State of the Nation Address to the Joint
Sitting of the Houses of Parliament
8 February 2002 - Cape Town
Madame Speaker and Deputy Speaker,
Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP,
Honourable Members of our National Parliament,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Chief Justice of South Africa as well as other members
of our judiciary,
Heads of the Security Services,
Governor of the Reserve Bank,
Honourable Premiers and MECs,
Representatives of Local Government,
President Mandela and Mrs. Machel,
Your Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Fellow South Africans:
Decision makers across the globe have accepted the
reality that the global struggle to eradicate poverty
and underdevelopment is fundamental to the well-being
of human society.
We know this as a matter of fact that the struggle
to eradicate poverty and underdevelopment in our own
country is fundamental to the achievement of our own
national goal to build a caring and people-centred society.
Of decisive importance to the millions of our people
and the future of our country, as we meet here today,
the central question we will have to answer at the end
of the day is whether what we are doing as the legislature,
the executive and the judiciary, as well as the fourth
estate, is helping to lift from the shoulders of our
people, the intolerable burden of poverty and underdevelopment.
This fourth opening session of our second democratic
parliament, including the debate that will take place
next week, must answer this question in a frank, honest
and forthright manner.
What I know and can say without any equivocation is
that during the past year, our country has, in real
terms, and within its means, moved further forward towards
a society free of poverty and underdevelopment. This
I will also say that we are nowhere near liberating
millions of our people from these scourges.
But I will also say this, that gradually, step by step,
we are progressing towards the achievement of the historic
goal of the eradication of a centuries-old legacy of
colonialism, racism and apartheid. This I will also
say that the overwhelming majority of our people consider
themselves as actors in the unfolding and measured drama
of the eradication of this legacy.
Our Deputy President, the Hon Jacob Zuma is not with
us today because he had to attend a summit on NEPAD
in France, at the invitation of President Jacques Chirac.
At the end of the summit, he will proceed directly to
Dakar, Senegal, for another summit with Prime Minister
Tony Blair. Accordingly, I am honoured to convey an
apology for his unavoidable absence today.
We wish to acknowledge the presence of Mrs Rebecca
Kotane on this occasion of her 90th birthday and also
Mrs Nontsikelelo Biko, in this year when we commemorate
the 25th anniversary of the assassination of Steve Biko.
Scientists say that anatomically modern humans, people
who look like us, evolved in Africa about 150,000 years
ago and then slowly spread out to occupy most of the
globe. A key question has been when and where did these
people first become modern in their behaviour. Until
now, archaeological evidence has pointed to Europe as
the centre for this development about 35,000 years ago.
The markers for modern behaviour include the production
of art, bone tools and a capacity for symbolism. Lack
of evidence of these behaviours suggested that people
in Africa lagged behind those in Europe.
Remarkable new finds by South African archaeologists
at Blombos Cave in the Southern Cape indicate that the
prehistory of Africa and its people now needs rewriting.
Blombos Cave has produced evidence that African people
were producing exquisite bone tools and delicately made
stone spear points more than 70,000 years ago. But the
most spectacular find is a slab of ochre engraved with
abstract designs 77,000 years ago.
Described by the South African Museum as "the
world's oldest art object", this invaluable slab
of ochre is on display in this case next to the podium,
an example of the extraordinary heritage of the evolution
of humanity that resides within our country and which
we must preserve. The designs on the slab were made
deliberately and with symbolic intent. The scientists
say that it is now to Africa that we look for the origins
of the human imagination and human ingenuity and for
the genesis of art.
We thank the South African Museum for lending us this
exhibit for a few hours as well as the presiding officers
for agreeing that it should be brought into the chamber.
I am especially pleased to welcome to our parliament
Dr Chris Henshilwood, who led a team of scientists that
found the Blombos engraving. All of us are committed
to do everything we can to support our scientists who
are working selflessly to unravel the mysteries of the
evolution of humanity.
We also look forward to parliament's own Millennium
Project which aims to collect, collate and interpret
our diverse heritage so that we may build a common identity
We meet here at the beginning of a year during which
our country will host two summit meetings of great significance
to Africa and the world. These are the founding Summit
Meeting of the African Union in July and the World Summit
for Sustainable Development in August-September.
In addition to launching the AU, the first of these
Summits will, among other things, take important decisions
about the critical issues of peace and stability, good
political governance and good economic governance. It
will also have the possibility to consider specific
and implementable NEPAD development programmes, whose
central objective is the elimination of poverty and
underdevelopment on our continent.
The Johannesburg World Summit for Sustainable Development,
the largest high-level international gathering this
year, will also focus on the critical matter of development
and the eradication of poverty. This is of fundamental
interest to our country, our continent and the rest
of the developing world.
