Address of the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki at the
Second Joint Sitting of the Third Democratic Parliament Cape Town: February 11
Madame Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly;
and Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces;
of the Republic;
Honourable leaders of our political parties and Honourable
Members of Parliament;
Our esteemed Chief Justice and members of the Judiciary;
of our Security Services;
Governor of the Reserve Bank;
Mandela and Mrs Graca Machel;
President Jean Bertrand Aristide and Madame
President of the Pan African Parliament, the Hon Gertrude Mongella;
and Deputy Ministers;
Premiers and leaders of SALGA,
Mayor of Cape
Town and other leaders in our system of local government;
Heads of the state organs supporting our democratic
Directors-General, Heads of our State Corporations and other leaders
of the public service;
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
guests, friends and comrades;
People of South Africa:
As we open
this Second Session of our Third Democratic Parliament, which will straddle the
end of the First and the beginning of the Second Decade of Democracy, I am privileged
to say that as a people we have every reason to be proud of our historic achievements
during our First Decade of Democracy.
Central to these achievements is our
success in advancing our country away from its divided past, towards the realisation
of the vision contained in the Freedom Charter - whose 50th anniversary we celebrate
this year - that, "South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and
Of significant interest in this regard is the fact that this
year we also commemorate the 50th anniversary of one of the most infamous forced
removals in our country - the destruction of Sophiatown in Johannesburg, and its
transformation into a white group area renamed Triomf, the Triumph of white supremacy.
horrible act of violence against a people made the unequivocal and practical statement
that the government of the day was determined to communicate the understanding
that South Africa did not belong to all who live in it.
But as the Honourable
Members know, our constitution-makers incorporated in the 1996 Constitution the
alternative vision adopted at the Congress of the People during the same year
of the destruction of Sophiatown, as reflected in the Freedom Charter. Our Constitution
therefore states that "We, the people of South Africa, believe that South
Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity."
a consequence of the victories we have registered during our first ten years of
freedom, we have laid a firm foundation for the new advances we must and will
make during the next decade.
This foundation must help us to move even
further forward towards the consolidation of national reconciliation, national
cohesion and unity, and a shared new patriotism born of the strengthening of the
manifest reality of a South Africa that belongs to all who live in it, united
in their diversity.
It must help us to take the detailed practical steps
to achieve better results today and tomorrow than we did yesterday.
means that during each one of the years that make up our Second Decade of Liberation,
including this one, we must achieve new and decisive advances towards:
the further entrenchment of democracy in our country;
- transforming our
country into a genuinely non-racial society;
- transforming our country
into a genuinely non-sexist society;
- eradicating poverty and underdevelopment,
within the context of a thriving and growing First Economy and the successful
transformation of the Second Economy;
- opening the vistas towards the spiritual
and material fulfilment of each and every South African;
- securing the
safety and security of all our people;
- building a strong and efficient
democratic state that truly serves the interests of the people; and,
to the victory of the African Renaissance and the achievement of the goal of a
better life for the peoples of Africa and the rest of the world.
objectives constitute the central architecture of our policies and programmes,
intended to ensure that South Africa truly belongs to all who live in it, black
Madame Speaker, we are privileged to have among us, as on previous
occasions, our distinguished Chief Justice, Judge Arthur Chaskalson. I regret
to say that this is the last time he will be with us in these Houses of Parliament
as our Chief Justice.
Early last year, the Chief Justice reminded me that
February 14, 2005, three days from today, will mark the 10th Anniversary of the
inauguration of our Constitutional Court. He felt then that ten years was a long
time for one person to hold office as the head of our apex court, as he has done.
therefore thought it right and proper that he should take advantage of the beginning
of the Second Decade of the Constitutional Court to retire from the Bench. We
agreed that we should meet again at the beginning of this year to consider this
matter, which we have now done.
Chief Justice Chaskalson has convinced me
that his own determination to continue to contribute to the birth of our nation,
rather than personal considerations, dictates that he should relinquish his high
post. I have listened carefully to his moving argument and was similarly moved
to agree to his request.
We have therefore agreed that he will be discharged
from active service in our judiciary on May 31st, this year. Consequently I will
take the necessary steps to consult the Judicial Service Commission and the leaders
of the political parties represented in our National Parliament to determine who
will be our next Chief Justice from June 1st, this year.
I am privileged
to have the opportunity on this important occasion on our national calendar to
convey our thanks to, and salute a great son of our people, Chief Justice Arthur
Chaskalson. I trust that later this year, Parliament will give all of us an opportunity
to bid this giant among the architects of our democracy the fitting farewell that
the constraints of time today prohibit.
On behalf of the nation, I am honoured
to convey our humble thanks to you, Chief Justice Arthur Chaskalson, for everything
you have done as a South African, a lawyer and a judge, to shepherd us towards
the construction of a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it.
Also among us, both as Honourable Members and guests, are the volunteers
who trudged the expanse of our country more than five decades ago, to gather the
views of South Africans with regard to the kind of alternative society they wished
to see, which culminated in the Congress of the People held 50 years ago that
adopted the Freedom Charter.
