State of the Nation Address of the President of South Africa,
Thabo Mbeki, Joint Sitting of Parliament, Cape Town, 3 February 2006
Speaker of the National Assembly;
Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces;
Speaker and Deputy Chairperson of the National Assembly and the NCOP;
President of the Republic;
Honourable leaders of our political parties and
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Ministers and Deputy Ministers;
Chief Justice and members of the Judiciary;
Heads of our Security Services;
of the Reserve Bank;
Mrs Graca Machel;
Distinguished Premiers and Speakers
of our Provinces;
Mayors and leaders in our system of local government;
honoured traditional leaders;
Heads of the state organs supporting our democratic
Directors-General and other leaders of the public service;
Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners;
Distinguished guests, friends
People of South Africa:
First of all I would like to acknowledge
and welcome to this occasion some distinguished personalities who are sitting
in the gallery of this hallowed chamber. I refer here to the esteemed Graca Machel
whose first husband, the heroic Samora Machel, died in a mysterious plane crash
at Mbuzini in Mpumalanga 20 years ago this year.
I refer also to the Reverend
fathers, Revs Mgojo and Xundu, who served the Truth and Reconciliation Commission
in various capacities, and some of those who petitioned the Commission, to promote
the noble cause of peace, truth and reconciliation in our country.
also to Ella Gandhi, grand-daughter of the irreplaceable Mahatma Gandhi, who one
hundred years ago here in South Africa, launched Satyagraha, the unique non-violent
struggle that liberated India and inspired millions of freedom fighters everywhere
else in the world.
We take this opportunity to remember the martyrs who
were brutally assassinated in Matola, as well as the leader of our people Joe
Present among us also are Inkosi Zondi and Oscar Zondi, patriots
from KwaZulu-Natal who are working to ensure that the nation honours the Bambata
Rebellion of a century ago in a fitting manner.
We are also honoured to
have in our midst Sophie De Bruyn and others present in the house who were part
of the heroic women who marched on the Union Buildings in Pretoria 50 years ago
on August 9th, 1956, thus placing the women of our country in the frontline of
our struggle for national liberation.
The representatives of the youth that
rose up in revolt 30 years ago, in the Soweto Uprising sit everywhere in this
House, including the benches of the ruling party, and have therefore had no need
to have special representatives sitting in the gallery of this House.
am honoured to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of an outstanding human
being and friend of our country and people, the leading Indian "Bollywood"
actor, Anil Kapoor.
All of us are deeply moved that Anil Kapoor, a citizen
of the beloved land of Mahatma Gandhi, has agreed to serve as one of South Africa's
global brand ambassadors, committed to mobilise the peoples of the world to support
our efforts to make a success of our liberation.
On behalf of our government
and all our people, I extend our heartfelt welcome to all these distinguished
guests and thank them for honouring our nation today by their presence on this
important national occasion.
Speaking at the very first Annual Regular
Opening of our Democratic Parliament, on May 24, 1994, almost a month after the
historic April 27th elections in which, for the first time ever, the people of
our country freely decided together who should govern our country, the Honourable
Nelson Mandela issued an historic challenge that:
"we must, constrained
by and yet regardless of the accumulated effect of our historical burdens, seize
the time to define for ourselves what we want to make of our shared destiny."
what the nation has done and not done during the years of the democratic epoch,
that have accumulated since Nelson Mandela delivered the 1st State of the Nation
Address on May 24, 1994, has created the possibility for us to reiterate the call
he made on that day to all of us as South Africans, nearly twelve years ago, together
"to define for ourselves what we want to make of our shared destiny."
that day in May, 1994, the Hon Nelson Mandela evoked the haunting memory of an
extraordinary South African, Ingrid Jonker, who committed suicide just over 40
years ago, in the same sea waters that isolated his former involuntary temporary
home, Robben Island, from our mainland, as she was isolated from and by her kith
and kin. Of her he said:
"In the midst of despair, she celebrated hope.
Confronted with death, she asserted the beauty of life. In the dark days when
all seemed hopeless in our country, when many refused to hear her resonant voice,
she took her own life.
"To her and others like her, we owe a debt to
life itself. To her and others like her, we owe a commitment to the poor, the
oppressed, the wretched and the despised."
Nelson Mandela said that
in the aftermath of the massacre at the anti-pass demonstrations in Sharpeville,
Langa and Nyanga, she wrote that:
Die kind is nie dood nie
lig sy vuiste teen sy moeder
wat Afrika skreeu
die kind wat net
wou speel in die son by Nyanga als orals
die kind wat 'n man geword het trek
deur die ganse Afrika
die kind wat 'n reus geword het reis deur die hele wêreld
Sonder 'n pas
The child is not dead
the child lifts his fists
against his mother
who shouts Africa!...
this child who only wanted to play
in the sun at Nyanga is everywhere
the child grown to a man treks on through
the child grown to a giant journeys through the whole world
Nelson Mandela continued:
"And in this glorious vision,
(Ingrid Jonker) instructs that our endeavours must be about the liberation of
the woman, the emancipation of the man and the liberty of the child. It is these
things that we must achieve to give meaning to our presence in this chamber and
give purpose to our occupancy of the seat of government.
"And so we must,
constrained by and yet regardless of the accumulated effect of our historical
burdens, seize the time to define for ourselves what we want to make of our shared
Confronted by this historic challenge, I dare say that no
one in our country can, like Shakespeare's Macbeth, grieve that in the period
since that distinguished son of our people, the Honourable Nelson Mandela, delivered
our first State of the Nation Address, all we can truthfully say, with Macbeth,
about our country's fate is:
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death
I believe that for many of us, our country's evolution away from its apartheid
past seems to have moved at such a hectic pace that even some of the seminal moments
marking the birth of our democracy, that are less than two decades old, present
themselves in the subconscious mind as being mere chapters in an aging historical
record of a distant past.
Nothing that has happened during the age of democracy
could justify the conclusion, similar to the one that Macbeth arrived at, that
any of our yesterdays has only served to guide fools to avoidable catastrophe.
On the contrary, the age of democracy has given itself moral legitimacy
by ensuring that Ingrid Jonker lives on, a heroine to all our people. The child
she knew had not died, despite the apartheid bullet through its head. And now
grown to a giant, treks on through all Africa and the whole world, without a pass!
year we will have occasion to remind ourselves of, and celebrate, two of the seminal
moments to which I have referred. One of these is the 15th anniversary of the
holding of the first meeting of CODESA on December 20, 1991, and the adoption
of the vitally important Declaration of Intent the following day. The other is
the 10th anniversary of the adoption of our Constitution on May 8, 1996.
other things, the CODESA Declaration of Intent said: "We
solemn commitment to bring about an undivided South Africa with one nation sharing
a common citizenship, patriotism and loyalty, pursuing amidst our diversity, freedom,
equality and security for all irrespective of race, colour, sex or creed; a country
free from apartheid or any other form of discrimination or domination."
importance of this particular moment in our history both for our country and the
peoples of the world was underlined by the presence at CODESA of international
observers from the United Nations, the Organization of African Unity, the Movement
of Non-Aligned Countries and the Commonwealth.
In a joint statement, these
representatives of important international organisations said: "CODESA must
herald the dawn of a new era of peace and justice. The broad objectives expressed
in the Declaration of Intent are a most constructive and auspicious beginning
for CODESA and give promise of attainment of a true democracy for South Africa
hope that all the representatives of the South African people will join in the
rebuilding of their country".
Periods of a decade and a decade-and-a-half
are but fleeting moments in the life of any nation. In our case we have lived
through these years conscious of the enormous effort it would require of all of
us to unshackle our country from the heavy chains that tie it to its past.
have known that it would take considerable time before we could say we have eradicated
the legacy of the past. We have expected that the circumstances handed down to
us by our history would indeed condemn us to a 'petty pace' of progress towards
the achievement of the goal of a better life for all.
And yet today, as
I stand here to speak to the Honourable Members of our national, provincial and
local legislatures, an important component part of our national political leadership,
other echelons of that leadership, and our international guests, I feel emboldened
to appropriate for our people the promise contained in the Book of the Prophet
Isaiah, when God said:
For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
Instead of the
thorn shall come up the cypress tree
And instead of the brier shall come up
the myrtle tree
Kuba niya kuphuma ninovuyo,
neenduli ziya kugqabhuka
Zimemelele phambi kwenu,
Imithi yasendle ibethe
Esikhundleni somqaqoba kuya kuphuma imisedare,
kuya kunyuka imirtile
What has been achieved since Nelson Mandela
delivered his First State of the Nation Address, and what we can do, given the
larger resources that have since been generated, has surely given hope to the
masses of our people, that it is possible for all Africa to hear the mountains
and the hills singing before them.
