FULL TEXT: State of the Nation Address

2010-02-11 17:17

Honourable Speaker; Chairperson of the National Council of

Provinces; Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Deputy Chairperson of

the NCOP; Deputy President of the Republic, Honourable Kgalema

Motlanthe; Honourable Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa and all

esteemed members of the Judiciary; Isithwalandwe President Nelson Rolihlahla

Mandela;
Former President FW de Klerk; Our father, Former President

Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia;
Former Deputy Presidents; Distinguished Premiers

and Speakers of our Provinces;
Chairperson of SALGA and all local government

leadership; Chairperson of the National House of Traditional

Leaders; Heads of Chapter 9 Institutions; The Governor of the Reserve

Bank;
Special international Guests especially the Chairperson of the African

Union Commission, Mr Jean Ping; Former political prisoners and

veterans; Members of the diplomatic corps; South African and foreign

media; Fellow South Africans,

Dumelang, molweni, goeie naand, good

evening, sanibonani nonke emakhaya!

Siyavuya ukuba nani ngobubusuku

bubaluleke kangaka.

I stand before you this evening, 20 years since

President Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela walked out of prison.

We have chosen

this as the day to call this Joint Sitting of Parliament to deliver the State of

the Nation Address, to celebrate a watershed moment that changed our country.

The release of Madiba was brought about by the resolute struggles of the

South African people.

You will recall that the masses of this country,

in their different formations, responded with determination to the call to make

the country ungovernable and apartheid unworkable.

We are celebrating

this day with former political prisoners who we have specially invited to join

us.

We welcome in particular those who have travelled from abroad to be here,

Helene Pastoors, Michael Dingake from Botswana, Mr Andimba Toivo ya Toivo of

SWAPO in Namibia.

We are pleased to be joined by members of the legal

team in the Rivonia Treason trial – Lord Joel Joffe, who is now based in London

and Judge Arthur Chaskalson.

We also remember and pay tribute to Mr

Harry Schwarz, who sadly passed away last week.

He was amongst other

things, a member of the Rivonia defence team.

We extend our gratitude to

our friends and comrades in the international community, for fighting side by

side with us to achieve freedom.

We extend a special welcome to the

Mandela family.

They became a symbol of the sacrifices of many who bore

the brunt of apartheid.

We greet the leadership of the ruling party and

Alliance partners, for whom this is an extra special occasion.

Compatriots and friends,

On this special day, we must also

acknowledge the contribution of those within the leadership of the National

Party, who eventually realised that apartheid had no future.

Allow me to

mention the role played by former President PW Botha.

It was he who

initiated the discussion about the possible release of political prisoners.

President Botha worked with the former Minister of Justice, Mr Kobie

Coetzee, who was in turn assisted by Dr Neil Barnard and Mr Mike Louw.

They played a significant role in the process leading to the release of

Madiba.

Honourable Members,

South Africa is yet to acknowledge

in full, the critical role played by the former President of the ANC, Comrade

Oliver Tambo, who laid the foundation for this country to become a shining

example of freedom and democracy.

It was his outstanding leadership,

foresight and clarity of vision that led the ANC to intensify the pursuit of a

negotiated settlement.

His wisdom was also displayed in the Harare

Declaration which he wrote and championed.

It was this that laid the

groundwork for the historic announcements by President FW de Klerk, 20 years

ago.

In this, President de Klerk demonstrated great courage and decisive

leadership.

On this great day, let me also acknowledge the role played

by the late Ms Helen Suzman.

She was for a long time, a lone voice in

Parliament, calling for change.

We also recognise the role of the leader

of the Inkatha Freedom Party, Inkosi Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who also called for

Madiba’s release, as well as that of other prisoners and the return of exiles.

We reiterate our heartfelt gratitude to the international community for

its unwavering support to our struggle.

These moments in our history

demonstrate our ability to come together, even under the most difficult of

circumstances, and to put the country’s interests first above all other

interests.

Deur saam te werk, kan ons meer bereik.

Honourable

members,

During the course of this year, we will mark the centenary of

the establishment of the Union of South Africa.

This created a unitary

state.

Significantly, the exclusion of black people from this Union was

one of the chief reasons for the formation of the African National Congress in

1912.

As we mark this centenary later in the year, we should reflect on

how far we have travelled as a country.

Honourable Members,

We

recall the words of Madiba on his release, when he said:

“I stand before

you, not as a prophet but as a humble servant of you, the people.