It will build on what was agreed at the historic UN
Millennium Summit of the year 2000 and the Monterey,
Mexico conference next month, which will discuss Financing
The nations of the world elected to come to our country
because they understand and appreciate what we have
done in the last seven-and-half-years to address within
our own borders precisely the same questions that constitute
the global agenda. They chose to convene in South Africa
because they are convinced that we have something of
value to contribute to the building of a new and more
equitable world order that must surely emerge.
The recognition by the peoples of the world of the
fact that we have established ourselves as a winning
nation, as a people determined to succeed, places an
obligation on us in fact to succeed.
Today, millions of our people ask themselves the question
- how can I lend a hand in the national effort to build
a better life for all!
During our recent visit to New York to participate
in the proceedings of the World Economic Forum, we had
the privilege to meet South Africans who live in or
have become citizens of the United States. These are
Marco Piovesan, who lives in Atlanta, Georgia and Cathy
Gorille, who lives in Seattle, Washington.
They and their friends, all born in South Africa, have
also been asking themselves the question - how can we,
who reside in the United States, lend a hand in the
national effort to build a better life for all South
From across the Atlantic, they have decided to make
their own contribution to the common national effort
by concentrating their resources and expertise in a
programme for the reconstruction and development of
our country. Correctly and interestingly, they have
entitled their programme - Vuk' uzenzele! - which idiomatically
might be expressed as Arise and Act!
The call they have made applies to each one of us as
we review a year in which we called for unity in action
among South Africans for change. It is an abiding challenge
as we set out the programme of government for the coming
On the occasion of our address to the joint sitting
of our two Houses of Parliament last year, we set out
a programme of action focused on taking us further forward
on the road towards a better life for all our people.
The programme, as further elaborated by Ministers in
their addresses to Parliament and their public briefings,
was concrete. Where possible, we indicated the time
frames within which particular actions would be undertaken.
And so the time has come to account.
A few weeks ago, we received an unsolicited report
from a team of academics at the University of Stellenbosch,
led by Professor Willie Esterhuyse which comments on
our government's performance during the course of the
year 2001. Having studied the programme government set
itself at the beginning of the year, the team undertook
a systematic analysis of what had been done to implement
This is what the Team has to say:
"The President made 43 'promises' in his speech.
By 8 January 2002 - eleven months after the speech was
made - 65% of these have either been achieved or are
credibly in progress. 16% have not been achieved. That
gives a ratio of 4 items of progress versus 1 item not
"On a further 19% we do not have sufficient information
to make a call...
"65% vs. 16% is in our opinion a very good performance.
Governance is not about pushing buttons and things happening
instantaneously. Various obstacles like inertia, vested
interests, competing agendas, lack of capacity and the
like must be overcome.
"From various speeches and press releases it is
clear that Ministers are working towards the goals set
by the President. Looked at closely, there is coherence
and a sense of purpose and integration.
"Some of the 16% of items not yet achieved are
those with a very large impact on the economy and society
like the Telkom IPO, clarity on telecommunication issues
and an effective campaign against AIDS. We have taken
a hard line and suggested that these have not been achieved,
although government can certainly argue that they are
The Team then explains why in its opinion things do
not "look and feel better", despite the progress
that has been achieved.
In its view, firstly this is because "communication
by government is not always optimum. Secondly, it is
because despite "a lot of good progress" on
"macro issues that are vitally important",
these are "very far removed from the [person] in
the street". "We should also submit that,
looking back at 2001, the very solid progress recorded
has been overshadowed by developments in Zimbabwe and
As Government, and even as Members of Parliament, we
may not agree with some or other part of these comments.
But there is no gainsaying the fact that the analysis
provides a fair assessment of government's work in the
And as the Team says, the national successes are cause
for celebration. Overall, we should all be proud that
steadily, our country is moving away from the past of
racism, poverty, conflict and economic stagnation.
The weaknesses pointed out by the Stellenbosch researchers
reflect a variety of limitations in the structures and
systems of government that should be put right. We can
proffer a host of cogent reasons for these and other
shortcomings. But, to the extent that we have the capacity
to do something about the problems, we should and do
take responsibility as government.
I would like to take this opportunity to express our
gratitude to and salute Professor Esterhyuse's Team
for an informative, honest, frank and dispassionate
assessment of the work of government. Besides putting
the resources of the University at the disposal of the
nation's current endeavours, there is an important moral
to this initiative. Without being asked by anybody in
government, in a very practical manner, the Stellenbosch
Team answered the question - how can I lend a hand in
the national effort to build a better life for all!
The past year has brought to the fore many patriotic
South Africans who have found a practical answer to
These include the school principal at Sandi Secondary
School near Umtata, Bongi Peyana, who put in an extra
effort to raise a derelict institution towards the highest
summits of success in teaching and learning.
