The Budget Vote Speech 2003, National
Assembly, Cape Town, 18 June 2003
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Honourable Leaders of our political parties, Honourable
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Thank you very much for affording us the opportunity
to address parliament on the occasion of our budget
vote. As is customary, the Deputy President will also
address the House on various issues the Presidency deals
with, including the important matters of AIDS, the legislature,
elements of our international work and moral regeneration
in our society.
The Minister in the Presidency will speak to parliament
on the issues of gender equity, the rights of people
with disabilities, the rights of children and matters
relating to the youth.
On the 28th December 2002, Andrew Gerber, who turned
28 last Friday, overcame the cold and difficult conditions
of the Antarctic to reach the South Pole on foot, the
first South African to do so. In January of 2003, Marion
Cole captained the Lovelife Yacht, sailing with a young
black crew in the Cape to Rio Yacht Race. These young
South Africans traversed the forbidding waters of the
Atlantic Ocean, as bearers of the torch of freedom,
in the quest to mobilise global action against the common
health challenges of our time.
On the 26th May this year, Sibusiso Vilane, conquered
Mount Everest, the highest mountain in the world, becoming
the first black person to do so. Sean Wisedale also
did South Africa and Africa proud by reaching the top
of Mount Everest.
Only two days ago, on National Youth Day, Fusi Nhlapo,
whose birthday we celebrate today, gave further inspiration
to all of us when he won the Comrades Marathon. Quite
correctly, yesterday this House conveyed its congratulations
to Fusi and the other runners who led the thousands
of participating athletes into Kingsmead Stadium on
According to its outstanding principal, Dave Robinson,
Bryanston High School in Gauteng, "(has a) stated
aim as a community school to contribute positively to
our wider community. The learners are encouraged at
all times to think of others, and to translate their
sympathy for those less fortunate into action. Our Grade
11 group, in particular is encouraged to take part in
Charity Committees. Through the RCL (Representative
Council of Learners) and related leadership projects,
we have helped various organisations over the past three
years. The teacher in charge of these projects is Mrs
Gill Fulscher, one of our HOD's, who has been an inspiration
to the learners in terms of vision and devotion."
As a result of the exciting programme carried out by
this school, to contribute positively to the wider community,
two of its learners, Kevin Tregurgha and Tasmin Nash,
decided to do something about the street children of
Hillbrow, Johannesburg. This is what Kevin has written
in this regard:
"I saw a programme on E-TV about children sleeping
under boxes on the streets and I decided that I wanted
to help in a different way. I then approached our Grade
Controller with the idea and asked Tasmin if she would
be willing to help. From there on it took us lots of
phone calls to various companies, but finally things
started to come together and the big night , the 3rd
of June, arrived. At about 6:30 pm we arrived at Hillbrow
police station with our four blanket-filled cars. After
about an hour we had the police escort we had been waiting
for. We then made our way to our first stop where, as
the cars stopped, people started rushing toward us.
We then moved on to our next stop. They had already
been told we were coming. We then offloaded the bakkie.
We saw only hands and faces which were desperately pulling
on our clothes, our boxes and the blankets we were giving
out. Once the bakkie had been cleared we then moved
on to our next stop. As we were leaving people were
knocking on the car's windows trying to prevent us from
leaving. We finally got to our final stop where the
people were saying how much Thabo Mbeki loves them.
Once we had left Hillbrow we could then reflect on what
we had seen, children sniffing glue, the way that people
actually lived and little girls walking around with
one month old babies on their hips. That night sincerely
touched our hearts: the people had tears in their eyes
and we could see that they appreciated what they had
been given. We would do it again! You have an image
of what things are going to be like and nothing could
have prepared us for what we have seen. And we will
be hoping to do more projects like this."
Palesa Mohapi, is eighteen years old. In May she won
the International English-Speaking Union debate in London
in competition with her peers from across the world.
In her award-winning speech, Palesa speaks of the role
of women in the African Renaissance. Among other things,
she said: "In the pursuit of these things, women
have an important role to play: women like my grandmother,
who worked at two jobs in order to send her children
to the best schools". And having described a successful
poverty alleviation programme in Swaziland run by women,
she continues: "These women, like my grandmother,
are making positive change and this is the fundamental
part of the African Renaissance."
I agree. Thank you for the wise words, Palesa.
Andrew Gerber, the young people who sailed with Marion
Cole, Sibusiso Vilane, Fusi Nhlapo and Palesa Mohapi,
Kevin Tregurgha and Tasmin Nash have, through their
distinguished achievements, spoken for all of us.
