Honourable Deputy President, Deputy Speaker,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Esteemed special guests,
Sanibonani, good day, molweni, dumelang!
I thank you Honourable Speaker for the opportunity to present the Presidency Budget Vote.
Yesterday, the 25th of May, marked the 52nd anniversary of the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
Celebrations of Africa Day have taken place in various parts of our country with one message – We are Africans and we are one people.
As leaders in this House, we are also one people. We have a responsibility to unite our people as we move forward in building a better South Africa.
One of the founding fathers of the OAU, President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana reminded Africa in May 1963 that the real struggle only begins after the dawn of freedom or independence.
He said: “On this continent, it has not taken us long to discover that the struggle against colonialism does not end with the attainment of national independence.
“Independence is only the prelude to a new and more involved struggle, for the right to conduct our own economic and social affairs; to construct our society according to our aspirations, unhampered by crushing and humiliating neo-colonialist controls and interference.:
Indeed, 21 years after the dawn of freedom, South Africa continues the struggle of building a better society and an improved quality of life for all, especially the poor and the working class.
We continue to make steady progress in consolidating democracy and in expanding access to important social services such as water, sanitation, quality education, quality health care, housing, science and technology, food security, social security and various others.
Progress is also being made in the fight against crime and in promoting inclusive economic growth and job creation.
In the past weeks, Ministries have outlined the progress made by the country in the respective areas during their budget votes.
The Presidency has continued to play its supervisory role over the performance of government.
We have also been coordinating the work of the three spheres of government in order to promote synergy between national, provincial and local government.
This is done through the President’s Coordinating Council in which the President meets with Premiers and organized local government.
We are guided in our work by the National Development Plan, which has now been translated into an action plan, the five year Medium Term Strategic Framework.
We thank the outgoing members of the National Planning Commission, who produced the acclaimed National Development Plan (NDP).
The work of government and the country has been enriched by the existence of the NDP. We know where we want to be in 2030 and we also have a clear roadmap of how to get there.
I will appoint new members of the Commission soon who will take the good work forward.
We established the performance monitoring and evaluation function in government in 2009, to help improve the way government works.
We also introduced performance agreements for Ministers to enable a focused implementation of the programme of action.
Performance agreements have been signed with all Ministers to date and there is ongoing monitoring of performance.
We also continue to monitor government performance through direct interaction with the public in izimbizo, the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme and the Presidential Hotline.
The Presidency also oversees a number of special projects.
Last year we launched our service delivery programme, Operation Phakisa Big Fast Results Methodology in the Oceans Economy and Health sectors.
As part of Operation Phakisa health sector, Government will construct and refurbish a total of 216 Clinics and Community Health Centres between this year and 2020.
Operation Phakisa health will further enhance the good work we are doing in the area of health care. Some of this work has included remarkable progress in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
We thank stakeholders who work with government in the South African National Aids Council, which is chaired by the Deputy President.
This year, Operation Phakisa will also be conducted in the mining and education sectors.
In mining, the focus will be on increasing investment, transforming the sector and improving mineral beneficiation.
In education, the focus will be on the Information and Communication Technology approach to enhance basic education.
Another special project is the establishment of a special unit in the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to monitor and promote the payment of suppliers by all government departments within 30 days of receipt of a legitimate invoice.
We also continue to coordinate infrastructure development through the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICI).
This year we are monitoring more than 200 project clusters where construction is taking place, which includes road repairs and upgrades and the energy build programme of Medupi, Kusile and Ingula.
Other projects include the building of new clinics, schools, broadband, the Square Kilometer Array project, water pipelines, dams and new bus routes in large cities.
The PICC also monitors government’s localization programme which calls for 75 percent local components in manufacturing.
At the continental level, we continue to champion the road and rail infrastructure programme through the Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative programme of the African Union.
Regional and cross-border infrastructure will be developed to facilitate intra-Africa trade and investment.