They include Ivan Booth, a young South African who,
after numerous debates with his peers about the opportunities
that democratic South Africa offers to all its people,
decided to draft a manuscript for a publication entitled,
"South Africa: Reasons to Stay". Ivan says
the book is dedicated:
"...to the nation that won its place in history
...the nation with the brightest future
...the nation that fights and wins
...the nation that doesn't know how great it is".
In a postscript to his foreword, this young and proud
South African retorts:
"Several people have mentioned that anyone publishing
such a book is effectively pushing themselves into a
corner, should they ever wish to leave South Africa.
Hell, yes. But what a corner...!"
[We implore Madame Speaker to excuse the language she
may deem unparliamentary: in this case it's all for
a good cause!]
These heroes who are lending a hand to make South Africa
succeed include the children of the Inkonjane Senior
Phase School in Soweto who, in partnership with the
Sunday Times, volunteered their time and meagre resources
to help fellow children in rural Ingwavuma, KwaZulu-Natal
affected by AIDS and ill-health.
They include the people of Rockville, Soweto, who during
the course of last year strengthened their co-operation
with the Police Service, and have, as a result reduced
crime in their area by half in 2001.
These and many other South Africans are the true leaders
and heroes of the nation - the volunteers whose selfless
dedication will ensure that we make progress to make
ours truly a nation of hope.
We have it within us as a nation to join them and many
others to forge a massive movement of volunteers - dedicated
workers in all fields of life -and bring to life those
enduring attributes of all our people, of perseverance
and persistence in the struggle for our own good and
the good of humanity.
Madame Speaker, Honourable Members, Guests and fellow
The assessment of the Stellenbosch Team that we referred
to earlier is that we are making progress as a nation
in addressing the social backlogs that we inherited
from the apartheid past. Let us examine, from data available
in government, what the trends are in this regard.
In the five calendar years leading to the end of 1998,
3-million South Africans had been provided with access
to clean running water through the community water supply
project. In only three years since 1999, 4-million more
have been connected, bringing the total to 7-million.
In the five calendar years to the end of 1998, 2,3-million
electricity grid-connections had been made. In the three
years since 1999, 1,2-million new connections had been
made, bringing the total to 3,48-million.
444-thousand hectares had been redistributed in the
land reform programme in the five years to the end of
1998; in the three years since then, the number has
increased to 600-thousand hectares, bringing the total
to over 1-million hectares. The pace has dramatically
increased in the case of land restitution, with 48 claims
settled at the end of 1998; while by the end of 2001
the total number of settlements has increased to 29-thousand.
While the number of houses built or under construction
was 514-thousand at the end of 1998, the number currently
stands at 1,2-million.
These figures speak to the progress we are making in
providing basic services to the majority of South Africans.
They add to the qualitative improvements in learning
and teaching in our schools and the dramatic improvements
in Matric results, which show that the transformation
process is starting to bear fruit.
The masses of our people, both black and white, both
resident at home and abroad, are, like the peoples of
the world, driven by hope and confidence in our future
as a country.
They are determined to see our country progress, refusing
to demobilise themselves by succumbing to carefully
cultivated pessimism and despair. As a government elected
by the overwhelming majority of our people, we have
an obligation to respond to and sustain this hope and
confidence in a rational, realistic and practical manner.
As it must do, the government has conducted its own
thorough assessment of its performance as well as the
state of the nation. We have also studied carefully
the findings and comments made by the academics at the
University of Stellenbosch.
We have recalled our obligations.
We have also taken into account what the Stellenbosch
academics said, that 'governance is not about pushing
buttons and things happening instantaneously'.
The programme we will pursue this year builds on the
foundations that have already been laid. It is informed
by the broad objectives our country agreed upon in the
context of the goal of reconstruction and development,
at the centre of which is the eradication of the legacy
of poverty and underdevelopment.
This year, the government will work further to reduce
the level of poverty in our society. This will be expressed
in concrete, time-specific programmes.
This year, the government will work further to develop
our greatest resource, our people, including the working
people, the women, the youth and the disabled. Particular
attention will be paid to such matters as health, including
AIDS, education and training and the National Youth
This year, the government will initiate additional
programmes to improve the quality of life of all our
people, encompassing such issues as safety and security
and moral renewal.
This year, the government will further intensify its
attention on questions of social equity. This will include
matters of black economic empowerment, women's emancipation,
and justice for the disabled.
This year, the government will further increase its
focus on the issue of achieving higher rates of economic
growth and development. This will include promotion
of domestic and foreign investment, trade promotion,
a social accord and the convening of a growth summit.
This year, building on the agreement we have reached
with the public sector trade unions, the government
will work further to improve the efficiency of government.