When he addressed the United Nations
General Assembly 14 years ago on February 18, 1992, a mere two months after our
nation established CODESA, the then Chairperson of the United Nations Special
Committee against Apartheid said:
"During the next few months, the
Special Committee will need to closely monitor developments, in order to identify
all factors threatening to derail the process in South Africa and to issue early
warnings accordingly. We will thus pay particular attention to the underlying
causes of violence.
The level and the nature of violence continues to be
extremely disturbing. More than 2,600 persons lost their lives in 1991 as a result
of politically related violence."
Reading this today, wondering what
could have gone wrong that so many people had to lose their lives needlessly,
it becomes difficult to avoid the conclusion that - yesterday was another country!
yet during the very same year that we adopted our Constitution, Amnesty International
could still report that:
"At least 500 people were killed in continuing
political violence in KwaZulu Natal; some appeared to have been extra-judicially
executed. Reports of torture and ill-treatment in police custody continued. Four
people were killed by right-wing opponents of the government. Further evidence
emerged, through court proceedings and Truth and Reconciliation Commission hearings,
of official involvement in human rights violations under the former government."
years ago the international community was expressing deep concern about factors
threatening to derail the process in our country towards ending white minority
rule, including the violence then claiming too many lives, and found it necessary
to appeal to all our people to act together to end apartheid and rebuild the country.
The peoples of the world could have reiterated their concern about political
violence in our country even five years later, as we took the giant step forward
by adopting our Constitution.
Happily, in time, we managed to break free of
the uncertainty about a bright future for our country, dramatically represented
by the large numbers of people killed throughout the years from 1990 to 1996,
when we were engaged in negotiations to establish our democratic order.
year opened with the inspiring news that our people were highly optimistic about
their future and the future of our country, ranking 8th in the world on the optimism
index. Gallup International, which issued this report, said we have three times
more optimists than pessimists, and that the optimism figure had doubled even
This compared sharply with the situation in 1993, when our
country was still in the grip of the crisis that had been of so much concern to
the international community. That year, our country had more pessimists than optimists,
signifying the prevalence of a mood of despair generated in part by the cold-blooded
assassination that year of one of our outstanding leaders, Chris Hani.
results obtained by Gallup International have been confirmed by a recent domestic
poll conducted by Markinor. According to this poll, 65% of our people believe
that the country is going in the right direction. 84% think that our country holds
out a happy future for all racial groups. 71% believe that government is performing
With regard to the economy, late last month the Grant Thornton International
Business Owners Survey reported that 84% of South Africa's business owners are
optimistic about the year ahead, making them the third most optimistic internationally.
Again last month, the First National Bank and the Bureau for Economic Research
reported that the consumer confidence index is at its highest in 25 years.
all these figures signify is that our people are firmly convinced that our country
has entered its Age of Hope. They are convinced that we have created the conditions
to achieve more rapid progress towards the realisation of their dreams. They are
certain that we are indeed a winning nation.
Through our National Effort
they can see the relevance to our situation of God's blessings communicated in
the Book of the Prophet Isaiah:
For you shall go out with joy,
led out in peace;
The mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing
And all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
of the thorn shall come up the cypress tree
And instead of the brier shall
come up the myrtle tree
The inspiring perspective about our future
shared by the majority of our people derives from what our country has achieved
first to overcome the obstacles to freedom we faced before 1994, the advances
we have made since then to consolidate our democracy, while promoting non-racism
and non-sexism, the progress we have made to alleviate the poverty afflicting
millions of our people, and the strides we have made to expand and modernise our
We owe these outstanding achievements to the sterling efforts made
by all our people in all walks of life. To that extent I would like to take the
opportunity of this State of the Nation Address to salute and thank all our people
for responding to the call made by Nelson Mandela in 1994 from this podium, when
he said "we must, constrained by and yet regardless of the accumulated effect
of our historical burdens, seize the time to define for ourselves what we want
to make of our shared destiny."
Millions did indeed seize the time
and, in action, defined ours as a shared destiny of peace, democracy, non-racism,
non-sexism, shared prosperity and a better life for all. It is because of what
these millions did that our people know from their own experience that today is
better than yesterday, and are confident that tomorrow will be better than today.
we must indeed celebrate the high levels of optimism that inspire our people,
who are convinced that our country has entered its Age of Hope, we must also focus
on and pay particular attention to the implications of those high levels of optimism
with regard to what we must do together to achieve the objective of a better life
for all our people. We have to respond to the hopes of the people by doing everything
possible to meet their expectations.
And here I include among those who
have to respond to the high expectations of our people not just the government,
but also the private sector, the labour unions and the rest of civil society,
and patriotic individuals.
