State of the Nation Address By His Excellency Jacob G Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa

His Excellency Mr Jacob Zuma

His Excellency Mr Jacob Zuma

Compatriots,

There is an ongoing concern from business and communities about high electricity costs.

I have asked Eskom to seek options on how the price increase requirement may be reduced over the next few years, in support of economic growth and job creation and give me proposals for consideration.

We need an electricity price path which will ensure that Eskom and the industry remain financially viable and sustainable, but which remains affordable especially for the poor.

However to achieve sustainability,  a pact will be required with all South Africans – including business, labour, municipalities, communities and all customers and suppliers.

We must save electricity.

For the next two years, until the Medupi and Kusile power stations come into operation, the electricity system will be very tight.
We should all play our part in order to avoid load shedding.

To increase energy capacity we will continue searching for renewable energy sources, especially solar electricity and biofuels as we implement the Green Economy Accord with economic stakeholders.

To date we have installed more than 220 000 solar geysers nationwide.
The Government target is one million solar geysers by 2014-2015.

Honourable Members,
Compatriots,

Government continues to extend access to basic water supply. However, clearly, water access is still a challenge in some areas.

An email from Mmatsheko Pine from Hammanskraal is a case in point.

The writer says; “There is the area called Ngobi near Hammanskraal, under Moretele Local Municipality, the people residing in the area are now old, aged and mostly sick.

“The area has been without water for the past two years. People rely on rain to harvest water.

There are water pipes and machines installed but the problem is said to be pressure to pump water. Could your office kindly assist with the powers that be?”.

I have asked the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs to investigate this matter with a view to finding an urgent solution.

Water expansion has been delayed in some parts of the country due to a lack of infrastructure.  This is being attended to. For example, five new water augmentation schemes are on schedule.

These are Olifants River Water Resource in Steelpoort in Limpopo Province, the Vaal River Eastern Sub-System in Secunda in Mpumalanga, Komati Water Augmentation Scheme in Nkangala in Mpumalanga, the raising of Hazelmere dam in KwaZulu-Natal and the Clan William Dam in Clan William in the Western Cape. In addition, nine out of 25 dams have been rehabilitated.

In relation to the announcements we made during the United Nations COP 17 climate change conference, an amount of 248 million rand is to be invested over next two years to deal with the issue of Acid Mine Drainage in Witwatersrand.

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the inter-ministerial committee on COP 17 for making the conference a huge success

The final outcome of COP 17 was historic and precedent setting, ranking with the 1997 conference where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted.

Building on the success of COP 17, South Africa will participate in the Rio plus 20 Summit in Brazil, which marks the 10th anniversary of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

Honourable Speaker and Honourable Chairperson,

Our intensive focus on education is paying off.

We are pleased that the matric percentage pass is on an upward trend.  We congratulate the teachers, learners, parents and the communities for the efforts.

We will continue to invest in producing more teachers who can teach mathematics, science and African languages.

We congratulate the health sector as well as the South African National Aids Council led by the Deputy President of the Republic on the success of the HIV and AIDS programme.

While we are doing well with regards to treatment and the prevention of mother to child transmission, general prevention efforts must also be accelerated.

We also wish to encourage South Africans to live healthier lives to reduce the impact of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

Compatriots and friends,

The year 2013 will mark the centenary of the Natives Land Act of 1913, which took away 87 percent of the land from the African people.

The Constitution requires that the State must realise the restitution of land rights for those who were dispossessed by the 1913 law.

We have only distributed 8% of the 30% target of land redistribution for 2014 that we set ourselves. The process is slow and tedious and there is general agreement that the willing buyer-willing seller option has not been the best way to address this question.

That is why have introduced a new policy framework, the Green Paper on Land Reform.

We urge the public to participate in the process of improving land redistribution and reform to reverse the impact of the 1913 Act.

Honourable Speaker,
Compatriots,

On economic transformation, we are amending the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act.  The amendments amongst other things, establish a statutory Commission that would deal with non-compliance and circumvention.

The proposed law will also criminalise fronting and other forms of empowerment misrepresentation.

With regards to issues of disability, we have directed all government departments to ensure that we meet the target we set several years ago of having 2% of people employed in the Public Service to be disabled persons.

We are also working towards a
Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, to promote compliance in both government and the private sector and to provide for sanctions in the case of non-compliance.

Meanwhile, the NEDLAC Process on the Atypical Forms of Employment and Labour Broking has now been completed.

Government seeks to eliminate all forms of abusive practices inherent in labour broking, in order to strengthen the protection of vulnerable workers. We trust that common ground will be found this year on this matter.