We will pay particular attention to such questions as
improving professional competence at all levels of government
radically to change the quality of service delivery.
This year, the government will take additional steps
further to strengthen and entrench our system of democratic
governance. This will include the appropriate celebration
of the 5th anniversary of our Constitution and the resolution
of the various questions relating to cultural, language,
and religious rights, as well as the issue of the place
and role of our traditional system of government.
This year, the government will work to discharge its
current international responsibilities. This will include
the hosting of the Summit Conferences we have mentioned
and other tasks that relate to specific instances, including
the situation in the Middle East, as well as the fight
Finally, this year, the government will work further
to strengthen its links with the masses of our people.
Accordingly, we will participate in, encourage and promote
the involvement of as many of our people as possible
in the people's campaign - vuk' uzenzele! In this context,
we will strive to give real meaning to the strategic
challenge facing the public service -batho pele!
In pushing back the frontiers of poverty, we shall
do this in partnership with many in our society who
are ready to lend a hand in the national effort to build
a better life.
Let us cite some of the tasks in this regard.
We need massive mobilisation around registration for
Government paid out 3,3-million grants in November
2000, and the number increased to 3,8 by November 2001,
the greatest increase being in child grants. In its
programme for the medium-term, government had targeted
the registration of 3 million children eligible for
a grant by 2005. As a result of better awareness and
improved efforts by the public service, we are on course
to meet this target by 2003.
Government will in the next few weeks approach religious
bodies, trade unions, traditional leaders, youth structures,
civic associations, women's organisations and others,
for all of us to lend a hand so that in the next three
years, we register all who are eligible for the child
grant and other social allowances.
With each one of us lending a hand, we can attain this,
and further ensure that we not only improve the integrity
of the system against corruption, but also that new
registrations are conducted in reasonable time.
Let us also add that, as the Minister of Finance will
elaborate in the Budget Speech, we shall this year increase
allocations to both old age pensions and child grants
by far more than the rate of inflation.
This call for a national partnership in support of
beneficiaries of social grants, and the increases that
we have referred to, underline the commitment of this
government to improving the conditions of the most vulnerable
sectors of our population. The plight of the poor is
at the top of our agenda.
Again, as part of our work to push back the frontiers
of poverty and expand access to a better life, possibilities
have been created for further tax cuts particularly
for the lower end of the salary scale, a critical contribution
by government to higher real wages for workers.
Preserving and developing our human resources is a
matter that all of us should pay particular attention
to, both individually and collectively.
Government has implemented the Human Resource Development
Programme conscious of the fact that it is the surest
guarantee to sustainable employment and economic growth.
Tens of thousands of trainees have benefited from this,
ranging from science and mathematics teachers, agricultural
inspectors, information and communications technology
learnerships to retrenched mine-workers and so on. This
work will be intensified during the course of this year.
Studies that we have conducted and interaction with
the Presidential ICT Councils, whose establishment we
announced last year, have shown that a critical and
pervasive element in economic development in the current
age is the optimum utilisation of information and communications
technology. In addition to the many programmes we have
introduced in this area, including tele-centres, we
shall as a matter of urgency complete the work towards
the establishment of an ICT University.
The implementation of the National Plan for Higher
Education will gain momentum in the coming months; and
government is under no illusion that the process will
be easy. We are confident though that, working in partnership
with higher education institutions, we shall fashion
a system that will ensure that we meet the challenges
of the modern world.
Again, in the spirit of Vuk' uzenzele, we must arise
and act in partnership across the nation and ensure
proper teaching and learning in our schools.
Government will in the current medium-term expenditure
period allocate the necessary resources to ensure that
no child studies under a tree. Consultations will be
held with provincial administrations to ensure that
this programme is put in place as a matter of urgency.
Further, through Community-based Public Works Programmes,
it should be possible to allocate resources for massive
renovation projects in our schools, clinics, hospitals
and other amenities across the country. The Gauteng
Province informs us that R500m over three years has
been allocated for this purpose.
As we push back the frontiers of poverty, Integrated
Rural Development and Urban Renewal Programmes assume
critical importance. Work has started in all the 13
rural nodes identified last year, with integrated programmes
ranging from community production centres, Multi-purpose
Community Centres, social infrastructure projects and
others being laid out. In the urban nodes, business
plans have been finalised and a number of projects are
already being implemented.
Particularly in the rural areas, emphasis will be laid
on ensuring food security and community-based job-creation
projects, so as directly to address the state of poverty
in which communities live.
Consolidating this integrated work in the nodes already
identified will be the focus of government's work this
year. This will then lay the basis for the extension
of the nodes to other parts of the country in the near
We intend, within the next three years, to complete
the land restitution process, which is a critical part
of our land reform programme.