It is a tribute to their foresight, courage
and humanism that the product of their labours, the Freedom Charter, finds its
reflection in the basic law of our land, our Constitution.
One of those
volunteers is with us today. We are happy today to express the gratitude of the
nation to Madoda Nsibande, and others.
Also among us is John Nkadimeng,
a volunteer himself and founder-leader of the South African Congress of Trade
Unions (SACTU), which was formed 50 years ago. We also have with us Chris Dlamini,
representing the corps of worker-leaders who brought together various unions to
establish COSATU 20 years ago, the bearer of the baton of progressive trade unionism
in our country.
Through their efforts, which we acknowledge in this Chamber
today, John Nkadimeng, Chris Dlamini and their colleagues ensured that we can
today say with pride that South Africa belongs also to all the working people
of our country.
Allow me, Madame Speaker, also to acknowledge the late Gavin
Relly, Zac de Beer and Tony Bloom who led the delegation that braved the threats
and scorn of the then apartheid regime, to meet Oliver Tambo and other leaders
of the liberation movement in Lusaka in 1985.
I would also like to pay tribute
to the late Kobie Coetsee who, 20 years ago, initiated the first contact between
the apartheid regime and Nelson Mandela, which led among other things to the release
of Nelson Mandela 15 years ago today.
We further acknowledge the family
of the artist, Thami Mnyele, one of those who 20 years ago was killed in his sleep
by soldiers of the SADF who carried out an act of aggression in Gaborone, Botswana,
targeting those of our people it had driven into exile.
Also among us in
this chamber today is Helena Dolny representing the family of Joe Slovo, who passed
away 10 years ago. As all of us know, in addition to everything else he did as
an architect of our democracy, Joe Slovo started the programme that would make
the homeless feel that South Africa belongs to them as well.
We are honoured
that these esteemed South Africans have taken time to be with us today, to give
us the privilege to salute them and their loved ones.
Like Angel Jones and
Marina Smithers of the Homecoming Revolution, we know very well that, today, our
country and continent provide the best and most promising locations for the solution
of many of the problems that trouble the whole of humanity. All of us face the
task to respond to this historic challenge.
last year, in the aftermath of our third democratic elections, we set out the
Programme of Action of government to achieve higher rates of economic growth and
development, improve the quality of life of all our people, and consolidate our
We did this confident that the progress we had made in
the First Decade of Freedom provided the platform for us to move forward faster,
with better quality of outputs and better outcomes in building a society that
With regard to the economy, a recent report of the Rand Merchant Bank
prepared by the economist Rudolf Gouws says:
"Real domestic output
growth accelerated through last year to reach an annualised 5,6 per cent in the
third quarter - a rate last seen in 1996 - with contributions coming from all
sectors of the economy. In terms of economic growth, South Africa has long been
underperforming its emerging-market peer group, but the newfound higher growth
path is bringing the country more in line with other successful emerging-market
The current economic upswing, which began in September
1999, is not only the longest upward phase of the business cycle in the post-WWII
period, but should also be sustainable into the future. One of the reasons is
that the economy is in the process of changing from one driven predominantly by
consumption (government as well as households), to one driven to a greater degree
by fixed investment.
As a consequence of the stronger growth,
the employment picture in South Africa has gradually begun to improve. While South
Africa certainly still has a major unemployment problem, there are encouraging
Gouws comments on what he calls 'government's good track-record
of implementing prudent fiscal policies' and continues:
"But the improvements
in overall government finances were not brought about primarily to please the
financial markets and the rating agencies, but rather to ensure that government
is able to deliver services to the population in a sustainable way. Concurrent
with the turnaround in public finances were important institutional changes and
improvements in the ability of government to deliver."
by saying that:
"Faster growth, coupled with efforts to improve the
environment for doing business and addressing the plight of the poor more effectively,
means improved chances for a sustainable improvement in the general welfare of
all South Africans."
We agree with the observations made by Rudolf
Gouws. Indeed, because of the factors he mentioned, we have, for instance, with
90% coverage of most social grants, almost met the objective we set for ourselves
in 2002, of ensuring that all who are eligible for these grants receive them within
Last December we passed the 10-million mark in terms of South
Africans who have gained access to potable water since 1994. Free basic water
of 6 kilolitres per household per month is now being provided to about three-quarters
of households in the areas of our country that have the infrastructure to supply
Since 1994 close to 2 million housing subsidies have been
allocated to the poor. Education remains our largest single budgetary item, with
primary school enrolment rates remaining steady at about 95,5% since 1995 and
secondary school enrolments currently at 85%.
The gross annual value of
the social wage was about R88 billion in 2003 with the poor being the largest
beneficiaries. The democratic state will not walk away from its obligation to
come to the aid of the poor, bearing in mind available resources.
context, we must also refer to the latest Report of the UNISA Bureau of Market
Research on "National Personal Income of South Africans by Population Group,
Income Group, Life Stage and Lifeplane 1960-2007".
Among other things,
this Report says: "In 2001 4,1 million out of 11,2 million households in
South Africa lived on an income of R9 600 and less per year. This decreased to
3,6 million households in 2004, even after taking the negative effect of price
increases on spending power into account. On the other hand, the number of households
receiving a real income of R153 601 and more per annum rose from 721 000 in 1998
to more than 1,2 million in 2004."