Your

tireless and heroic sacrifices have made it possible for me to be here today.

I therefore place the remaining years of my life in your hands.”

These words inspire us not to rest, until we achieve the ideals of a

society free of poverty and deprivation.

In the two decades since the

release of Madiba, our country has changed fundamentally.

President

Mandela united this country behind the goal of a non-sexist, non-racial,

democratic and prosperous South Africa.

As we celebrate Madiba’s release

today, let us recommit ourselves to building a better future for all South

Africans, black and white.

Let us pursue the ideal for which Madiba has

fought his entire life - the ideal of a democratic and free society, in which

all persons live together in harmony and with equal opportunities.

Honourable Members,

We called a joint sitting in the evening so

that the majority in our country, workers and school children, can be part of

the occasion.

We are impressed by the enthusiasm of the youth about the

occasion.

Two hundred and sixty six children from all provinces

participated in the pre-State of the Nation debate on the role of the youth in

the fight against poverty.

We congratulate the overall winner, Charlotte

Le Fleur of Worcester Secondary School and all the participants for the hard

work.

Compatriots and friends,

We are meeting against the

backdrop of a global economic crisis.

Last year, we experienced our

first recession in 17 years.

The crisis cost our economy about 900 000

jobs.

Many of those who lost their jobs were the breadwinners in poor

families.

In February last year, government, business, labour and

community representatives agreed on a package of measures to reduce the scale

and impact of the crisis.

We have put many of these measures in place.

We have implemented decisive anti-recession spending by government,

especially on infrastructure.

To ensure a safety cushion for the poor,

we brought social grant increases forward, and extended the child support grant

to children over 14 years of age.

In the next three years, an additional

two million children from poor households, aged 15 to 18 years, will benefit

from the child support grant.

The Industrial Development Corporation has

put aside R6 billion to help companies in distress.

Government

introduced a “training lay-off scheme” to allow workers the option of a period

of training instead of retrenchment.

These efforts were enhanced by our

public works programme.

The nation will recall that during the 2009

State of the Nation Address, I announced that the Expanded Public Works

Programme would create 500 000 work opportunities, by December 2009.

Let

me reiterate that these are not jobs in the mainstream economy.

These

are job opportunities created to provide unemployed people with an income, work

experience, and training opportunities.

Honourable Members, Fellow South

Africans,

We are pleased to announce that by the end of December, we had

created more than 480 000 public works job opportunities, which is 97% of the

target we had set.

The jobs are in areas like construction, home and

community based care, and environmental projects.

We have identified

some areas of improvement which we will effect going forward, including ensuring

more labour intensive projects.

We know that these and other measures

cannot fully mitigate the effects of the recession.

We are grateful for

the spirit of family, community and voluntary work that inspires many people to

help those most affected by the crisis, through these difficult times.

Honourable Members,

Economic indicators suggest that we are now

turning the corner.

Economic activity is rising in South Africa, and we

expect growth going forward.

The labour statistics released on Tuesday,

show that the economy is now creating jobs rather than shedding them.

It

is too soon, though, to be certain of the pace of recovery.

Government

will therefore not withdraw its support measures.

Now is the time to lay

the groundwork for stronger growth going forward, and for growth that gives rise

to more jobs.

Our long-term infrastructure programme will help us grow

faster.

Our education and skills programmes will increase our

productivity and competitiveness.

Our Industrial Policy Action Plan and

our new focus on green jobs, will build stronger and more labour absorbing

industries.

Our rural development programme will improve rural

productivity, and the lives of people living in rural areas.

Underpinning our strategy for economic recovery and growth, is our

capital investment programme.

Over the next three years government will

spend R846 billion on public infrastructure.

On transport, we will

maintain and expand our road network.

We will ensure that our rail

network is reliable, competitive and better integrated with our sea ports.

To ensure reliable power supply, we have established an

Inter-Ministerial Committee on Energy, to develop a 20 year integrated resource

plan.

Among other things, this will look at the participation of

independent power producers, and protecting the poor from rising electricity

prices.

We will establish an independent system operator, separate from

Eskom Holdings.

Eskom will continue to build additional generation

capacity and improve the maintenance of its power stations.

To ensure

the promotion of an inclusive economy, to aid growth and development, we have

established the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council, chaired

by the President.

The most urgent focus of policy change must be

interventions to create jobs for young people.