In each Province of the country, intense water and
sanitation programmes are being implemented to improve
hygiene, with emphasis on schools and cholera-affected
localities in KwaZulu/Natal and the Eastern Cape. Though
we have contained the worst impact of this disease in
these areas, we operate from the premise that the long-term
solution is quality services to all.
Government, working in partnership with all sectors,
particularly the SA National Aids Council (SANAC), will
intensify its comprehensive programme against AIDS,
sexually-transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and other
In implementing the agreement we reached with the pharmaceutical
companies, we have initiated discussions with some of
them to examine new ways of making drugs more affordable
and to strengthen our health infrastructure.
The work that is being done by various institutions
within or related to government on the health profile
of the nation - the burden of disease, regional and
local trends, mortality statistics and so on - is critical
in fashioning a comprehensive response both in the public
and private sectors. In addition to the many campaigns
to change our lifestyles for healthier living, the focus
of our programmes in the coming period will be the improvement
in quality of services in public health.
With regard to AIDS in particular, our focus remains:
a massive prevention campaign directed at ensuring that
the high rates of awareness translate into a change
in lifestyles; care for the affected and infected; treatment
of all diseases including those associated with AIDS;
and research into a vaccine - a programme described
by the head of UNAIDS, Dr Peter Piot, as the largest
and most comprehensive in Africa and one of the largest
in the world; a programme, he says, with very high levels
of government investment, which is starting to show
Proceeding from the accepted premise that there is
no cure to AIDS, we are convinced that, besides the
individual and collective responsibility for us to take
care of our own lives, protection and enhancement of
the immune system is a critical intervention in both
the prevention and management of AIDS. By implication,
therefore, poverty reduction and appropriate nutrition
constitute an important front in this campaign.
At the same time, continuing work will be done to monitor
the efficacy of anti-retroviral interventions against
mother-to-child transmission in the sites already operational
and any new ones that may be decided upon.
Our partnership across society should advance these
multiple interventions required for us to deal with
this epidemic. Any focus on one issue, at the expense
of the others, may have the effect of undermining what
we all seek to achieve.
Last December, the South African Police Service released
comprehensive statistics on the incidence of crime in
our society and the trends that attach to the rates
of various forms of crime.
It is our fervent hope that Honourable Members and
the whole of our society, including the media will continue
to apply their minds to the issues raised in that briefing,
the better to appreciate the role that society as a
whole needs to play in dealing with this scourge. Indeed,
when impassioned calls were made for the release of
statistics, we believe the aim was not to "check"
whether government is "delivering", but to
ensure that all of us lend a hand in the effort to combat
and prevent crime.
The simple fact that most of the crimes of assault
and murder happen between Friday and Sunday, among people
who know one another, and with many of them under the
influence of alcohol or drugs speaks to the critical
importance of community organisation and systems of
Clearly, many of these crimes, as well as those related
to rape, domestic violence and child abuse cannot be
policed with any measure of success by the security
agencies acting alone.
Credit is due to the thousands of South Africans who
have joined Community Police Forums and our Police Service
as reservists. Together, if each one of us lends a hand
we can do much better. During the month of February,
communities and their organisations have mobilised to
enlist more volunteers. Sustained throughout the year,
and with each one making a contribution, we can surpass
the 30-thousand target set by the Police Service.
The Police and the Department of Justice will continue
their interaction with communities and their organisations
to ensure that particular attention is paid to assisting
in such areas as clerical work in Police Stations, as
well as in the courts, so we are able massively to reduce
the backlog of cases pending trial. Legal and other
professionals, students and other sections in our communities
can play an important role in this programme.
Having set itself the target of stabilising 145 police
station areas where over 50% of crimes are committed
within 3 years, our security agencies have managed to
attain this in one year.
More attention in the coming period will also be paid
to improving the intelligence capacity of our security
agencies, particularly to build on the successes that
have been made in dealing with organised crime.
As we said earlier, these trends in crime incidents
as well as other problems within society, including
white-collar crime, call for partnership across society
to improve our moral fibre to strengthen community bonds,
to pull together in the direction of hope and success.
Consultations have started with various organised formations
to convene a Moral Regeneration Summit as a matter of
urgency. Such a Summit should address the issue of the
responsibility that each and all of us should take for
our lives, moving from the understanding that, as we
were our own liberators in resistance against apartheid,
so too should we today act as our own liberators in
dealing with its legacy.
Moral Regeneration also means inculcating in us and
our youth that service to the people, selfless commitment
to the common good, is more valuable than selfish pursuit
of material rewards. Productive investment is more valuable
than aimless gambling in markets for derivatives. Payment
for honest work is more fulfilling and sustainable than
theft. Children and women are there to be respected,
not to become targets of abuse.