In the period ahead of us, we have to sustain
the multi-faceted national effort that enabled us to realise the advances that
have inspired so much confidence among our people for a better tomorrow. On behalf
of our government I would therefore like to use this important landmark in our
national life to repeat the appeal made by Nelson Mandela 12 years ago, that together
seize the time to define for ourselves what we want to make
of our shared destiny."
And I dare say that essentially all of us are
very familiar with what the people expect, which would confirm that they were
not wrong to conclude that our country has entered its Age of Hope.
Markinor survey to which we have referred indicates some of the concerns of our
people. Whereas, as we have indicated, 71% believe that government is generally
performing well, only 56% think government is responding well to our economic
challenges, with the figure dropping to 54% with regard to the cluster of Justice
We must also note that the government's approval rating with
regard to the economy moves in tandem with the levels of income. Significantly,
72% approve of the government's efforts in various areas of social delivery. In
contrast, only 45% believe that the sphere of local government is performing well.
Honourable Members will also be pleased to know that a survey conducted by the
Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) shows that 90% of our population
is proud of our country, our flag and National Anthem, while 60% consider Freedom
Day, April 27th, as the most important national day.
The outcomes of these
surveys communicate the unequivocal message that our people expect that:
we should move faster to address the challenges of poverty, underdevelopment and
marginalisation confronting those caught within the Second Economy, to ensure
that the poor in our country share in our growing prosperity;
we should make the necessary interventions with regard to the First Economy to
accelerate progress towards the achievement of higher levels of economic growth
and development of at least 6% a year;
?· we must sustain and improve
the effectiveness of our social development programmes targeted at providing a
cushion of support to those most exposed to the threat of abject poverty;
we must act more aggressively with regard to our criminal justice system to improve
the safety and security of our people, especially by improving the functioning
of our courts and increasing our conviction rates to strengthen the message that
crime does not pay;
?· we must ensure that the machinery of government,
especially the local government sphere, discharges its responsibilities effectively
and efficiently, honouring the precepts of Batho Pele; and,
must harness the Proudly South African spirit that is abroad among the people
to build the strongest possible partnership between all sections of our population
to accelerate our advance towards the realisation of the important goal of a better
life for all.
Our government is committed to respond with all necessary
seriousness and determination to all these challenges, and play its role to give
new content to our Age of Hope. I am honoured to have this opportunity to announce
some of the elements of the programme of our government to honour this commitment.
Honourable Members and the country at large are aware that, under the leadership
of Deputy President Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the three spheres of government have
been working together for some months to elaborate the specific interventions
that will ensure that ASGISA, the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of
South Africa, succeeds in its purposes, which include the reduction of the unemployment
In this regard I would like to thank the members of the private
sector, the trade union movement, women, youth and civil society who have participated
in this process, making a valuable input into an important initiative that must
be owned and implemented by our people as a whole.
I must also take advantage
of this occasion to explain that ASGISA is not intended to cover all elements
of a comprehensive development plan. Rather it consists of a limited set of interventions
that are intended to serve as catalysts to accelerated and shared growth and development.
Otherwise we will continue to engage the nation and all social partners
to address other elements of a comprehensive development plan to improve on our
current programmes, and deal with other issues, such as the comprehensive industrial
policy, keeping in mind the objective to halve poverty and unemployment by 2014.
government is convinced that favourable conditions exist for us to achieve the
accelerated and shared growth to which we are committed. For instance, on January
3rd 2005, the newspaper Business Day commented that:
"In South Africa,
this promises to be the dawn of a golden age of growth
We have now had more
than five years of sustained growth - an upswing longer than the boom of the 1960s
and indeed longer than anything in the postwar period
We are reaping the
benefits of years of sound financial and monetary policy as well as of structural
reform in the economy.
we are set fairer than we have been in
decades to raise the growth rate on a sustainable basis. The trouble is, not all
of it is within our control, as much depends on the vagaries of world markets
and the global economy
"But, make no mistake
and this market starts to look very different to anything we are used to. And
it is certainly a different good, not a different bad".
We fully agree
with these observations, and would add that, that "different good" has
included significant job creation, a trend that we seek to enhance through ASGISA
and our other development programmes.
To implement ASGISA, the state-owned
enterprises and the public sector as a whole, working in some instances through
public-private partnerships, will make large investments in various sectors to:
meet the demand for electricity;
· provide an efficient and competitive
· expand and modernise the telecommunications
· satisfy the demand for water.
sector will also accelerate infrastructure investment in the underdeveloped urban
and rural areas of our country through the Municipal Infrastructure Grant, Expanded
Public Works Programme and other infrastructure funds to improve service delivery
in the areas of the Second Economy, including the provision of:
roads and rail;
· housing, schools
· business premises and business support centres;
sports facilities; and,
· multi-purpose government service centres,
including police stations and courts.
R372billion will be provided for both
these sets of programmes over the next three years.
As the Honourable members
would expect we will continue to pay particular attention to the Expanded Public
Works Programme as an important bridge between the two economies and a significant
part of our poverty alleviation programme.
Among other things, resources
for the public works programmes will be pooled to ensure maximum impact both in
terms of products delivered and employment and skills-training opportunities.
Better supervision of infrastructure projects undertaken by government
will be introduced, to ensure that capital budgets are spent without roll-overs
and that labour-intensive methods are prioritised, and the necessary training
of workers is carried out to provide them with skills.
ASGISA has also identified
particular sectors of our economy for accelerated growth, building on the work
already done within the context of our existing Micro-Economic Reform Programme.
· Business Process Outsourcing;
· Metals and metallurgy;
Wood, pulp and paper;
· The creative industries;
· Clothing and textiles.
In this regard, work is proceeding
apace to address such challenges as the cost of telecommunications, and import
parity pricing with regard to steel and chemicals. We have already reached agreement
with the People's Republic of China to protect our clothing and textile sector.
The second National Telecommunications Operator should become operational later
For ASGISA to succeed, it is clear that the machinery of state,
and especially local government, should function effectively and efficiently.
During the past year, our government has undertaken a detailed assessment to determine
what we need to do to improve the capacity of our system of local government.
we announced last year, we have been engaged in assessing the capacity of government
to discharge its responsibilities to help accelerate the process of social transformation.
Proceeding from the particular to the general, the audit of a number of national
departments has been completed.
These include housing, health, education
and trade and industry. Across all these, issues of skills, vacancies, delegation
of responsibilities to managers of delivery agencies and relationship between
national and provincial departments have emerged as being among the most critical
areas requiring attention. Assessments of the other departments will be carried
The government will make the necessary interventions to address the
issues raised by these assessments, bearing in mind the critical role that government
must play as one of our country's most important developmental agencies.
cannot allow that government departments become an obstacle to the achievement
of the goal of a better life for all because of insufficient attention to the
critical issue of effective and speedy delivery of services.
In this context,
we will continue the work towards the creation of one public service covering
all spheres of government, fully conscious of the complexity of this matter and
the need to secure the agreement of all relevant stakeholders. We will also continue
to pay the necessary attention to the important issues of the inclusion of women
and people with disabilities at decision-making levels of the public service.
we have said so far, concerning ASGISA, points to the inescapable conclusion that,
to meet our objectives, we will have to pay particular attention to the issue
of scarce skills that will negatively affect the capacity of both the public and
the private sectors to meet the goals set by ASGISA.
In this regard, I would
therefore like to assure the Honourable Members and the country as a whole that,
together with our social partners, we have agreed to a vigorous and wide-ranging
skills development and acquisition programme to meet any shortfalls we may experience.
other things, we have already agreed to establish within a few weeks a multi-stakeholder
working group, JIPSA, the Joint Initiative on Priority Skills Acquisition, through
which government, business, labour and civil society will act jointly to respond
to the skills challenge in as practical a manner as possible.
I would like
to extend the sincere thanks of our Deputy President and government as a whole
to the response of the Freedom Front + and other formations and individuals, who
have responded to our appeal for South Africans with the necessary skills to make
themselves available to provide the required expertise in project management and
The first group of the 90 already identified and assessed,
will be deployed in their new posts in May.
We will, of course, also make other
interventions in the area of education and training. These include eliminating
fees for the poorest quintile of primary schools, targeting 529 schools to double
the Maths and Science graduate output to 50 000 by 2008, and re-equipping and
financing the Further Education and Training Colleges.
Last year, we completed
the task of registering unemployed graduates, with over 60 000 in the database.
We wish to express our appreciation to the many companies that last December pledged
to employ some of these graduates. An intensive campaign to link up these graduates
with these and other companies will be undertaken this year.
year, when we celebrate the 90th anniversary of the establishment of the University
of Fort Hare, we will continue to engage the leadership of our tertiary institutions
focused on working with them to meet the nation's expectations with regard to
teaching and research. For its part, the government is determined to increase
the resource allocation for Research and Development and Innovation, and increase
the pool of young researchers.
ASGISA identified other constraints to growth
and development, apart from the issue of skills, the cost of doing business and
the unnecessarily high cost of intermediate inputs. Work is proceeding to address
all these constraints, including the limited domestic market and monetary and
ASGISA has once more confirmed the need for us to expand
our micro, small and medium enterprise sector, paying particular attention in
this regard to Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment, and the development of
women and the youth.
We will therefore take the necessary measures to ensure
the effectiveness of such existing programmes as the Apex (Micro-credit) Fund,
Mafisa (for agricultural development), SEDA (the Small Enterprise Development
Agency), Khula, the Msobomvu Youth Fund, the IDC Small Business Initiative, and
so on. We will also intensify our engagement of the Financial Services Charter
signatories to help generate the necessary resources for the development of the
Our experience with regard to the development of this sector
indicates that we must pay particular attention to issues of access to capital,
entrepreneurial training, assistance with marketing, and the development of cooperatives.
Further, to contribute to the growth of the SMME sector, the government will reform
its procurement programme to access some of its goods and services from small
and medium businesses, ensuring that it pays for what it purchases promptly.
will also speed up the consultative process to determine the measures we must
take to improve the regulatory climate to facilitate the expansion of this sector.
This intervention will form part of the overall programme to introduce a regulatory
impact assessment system to enable the government regularly to assess the impact
of its policies on economic activity in our country.
The years of freedom
have been very good for business. I believe that this should have convinced the
investor community by now that, in its own interest and as part of the national
effort, it has to invest in the expansion of that freedom, especially by actively
and consciously contributing towards the achievement of the goal of halving poverty
and unemployment by 2014.
ASGISA, which builds on the results of the Growth
and Development Summit, offers this investor community an excellent opportunity
to respond to this challenge in a deliberate and consistent manner, in its own
Similarly, and also as part of the national effort, the trade
union movement and civil society as a whole face the challenge to translate into
action the commitment they made with the other social partners at the Growth and
Development Summit "to a common vision for promoting rising levels of growth,
investment, job creation, and people-centred development."
a golden opportunity for the social partners to undertake the "collaborative
action" they visualised at the GDS focused on "Promoting and mobilising
investment and creating decent work for all."
The impressive growth
rates achieved by our economy in the current period have been driven in good measure
by high consumer demand, significantly financed through credit. This has increased
our imports more than our exports. Despite high commodity prices, the resultant
balance of payments deficit has been financed by inflows of foreign capital.
ASGISA we will increase the significance of the supply-side drivers of our growth.
A corollary of this is, of course, that we must ensure the international competitiveness
of the goods and services we produce.
This speaks directly to the common
objective agreed by the social partners at the Growth and Development Summit,
to "promote rising levels of growth, investment, job creation, and people-centred
I have already mentioned the fact that to meet our developmental
objectives, which must respond to the high expectations of our people, we will
pay special attention to the critical task of strengthening local government.
government considers this to be especially important at this stage of our evolution.
After the March 1st local government elections, all three spheres of government
will therefore continue working together to ensure that each and every District
and Metro municipality is properly positioned to discharge its responsibility
to the people.
In particular, this will mean that each of these municipalities
has a realistic Integrated Development Plan, a credible Local Economic Development
Programme, and the material and human resources, as well as the management and
operational systems to implement these IDPs and LEDs.
Integration of planning
and implementation across the government spheres is therefore one of the prime
areas of focus in our programme for the next term of local government. In this
regard we will be guided by the Inter-Governmental Relations Framework Act.
must in practice respect the system of cooperative governance, and within this
context ensure that we empower local government to discharge its development and
service delivery obligations, drawing on the lessons provided by Project Consolidate.
many of us are aware by now, Project Consolidate has identified serious capacity
constraints in many of our municipalities arising from a shortage of properly
qualified managers, professional and technical personnel. We have taken the necessary
decisions to attend to this urgent matter.
To improve the ability, particularly
of local government to meet the needs of the people, by March this year we shall
have deployed 3 000 Community Development Workers.
Even as we implement
the programmes focused on accelerated and shared growth, with its important element
of job creation, we cannot forget that the social wage plays a vital role in our
continuing efforts to address the challenge of poverty.