Compatriots,

In 2009 we made a commitment to accelerate the fight against crime and corruption.

The crime statistics for the period 2010/2011 indicate that our country witnessed a decline of 5% in the number of reported serious crimes compared to the previous year.

We will however, not become complacent. We are continuing to implement our programmes of making South Africans feel safe and to be safe.

We also continue to improve the performance of the state in various ways, including the fight against corruption.

The Multi-Agency Working Group on procurement led by the National Treasury, SARS and the Financial Intelligence Centre is reviewing the entire state procurement system to ensure better value for money from state spending.

Initiatives include the vetting of supply chain personnel in government departments.

To further improve security, the Department of Home Affairs, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the banking industry, to roll out the online fingerprint verification system in all participating banks, to assist in fraud prevention and detection.

Compatriots and friends,

We are working with various provinces to improve governance, systems and administration.

These include Gauteng to improve health service delivery, the Free State on transport and roads and Limpopo to improve governance and financial administration in five departments, including the provincial treasury.

We welcome the launch of Corruption Watch by COSATU, as well as the recent agreement between government and business to implement anti-corruption programmes.

These interventions will complement the work of government in combating corruption.

Compatriots and friends,

As part of promoting social cohesion, this year we will undertake and continue many heritage projects.

Museums and centres to be unveiled will include the 1980 Matola Raid museum in Maputo, the Ncome museum in KwaZulu-Natal, phase 2 of the Freedom Park museum and the Steve Biko heritage centre in Ginsberg in King Williamstown.

We have also prioritised the  homes and graves of former ANC Presidents and other national heroes including Thomas Maphikela, Lillian Ngoyi, Walter and Albertina Sisulu, Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge, Robert Sobukwe and others.

Memorial sites to be prioritised include that of the Pondo Revolt, the sites of the Frontier Wars, the 1913 revolt by African women in the Free State, the 1957 anti-pass revolt by women in Zeerust, the Rocklands Civic Centre in Mitchells Plein where the United Democratic Front was formed and the Gugulethu Seven monument in Cape Town.

We are also in the process of purchasing and rehabilitating the Winnie Mandela house in Brandfort, the Dr. Moroka house in Thaba Nchu and the Bram Fischer house in Westdene.

Additional projects include the launch of the Dube Tradeport and the unveiling of the statue of John Dube at King Shaka International Airport next month and renaming the Kings House presidential residence in Durban after Dr Dube.

The Presidential Guest House in Pretoria will be named after Mr Sefako Makgatho and the Diplomatic Guest House in Pretoria after the late prolific diplomat, Mr Johnny Makatini.

Government will also table the National Traditional Affairs Bill which makes provision for the recognition of the Khoi-San communities, their leadership and structures.

It is important to remember that the Khoi-San people were the most brutalised by colonialists who tried to make them extinct, and undermined their language and identity. As a free and democratic South Africa today, we cannot ignore to correct the past.

I discussed this matter extensively with the Khoi-San community when I met with them in Cape Town last year and we agreed to work together to redress the injustices of the past.
Compatriots,

Next year 2013, the seat of government, the majestic Union Buildings, will mark 100 years of existence and planning will start this year to mark the centenary.

Fellow South Africans,

We must perform better in sports this year! Our star performer, Oscar Pistorius has set the standard for the year by winning the 2012 Laureus Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.  Congratulations for this achievement.

We also congratulate the national women’s soccer team Banyana Banyana for qualifying for the London Olympics for the first time. With our support, they will do well.

We have been given the honour to host the Africa Cup of Nations next year, replacing Libya as they are unable to do so.

Compatriots,

Allow me to use this opportunity to extend heartiest congratulations and good wishes to Mama Rebecca Kotane, wife of former ANC treasurer general, Moses Kotane and SACP general secretary, who will turn 100 years old on Sunday the 12th of February.

The Young Men’s Guild of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Amadodana aseWesile, is also celebrating 100 years this year.

Another centenary celebration is that of Omama Besililo of the United Congregational Church of South Africa.

We wish them all successful celebrations.

Compatriots,

We have outlined a busy infrastructure implementation programme for now until 2014 and beyond.

I would like to appeal to all our people to join hands as they always do, as we deal decisively with the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality. Nobody will do this for us, it is in our hands. And we are all equal to the task.

As we get back to work tomorrow, let us internalise the words of ANC Women’s League founding president Charlotte Maxeke who said in her Presidential address to the National Council of African Women.

“This work is not for yourselves — kill that spirit of self, and do not live above your people, but live with them. If you can rise, bring someone with you’’.

I thank you.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: