Ministers, Deputy Ministers,
Editors, Political Editors and Bureau Chiefs,
Good morning and thank you for joining us at this interaction.
We deemed it important for us to get together to chat informally, as our country heads towards celebrating 20 years of freedom. South Africa is a much better place now that it was before 1994.
The media, both local and foreign, have contributed to the progress that South Africa has made in moving from a pariah state status to a thriving vibrant young democracy. Before 1994, it seemed impossible that South Africa could make a successful transition to freedom and democracy and lay a firm foundation for national reconciliation.
The country’s success has come about through the selfless contribution and commitment of thousands of South Africans to make this country work. Working with many other sectors, we have a responsibility to strengthen and deepen democracy and to make South Africa a prosperous society with improved living standards for all.
We will not always agree on how to get to that prosperous society as government and the media or with other sectors too. But we are closer to consensus, because of the National Development Plan, which is one of the major achievements of the fourth democratic administration.
We may differ as well on the implementation of the National Development Plan and many other things. But that does not constitute a crisis or a problem. Freedom of expression is one of the key achievements of our young democracy, the freedom to disagree and to be free to express that disagreement.
At the same time, we believe the media has a responsibility as well in a young democracy and a developing country like ours, to promote hope, nation building, development and unity. We appreciate the role that the media is playing in our country already in this regard.
The Lead SA initiative is one such example. This initiative founded by Primedia Broadcasting and supported by the Independent Group of Newspapers aims to create an active citizenry which is in line with our National Development Plan.
Over the past three years, Lead SA has made a difference and continues to do so.
Earlier this year, I launched the Stop Rape campaign with Lead SA and the Department of Basic Education at a school in Cape Town.
Lead SA’s Drug Watch initiative between the South African Police Service and other partners is also making good inroads. In Gauteng alone, over 20 000 people have been arrested and almost R12 million worth of drugs have been seized in just over two months. We need to take this initiative to other provinces.
Other media initiatives driven by Lead SA include:
saving the Rhino
supporting our national sporting teams
singing happy birthday for Madiba
supporting Mandela Day.
In addition, the Crime Line tip off service is making excellent inroads in the fight against crime. Lead SA and the Department of Arts and Culture will launch a build up to 20 years of freedom on the 20th of September.
One of the activities to be launched is Freedom Friday- with the call is on citizens to wear anything that makes them feel South African each Friday. The SABC also runs a successful nation building programme, Touching Lives, which has changed the lives of many through exposing their plight.
Etv/ENCA run popular programmes such as Heroes which has showcased many hardworking teachers, police officers and many other South Africans who make a difference every day. Another popular programme is the show Against all Odds which promotes individual action to overcome adversity.
These initiatives show the other side of South African society, the caring, nation building side. They are a welcome addition to daily hard news offerings. There is a lot of good work that is being done by many other sectors to make South Africa better place each day.
On HIV and AIDS we work together as many sectors – business, labour, government, sports, entertainment sectors and non-governmental organisations. The result has been an impressive roll-out of treatment, an increase in life expectancy and progress that has impressed the United Nations whose UNAIDS programme continues to mention South Africa as a dramatic example of a turnaround in the fight against AIDS.
The media has played an important role in the campaign against AIDS over many years. We also wish to acknowledge the contribution of the media to the campaign against corruption. While many corruption cases arise from government investigations, many others came about through the hard work of the media.
We are satisfied that we have enough instruments in the country to help us fight this scourge. We have the Chapter 9 institutions which are among the successes of our Constitutional democracy, for example the Office of the Public Protector, the Office of the Auditor General and the South African Human Rights Commission to name a few, which work hard to promote clean governance and accountability within the public service.
To promote coordination we have also established the Multi-Agency Working Group to investigate supply chain management practices and also the Anti- Corruption Task Team within the Justice, Crime and Prevention Security Cluster whose mandate is to fast-track high-priority and high-profile corruption cases.
This team comprises the heads of the National Treasury, the Directorate Priority Crime Investigation or the Hawks, the Special Investigation Unit, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, and representatives of other institutions, such as the Financial Intelligence Centre, the NPA’s Special Commercial Crimes Unit, the Asset Forfeiture Unit and the SA Revenue Services.
More importantly, we wish to thank members of the public who contribute to the promotion of clean governance through whistle blowing to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, run by the Public Service Commission.
A total of 17 110 cases of alleged corruption have been generated between September 2004 and last Saturday, 31 August 2013 through the Hotline, and there is a gradual increase in the recovery of money and the number of disciplinary sanctions taken against the perpetrators.
We are pleased that the successful investigation of cases has resulted in the recovery of 330 million rand from perpetrators since the inception of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline. A total of 2 638 officials were found guilty of misconduct related to corrupt activities between 1 September 2004 and 31 August 2013.
At the provincial level, a total of 1 728 officials were found guilty of misconduct related to corrupt activities whilst 910 officials were found guilty of misconduct for corrupt activities at national departments. A total of 491 officials were suspended and 1 600 were dismissed from the Public Service.
In other figures, 256 officials were fined a three months’ salary, 31 officials were demoted, 541 officials were given final written warning and 210 officials were prosecuted. We sincerely thank the public for this contribution to promoting clean governance.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I will this afternoon travel to Russia to attend the G20 forum meeting. It is envisaged that the Summit will focus on a set of measures aimed at boosting sustainable, inclusive and balanced global growth, including the creation of decent jobs.
During its tenure as G20 President, Russia has focused its work on three priorities to promote:
growth through quality jobs and investment
growth through trust and transparency
growth through effective regulation.
A BRICS Leaders’ meeting will also be held on the margins of the G20 Leaders Summit. The meeting will afford BRICS leaders an opportunity to reflect on the progress made with regards to the implementation of the Durban Declaration, especially as it pertains to the New Development Bank and the Currency Reserve Arrangement.
Of course the G20 takes place during a volatile climate economically and also with regards to peace and security because of the situation in Syria and Egypt. We will continue to promote multilateral solutions to international security challenges and to uphold the supremacy of the United Nations Security Council in dealing with global peace and security issues.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today’s occasion is more for information sharing between ourselves. We trust that you will find the discussions fruitful during the course of the morning.