They are saying:
The tide has turned!
Africa's time has come!
It must surely be a matter of great pride to all of
us that these messages are conveyed to us by the youth
of our country. What they have done has served to answer
those in our country who regularly present both a false
and negative picture of our youth, and a pessimistic
view about the future of our country. Their achievements
tell the story that we have many young people in our
country who are full of initiative, who are highly intelligent,
brave, disciplined, determined to live in and contribute
to the building of a winning nation, ready to engage
this task with the patience and persistence of a marathon
When we say the tide has turned and that Africa's time
has come, we say so because we are confident of the
role that the youth are playing and will continue to
play to ensure that our country and continent continue
along the difficult road that will lead all Africa to
stable democratic systems, peace and stability, prosperity
and the eradication of poverty, and the restoration
of the dignity of all Africa's women, children and men.
As we observe June as Youth Month, the month of Youth
Day, once more we extend our salute to our youth and
assure them that we will continue to work together with
them for the improvement of their conditions of life,
focusing on the challenges of youth development and
I am very pleased and honoured that we have in the
House today the young heroes and heroines I have mentioned.
These are Sibusiso Vilane, the conquerer of Mount Everest,
Palesa Mohapi, a victor in the conveyance of the challenge
of the African Renaissance, Marion Cole representing
the youth who sailed the oceans to link us with the
Americas and communicate an important message concerning
the health of our youth and country, Fusi Nhlapo who
has refused to be deterred by the loneliness of the
long distance runner and discouraged by the fact of
unemployment, and Kevin Tregurgha and Tasmin Nash, who
brought warmth and hope to the street children of Hillbrow
and all our towns and cities. Andrew Gerber is currently
out of the country, otherwise he too would have honoured
us with his presence. I would also like to welcome to
the House Mr Mike Bernatt, representing the sponsor
of Sibusiso Vilane, the Rev Mohapi, Palesa's father,
Sean Wisedale and his partner, Joy Simmonds, Brian Cole,
Marion's husband, Mr and Mrs Gerber, the parents of
Andrew Gerber, and Dave Robinson, Principal of Bryanston
To all of them I would like to extend our profound
thanks for everything they have done to inspire and
support the young patriots and achievers we are privileged
to salute today. What you have done has enabled our
country to stand tall among the nations because we stand
on your shoulders, which have carried the young people
who sit in the balcony to the pinnacles of achievement
they have attained.
We have also spoken of the need for all of us to join
hands in a people's contract for a better tomorrow.
In this regard, I am pleased that after much preparatory
work, the social partners at NEDLAC came together on
June 7th at the Growth and Development Summit to adopt
the extensive Agreement negotiated by these social partners.
I am happy to commend this Agreement to this House
and urge the Honourable Members to see in what ways
they can contribute to the implementation of the various
programmes contained in the Agreement, continuing to
be inspired by the practices of letsema and vuk'uzenzele.
In the past, some in our country called for an Economic
CODESA. This reflected a genuine and understandable
desire on their part that we develop a national consensus
on economic questions. In this way, we would come together
in a people's contract for economic growth and development,
for the liquidation of the legacy of colonialism and
apartheid, for the eradication of poverty.
The Agreement arrived at in the Growth and Development
Summit says: "During deliberations, it was agreed
that a vision for growth and development should be adopted,
a set of priorities for joint action identified and
a process set in place to ensure that the identified
programme of action is carried out."
It goes on to say:
"The Summit is launching a process for a longer-term
dialogue that will require the Nedlac Executive Council
to continue to focus and engage on, as well as consider
how to address the key challenges and options at hand
- above all, job creation, economic growth, and overcoming
the massive inequalities left by apartheid.
"The constituencies of Nedlac - government, business,
labour and the community - reaffirm their commitment
to social dialogue and working together to address the
economic and development challenges our country faces
- "Nedlac chambers and structures will have standing
items on their agendas dealing with the GDS agreements
and receive regular reports on the progress of the implementation
of the agreements. Constituencies commit to an annual
review by the Executive Council of Nedlac on the success
of the GDS agreements and to making adjustments where
necessary." Some in our country predicted that
the GDS would fail. Without even seeing the document
negotiated by the social partners, these stated that
the GDS had failed even before it took place. In its
aftermath, they have found it necessary to assert that
they have proved their prowess as soothsayers.
However, even a cursory reading of the GDS Agreement
will indicate that the Summit achieved the goals that
had been set. It has provided us with central and decisive
elements of the national consensus on the challenges
of economic growth and development that some of our
compatriots had called for.