The additional social expenditures
we have mentioned demonstrate what Rudolf Gouws was referring to when he said
that the "the improvements in overall government finances were (brought about)
to ensure that government is able to deliver services to the population in a sustainable
On the other hand, reflecting on one element of the programme
that we announced last May - the issue of school infrastructure - the editor of
"City Press" said correctly that:
[T]he backlog of
classrooms still runs into several thousand nationwide
[W]e believe that
addressing the crisis in education is perhaps the most urgent priority
March deadline will not be met
[Government] must work out a plan that will
ensure the speedy delivery of classrooms to all."
Overall, our own
detailed assessment of the implementation of our programme of action reveals that
of the 307 concrete actions contained in the government's programme, some of which
we announced in the last State of the Nation Address:
51% of those with specific
time frames have been undertaken or are being undertaken within the deadlines
21% have been or are being undertaken, though there were slight
delays in terms of the time frames that we had set ourselves;
28% have not
been fully carried out, and the reasons behind the delays are such that new deadlines
will have to be set for their accomplishment.
In other words, 72% of these
programmes are being carried out within the broad framework of the time frames
we had set ourselves. 86% of the concrete actions that did not have specific time
frames are progressing as envisaged, while 14% show some delays that call for
urgent attention by government.
I wish to thank our colleagues in Cabinet,
the Provincial Executives and municipal executive councils, the public service
as well as the leadership of our social partners who have put shoulders to the
wheel to ensure that we carry out that which is expected of us jointly and severally
to meet our common national objectives.
We also highly appreciate the oversight
role as well as the direct contribution in the crucible of actual implementation
of our public representatives in all the three spheres of government. We are confident
that Honourable Members will persist in this service to the people, so as to improve
our work, all-round.
What then is the programme of government for the year,
and how shall we build on the work done in the past decade in general and the
past nine months in particular?
As Honourable Members will know, the details
of the actions in each of last year's programmatic areas have been published on
the government website. I shall therefore only identify the major issues in terms
of our past work, and then outline some of the things that need to be done in
the coming year.
With regard to interventions to grow the First Economy,
the broad objectives we set ourselves remain the same. We will continue our consultations
with our social partners to ensure that our economy continues to steam ahead,
as Rudolf Gouws predicted.
Our programme for the coming year is premised
on the broad objectives to increase investment in the economy, lower the cost
of doing business, improve economic inclusion and provide the skills required
by the economy. Therefore, the details outlined in May last year, to the extent
that the tasks are ongoing, remain an integral part of the programme.
infrastructure, we have since May 2004, developed strategies and investment plans
upward of R180-billion in relation to transport logistics, electricity and water
resources. We would like to cite only two instances in this regard.
has already approved business plans for new investments in the Durban and Cape
Town harbours, as well as the construction of a new pipeline between Durban and
Johannesburg. As it brings three previously decommissioned power stations into
operation, Eskom will add R5,86 billion to the GDP by 2007, with new jobs created
peaking during the same year at 36 000.
We have also taken steps the better
to manage administered prices, through the actions of independent regulators as
well as through more rigorous monitoring which will see an Administered Prices
Index produced by the official statisticians from the first quarter of this year.
Discussions continue with the steel and chemical industries in particular
to reach agreement on the issue of Import Parity Pricing. Government has decided
to avoid using legislation or regulations even in the face of these obvious market
We believe that there is growing consensus among economic role-players
with regard to what we are seeking to do. This is to ensure that, working with
especially the producers of inputs that are strategic for economic growth, we
find a resolution to this matter in a manner that addresses the interests of both
these producers and the downstream industries.
Bold steps have been taken
further to liberalise the telecommunications industry. We believe that the unacceptable
situation in which some of our fixed line rates are 10 times those of developed
(OECD) countries will soon become a thing of the past. We also hope that the delays
in setting up the Second National Operator, arising from legal processes which
are beyond government's control, will be resolved in due course, and as soon as
Further work has been done to improve the work of defining and
implementing sectoral charters, as agreed at the Growth and Development Summit
In this regard, I especially and warmly welcome the decision of
the South African banks to implement the provisions of the Financial Sector Charter,
as a result of which they have made a public three-year commitment to provide
at least R85 billion to finance low-cost housing, infrastructure, black small
business enterprises and new black farmers.
Elements of the Codes of Good
Practice for Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment have been released for public
comment, and once this process is finalised, it will then be possible to appoint
the Black Economic Empowerment Council. Related to these efforts is the progress
made in setting up the Small Enterprise Development Agency, to improve our government's
performance in the critical area of the development of small and medium enterprises.
With the commitments from the private sector as demonstrated by the banks,
it is clear that together, as South Africans, we are set to make a determined
effort to speed up broad-based black economic empowerment and small business development.
this regard, I would like to mention and welcome the announcement made by the
CEO of Anglo American South Africa, Lazarus Zim in the last few days, indicating
the large resources his company will spend to empower a great number of black
To ensure properly focused development planning, Cabinet is
working to align the National Spatial Development Perspective with the Provincial
Growth and Development Strategies and the municipal Integrated Development Plans.
increase the numbers of skilled workers, we have met the target set by the Growth
and Development Summit and trained more than 80 000 learners. We have also released
the draft immigration regulations for public comment.
