2004 New Year's Eve Broadcast, 30 December
Fellow South Africans:
We have come to the end of an eventful 2003 and the
beginning of the historic year when we will be celebrating
the First Decade of our Liberation. This year we have
continued to make new advances towards the achievement
of the goal of a better life for all.
Nevertheless, as we celebrate the end of a successful
year and the beginning of another, we should not forget
that there are still many of our people who live in
conditions of poverty and deprivation.
We still have many of our people who are unemployed.
There are some who do not have access to good nutrition
and the necessary amounts of food they require. Others
continue to live in shacks without proper housing.
Yet others still have no access to clean water and
modern sanitation, adequate health facilities, roads,
electricity, telephones and other modern facilities.
Some of our children continue to study under trees because
some of our schools do not have enough classrooms, while
others have no running water, proper sanitation and
Many of our people continue to die earlier than they
should because of poverty and the impact of diseases
of poverty as well as infectious diseases. To make matters
worse, we still face the challenge of high levels of
criminal violence, which continues to claim especially
the lives of many poor people.
We also have many irresponsible drivers and pedestrians
who cause unnecessary deaths and injuries among all
road users. This has continued even during this festive
Accordingly, as we celebrate the birth of the New Year,
we must also express solidarity with those of our people
who continue to live in conditions of want and deprivation.
Together we must reaffirm our commitment to work together
with those in our country who are poor and suffering,
to ensure that their lives change for the better.
Even as we celebrate during this festive season, we
must spread the message of Letsema. We must draw many
more of our people to work as one in a people's contract
to ensure that acting together, we overcome the scourge
of poverty and underdevelopment.
Many parts of our country are experiencing drought
conditions because of inadequate rainfall. Again, as
we are doing, we must come to the assistance of those
of our people who, as a result of the negative impact
of the forces of nature, are suffering from shortages
of water, loss of grazing fields, domestic animal stock
On this day, our hearts go out to those who are afflicted
with illness, forced to miss our joyful celebrations
because they are in hospital or lying at home immobilised
by one ailment or another. We wish all of these a speedy
recovery and commend them to our hard working medical
But even as we openly acknowledge all our common problems
and challenges, and commit ourselves to work together
to address them, we must also celebrate the fact that
many more people enjoy better lives today than they
did when we last celebrated New Year, a year ago.
This relates to all aspects of human activity, including
land, jobs, housing, water and sanitation, food, health,
schools, social grants, as well the reparations due
to those identified by the Truth and Reconciliation
As the year ends, our economy is in good shape. Interest
rates have come down, as has the rate of inflation.
The economy is well poised to take advantage of the
global economic recovery to achieve higher rates of
growth, and generate more wealth and jobs.
The government is completing its work to launch the
expanded public works programme aimed at ensuring that
those of our people who are unemployed and excluded
from the economy, have the possibility to work, earn
incomes and improve their quality of life.
Our continent has also continued to make progress away
from a difficult past. The Democratic Republic of Congo,
Liberia, Burundi, Sudan and the Comores are well on
the road to permanent peace and stable democratic systems.
This creates the possibility for these countries to
join others on our continent to pursue the central goal
of NEPAD of achieving the goal of a better life for
all Africans throughout the continent.
During 2004, we will hold our third democratic general
elections. We urge all our people, especially the youth,
to register as voters and exercise their important democratic
right and duty to vote. As we did in 1999, we must ensure
that these elections are free of any violence and intimidation,
giving all our people the possibility freely to vote
for the party of their choice.
This will constitute a high point of our celebrations
of our First Decade of Liberation on April 27th and
an affirmation of our resolve further to consolidate
the democratic victory for which many sacrificed their
We wish you all a happy and successful New Year, the
year of our First Decade of Liberation. Once more, please
ensure that you drive safely and arrive alive!