As part of the people's campaign - vuk' uzenzele, we
must intensify our work on the questions of social equity.
We do this as a continuation of our struggle and in
order to fulfil the commitments we made with the rest
of humanity at the World Conference against Racism that
we had an honour to host last year.
In this regard, we must ensure that we accelerate and
entrench the forward march of women's emancipation in
all spheres of our lives. As in the past, government
must take a lead in promoting and protecting the rights
We also need to reflect, as a nation, whether we are
making the necessary progress in advancing the constitutional
rights of the disabled people.
Further, part of our programme to bring about social
equity is the successful implementation of the programme
for Black Economic Empowerment.
Clearly, we need rigorous and visible progress in this
area, so as to ensure not only the distribution of wealth
and economic power in line with the demographics of
our country; but also to ensure that our economy and
society as a whole can benefit from the wisdom and potential
of all South Africans, and that the benefits of such
empowerment are shared across society, and not just
by a few.
Government has accepted the most critical recommendations
of the BEE Commission. On the two specific areas of
legislation and institutional frameworks, it has been
decided as follows:
All sectoral legislation will be examined to ensure
that the obligation of Black Economic Empowerment is
incorporated, on the basis of common principles agreed
Once a comprehensive policy statement on this issue
has been finalised, within the next 4 months, BEE Council
will be established, bringing together government and
other experts and practitioners in this critical area.
Government will, as an actor in the economic arena,
particularly in the massive procurement of goods and
services, examine its structures and systems to ensure
that they fully meet the objective of Black Economic
It should be emphasised that the task of Black Economic
Empowerment faces all sectors of society, including
the established business community. As is intensely
happening in the tourism industry, progress will depend
on active government leadership and co-operation from
various sectors of the business community itself.
A further challenge in ensuring inclusive economy,
pertains to access to micro-finance. Many enterprising
South Africans set out to establish small businesses
but are unable to do so through the formal banking system,
nor to acquire the training that they need. Khula and
Ntsika were established to spearhead this, and they
have been improving their work in the past few years.
In order to ensure that the wisdom of the nation is
tapped effectively, and that ideas are processed into
practical programmes as urgently as possible, government
will continue with intense consultations on micro-lending
for the poor for purposes of income generation, working
with experts who, by definition should include communities
who have over the years run many successful self-help
Combined with this initiative will be a comprehensive
review of all institutions mandated to assist Small,
Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMME's).
Last year, government announced a series of interventions
by the state to help speed up the rate of investment
and job-creation. This we did having come to the conclusion
that the country had achieved macroeconomic stability.
We should at the very outset make bold to say that
that conclusion stands. Growth of our economy in 2001
is expected to register more than 2% of Gross Domestic
Product, a significant achievement given the global
slowdown. Interest rates, though still high, are lower
than they have been for many years; and the same can
be said about inflation.
The budget deficit is much lower; and combined with
revenue collection which is above the set targets, this
will afford us the possibility to expand expenditure
in real terms, especially on such important areas as
social services and economic infrastructure.
In other words, barring the exchange rate, all critical
economic indicators have improved.
The changing structure of our economy for the better
is reflected, among other indicators, in the increase
in manufactured exports, and the fact that high rates
of growth can be attained without undue pressure on
the balance of payments.
We are as a country within our right to be concerned
about the volatility in the exchange rate, and the kind
of inexplicable movements that we experienced towards
the end of last year. A variety of reasons have been
given in this respect; and we all await the outcome
of the inquiry headed by Justice Myburgh, whom we wish
to thank, along with other Commissioners and their staff
for accepting the request to assist the nation in getting
to the root of this problem.
As government, we are in no doubt that the sudden depreciation
of the currency a few months ago is not a reflection
of systemic or structural weaknesses in the economy
as a whole.
We will need to continue working with international
financial institutions and developing countries to fashion
a global financial architecture that cushions so-called
"emerging markets" from occasional market
On the whole, we should emphasise that the path of
an open economy that we have charted for ourselves is
not up for review. As we find our way into the future,
we shall not seek solace in the past.
The programme that we announced last year, to pay particular
attention to a number of sectors of the economy will,
during the course of this year, continue to unfold in
the areas identified such as mining, agriculture, telecommunications,
tourism and manufacturing. Many concrete steps have
been taken to speed up work in these sectors, and the
relevant Ministers will detail these in their briefings
to the media and the public. We shall here select a
few areas for emphasis.
To start off with, a number of recent projects that
have been brought to our attention, convince us that
the future holds much promise in terms of direct investment.
Mvelaphanda Energy, working with a consortium of two
American (USA) companies has invested more than half
a billion Rand in the exploration of gas on the west
coast of our country. The consortium is exploring an
area covering approximately 8 million acres within the
Orange River Basin and has encountered excellent gas
reserves, that will supply energy to our country.