It is however clear
that more work will have to be done to raise the skills levels of our people.
Accordingly, the government has approved a new National Skills Development Strategy
for the period 2005-2010. R21,9 billion over five years will be allocated to fund
this Strategy, which will include improved cooperation between the SETAs on one
hand, and the Further Training and Education colleges and the institutions of
higher education on the other.
At the same time, we have taken note of
the reasons for the delay in implementing some of the announced programmes. These
include the complexities of the tasks to be carried out, the rigour required in
planning and implementing these actions across all the spheres, the magnitude
of resources demanded, and the subjective capacity of the implementing agents
where at least financial resources were made available.
In this regard,
government will ensure that the outstanding tasks are attended to within the next
three months. These are:
- finalising the government-wide review of performance
practices in State-Owned Enterprises;
- finalising discussions, especially
in the context of the Financial Sector Charter, on investing 5% of investible
capital of financial institutions in productive activity;
- completing the
strategy on better utilisation of the Isibaya Fund of the Public Investment Commission;
R220-million from the Rail Commuter Corporation for commuter transport and safety;
the effectiveness of the skills development structures in government for the implementation
of the Human Resources Development Strategy;
- completing the register
of all graduates; and
- using the review of Sector Education and Training
Authorities (SETA's) to bring about the necessary changes in the supervision and
governance of these Authorities.
In consultation with our social partners,
a number of constraints limiting our capacity to embark on a higher growth path,
will receive our urgent attention.
Based on the review of the regulatory
framework as it applies to small, medium and micro-enterprises, before the end
of the year, government will complete the system of exemptions for these businesses
with regard to taxes, levies, as well as central bargaining and other labour arrangements,
enabling these to be factored into the medium-term expenditure cycle.
system of tax and levy payments and business registration will be reviewed, with
the aim of introducing a simpler and streamlined system for all businesses by
The capital investment programme of government will be speeded
up focussing on housing, rural and urban infrastructure, public transport and
national logistics system, water and electricity. In part to facilitate this,
urgent steps will be taken to strengthen the Public-Private Partnership mechanism
in government by December 2005. At all times these partnerships should involve
New steps are also being considered together with international
investors to improve foreign capital inflows.
In order further to improve
the capacity of government to service the needs of investors, specialist capacity
in the Department of Trade and Industry will be beefed up.
Within the next
nine months, we will make a special effort to finalise sector development strategies
and programmes, with regard to:
- chemicals, business outsourcing and
tourism, which will receive additional immediate support;
- ICT and telecommunications,
agro-processing, community and social services; and
- wood and paper, appliances,
the retail and construction industries.
we have asserted, success in the growth of our economy should be measured not
merely in terms of the returns that accrue to investors or the job opportunities
to those with skills. Rather, it should also manifest in the extent to which the
marginalized in the wilderness of the Second Economy are included and are at least
afforded sustainable livelihoods. South Africa belongs to them too, and none of
us can in good conscience claim to be at ease before this becomes and is seen
to become a reality.
During the past nine months, we started to put the
Expanded Public Works Programme into operation. To date, we have spent over R1,5
billion, created over 76 000 job opportunities and begun to afford thousands of
those enrolled, with the skills that will stand them in good stead as they leave
A critical element in assisting those in the Second Economy
is provision of information, particularly regarding how they can access economic
opportunities. In this regard, the targeted communication campaign on economic
opportunities occupies a central place. We hope to partner the media, particularly
the public broadcaster, to bring this information to many more people.
assist in this regard, some 500 Community Development Workers have been enrolled
as learners in Gauteng, Northern Cape, the Northwest and the Eastern Cape. Management
structures have also been put in place to ensure the optimal utilisation of the
Municipal Infrastructure Grant.
To take the interventions in the Second
Economy forward, the following additional programmes will be introduced or further
strengthened by April 2005, as part of the Expanded Public Works Programme and
focussed on providing training, work experience and temporary income especially
to women and youth. These are:
- the Early Childhood Development programme,
based on community participation, having ensured a common approach among all three
spheres of government - the necessary additional funding will be provided;
the numbers of Community Health Workers, having harmonised training standards
and increased resources allocated to the programme; and,
- the more extensive
use of labour intensive methods of construction targeting housing, schools, clinics,
sports facilities, community centres and the services infrastructure.
business plans for the Agricultural Credit Scheme have been approved. We will
ensure that it becomes operational within the next three months, with the capital
of R1-billion already allocated. This scheme forms part of the broader small and
micro-credit initiative, to enable those formerly excluded the opportunity to
access credit for productive purposes.
In addition, R100-million has been
transferred to provinces for the implementation of the farmer support programme.
The Apex Fund, the launch of which was delayed, will also become operational in
this period. The Bill on co-operatives has been submitted to Parliament for finalisation.
in all these Second Economy programmes will be put on those areas already identified
for urban renewal and rural development.