Unemployment rates for

young people are substantially higher than the average.

Proposals will

be tabled to subsidise the cost of hiring younger workers, to encourage firms to

take on inexperienced staff.

A further expansion of public employment

programmes is also underway.

This includes local infrastructure and

literacy projects, home-based care, school maintenance and early childhood

development initiatives.

Last year we launched the National Youth

Development Agency.

We have directed the Agency to work faster to

establish its structures, throughout the country, so that it can assist us to

mainstream youth development programmes within government.

Honourable

Members,

When this administration came into office last year, we

undertook to work harder to build a strong developmental state.

We said

it would be a state that responds to the needs and aspirations of the people,

and which performs better and faster.

This year, 2010, shall be a year

of action.

The defining feature of this administration will be that it

knows where people live, understands their needs, and responds faster.

Government must work faster, harder and smarter.

We will expect

the executive and the public service to comply with this vision.

We are

building a performance-oriented state, by improving planning as well as

performance monitoring and evaluation.

We also need to integrate gender

equity measures into the government’s programme of action.

This action

will ensure that women, children and persons with disabilities can access

developmental opportunities.

We are pleased to announce a new way of

doing things in government.

The work of Departments will be measured by

outcomes, developed through our performance monitoring and evaluation system.

The Ministers who are responsible for a particular outcome, will sign a

detailed Delivery Agreement with the President.

It will outline what is

to be done, how, by whom, within what time period and using what measurements

and resources.

As you are aware, we are committed to five priorities:


education, health, rural development and land reform, creating decent work,

and fighting crime.

In addition, we will work to improve the

effectiveness of local government, infrastructure development and human

settlements.

We will undertake a number of key activities towards the

achievement of these outcomes.

We have placed education and skills

development at the centre of this government’s policies.

In our 2010

programme, we want to improve the ability of our children to read, write and

count in the foundation years.

Unless we do this, we will not improve

the quality of education.

Our education targets are simple but critical.

We want learners and teachers to be in school, in class, on time,

learning and teaching for seven hours a day.

We will assist teachers by

providing detailed daily lesson plans.

To students we will provide

easy-to-use workbooks in all 11 languages.

From this year onwards, all

grade 3, 6 and 9 students will write literacy and numeracy tests that are

independently moderated.

We aim to increase the pass rate for these

tests from the current average of between 35 and 40% to at least 60% by 2014.

Results will be sent to parents to track progress.

In addition,

each of our 27 000 schools will be assessed by officials from the Department of

Basic Education.

This will be recorded in an auditable written report.

We aim to increase the number of matric students who are eligible for

university admission to
175 000 a year by 2014.

We urge parents to

cooperate with us in making this a success.
We welcome last month’s statement

by the three teacher unions, NAPTOSA, SADTU and SAOU, reaffirming their

commitment to the Quality Learning and Teaching Campaign from the beginning of

2010.

Honourable Members,

We need to invest in our youth to

ensure a skilled and capable workforce to support growth and job creation.

We therefore plan to increase the training of 16-25 year olds in further

education and training facilities.

This will enable us to provide a

second chance at education, for those who do not qualify for university.

We are working with higher education institutions to ensure that

eligible students obtain financial assistance, through the National Student

Financial Aid Scheme.

We have also set ambitious targets for skills

development, to produce additional engineers and technicians, and to increase

the number of qualified mathematics and science teachers.

We must also

increase the number of youth who enter learnerships in the private and public

sectors.

Honourable members,

Another key outcome is to ensure a

long and healthy life for all South Africans.

We will continue to

improve our health care system.

This includes building and upgrading

hospitals and clinics, and further improving the working conditions of health

care workers.

We have partnered with the Development Bank of Southern

Africa to improve the functionality of public hospitals and their district

offices.

We are also collaborating with the DBSA and the Industrial

Development Corporation, in a Public-Private Partnership programme to improve

hospitals and provide finance for projects.

Honourable Members,

We must confront the fact that life expectancy at birth, has dropped

from 60 years in 1994 to just below 50 years today.

We are therefore

making interventions to lower maternal mortality rates, to reduce new HIV

infections and to effectively treat HIV and tuberculosis.

We will also

reduce infant mortality through a massive immunisation programme.

We

will reinstate health programmes in schools.

We will implement all the

undertakings made on World Aids Day relating to new HIV prevention and treatment

measures.

Intensive work is underway to ensure that this work is on

schedule.

We will also continue preparations for the establishment of a

national health insurance system.

Fellow South Africans,

We are

working hard to ensure that everyone in South Africa feels safe and is safe.

We will take further our work to reduce serious and violent crimes, and

ensure that the justice system works efficiently.

We are implementing

plans to increase the number of police men and women by 10% over the next three

years.

We have identified the fight against hijacking, business and

house robberies, as well as contact crimes such as murder, rape, and assault, as

top priorities.

We all have a role to play.

Let us participate

in community safety forums.

Let us stop buying stolen goods.

Let

us always be ready to provide the police with information about criminal

activity.

Tshebedisano mmoho etla lwantsha botloko-tsebe.

Compatriots and esteemed guests,

Local government must work.

Municipalities must improve the provision of housing, water, sanitation,

electricity, waste management and roads.

We held a meeting with mayors

and municipal managers last year.

This provided valuable insight into

the challenges in local government.

We also visited various communities

and municipalities, including Balfour in Mpumalanga and Thembisa in Gauteng.

After the Balfour visit, we sent a nine member Ministerial team to visit

the area to address the issues that had been raised by the community.

A

number of issues have already received attention.

I have directed the

Ministers to attend to the outstanding matters.

We reiterate, that there

are no grievances that can justify violence and the destruction of property.

We have directed law enforcement agencies to take a tougher stance on

lawlessness in Balfour and other areas.

In December 2009, Cabinet

approved a turnaround strategy for local government.

This will ensure

that local government has the correct management, administrative and technical

skills.

During this year of action, let us work together to make local

government everybody’s business.

We are working to upgrade well-located

informal settlements and provide proper service and land tenure to at least 500

000 households by 2014.

We plan to set aside over 6 000 hectares of

well-located public land for low income and affordable housing.

A key

new initiative will be to accommodate people whose salaries are too high to get

government subsidies, but who earn too little to qualify for a normal bank

mortgage.

We will set up a guarantee fund of R1 billion to incentivise

the private banking and housing sector, to develop new products to meet this

housing demand.

Bakwethu,

Ngonyaka odlule sathi, abantu

basemakhaya nabo banelungelo lokuba nogesi, amanzi, izindlu zangasese ezigijima

amanzi nemigwaqo.

Sathi kufanele babe nezindawo zezemidlalo kanye

nezindawo zokuthenga ezinkulukazi eziphucuzekile njengasemadolobheni.

In

this regard, we launched the first pilot site of the Comprehensive Rural

Development Programme in Giyani, Limpopo in August last year.

Since

then, 231 houses have been built.

Progress has also been made in

providing infrastructure to support agricultural development, and training for

community members.

Access to health and education facilities has

improved.

We are implementing similar programmes in seven sites across

the country, benefiting 21 wards.

By 2014, we aim to have sites in 160

wards.

We want 60% of households in these sites to meet their food

requirements from own production by 2014.

Kancane kancane kuze kulunge,

phela bakwethu, kuthiwa nempandla iqala ngenhlonhlo.

We also need to

better integrate land reform and agricultural support programmes.

Our

success in this area will be measured by the increase in the number of small

scale farmers that become economically viable.

Honourable Speaker and

Chairperson of the NCOP,

We are not a water rich country.

Yet we

still lose a lot of water through leaking pipes and inadequate infrastructure.

We will be putting in place measures to reduce our water loss by half by

2014.

Honourable Members,

As part of our efforts to encourage

greater economic growth, we are working to reduce the cost to communicate.

The South African public can look forward to an even further reduction

of broadband, cell phone, landline and public phone rates.

We will work

to increase broadband speed and ensure a high standard of internet service, in

line with international norms.

Fellow South Africans,

This

government will ensure that our environmental assets and natural resources are

well protected, and are continually enhanced.

Together with Brazil,

India and China, and joined by the United States which represented the developed

world, we made a significant contribution to the accord adopted at the

Copenhagen Climate Change Summit in December last year.

Although it does

not go as far as required, it is an important step forward as it commits all

countries to respond to climate change.

We will work hard with our

international counterparts towards a legally binding treaty.

As South

Africa we have voluntarily committed ourselves to specific emission reduction

targets, and will continue working on our long term climate change mitigation

strategy.

Honourable Members,

We will intensify efforts to

promote the interests of South Africa globally.

We will support efforts

to speed up the political and economic integration of the SADC region, and

promote intra-regional trade and investment.

South Africa continues to

play a leading role in continental efforts to strengthen the African Union and

its organs, and to work for unity.

We will focus energy on revitalising

the New Partnership for Africa’s Development, as a strategy for economic

development on the continent.

Fellow South Africans,

The public

service has to respond to the call to make this term one of faster action and

improved State performance.

We require excellence and hard work.

We need public servants who are dedicated, capable and who care for the

needs of citizens.

Government is already working on the development and

implementation of a public service development programme, which will set the

norms and standards for public servants in all spheres.

Honourable

Members,

We continue our efforts to eradicate corruption and fraud in

procurement and tender processes, and in applications for drivers’ licences,

social grants, and identity documents, among others.

We are pleased with

the progress government is making in some areas.

This week, we

terminated 32 687 fraudulent social grants payments, valued at R180 million.

Our Inter-Ministerial Committee on Corruption is looking at ways to

decisively defeat corruption.

Nga u shumisana rothe ringa bveledza

zwinzhi.

Compatriots,

As you are aware, we introduced the

Presidential Hotline to make government and the Presidency more accessible to

the public, and to help unblock service delivery blockages.

The Hotline

represents our determination to do things differently in government.

It

has made a difference in the lives of many South Africans.

We can

mention Mrs Buziwe Ngaleka of Mount Frere, whose call about her late husband’s

pension was the first we took on the first day of the service.

She is

with us here tonight.

We also have among us Mr Nkululeko Cele, who was

helped to obtain identity documents which allowed him to enroll at Tshwane

University of Technology.

These are just two among many success stories.

From these and other examples, we identify weaknesses that should be

rectified by various spheres of government.

Through the Speaker, we have

invited a multiparty delegation from Parliament to visit the call centre, so

that MPs can get a first hand account of the work done.

Compatriots and

friends,

I have outlined the main elements of our plans for 2010, our

collective commitment as government to the people of South Africa.

The

State of the Nation Address provides a broad overview of our action plan.

Ministers will provide the detail in their respective Budget Vote

speeches.

Honourable Members, Fellow South Africans,

In November

this year, we will mark the 150th anniversary of the arrival of Indians in South

Africa.

It provides an opportunity to recognise the important

contribution of the Indian community in the fields of labour, business, science,

sports, religion, arts, culture and the achievement and consolidation of our

democracy.

Compatriots and friends,

Let me take this opportunity

to once again extend our heartfelt condolences to the government and people of

Haiti on the monumental tragedy that has befallen them.

We are pleased

that our rescue teams were able to go and assist.

I would like to

especially recognise one South African who never fails to assist in times of

disasters, and helps us to promote the vision of a caring society.

We

welcome Dr Imtiaz Sooliman of the Gift of the Givers in this House.

Ladies and Gentlemen,
Fellow South Africans,

The hosting of

the FIFA World Cup makes 2010 truly a year of action.

We have spent many

years planning for this World Cup.

We only have three months to go.

And we are determined to make a success of it.

The

infrastructure, security and logistics arrangements are in place to ensure a

successful tournament.

As a nation we owe a debt of gratitude to the

2010 Local Organising Committee for their sterling effort.

We wish the

LOC Chairperson Irvin Khoza, CEO Danny Jordaan and Bafana Bafana coach Carlos

Alberto Parreira all the best for the months ahead.

President Mandela

was central in assisting the country to win the rights to host this great event.

We therefore have to make the World Cup a huge success in his honour.

Compatriots, let us also stand behind the national team Bafana Bafana.

Most importantly, ithikithi esandleni bakwethu!

Let us all buy

tickets timeously to be able to attend the games.

Fellow South Africans,

As we celebrate Madiba’s release today, we recommit ourselves to

reconciliation, national unity, non-racialism and building a better future

together as South Africans, black and white.

We are guided by what

Madiba said in the dock, that:

"During my lifetime I have dedicated

myself to this struggle of the African people.

I have fought against

white domination, and I have fought against black domination.

I have

cherished the ideal of a democratic and free society, in which all persons live

together in harmony, and with equal opportunities.

It is an ideal which

I hope to live for, and to achieve.

But if needs be, it is an ideal for

which I am prepared to die”.

Inspired by our icon Madiba, it is my

honour to dedicate this 2010 State of the Nation Address, to all our heroes and

heroines, sung and unsung, known and unknown.

Let us work together to

make this year of action a successful one for our country.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency

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