Furthermore, a joint venture between a black empowerment
company, Evertrade and a Nasdaq-listed company will
establish waste bin manufacturing facilities around
the country for export, with earnings estimated at about
R1,4-billion in the next seven years.
Harmony Gold has raised over R1billion of foreign investments
for the purchase of gold mines in the Free State.
To these we can add motor manufacturing companies,
which this year invested in excess of R2 billion, an
Irish clothing and textile enterprise and many others.
Interaction with our business community has reinforced
our confidence regarding their commitment to the growth
of our economy and the prosperity of our society. In
this regard, we wish again to pay tribute to a South
African patriot and leader, the late Marinus Daling
who departed from our midst a week ago.
From the interactions we have had with government and
business leaders in the European Union, Japan, China,
the US and other regions, including at the recent World
Economic Forum in New York, it is quite clear that these
trends will continue.
Critical in ensuring greater investment is the intensification
of the work to build economic infrastructure and lower
the cost of inputs. In this regard, progress has been
made in finalising ports policy and starting the process
that will see to improvements in efficiency.
The Nqurha (Coega) Industrial Development Zone has
been designated and work on the port has started. Despite
the difficulties experienced during the course of the
year, progress has been made in the restructuring of
the telecommunications sector, transport, energy and
other areas of economic and social infrastructure, with
the primary aim of ensuring efficient and cost-effective
service. In this context, the restructuring of state
assets remains one of the primary areas of focus in
One of the urgent tasks we have set ourselves is to
finalise the setting up of a safety agency for our railways.
In this context, we wish to express our sympathies with
the families of the bereaved and the injured in the
recent train accident in Kwa-Dukuza, Kwa Zulu/Natal.
We are highly appreciative of the agreement that has
been reached in the transport sector, and Spoornet in
particular, to determine the kind of restructuring that
enjoys the confidence of all the major stakeholders,
including the union movement.
Steadily, as these programmes reach their critical
mass, their impact on the lives of all South Africans,
including in the area of sustainable job-creation, will
start to be felt.
The partnerships that we referred to earlier contain
within them possibilities for massive expansion of Community-based
Public Works Programmes.
We also face the challenge of ensuring that the funds
allocated to the National Skills Fund, Umsobomvu, infrastructure
and the employment subsidy are spent with the efficiency
demanded by actual needs in society.
Experience over the past few months has raised the
question of the impact of the rapid depreciation of
our currency on the lives of ordinary South Africans.
It is tribute to the changing structure of the economy
that imported inflation has in recent years been kept
to a minimum.
We should also congratulate the agricultural sector
for the work that they have done to finalise the Strategy
Plan for South African Agriculture, which addresses
all the complex issues of research, equitable land distribution,
assistance to small-scale farmers and so on. Government
and the agricultural sector are working together urgently
to move towards implementation of the Plan.
In a meeting of the Joint Working Groups of government
with "big business, black business, agriculture
and labour" last December, it was agreed to convene
as early as possible a Growth and Development Summit
to address the urgent challenges facing us in the economy
and build an enduring partnership in which all of us
can lend a hand in building a prosperous South Africa.
A critical element of this engagement - at least a
basic outline of which will have to be elaborated before
such a Summit - is a Social Accord or Compact among
all role-players. We need to ensure that each sector
lends a hand for higher growth, whose benefits can be
shared equitably among all South Africans. This will
mean, among other things, achieving congruence in expectations
and certainty in such matters as inflation, wage and
salary demands, rates of investments, positioning of
the country in the global arena, our role in NEPAD,
job-creation and poverty alleviation.
The approach to this critical initiative will be based
among other things on the experiences already garnered
in the Millennium Labour Council and NEDLAC. Achieving
this Compact is desirable if our economy has to rise
to its full potential. Nay more, it is necessary if
our society has to advance at the rate required by the
social challenges we face.
This spirit of service to society, Batho Pele, is what
guides us as we pursue the restructuring of the public
service. Though slow and intermittent, progress is being
made in negotiations with public sector unions as we
try to forge a common understanding of the challenges
of change, which should benefit employer and employee,
the public servant and the public we are meant serve.
Steadily, through practical experience - in urban renewal
and rural development, in improving capacity in the
Presidency, in the clusters of Ministers and Directors-General,
and in the President's Co-ordinating Council and other
institutions - integrated governance is becoming a reality.
During the course of this year, our country will celebrate
the fifth anniversary of the adoption of the basic law
of the land.