Better to understand the dynamics
in the Second Economy and ensure effective targeted interventions, a socio-economic
survey of these communities will be conducted during the course of 2005. These
surveys will then be carried out in three-year intervals.
regard to the social sector, government has continued to allocate more resources
and put in more effort to provide services to society at large and a safety net
for the indigent. Project Consolidate of the Department of Provincial and Local
Government will further increase the capacity of the municipalities to improve
our performance in these areas.
In addition, campaigns to reduce non-communicable
and communicable diseases as well as non-natural causes of death will continue,
through the promotion of healthy life-styles and increased focus on TB, AIDS,
Malaria, cholera and other water-borne diseases, and generally increasing the
standard of living of the poorest among us.
Broad trends in mortality confirm
the need for us to continue to pay particular attention to the health of our nation.
With regard to AIDS in particular, the government's comprehensive plan, which
is among the best in the world, combining awareness, treatment and home-based
care is being implemented with greater vigour.
As Honourable Members would
know, a new housing strategy has been adopted and increased resources will be
allocated to meet the objectives that we have set ourselves.
We are also
confident, given the evidence of progress thus far, that the various interventions
in the area of education and training, including the merger of institutions of
higher learning, improved teaching and learning especially in mathematics and
natural sciences, and provision of additional support to schools in poor areas,
will produce positive results, as planned. In this regard, we are pleased to indicate
that, in addition to allocations already announced for the salaries of educators,
more resources will be allocated for this purpose in the new financial year.
social sector programme for the coming year will include the intensification of
the programmes we identified last year, to meet our long-term objectives such
as the provision of clean running water to all households by 2008, decent and
safe sanitation by 2010 and electricity for all by 2012.
We do acknowledge
that there have been delays in carrying out some of the programmes. Further effort
will be put into clearing the logjams. With regard to the provision of safe classrooms,
for instance, we had committed ourselves in 2002 to ensure that within three years,
no child studied under a tree.
As the editor of "City Press"
suggested, our schools infrastructure programme will not be realised even within
the set time frame. The same applies to the commitment we made last year that
all schools would have potable water and sanitation by the end of this financial
We will later come back to the challenges of capacity in government,
as illustrated by the failure to meet these challenges. Suffice it to indicate
that during the course of this year, we will:
- update the schools register
of needs and iron out the rough creases among the implementing agents within and
across the spheres of government to ensure that we meet the objective of safe
classrooms and healthy environments in our schools in as short a time as possible;
additional resources over the next three years to cover outstanding claims in
the land restitution programme;
- complete discussions with Eskom, the provincial
governments and local municipalities to ensure that free basic electricity is
provided to all with the minimum delay;
- improve the capacity of municipalities
to ensure that the target of providing sanitation to 300 000 households per year
is met as from 2007;
- continue the battle to ensure that all citizens
have access to affordable medicines; and
- intensify the programme to refurbish
hospitals and provide more professionals especially in rural areas.
shall also, during the course of this year launch the National Social Security
Agency and implement systematic plans against corruption, including with regard
to definitions of disability and allocations of the foster care grant.
relation to a broader understanding of our society - the macro social state of
our nation - research has been completed and discussion has taken place in Cabinet
covering such issues as social structure and social mobility; demographics and
dynamics with regard to such categories as race, language, religion, gender, age
and disability; social organisation in terms of the family and civic participation;
as well as matters pertaining to identity and social values. Government will in
the next three months examine the implications of this research on policy and,
if necessary, relevant decisions will be taken to enhance our work in strengthening
As we indicated last May, we
have set out to ensure that during the Second Decade of Freedom we improve the
machinery of government so that wherever we are, each one of us, is inspired to
act as servants of the people.
As we have already indicated, we have started
to recruit Community Development Workers. We want to ensure that Community Development
Workers are deployed in each local municipality by March 2006.
of izimbizo is growing, with a larger number of events involving all spheres of
government, better follow-up and greater depth in terms of house-to-house visits.
We have launched the Batho Pele Gateway to afford citizens the platform to access
information and, later, services by electronic means.
Over 65 Multi-Purpose
Community Centres have been launched, and by the second half of this year, each
district and metropolitan council will have its own centre. Plans have been approved
for the construction of hundreds more such centres, so that by the end of the
decade, each municipality would have a one-stop government hub.
to ensure effective leadership of the public service, we have completed a review
of skills and levels of competence within the Senior Management Service. Plans
will be put in place to fill the gaps where they exist.
At local government
level, more than 80% of Ward Committees have been set up. Work is continuing to
ensure their proper functioning. Through Project Consolidate, 136 municipalities
at risk are being assisted to put their houses in order. Because of our appreciation
of the centrality of local government to service delivery, we have ensured the
doubling of the municipal budget over the past eight years. We will continue to
increase the resources available to local government.
To improve integration
among all spheres of government in both policy development and implementation,
the Inter-Governmental Relations Bill has been finalised, and is awaiting processing
by the two houses of our national parliament. This will be complemented by the
alignment of spatial and development strategies and planning cycles among all
the three spheres of government.
