues of the environment
and of development that would impact positively on the
poor people of the world.
This year we also held the UN World Conference against
Racism very successfully.
All of these things demonstrate the confidence of the
rest of the world in our country, in our people. The
world is confident that we can contribute to issues
of peace, of democracy, of development throughout the
world. This is inspired by our own achievements as a
country and as a people.
I would therefore like to congratulate all of us, all
the people of South Africa, all the political organisations
for ensuring that we did indeed overcome the problem
of political violence in our country. I would also like
to salute our legislators and all our executives from
municipal level, provincial and national, for the work
they have done, in order to reinforce the process of
democracy in our country.
We have also made strides with regard to the challenge
of development, and further progress has been made with
regard to such matters as housing, schools, clinics
and other aspects of social development.
I am also very pleased that we have managed to kick
off our Integrated Sustainable Rural Development Programme,
as well as our Urban Renewal Strategy. In particular
in this regard, I would like to congratulate our municipalities
that have worked very hard to make sure that we have
programmes in both rural and urban areas that will actually
address the issue of raising the standard of living,
of improving the conditions of life of the poorest among
We have also had the experience this year of visiting
our people through a process of Imbizo. We are very
inspired by the mood among our people who are confident
about the future, who are very keenly interested themselves
to get involved in the processes of the renewal of our
country and our society.
During this coming year, we have to pay particular
attention to the issue of human resource development.
We have got to make sure that our people are better
educated, are better trained in ways that would help
them to get employment, so that we can continue to address
the matter of reducing the levels of unemployment in
I think we should also be proud that our economy has
performed well despite the economic crisis around the
world, despite the global slowdown. And in this regard
I would like to congratulate both our workers and our
business people for the work that they have done to
make sure that the economy improves, because it is really
only on that basis that we are able to address matters
of poverty and underdevelopment.
It is clear that we continue to face many other challenges.
Quite correctly people have continued to focus on the
issue of crime, and we must focus on this. And as the
year came to its end, we concentrated on rape and in
particular the rape of children and infants. This demands
that everybody should be involved in fighting this horrible
crime. Rapes occur in our homes, they occur amongst
relatives, they occur among people who know one another.
We must make sure that indeed we break the silence with
regard to this, that we report the wrongdoers to the
police and make sure that the system of justice punishes
these people appropriately. But this is a matter on
which both government and the people have to act together.
We have also continued to focus on the question of
the health of our people, an important question, including
the issue of AIDS. Among other things, what we have
to do is ensure that within the public health system,
within the clinics, we all act together to fight against
theft and corruption within the public health system,
because medicines and drugs continue to be stolen, linen
continues to be stolen, food continues to be stolen,
which results in making it very difficult for doctors
and nurses to carry out their responsibility of looking
after the health of our people.
The rural development programme and the urban development
programme have given us the possibility to make sure
that the ordinary people of our country get involved
in the process of the reconstruction and development
of our country. Not merely to sit and wait for government
to do something. We must during this coming year take
advantage of these programmes to make sure that our
people are mobilised, mobilised to unite in action for
reconstruction, for development.
We must exploit the spirit amongst the masses of our
people for change to ensure that we do indeed call on
the masses of the people to participate in dealing with
all of the challenges that face us. And that will include
ensuring that we receive the many thousands of guests
that will be coming to our country during this coming
year, that we receive them well, that we look after
them well, and that we show to them the progress that
we are making to overcome the problems of the past.
During this period I trust that everybody will continue
to drive carefully. It is important that we reduce radically
death and injury on our roads. All of us have to arrive
alive, and that requires that all of us act together
to protect the lives of our people.
We go into a new year of hope, a new year during which
we will attain further progress, but this is a year
in which we must reinforce the processes of acting together
as South Africans, to make sure that we build the kind
of South Africa that we would be proud to call home.
I wish all of you a happy new year.
Issued by The Presidency, 28 December 2001