For instance 7
million children now receive the child support grant. A total of 10 million of
our citizens receive social grants. Real social expenditure per person increased
by 60% between 1983 and 2003. Detailed evidence from a study conducted by Haroon
Bhorat, Prakash Naidoo and Carlene van der Westhuizen indicates that there has
been a consistent shift in expenditure in favour of poorer households.
improve delivery in this area, we will continue to implement our comprehensive
anti-fraud strategy. Already many of those who have been stealing social grants
have been brought to book. This work will improve with the launch of the National
Social Security Agency.
In the area of health, over 1 300 clinics have benefited
from the upgrading programme and more have received additional equipment; and
the programme to revitalise hospitals is proceeding apace. The extension of Community
Service to a range of health professionals has ensured that at any one time over
2 000 such professionals are available in public health institutions.
future plans in this area include the further expansion of the health infrastructure,
the refurbishment of existing clinics and hospitals, and the re-opening of Nursing
Colleges to increase the numbers of these important professionals.
service delivery in our hospitals, by September this year we will ensure that
hospital managers are delegated authority and held accountable for the functioning
of hospitals, with policy issues regarding training, job grading and accountability
managed by Provincial Health Departments which themselves will need restructuring
properly to play their role.
The Operational Plan for Comprehensive Prevention,
Treatment and Care of HIV and AIDS has resulted in the upgrading of hundreds of
facilities. To date, over 100 000 patients are receiving Antiretroviral Treatment
and, combined with patients in the private sector, South Africa has one of the
largest such treatment programme in the world.
During the course of this
year, in addition to accelerating the expansion of our housing stock to address
the needs of the homeless, we will take concrete steps to ensure that housing
development contributes to eliminating the duality of living spaces inherited
Already, the Ministry of Housing and the South African
Local Government Association have reached an agreement on the sale of land for
housing development. Through this agreement, municipalities will allocate land
close to economic centres for housing development for middle and lower income
In addition, as part of our effort to help the poor to access housing
finance, the National Housing Finance Corporation (NHFC) will be transformed into
a Housing Corporation that will provide finance to the poor and middle-income
In this context, we expect our Minister of Housing and the leadership
of the Financial Institutions to reach final agreement without further delay on
the modalities for utilising the R42 billion set aside by the financial institutions
for housing development for poor and middle-income groups thus contributing to
the National Effort.
This is central to the attainment of a society free
of shack settlements in which all our people enjoy decent housing. In this context,
I should also mention that government has decided that we must completely eradicate,
in the established settlements, the "bucket toilets" by the end of 2007.
reform and land restitution are critical to the transformation of our society.
Accordingly, the state will play a more central role in the land reform programme
ensuring that the restitution programme is accelerated, further contributing to
the empowerment of the poor, especially in the rural areas.
of Agriculture and Land Affairs will, during 2006:
· review the willing-buyer
· review land acquisition models and possible
manipulation of land prices; and
· regulate conditions under which
foreigners buy land. This will be done in line with international norms and practices.
The Minister and the Department will also ensure that the land redistribution
programme is aligned to the Provincial Growth and Development Strategies (PGDS)
as well as the Integrated Development Plans (IDP) of municipalities, as well as
attend to the proper use of the funds that have been made available for the productive
utilisation of the land.
When we talk about the land question, we must not
forget that this year we will commemorate the Centenary of the Bambata Uprising
in the present day KwaZulu-Natal, which was occasioned by the imposition of a
poll tax to drive the people off the land, forcing them to join the ranks of the
In praise of Bambata it was said:
Kwadilika izixhobo eHlenyane.
Izulu eliphose umbane phansi eHlenyane,
Umhlane ubelethe amagwala!
In this year of the 30th
anniversary of the Soweto Uprising, we shall ensure that the focus on youth development
is intensified in all spheres of government. Among other things during the next
financial year we will set up 100 new Youth Advisory Centres, enrol at least 10
000 young people in the National Youth Service Programme and enrol 5 000 volunteers
to act as mentors to vulnerable children.
We will also expand the reach
of our business support system to young people and intensify the Youth Co-operatives
Programme. We will closely monitor the impact of our programmes on youth skills
training and business empowerment as an integral part of our National Effort.
ASGISA process has also helped us greatly by exposing us to the concerns of women
with regard to their economic prospects. Among others, the women have pointed
to the need for us to focus on issues of access to finance, development of co-operatives,
fast-tracking women artisans and providing "set-asides" for women in
government and public enterprises procurement programmes.