This initiative should ultimately unlock the economic potential of the continent and provide development opportunities for regions, countries and our peoples.
We are moving South Africa forward. We are building a better Africa and contributing to building a better world.
Also critical in our work is the need to bring together the collective wisdom of society to find solutions to challenges facing our country.
In this regard, the Presidency continues to work with various stakeholders to promote an environment conducive to inclusive growth, through amongst others, the Presidential Business Working Group and the National Consultative Forum on Mining continues.
The Deputy President is also continuing to engage the NEDLAC constituencies towards a national minimum wage and a more peaceful labour relations environment.
We welcome the 2.1 percent year on year GDP growth that was announced this afternoon. However, the quarter on quarter rate needs to improve. We have indicated before that energy is a serious constraint to economic growth.
We continue to implement our energy intervention plan.
We also continue to support Eskom while also exploring the development of a reliable energy mix including nuclear, renewables, hydropower, coal and gas among others.
The Deputy President is managing the support to Eskom, SA Post Office and South African Airways, the three entities that are facing difficulties.
As we continue to transform and build our country, we have to go beyond bricks and mortar. We have to look at the human side of reconstruction and development as well and build the soul of our nation.
We need to work together to build stronger and united communities, which uphold the values of respect for one another, tolerance and respect for the rights of others especially the right to life and dignity.
The brutality of the apartheid system which introduced a culture of violence may have eroded some of these values amongst some of our people.
The horrific incidents of Marikana, the recent attacks on foreign and African nationals in our country, some violent protests as well as incidents of violent crime, indicate that something is wrong in some sections of our society.
Recently some of our people burned a train simply because it had arrived late.
Our response to these incidents as leaders from all sectors must be accompanied by soul searching and reflection.
We should ask ourselves why such violent incidents happen in our country, which had such an iconic transition from apartheid to democracy.
With regards to the Marikana report, I would like to thank Judge Ian Farlam and the Commissioners as well as all witnesses who participated and enabled the Commission to carry out its task.
Subsequent to the delivery of the report, I have also received a briefing from Judge Farlam.
I established the Commission because I felt our country needed to know what had happened in Marikana, where more than 40 people lost their lives.
I know and appreciate the anxiety of those who are affected. However, it would be inappropriate for me to just release the report without applying my mind sufficiently. The report will be released before the end of next month.
With regards to the attacks on foreign and African nationals, we have directed law enforcement agencies to bring the perpetrators to justice without delay.
We need to send a strong message that our country will not tolerate such behavior, against both foreign nationals and our citizens.
The South African people have demonstrated to the world that they support peace, friendship and solidarity with their brothers and sisters from the continent.
We have lived with fellow African nationals for decades without any problems, even during the period of apartheid colonialism.
We will continue to live together in peace and harmony. We are one people.
The Inter-Minister Committee on Migration is attending to some of the concerns raised by South Africans, including among others the alleged involvement of some foreigners in crime, unfair business practices, drugs, and the influx of illegal migrants.
I wish to emphasise that these matters are taken seriously by government and are being attended to. Nobody must take the law into their own hands.
Similarly, foreign and African nationals must respect the laws of the land and must adhere to the requirements of our immigration laws as is required in any other country.
I presented a report on this matter to the extra-ordinary summit of SADC Heads of State and Government last month and assured the region of our unwavering commitment to peaceful coexistence amongst all our peoples.
I have also sent a report to the African Commission on Human and People’s Rights of the African Union who were keen to obtain information on what we have done to avoid a recurrence.
Ultimately the goal is to build stronger, more united and cohesive communities where African nationals and citizens continue to live together in peace and harmony, as one people.
The Presidency promotes positive values of respect, tolerance and unity through the Moral Regeneration Movement which is led by the Deputy President.
We also work with the faith based community through the Presidential Religious Working Group which also has among its programmes, the promotion of unity, tolerance and harmony in our society.
We will continue to champion these values working with all sectors of society.
According to Census 2011 a third of South Africans are under the age of 35. This means a huge part of the population requires all of us to provide them with hope for a brighter future and direction.
Government prioritises youth development and empowerment and that is why the function is located in the Presidency.
The National Youth Development Agency provides young people with support in education, skills development as well as economic empowerment.
I have also established the Presidential Youth Working Group and will interact with young people from business, sports, arts and culture, professional associations, agriculture and many other sectors.
This will promote youth participation in governance.
Other working groups that will be operational this year as well, are the Presidential Working Group on Disability, the Presidential Small Business Working Group and the Presidential Communication Working Group.
Allow me to also discuss a serious concern to me and thousands of parents in the country, namely the abuse of drugs and alcohol by our youth.
Many families feel helpless in the face of this scourge and report all sorts of distressing actions by their children. Drug addicts steal from home to fund their habits. Others become violent and attack family members.
Dagga and alcohol are said to be the most abused substances.
Some young people have also become slaves to Nyaope, Whoonga, cocaine, tik, heroin and others.
Drug and alcohol abuse contribute to the escalation of chronic diseases such as HIV, Hepatitis and Tuberculosis.
Young people who are dependent on drugs are also exposed to violent crimes as perpetrators or victims.
Government will deal mercilessly with drug dealers. They are dangerous. They want to destroy the future of our country.
We urge communities to assist by reporting the druglords to the authorities.
One of the aims of our anti-crime campaign, Operation Fiela, is to clean up our country and get rid of the drug dens and the human trafficking rings in our country.
Already we have seen many syndicates being smashed during the Operation Fiela raids.
Let us empower our youth to say NO to Drugs and to seek treatment. Families have raised concerns about the inadequate numbers of treatment centres.
The Department of Social Development has identified five provinces for the establishment of public treatment centres. These are Northern Cape, North West, Limpopo, Free State and the Eastern Cape.
Eventually all provinces will have at least one public treatment centre.
Government has developed a comprehensive response to the scourge, using lessons from Eldorado Park in Johannesburg gained following my visit there.
A task team was established to work with the community after the visit and an integrated plan of action was developed.
The plan focuses on prevention, early intervention, treatment and after care. Eight provinces were roped in to participate in the implementation of the plan to prepare for a roll out to all.
These are Limpopo, Gauteng, North West, Northern Cape, Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and the Free State.
I have been approached by other communities as well who are under siege and are crying for help.
We need to work together as we respond to this crisis nationwide as leaders of our people.
Addressing the challenge of the triple oppression suffered by women is an integral part of the mission of creating a non-sexist society.
The Ministry of Women is located in the Presidency to promote the advancement of women’s socio-economic empowerment and emancipation.
In August this year the Department of Women will launch a Report on the Status of Women as part of the build up towards the 60th Anniversary of the Women’s march to the Union Buildings which will take place next year.
The report will review progress, as well as barriers that continue to work against women empowerment.
The Department of Women will also promote women’s participation in education as well as science and technology fields as part of the promotion of the AU Decade of African Women programme.
The year 2015 is also important for the department and for the country, given the hosting of the 25th Ordinary African Union Summit next month.
The theme of the Summit is “The Year of Women Empowerment and Development towards Africa’s Agenda 2063”.
Despite the challenges I have mentioned which we must all address, our country is doing very well. The fundamentals are in place.
Our institutions are strong and sound. All the arms of the state are functioning effectively – the executive, parliament and the judiciary.
This means that our hard won democracy is safe. We will always protect it because we sacrificed so much for it.
We will continue to contribute to the efforts of building a better Africa through supporting the AU’s Agenda 2063 and all programmes of the AU aimed at promoting sustainable socio-economic development.
The promotion of trade among African countries and regional integration remain high up on the agenda.
We will also continue to contribute to peacemaking and peacekeeping efforts within the ambit of the African Union, through our South African National Defence Force and the South African Police Service.
We will continue to enhance relations with various countries in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.