Certainly it is a reflection of weaknesses
in the governance system that the plans to build school infrastructure are unfolding
at a much slower pace than envisaged. The public sector as a whole cannot claim
to be such, if the benefits of free basic electricity are accruing mainly to those
who are relatively well off. That only 56% of the Municipal Infrastructure Grant
had been allocated to municipalities by December is a reflection of lack of all-round
capacity particularly in technical areas with regard to water, sanitation and
public works projects.
And the laborious decision-making process is not
We can refer to the provision of services across all the
spheres or weaknesses in the implementation of the urban renewal and rural development
programmes, and the conclusion will be the same. We need massively to improve
the management, organisational, technical and other capacities of government so
that it meets its objectives.
In this regard, the following programme will
be implemented during the course of the coming year:
By May, the Forum of
SA Directors-General will submit to Cabinet a thorough review of the functioning
of the government system as a whole, and make proposals particularly on the capacity
of the implementing agents, skills and competence within the public service, alignment
of planning and implementation, and issues pertaining to the mobilisation of the
public service to speed up social transformation.
By the end of the year,
an improved Batho Pele campaign, including unannounced site visits, name badges,
and enhanced internal communication within the public service will be visibly
asserted. In this regard, we need to have an on-going national programme to entrench
the ethos of Letsema and Vuk'uzenzele among all our people and ensure that these
values permeate the work of government, business, labour and communities.
this context, we must also make a determined effort to educate our population
that our country does not have the resources immediately to meet, simultaneously,
all the admittedly urgent needs of our people, especially the poor. All of us
must understand the stark reality that even illegal violent demonstrations will
not produce these resources, and will be met with the full force of the law. At
the same time, we have to deal with those within the public service who, because
of their negligence and tardiness, deny many of our people services due to them,
in instances where resources have been made available to deliver these services.
The programme to improve services through Gateway and Multi-Purpose Community
Centres will be intensified.
By June this year, the plan to improve monitoring
and evaluation across government, including the electronic information management
system will have been completed for phased implementation.
We shall also
intensify the programme to expand employment in the public service, particularly
among the police, education and health professionals as well as sections providing
economic services across all spheres.
During the course of this year we
will speed up the implementation of the comprehensive plan to improve the capacity
of the National Statistics System, including Statistics SA.
By June this
year, we will complete the review of gender balances as well as representation
of people with disability within the public service, against the targets that
government had set itself. We do hope that, as part of their own contribution
to the transformation of South African society, and in the context of the obligation
to meet the requirements of our laws, the private sector will do the same.
we need to fight the tendency to act according to particular stereotypes, described
so succinctly by Steven Friedman, an analyst at the Centre for Policy Studies:
business and the professions too deeply pervasive prejudices decide who has ability
and who not.
[I]t is dressed up as support for 'merit' and it infests the
thinking of many who believe, genuinely, that they are not prejudiced.
the effect in lost performance, loss of self-esteem and anger from the thwarted
is much the same. It may well cost us far more lost growth and achievement than
all the other factors we often cite."
Within 3 months, a Summit on
Corruption will be convened to review experiences across all sectors of society
and agree on a programme to strengthen the campaign, including structures set
up to deal with this challenge.
Two weeks ago, on
the 28th of January we celebrated the day on which, ten years ago, the South African
Police Service Act was promulgated. Government took the decision to declare this
our National Police Day not only to mark the formal establishment of a new Police
Service of a democratic South Africa, but also to pay tribute to the men and women
who have put their lives on the line in defence of the safety and security of
Let me take this opportunity once more to congratulate the
management and our Police Service as a whole, and reassure them that their efforts
are appreciated by all law-abiding South Africans and that we shall continue to
work with them to protect the security and dignity of all who live in South Africa.
progress that we are making in dealing with crime is manifest in the ongoing reduction
in the rates especially of the most serious crimes.
The trend in the past
financial year which has seen the rate of such crimes as murder decline by 8%,
theft of motor vehicles and motor cycles by 5,4%, common robbery by 5,9%, cash-in-transit
heists by 48,7% and bank robberies by 57,5% should continue and in fact improve
in subsequent years.
Yes there are crimes such as aggravated robbery and
child abuse, which show an increase. Yes the level of crime, especially violent
incidents, remains unacceptable. But we are confident of meeting our target to
reduce the rate of contact crimes by 7-10% per year.
As planned, the security
agencies have set up Task Teams to identify, apprehend and convict the gang leaders
of organised crime and other perpetrators of serious crimes. Of those involved
in organised crime, 67 out of 96 identified have been arrested. The same deserved
fate has befallen 40 out of 42 identified for commercial crimes involving cases
above R5million and other projects valued at R50million. 61 of the 62 involved
in violent crime including cash-in-transit and other robberies as well as serial
murder and serial rape have been arrested. In brief, 168 of the Top 200 identified
have been apprehended.
In terms of the methodology of the Police Service,
to identify a broader group of top criminals using criteria related to repeat
offending, the net of our intense focus will be cast wider so as to include individuals
and gangs whose arrest is sure to improve the safety of communities in all regions
of the country.