I believe that
the very fact that this year we will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Women's
March underlines the need for us to ensure that these issues receive the necessary
attention in the implementation of our development programmes.
will continue to focus on the critical challenge of further improving our criminal
justice system. Among other things, we will focus on integrated law enforcement
operations in priority areas, reducing the number of illegal firearms and ensuring
better processing of applications for firearm licences, reducing drug trafficking
and substance abuse, and implementing social crime prevention measures.
will further improve case-load management in our courts, building four additional
correctional facilities, reduce the number of children in custody, and implement
the recommendations of the Jali Commission.
Other important matters include
the post-TRC management of cases pertaining to conflicts of the past, processing
of legislation on matters pertaining to the rationalisation of our courts, consideration
of the recommendations of the Khampepe Commission on the Directorate of Special
Operations, and strengthening our intelligence structures to support law enforcement
agencies and ensure the security of the state and its citizens.
needless to say, the government will remain focused on the challenge to fight
corruption in the public sector and in society at large. We will continue to intensify
our offensive on this front, fully aware of the fact that much that happens in
our society encourages the entrenchment of a value system based on personal acquisition
of wealth by all means and at all cost.
Five months from now, the FIFA Soccer
World Cup tournament, hosted by Germany, will come to its triumphant end with
the passage of the host's baton to our country. From then on, until 2010, the
whole world will watch us carefully to judge whether we will be a worthy host
of this prestigious tournament.
I am afraid that our performance in the
current African Cup of Nations in Egypt did nothing to advertise our strengths
as a winning nation. However, starting today, the nation must bend every effort
to ensure that we meet all the expectations of FIFA and the world of soccer, so
that we host the best Soccer World Cup ever.
Simultaneously as we work together
to restore the sport of soccer in our country to full health, and prepare a winning
national team, we must ensure that we work full steam ahead to get everything
else ready for a successful Soccer World Cup.
This will encompass the stadia,
broadcast facilities, including high-definition television, the necessary transport
and hospitality infrastructure, safety and security, popular support for soccer
and the World Cup, and selfless dedication by the local organisers of the tournament.
2010 Soccer World Cup will make an important contribution to our effort to accelerate
our progress towards the achievement of the goal of a better life for our people.
Similarly, as an African Soccer World Cup, it will give additional impetus to
our struggle to achieve Africa's renaissance.
In return for these irreplaceable
benefits, we owe it to FIFA and the rest of the soccer world to prepare properly
for 2010. I trust that the domestic world of soccer will respond to this challenge
with all necessary seriousness, commitment and patriotism.
During 2006 we
will continue to engage the African challenges, focusing on peace and democracy
in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Côte d'Ivoire and Sudan, the strengthening
of the African Union and the acceleration of the process of the implementation
of the NEPAD programmes. In this context we have to ensure that we conduct a successful
self-assessment process as we prepare our national report for the African Peer
As the current Chair of the G77 + China we will do everything
possible to advance the interests of the South, including in the context of the
continuing WTO negotiations, and the urgent challenge to reform the United Nations,
including the Security Council.
We remain actively engaged to help find
solutions to the various matters relating to the Israel/Palestine and the Iranian
issues. We are committed to the pursuit of negotiated agreements in this regard,
consistent with our long held views in favour of the formation of a State of Palestine,
security for Israel, non-proliferation of nuclear weapons and the use of nuclear
technology for peaceful purposes.
Two anniversaries that we will commemorate
this year will serve to emphasise the bonds that tie us to the rest of the world.
These are the Centenary of Satyagraha, the non-violent struggle started by Mahatma
Gandhi in our country in 1906 and continued in India, and the 20th anniversary
of the violent death of President Samora Machel in our country in 1986, in a plane
crash that still requires a satisfactory explanation.
Next week we will
host a meeting of the Progressive Governance group, which will bring to our country
important leaders from all corners of the globe. Their presence in our country
will communicate the message that we cannot and will not walk away from our internationalist
responsibility to add our voice to global effort to create a better world of peace,
democracy, a just world order and prosperity for all nations.
masses of our people are convinced that our country has entered into its Age of
Hope. They believe that the country they love, their only homeland, will not disappoint
their expectation of an accelerated advance towards the day when they will be
liberated from the suffocating tentacles of the legacy of colonialism and apartheid.
are confident that what our country has done to move us away from our apartheid
past has created the conditions for them to appropriate God's blessing to the
For you shall go out with joy,
And be led out in peace;
mountains and the hills
Shall break forth into singing before you,
the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
It is up to all of us, through
our National Effort, to build a winning nation, to do all the things that will
ensure that the mountains and the hills of our country break forth into singing
before all our people, and all the trees of the field clap their hands to applaud
the people's season of joy.