Madame Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly
Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces
Deputy President of the Republic
Honorable leaders of our political parties and Honorable Members of Parliament
Our esteemed Chief Justice and members of the Judiciary
Heads of our Security Services
Governor of the Reserve Bank
President Mandela and Mrs Graca Machel
President Jean Bertrand Aristide and Madame Aristide
President of the Pan African Parliament, the Hon Gertrude Mongella
Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Premiers and leaders of SALGA,
Mayor of Cape Town and other leaders in our system of local government
Our honored traditional leaders
Heads of the state organs supporting our democratic system
Directors-General, Heads of our State Corporations and other leaders of the
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Distinguished 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 white. 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.
This 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 Honorable 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.
As 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.
This 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
- 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
- opening the vistas towards the spiritual and material fulfillment 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,
- contributing 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
These 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 and white. 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 14 February 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. He 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 the 31st May, 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 1st June, 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.
In May 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 social cohesion. 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 cares. 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 annualized
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 under performing its emerging-market peer
group, but the newfound higher growth path is bringing the country more in line
with other successful emerging-market nations. ...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 signs. 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.
He concludes 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. In this 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 way. 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
[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. The 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 we set
- 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 Honorable
Members will persist in this service to the people, so as to improve our work,
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 Honorable 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
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. On 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.
Transnet 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
failures. 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 liberalize 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 possible. Further work
has been done to improve the work of defining and implementing sectoral
charters, as agreed at the Growth and Development Summit in 2003.
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 finalized, 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. In 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 enterprises.
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. To
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
In this regard, government will ensure that the outstanding tasks are
attended to within the next three months. These are:
- finalizing the government-wide review of performance practices in
- finalizing 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 utilization of the Isibaya Fund of the
Public Investment Commission
- investing R220-million from the Rail Commuter Corporation for
commuter transport and safety
- improving the effectiveness of the skills development structures in
government for the implementation of the Human Resources Development
- completing the register of all graduates and
- using the review of Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) to
bring about the necessary changes in the supervision and governance of these
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.
The 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 April 2006. The capital investment programme of government will be
speeded up focusing 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 local communities.
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 finalize sector development strategies
and programmes, with regard to:
- chemicals, business outsourcing and tourism, which will receive additional
- ICT and telecommunications, agro-processing, community and social
- wood and paper, appliances, the retail and construction industries.
As 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 marginalised 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 the programme.
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.
To 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
- increasing the numbers of Community Health Workers, having harmonized
and increased resources allocated to the programme and,
- the more extensive use of labor intensive methods of construction targeting housing, schools, clinics,
sports facilities, community centres and the services infrastructure.
Further, 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 finalization. Emphasis 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.
With 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 vigor.
As Honorable 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.
Our 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 year.
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
- allocate additional resources over the next three years to cover outstanding claims in the land
- 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
We 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.
In 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 organization 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 social cohesion.
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. The institution 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. In order 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
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 finalized, 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
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 helping either.
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, organizational,
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 mobilization 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, labor and
In 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. Collectively, 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:
In 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. ...And 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 defense
of the safety and security of the citizens. 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.
The 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 organized
crime and other perpetrators of serious crimes. Of those involved in organized
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 R5
million and other projects valued at R50 million. 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 Honorable 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 focused multi-disciplinary interventions from 63 to 169
- strengthen 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 revitalization 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 honored that South Africa
currently chairs the SADC Organ on Politics, Defense 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 Force. Today South
Africa enjoys the singular honor 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 her presence in the
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. In addition to the ongoing
tasks already identified in the programme presented last May:
We 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 finalize 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.
We also wish to pay tribute to our National Defense 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 Cote 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.
We shall 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.
Last 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 Movement.
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. Some
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 human solidarity.
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 population.
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.
We shall 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 development.
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 at heart.
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 characterized the celebration of our First
Decade of Freedom.
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 way.
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 realize 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 our diversity!
Issued by: The Presidency
(Source: DOH website, February 11, 2005)