As Honourable Members would know, an additional allocation
of R2,3 billion was announced last October to improve the salaries of members
of the police service. I am pleased to indicate that more resources will be added
to what has already been allocated. Further, to improve our capacity to fight
crime, an additional 8 000 members and 3 000 support staff have been recruited
into the Service since May 2004.
At the same time, in the period since
our last address to this joint sitting, we have completed the terms of reference
for the comprehensive review of the criminal justice system, launched the Service
Charter for Victims of Crime and started training those who will provide the services
that derive from the Charter. We have also launched three community courts and
started 8 pilots in six provinces; and we have started phasing in units of the
Police Service for improved border control.
In the coming year, we shall
continue with all these and other programmes, to:
- speed up the setting
up of community courts beyond the pilot projects so as to have at least 2 such
courts per province;
- give life to the "victims' charter" through
reorientation of the implementing personnel, information to citizens and, where
applicable, legislation to regulate this service;
- expand the number of
police areas for focussed multi-disciplinary interventions from 63 to 169;
partnerships with business and communities, including the expansion of the coverage
of close-circuit television in more metropolitan centres;
- further improve
law-enforcement and security at ports of entry;
- improve monitoring of
case loads to reduce case cycle time, and improve performance of justice officers
through the revitalisation of the Justice College;
- rapidly reduce the
number of children in police and prison custody with emphasis on KwaZulu/Natal,
Western Cape and Gauteng Provinces;
- complete, by April 2007 four additional
Correctional facilities while introducing a new ethos in the treatment of offenders
in order to reduce recidivism;
- operationalise more sexual offences courts,
taking into account that the conviction rate in these courts, (at 62%), is much
higher than in ordinary courts (at 42%), and improve the capacity of all dedicated
courts, including those dealing with car hijacking; and
- review the Foreign
Military Assistance Act in order to discourage, for their own good and the good
of the country, those who seek to profit from conflict and human suffering such
as in Iraq.
We shall do all this, Madame Speaker, conscious of the
responsibility that we have not only to our own citizens, but also to the rest
of humanity in pursuing the goal of a better world.
In the first instance,
our greatest challenge in this regard is to consolidate the African agenda, and
we can draw inspiration from the many positive developments on the continent since
we addressed the Joint Sitting of Parliament last May.
In our regional community,
SADC, the people of Botswana, Mozambique and Namibia have held yet new democratic
elections. In Mozambique and Namibia they also ensured the passing of the baton
of leadership in an exemplary manner. Progress is being made to strengthen SADC,
and we are honoured that South Africa currently chairs the SADC Organ on Politics,
Defence and Security. We are pleased with the progress being made towards the
formation of the SADC Peacekeeping Brigade, which will form part of the AU Standby
Today South Africa enjoys the singular honour of being the permanent
venue for the Pan-African Parliament, and we form part of the AU Peace and Security
Council. We thank the President of the Pan African Parliament for here presence
in the House today.
During the coming year, we shall continue to strengthen
our contribution to the efforts of humanity to build a world in which each can
feel a sense of belonging enjoying an improving quality of life.
to the ongoing tasks already identified in the programme presented last May:
will ensure more deliberate application to the task of revamping SADC management
structures, and speeding up the integration of our economies on the sub-continent,
including the implementation of infrastructure projects already identified with
regard to transport and energy;
We will finalise our preparations for South
Africa's Peer Review assessment, working with partners in civil society. We will
also play our part in ensuring a successful launch of the continent-wide civil
society council, the AU ECOSOCC, during the course of this month.
wish to pay tribute to our National Defence Force for the consistent role they
are playing as part of the midwives of peace, stability and prosperity in the
Democratic Republic of Congo, Burundi and Darfur in the Sudan. With regard to
the DRC and Burundi in particular, they have contributed to the fact that we can
speak with some measure of confidence that our brothers and sisters in these countries
will, this year, at last exercise their right to choose governments based on the
will of the people.
It is our fervent wish - and we shall continue to contribute
to the achievement of this objective - that the leaders and people of Côte
d'Ivoire find one another to implement all the necessary steps to end the crisis
in their country, creating the possibility for the holding of democratic Presidential
elections in October this year in a unified country.
The current unconstitutional
charade in Togo, following the death of President Eyadema, which ECOWAS and the
AU are confronting firmly, adds to instability in West Africa. This must communicate
the message to the people of Cote d'Ivoire and the rest of our continent that
everything must be done to solve the Ivorian crisis, given the importance of this
country, which has the third largest economy in sub-Saharan Africa.
continue to work with the government and people of Zimbabwe, as part of the SADC
collective, to ensure that the elections they are to hold in less than two months
are free and fair.
We shall also continue our engagement with the Kingdom
of Swaziland to help where we can in the efforts to construct a constitutional
dispensation that enjoys the confidence of all.
We have begun to do our
work as the Convenor of the Sudan Post-Conflict Reconstruction Committee of the
AU, and will focus on this task to contribute to the successful implementation
of the vitally important Sudan peace settlement signed last month in Nairobi.