We will continue enhancing relations with the BRICS grouping bilaterally and multilaterally.
We will take forward the call for the reform of global financial institutions through the G20.
We also continue to call for meaningful reforms to make the United Nations Security Council representative of the world as the UN turns 70 years old this year.
The exclusion of Africa from the Security Council is indefensible.
We will continue our support for the self-determination of Western Sahara and the fast-tracking of the end of the Cuban blockade.
We welcome the improving relations between Cuba and the United States.
We continue to call for peace and stability in the Middle East and for the resolution of the Palestinian question using the two state solution formula.
Our country will host two major events in the next two weeks, the World Economic Forum on Africa meeting here in Cape Town and the 25th Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union in Sandton.
We are honoured to host these two major events where we will discuss progress in building a better Africa and a better world.
I always say that our country has a good story to tell. Indeed that remains true.
Various reports indicate that South Africa is performing strongly in five areas.
Financial market development
Attractiveness as a foreign direct investment destination as well as social and people issues.
The year 2014 saw an improvement in the infrastructure measures of three different studies.
The Institute for Management Development Global Competitiveness Yearbook, reports that our country has moved from 58 to 55 in the Infrastructure indicator.
In the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness report, the country has moved from 66 to 60 in the Infrastructure indicator.
In the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, South Africa has moved from 7th to 3rd on the continent this year.
South Africa is also performing well in the competitiveness pillar of Financial Market Development, ranking 7th out of 144.
Our performance has been deemed outstanding in the following sub-indicators:
Regulation of Securities Exchanges
Affordability of Financial Services and
The availability of Financial Services.
On institutions, South Africa is performing well in the following sub- indicators:
Intellectual property protection;
The efficiency Of Legal Framework In the Settling of Disputes;
The efficiency Of Legal Framework In Challenging Regulations;
The transparency Of Government Policymaking;
The ethical Behaviour Of Firms;
The Strength Of Auditing and Reporting Standards;
The efficacy Of Corporate boards;
The Protection of Minority Shareholders’ Interests; and
The Strength Of Investor Protection.
Indeed this is a good story to tell.
And indeed, together we are moving South Africa forward.
In the Restrictiveness Index of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), South Africa ranks amongst the most open jurisdictions for Foreign Direct Investment in the world.
South Africa’s foreign direct investment stock now accounts for around 42 per cent of GDP.
Over the last five years South Africa accounted for the bulk of new investment projects in Africa with investment arriving from the United States, some member states of the European Union and increasingly from China, India and other Asian countries.
Further good news is that between 2011 and 2013, the country improved its Human Development Index value.
South Africans enjoy a longer, healthier lives and a more decent standard of living.
According to the Medical Research showed that in 2005 life expectancy was 51.6, it rose in 2009 to 57.1 and rose again in 2013 to 62.2.
Honourable Members, I am sure we can now all agree that indeed, South Africa has a good story to tell.
Brand South Africa is available to share further information to Honourable Members, who need more information about the progress made by their country.
Next month we mark 60 years of the Freedom Charter, a document that has guided our struggle for liberation and for the transformation of South Africa.
The Charter informed the content and spirit of the country’s progressive Constitution. We look forward to successful celebration of this historic event.
This year the Black Sash, which supported many activists and families in distress during the struggle for liberation, is also celebrating 60 years of existence.
Unity is the recipe for success.
Let us work together to promote unity, cohesion and tolerance in our country as we build a better South Africa and move our country forward.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the Deputy President, the two Ministers in the Presidency and the Deputy Minister for their support.
I also appreciate the contribution and hard work of the Director-General, Dr Cassius Lubisi, the Chief Operations Officer, Ms Lakela Kaunda, the Advisors, senior management and all staff in the Presidency.
It is my privilege, Honourable Speaker, to commend the Presidency Budget Vote 1 to the House.
I thank you.
Cell: 082 847 9799
E-mail: Harold@presidency.gov.za / Maloka.firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE: South African Official News