This is an occasion in which we pay tribute to those
who led the negotiations process and the mass of our
people who, ultimately, are the true midwives of our
democracy. The interactions that we have had with various
communities especially during imbizo activities demonstrate
that the people's wisdom in both policy development
and implementation can only serve to enrich the quality
of the services we render and make people-centred and
people-driven development a living reality.
One of the injunctions of the Constitution is that
we must set up a commission on Cultural, Religious and
Linguistic Rights and we have already tabled legislation
in parliament in this regard.
In accordance with the government's comprehensive Public
Service anti-Corruption Strategy, we have introduced
measures to ensure that the code of conduct is upheld
and that all public service managers are subject to
conflict of interest disclosures. To complement this,
legislation to fight corruption will be brought before
parliament during this session.
Among the matters that we will bring to successful
conclusion this year is the definition of the role of
traditional leaders in our system of government. The
consultations that have taken place across the board
have laid the basis for framework legislation.
We will this year finalise the restructuring of our
National Orders to reflect the art, symbolism and idiom
of South Africa as a whole. Work to build the Freedom
Park Monument will start this year so that South Africans
and the rest of humanity can celebrate this important
shrine symbolising the rich heritage of our country
in the evolution of the Earth, life and humanity and
the struggle of part of that humanity for liberty.
It is therefore appropriate that this monument is launched
as we approach the end of the First Decade of Freedom
in two years time. I would like to thank the Freedom
Park Board for having appointed the Honourable Wally
Serote to work as a full-time chairperson on the Freedom
Park Monument so as to speed-up the process.
What inspires us as we work with other leaders and
peoples across the continent and further afield is to
shape a new world, defined by the needs of all humanity.
We enter 2002 with Africa, through its representative
structures having formally embraced the commitment that
this should, in actual practice, be the African Century.
Various projects envisaged in NEPAD will start to unfold
in parts of the continent, as we turn the ideals in
this document into practical action.
During the course of last year, our commitment to Africa's
progress also found expression in the deployment of
our sons and daughters in uniform in Ethiopia, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and Burundi. We did so because
we remain confident that our sister-people in these
countries will find solutions to their problems.
We are humbled to play host to the Inter-Congolese
Dialogue, which commences this month in our country.
In order to ensure that we stay true to our commitment
to peace on the continent and other defence functions,
we shall continue with the programme to equip our National
Defence Force in line with policies of the country adopted
by its elected representatives.
In pursuit of stability in our region, we will work
tirelessly to support the people of Zimbabwe in their
quest to hold free and fair elections in their country.
It is in the interest of the people of Zimbabwe and,
indeed, the whole region that the government that emerges
from the March elections is legitimate and enjoys the
support of the majority.
In order to play our part in ensuring that this happens,
and in response to the wishes of Zimbabweans themselves,
we will, within a week, send a multi-sectoral South
African Observer Mission (SAOM) to Zimbabwe, headed
by Dr Sam Motsuenyane. I am informed that Parliament
is also ready to send a Parliamentary Observer Team
on the same mission.
Clearly, the mission and the conditions that our teams
seek to create are one and one only: let the people
of Zimbabwe speak through the ballot box!
Further, we wish to express our solidarity with our
brothers and sisters in Lesotho who are due to hold
their national elections in May this year after a long
process of negotiations.
This year, we will continue with efforts to attain
peace and development in the Democratic Republic of
the Congo, Angola and the Comoros.
We shall also persist with whatever we can contribute
to ensure that the wanton destruction of the Palestinian
Authority is brought to an end, and that peace and security
for the Palestinian and Israeli child becomes a reality.
Again, we shall during the course of this year, continue
to strengthen economic and other forms of co-operation
with countries of the European Union, Japan and the
rest of Asia, the USA and the Americas, in pursuit of
Africa's development, our own national interests and
the interests of humanity as a whole. In this regard,
we shall continue to challenge a pessimism that expects
Africa to fail in any of its endeavours, and the undeclared
doctrine of collective punishment against all Africans
that seems to come into effect when one or some among
our leaders stumble.
We wish once more to reiterate our solidarity with
the people of the United States of America for the terrible
events of September 2001. If anything, our fervent hope
is that this tragedy will continue to re-awaken in all
of us, our bonds as a global human family. Along with
other countries, under the aegis of the UN, South Africa
will make whatever modest contribution it can in the
reconstruction of Afghanistan.
The ingredients for faster progress on all fronts of
our work are there. The primary one among these is our
collective appreciation that no one, and no one, can
do for us what we should do for ourselves.
In this programme, we lay out the main challenges that
face us in the coming year and beyond. What guides our
approach is that each one of us should lend a hand in
doing the simple things that will make a difference
to the lives of especially the poor.
Together as a people, we have made great strides. The
successes we have achieved make the clear statement
that acting together, we can and shall continue to push
back the frontiers of poverty and expand access to a