We have also taken the first steps to engage the new government of Somalia,
at the request of its President, to assist in the challenging process of the reconstitution
of what had become a failed state.
We shall continue playing our role to
ensure the success of the AU and its programme, the New Partnership for Africa's
Development (NEPAD). Our Finance Minister and other African leaders serve on the
Africa Commission established by the British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, who will
chair both the G8 and European Union this year, and whose objective is to ensure
the effective implementation of the G8 Africa Action Plan adopted by the G8 governments
to support NEPAD.
We will continue to work with the UK and other members
of the G8 to ensure that the July Summit Meeting of this Group produces the practical
results with regard to the NEPAD and G8 Africa Action Plan objectives already
agreed between Africa and the G8.
South Africa has
had the privilege, in the past eight months, to host President Jean-Bertrand Aristide
of Haiti and his family, fulfilling our responsibility to Africa and the African
Diaspora. We are indeed very happy that President and Mrs Aristide are with us
in this House today. To contribute to efforts aimed at ensuring that the people
of Haiti know peace and prosperity, we are working with the African Union, the
Caribbean Community and the United Nations to normalise the situation in that
country so that democratic elections can be held later this year, as scheduled.
In the next two months, we will take part in a Caribbean Diaspora Conference,
which we hope will lead to a Global Conference in the near future.
year we hosted the Afro-Asian solidarity organisation, AASROC, and the Ministerial
Meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement. Beyond the formal interactions that take
place at this level, there could not have been a better expression of human solidarity
than the enthusiastic response of South Africans, to the devastation caused by
the seaquake and ensuing tsunami in Asia and the northeastern shelf of Africa.
We again express our solidarity with the affected nations, and the families of
South Africans who lost their loved ones, and pledge to contribute what we can
to ease their plight.
We shall also take part in the Asia-Africa Summit
in Bandung, Indonesia in April 2005, both to strengthen ties across the Indian
Ocean, and to mark the 50th anniversary of the famous Bandung Conference, which
made a decisive contribution to the strengthening of Afro-Asian solidarity in
the anti-colonial struggle, and led directly to the establishment of the Non-Aligned
In the next two months, we shall host the Ministerial Trilateral
Commission meeting of India, Brazil and South Africa, to review these strategic
relations focused on building South-South co-operation. In the same vein, we will
continue to strengthen our bilateral relations with the People's Republic of China.
three months ago, the national liberation movement and the world at large lost
one of its eminent leaders, President Yasser Arafat. We wish once more to pay
tribute to this outstanding son of the Palestinian people, and to wish the new
Palestinian President, Mahmoud Abbas, the peoples of Palestine and Israel lasting
peace in states that co-exist in conditions of security for all, cooperation and
I would also like to take advantage of this occasion
warmly to congratulate and salute Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and Palestinian
Authority President Mahmoud Abbas for the bold steps they have taken during the
last few days to communicate a firm message of hope to their respective peoples.
I would like to assure them that in this regard, they have the unequivocal support
of our government and the overwhelming majority of our people.
We also salute
the invaluable contribution made by President Mubarak of Egypt and King Abdullah
of Jordan to this happy development. Similarly, we are pleased to acknowledge
and welcome the resolve publicly communicated by President George W. Bush and
the new U.S. Secretary of State, Dr Condoleeza Rice, to do everything possible
to implement the Road Map for the speedy resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict
within the context of a two-state solution.
We also wish the people of Iraq
success in their march towards lasting peace in the context of a fully restored
sovereignty and a united, democratic Iraq, strengthened by the diversity of its
We will also continue to work with the Government of Iran and
the rest of the world community to find a lasting solution to the dispute that
has arisen over issues related to the uses of nuclear technology.
also continue to work with the Secretary-General of the United Nations and other
states for global consensus in the restructuring of this body so that it plays
its due role as the ultimate and inclusive authority on global governance and
This will be given further impetus when later this year, South
Africa hosts the annual conference on Progressive Governance, bringing together
distinguished world leaders who have the interests of the poor and the marginalized
We shall intensify our efforts to build a global movement of
human solidarity. In this regard, we shall build on the groundswell of global
appreciation and solidarity that characterised the celebration of our First Decade
It is also in this context that we shall intensify our efforts,
working with the rest of Africa and the Federation of International Football Associations
(FIFA) to prepare for the 2010 Soccer World Cup, confident that the trust placed
in us by leaders of the "beautiful game" shall be validated in every
I am pleased to welcome to our country the world's leading women golfers
who begin the Women's World Cup of Golf tournament in George today, and wish our
team success in its effort to emerge as the World Champion. Our best wishes also
go to the Proteas cricket team to vanquish their English opponents in the current
limited overs matches.
We are not being arrogant
or complacent when we assert that our country, as a united nation, has never in
its entire history enjoyed such a confluence of encouraging possibilities. On
behalf of our government, we commend our programme to the country, confident that
its implementation will help to place us on the high road towards ensuring that
we become a winning nation and that we play our role towards the renewal of Africa
and the creation of a better world.
Acting together, we do have the capacity
to realise these objectives. And sparing neither effort nor strength, we can and
shall build a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it, united in