Beyond this, as demonstrated by the passages from the
Agreement we have cited, the Nedlac social partners
have committed themselves to a process to monitor and
ensure the implementation of the agreements they have
reached. This indicates the seriousness with which these
social partners approached the responsibilities with
which they were charged. This House and our national
parliament as a whole would also do well to interest
itself in the implementation of these agreements in
a constructive manner, focused on helping to achieve
the results decided by the GDS.
Beyond what we have said, the Growth and Development
Summit represented a concrete and important response
to our call to all our people to enter into a people's
contract for a better South Africa. In this regard,
I would like to extend our profound appreciation to
business, labour and the community organisations for
responding to the call made by government that we should
join forces in the people's contract we need, to ensure
that we make faster progress towards the achievement
of the socio-economic goals that stand at the centre
of our objective to create a people-centred society.
This response has helped to consolidate the critically
important process in our country in terms of which we
are further strengthening the unity in action of our
country and people. This is emerging not only as a distinct
feature of our democracy, consistent with the vision
that the people shall govern, but constitutes a vital
contribution to the continuing struggle to build a non-racial
and non-sexist society and achieve national reconciliation.
It was indeed inspiring to see gathered at the GDS our
people in all their races and colours, and with significant
numbers of women, all united to implement an eminently
practical programme of action to address the common
challenges we all face as South Africans, regardless
of colour, race, gender and class.
As I have already said, we are currently observing
Youth Month, dedicated to the advancement of that important
section of our population, the youth. It was very good
that the GDS ensured that it paid the necessary attention
to the matter of youth development and empowerment.
In this regard, among other things, the GDS Agreement
"The majority of the unemployed are young. It
is increasingly difficult for young people to find work
- partly because there are not enough jobs, and partly
because the young do not have the skills that are in
demand in the labour market. Women, people with disabilities,
and those living in rural areas face additional obstacles
to finding employment and developing their skills. Currently
too few young people are given opportunities to improve
their skills in areas that will enhance their employability."
Running through the GDS Agreement is the necessary focus
on programmes to meet the identified challenges of skills
and employment opportunities that face our youth. What
this means is that equally as we say to our youth that
they must act to change our country and continent for
the better, as have done the young who have honoured
us with their presence in the House today, so do we
have an obligation to ensure that we respond to the
challenges facing the youth of our country.
In this regard, I would like to extend our sincere
thanks to those in the private sector who are responding
to these. Specifically, among others, I would like to
thank the ABSA Bank for the enthusiasm and readiness
with which it entered into an agreement with the youth
concerning its SMME Incubator Fund, cooperation with
the Umsobomvu Youth Fund on youth economic empowerment
programmes and the National Youth Commission on youth
learnerships in finance and information and communication
Another financial institution, the First National Bank,
has also responded to our call to assist with the skills
development of our people, by embarking on a learnership
programme in line with the National Human Resource Development
Strategy. From January 2004, the bank will take on 1200
matriculants for the purpose of learnerships, phased
over three years. Currently there are 1 600 learners
who are going through a CIDA City Campus degree programme
and given on-the-job training with the help of professionals
from the Bank and the rest of the private sector.
These important financial institutions have set an
example in terms of what can and needs to be done. I
trust that others within the private sector will follow
their excellent example.
The Growth and Development Summit said:
"Constituencies note the intention of the youth
sector to invite contributions towards a voluntary youth
solidarity fund, where all employed youth will be invited
by youth organisations to contribute one day's gross
salary to youth development programmes." I trust
that this employed youth will respond to this call with
the same enthusiasm with which ABSA responded to the
request of the youth to enter into partnership with
this important private sector player. Since I am part
of this employed youth, Zanele Mbeki and I have agreed
that I should contribute one day's gross salary to the
projected youth solidarity fund. This I will do during
this, our Youth Month.
It is in the context of the foregoing that we are happy
to report to this House, about some of the work that
the Presidency has done in the past year, to add to
the efforts of many South Africans as they participate
in the people's contract to build a better tomorrow.
In this regard, I would like to make a special reference
to the process of izimbizo.
Through the Imbizo campaign we have continued to engage
our people about the work that we are doing together
to transform our country and bring about a better life.
We visited Gauteng and North-West since we reported
to parliament last year. Again, we have encountered,
in these Provinces, as has been the case in others,
the mass of our people ready and eager to participate
in the processes of changing their living conditions
for the better.
Levai Mbatha Health Centre in Evaton demonstrated the
implementation of the principles of Batho Pele. Mailakgang
School in the North West has given real meaning to the
spirit of vuk'uzenzele. The housing project in the village
of Makgola in Zeerust embraced the ethos of letsema.
The Imbizo campaign has become the feature of government
at all levels. What is important is that we must be
able to make prompt and appropriate interventions once
we have interacted with our people and be prepared to
act swiftly on desperate and urgent matters that confront
them. We have to improve the system of monitoring the
extent and quality of government's response to the issues
that are raised during the Imbizo campaigns, so that
these interactions do not become routine gatherings,
which do not help to effect change. As the GDS decided,
an important part of building this better tomorrow is
constantly and critically to examine the progress we
are making to change the conditions of our people for
In this regard, the Presidency is currently engaged
in a Ten Year Review, the objective of which is to assess
the impact all of us have made on our development and
challenges of transformation, during our first decade
Though this work is not yet complete, one of the things
that is clear is that the welfare of our people has
improved through the de-racialisation and radical improvement
of social service delivery. More people now get health
care, education, pensions, electricity, clean water,
housing, and as a result, we are succeeding to improve
the quality of life of our people.
Further, the Review shows that despite impressive gains
in almost all aspects of government, the public service
must be further transformed if the state is to sustain
the improvement of the life of the poor and marginalised
in our society. Financial, human resource and asset
management have to be improved to make further advances
in the process of government integration and better
delivery across all spheres of government. Further to
improve on our performance, this year's government budgeting
cycle will see the formulation of a Medium Term Strategic
Framework led by the Presidency, with the participation
of other departments of government. The Medium Term
Strategic Framework encapsulates the key challenges
confronting government in the medium term that need
to be taken into account in deciding the budget. Further,
it is informed by the global socio-economic and political
climate and the possible risks for the country.
This will further strengthen the co-ordinating role
played by the Forum of South African Directors-General
(FOSAD), the sector Clusters of Directors-General and
the President's Co-ordinating Council (PCC) that brings
together the Provincial Premiers and the President.
To expedite the realisation of our policy objectives,
the DG Clusters have been charged with the preparation
of implementation reports, which are then submitted
to the appropriate cabinet committees, for subsequent
assessment by the Cabinet.
Further, the Presidency has formulated a National Spatial
Development Perspective (NSDP) on the basis of a study
of the country's social, economic, environment and spatial
trends over the past decades. The objective of this
Perspective is to develop guidelines to ensure that
government's infrastructure investment and development
spending programmes, have better spatial outcomes than
are currently being achieved.
We reported last year that we have seen positive developments
in the functioning of government as a whole. The work
of improving the functioning of government is an on-going
one and we will continue to identify inefficiencies
and blockages, until we arrive at the point where all
public representatives and public servants are truly
defined by the ethos of Batho Pele, of hard work, selflessness,
dedication and service to the people.
We will continue to increase the capacity of local
government and embark on a deliberate and conscious
effort, of deploying the best people at that sphere
of government and implement a systematic programme of
training, re-training and improving the skills of all
the workers. This we must do so that we can implement
our programmes more efficiently and effectively.
In the past year, the economy continued to grow reasonably
well, in spite of the tightening of monetary policy
that was necessitated by the sharp rise in inflation
that resulted from the temporary weakening of the Rand,
and the slowdown in the global economy. We are confident
that the decisions taken at the Growth and Development
Summit, and other interventions, will enable our country
to perform even better than it has done, creating the
possibility for all of us to respond more effectively
to challenges we face together.
The system of the Presidential Working Groups and International
Advisory Councils has sufficiently matured in the last
year. In these forums, we have continued to discuss
and seek solutions to the fundamental issues that cut
across the entire business of government and the overall
development of the South African society.
Together, they constitute an important part of the
people's contract we are building at home and abroad,
which unites millions of people and important decision-makers
in the common effort to achieve the reconstruction and
development of our country.
We are pleased that we have now established the Higher
Education Working Group that brings together the Vice-Chancellors
of Universities and Technikons. The critical challenge
for this Working Group is to contribute to the development
of a shared agenda for the transformation of the system
of Higher Education and to re-position the institutions
in this sector to play a more meaningful role in the
transformation of our society.
We are working seriously to establish the Youth Working
Group that the youth themselves have suggested and requested.
Of great importance also is the fact that both the
International Advisory Council on Information Society
and Development and the International Investment Council
suggested that in addition to their general advisory
tasks, they would like to participate more specifically
in contributing to our country's development programmes.
This has positioned them as important players within
the inclusive people's contract for a better future.
Together we must work to implement what we have agreed
with regard to the TRC, always conscious that we have
a continuing responsibility to build on the advances
we have made with regard to the task of national reconciliation.
As you are aware, we had the honour of hosting the
important meeting of the transformation of the Organisation
of African Unity (OAU) into the African Union (AU),
in July 2002.
Next month, we will be handing over the chairpersonship
of this continental organisation to President Chissano
of Mozambique. We would like to convey our thanks to
this House for the important work it has done to ensure
that we make our contribution to the advancement of
the African Union.
In particular, I would like to thank the honourable
members for attending expeditiously to the matter of
the Protocol on the Establishment of Peace and Security
Council, so that together with other brothers and sisters
in various African countries, we can work systematically
within the Union to bring peace and stability to our
We are also encouraged by the role that this parliament
has played, under the leadership of the Speaker, which
contributed to the progress that has been made on the
process towards the formation of the Pan African Parliament.
I would also like to thank our Foreign Minister, the
Honourable Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Deputy Minister Aziz
Pahad and the Department of Foreign Affairs for the
enormous amount of work they have done to make the Union
All of us are aware of the enormous challenges facing
our continent as we work for its renewal. Prominent
among these is the task of successfully addressing the
issues of poverty and underdevelopment.
Through the New Partnership for Africa's Development
(NEPAD), the development programme of the African Union,
we continue our efforts to work for the development
and regeneration of our continent. As we know, South
Africa is hosting the Secretariat of NEPAD and the Presidency
has taken this extra responsibility with Professor Nkuhlu
heading the Secretariat, which is tasked with the day
to day leadership of the NEPAD process.
Through the NEPAD process, we have ensured that Africa
takes ownership of its development agenda. The process
has also ensured ongoing dialogue among African leaders
on the critical matters of peace and security, democracy,
political and economic governance and socio-economic
development. It has also provided a new paradigm in
terms of our interaction with our development partners,
including the identification of Africa's development
I also thank our Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Directors
General and state corporations for the important contributions
they have made within their specific areas of competence
to advance the NEPAD process.
In our capacity as the chair of the African Union,
we have been called to attend to the important matters
of peace and security on our continent, always working
with other leaders as well as regional structures. As
a result, we have all seen important progress in Madagascar,
Sudan, Cote d'Ivoire, Burundi, the DRC and Angola. What
remains to be done with regard to these and other matters
will be done. As I have said in this House before, I
am certain that the people of Zimbabwe will find a solution
to their problems.
Today we have three other important visitors in the
House. These are the three Presidents who lead the islands
that make up the Comoros, Mr Abdou Soule Elbak of the
Grand Comoros, Mr Mohamed Said Fazul of Moheli, and
Col Mohamed Bakar of Anjouan. They are in our country
and this House to see what they can take from us as
they work to consolidate democracy and peace in their
We would like to assure them that we will continue
to work with them and Federal President Azhali on these
and other matters, as we have being doing for some time
We are ready to respond to the requests that have already
been made by various representatives of the Iraqi people
to work with them as they strive to build a democratic
and stable Iraq. Similarly, we will continue to work
with other nations to ensure that the United Nations
is strengthened and plays its role as defined in its
Charter. We continue to pay the closest attention to
the vital issue of the implementation of the Road Map
for peace between Israel and Palestine, and will make
such contributions as may be necessary and possible
towards the achievement of this goal.
We are pleased that through our Foreign Ministers,
Brazil, India and South Africa have taken the first
step to build a partnership among themselves as part
of the process of strengthening South-South relations.
Again, last year we hosted the World Summit on Sustainable
Development and made our contribution in the important
outcome contained in the Johannesburg Plan of Implementation.
Government, through the Minister of Environment and
Tourism, continues to play a central role in following
up the decisions of the Summit.
We meet during a month in which we remember the role
played by the youth of this country in our liberation.
Again, we are happy that the youth of today, continues
to inspire us and in many ways challenge us to strive
for higher achievements. We have a duty to respond to
this challenge and give further substance to our conclusion
that the tide has turned, and concrete proof of our
commitment to do more to bring a better life to all
I would like to thank the Deputy President, the Minister
in the Presidency, the Director-General and our entire
staff for working hard to ensure that we discharge our
responsibilities to the best of our abilities.
I would also like to thank all other Departments, Ministers
and Deputy Ministers, Premiers, the provincial and local
governments for working with the Presidency to ensure
that we consolidate policy development and implementation
I am honoured to commend the Budget Vote of the Presidency
to the House.
I thank you.