Address by President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the Presidency Budget Vote, National Assembly, Cape Town
Honourable Deputy President, Deputy Speaker,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Esteemed special guests,
We thank the Presiding Officers for the opportunity to introduce the debate on Budget Vote 1, The Presidency.
Before doing so, allow me Honourable Speaker to thank the millions of our people who heeded our call to celebrate the legacy of President Nelson Mandela, by participation in the cleaning up campaign last week.
In every corner of our country people also engaged in various forms of community work, which should inculcate a culture of service to our country and to humanity.
We have completed the transition to the fifth administration seamlessly, following successful national general elections, which further consolidated our country’s democracy.
It is an honour for the ANC government to continue to lead the country, towards the creation of a truly united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.
During the past few days, government departments have outlined plans to further expand access to various socio-economic services and programmes, informed by the ANC Manifesto and the National Development Plan.
Collectively, the Budget Vote presentations indicated a government that is actively at work to promote an improved quality of life for all.
We will continue to prioritise five key areas this term - education, health, rural development and land reform, the fight against crime and corruption as well as creating decent work.
In doing so, we are informed by the successes scored in these five priorities over the past five years.
In the State of the Nation Address last month, we also outlined primary focus areas for government, which included measures towards achieving a five percent growth rate by the year 2019.
These focus areas include among others, infrastructure development, energy, manufacturing and mining. Progress is being made in these areas and many others.
Various interventions aimed at supporting distressed mining towns are being implemented by various departments, following the announcement last month in the State of the Nation Address.
Our investment in infrastructure development is also continuing, under the leadership of the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC), chaired by the President.
The PICC brings together ministers, premiers and mayors to enable central coordination and the fast-tracking of project delivery.
An advantage of central coordination is that we are also able to integrate the build programmes. For example, the recently launched Mzimvubu Dam water scheme in the Eastern Cape integrates water and electricity provision with the building of roads, sanitation, schools, houses and health facilities.
We announced our plans for a heightened energy generation capacity last month.
The Energy Security Cabinet Sub-Committee that will oversee the development of the energy mix shall comprise the following Ministries:
· International Relations and Cooperation
· Public Enterprises
· State Security
· Trade and Industry
· Economic Development
· Mineral Resources and
· Environmental Affairs.
They will explore various options including nuclear power, gas, solar, wind, coal, hydro power and fuel refineries.
Our cooperative governance framework provides for the existence of the President’s Coordinating Council, a mechanism that brings together the Presidency, crosscutting Ministries, Premiers and the South African Local Government Association, to discuss issues affecting the three spheres of government.
We want to improve the performance and output of the PCC, and in particular, utilise the structure more effectively to build and support the local government sphere.
The journey towards prosperity and job-creating growth involves radical change in the manner in which we undertake planning, implementation and monitoring.
On Saturday, the 19th of July, we launched Operation Phakisa, an innovative programme that brings together for the first time, many stakeholders to plan a major economic project.
Operation Phakisa, an adaptation of Malaysia’s Big Fast Results methodology, will be used to fast-track service delivery in various sectors, starting with the ocean economy.
Teams from Government, business, labour and academia are working in Durban, discussing plans of unlocking the economic potential of the oceans, which are poised to contribute up to 177 billion rand to the country’s GDP.
The teams are focusing on four priority sectors. The first is marine transport and manufacturing activities, such as coastal shipping, trans-shipment, boat building, repair and refurbishment.
The other three are offshore oil and gas exploration, aquaculture, as well as marine protection services and ocean governance.
We will release the outcome of the exercise later this year, once the teams have concluded their work and have produced implementable action plans.
Together we are moving South Africa forward practically, not just in words.
To achieve the goals of a better society we need a professional, people centred, effective, efficient and disciplined public service.
Through the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, we will keep track of progress made by departments in improving government performance, and also in promoting caring and responsive governance.
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and I have been meeting with Ministers, Deputy Ministers and their Directors-General, to discuss the priorities and action plans of each department.
The exercise will culminate in the signing of performance agreements by the President and each Minister.
The Ministers will in turn conclude delivery agreements with partners who will work with them to achieve their goals. These partners will include colleagues in the provincial executive councils.
Beyond the major projects and work of departments, we will also monitor the human aspect. We will assess the manner in which enquiries and complaints from the public are handled, the courtesy and friendliness of staff and the speed with which members of the public are attended to.
In this regard, the Batho Pele citizen care programme is being revitalised and will be mainstreamed in every department, in order to improve performance and services to the public.
The performance of the Presidential Hotline and other call centres serving the public in various departments, will continue to be useful barometers of how government relates to the public.
A new priority this term, as we continue to build a participatory and responsive state, is the mainstreaming of communication in the work of government departments.
We have established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Information and Publicity led by the Minister in the Presidency for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation. The committee will promote and coordinate communication and marketing within government.
The Presidency will also lead Government in the programme of izimbizo, door to door campaigns and other mass-based platforms to promote two way communication with the people.
We will also continue with hands-on monitoring through the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring programme, through which the President visits communities for a direct assessment of service delivery.
The Deputy President will undertake the monitoring work through the anti-poverty programme which assists to promote food security and draw attention to problem areas.
Our public servants are our most important resource in meeting the delivery goals that will be outlined in the performance and delivery agreements.
In the February 2013 State of the Nation Address, I announced the establishment of the Public Service Remuneration Review Commission.
The Commission was formally appointed on 7 August 2013 with retired Chief Justice Sandile Ngcobo as the Chairperson.
The Commission has conducted preliminary consultations with various key stakeholders such as labour unions, the Public Service Co-ordinating Bargaining Council and its sectoral bargaining councils, Ministers and members of provincial Executive Councils.
I have extended the term of the Commission until April 2015, due to the enormity of its brief which covers more than 1.3 million public servants and over 200 public entities.
It was also necessary to provide an extension due to the delays caused by capacity constraints, the December holidays and general elections.
We urge stakeholders to support the Commission in its very important task.
The Presidency is taking steps to institutionalise partnerships with various stakeholders through reconstituting the Presidential Working Groups, to promote partnerships for development and progress.
The Presidential Business Working Group will bring together Chairpersons and CEOs of major companies in South Africa as well as key Ministers in the Economic Sector to discuss the performance of the economy.
We will also establish a Presidential Small Business Working Group, which will bring together organisations representing small business owners and government, to chart a path for supporting small enterprises.
The Labour Working Group will bring together leaders of the major labour federations and key government leaders.
The Joint Working Group will bring together the social partners represented at NEDLAC – business, labour, government and the community sector, to seek joint solutions to challenges facing all sectors.
We have already placed some items on the agenda of this working group, such as the minimum wage proposal and the impact of strikes with a long duration.
We will also institutionalise the Presidential Working Groups on Youth, Women and Religious Affairs.
We are establishing a new Presidential Working Group on Disability which will enable the Presidency to champion and monitor the work of government departments and society in creating a better life for persons with disability.
We are also finalising plans to launch a Presidential Working Group on Communication and the Media, bringing together government and organisations from the community and commercial media sectors.
We stand to benefit immensely from the expertise of our scientists, academics and intellectuals, in the new Presidential Working Group on Higher Education and Innovation.
Finally, we will convene the International Economic Advisory Panel, which will comprise owners and leaders of major corporations in the world to share their ideas on promoting investments and economic growth.
Our partnership with stakeholders to move South Africa forward will also be embodied in the work of the South African National Aids Council, which is led by the Deputy President.
SANAC will build on the successes scored by the country in the fight against HIV and AIDS in the past five years, and enhance other areas such as prevention.
The Deputy President will also lead us in coordinating and championing skills development, as the chairperson of the Human Resources Development Council.
We also look forward to good working relations between the Executive and Parliament. The Deputy President, as Leader of Government Business in the National Assembly, will lead government in the interface with the legislature.
We were encouraged by the overwhelming support of the National Development Plan in the previous Parliament. The Deputy President chairs the National Planning Commission, and will assist us to take forward the good work done in this structure.
This is a special year in the country, as we mark 60 years of the historic 1954 Women’s Charter and 20 years of the Women’s Charter for Effective Equality.
We are mindful of these milestones as we take forward the mission of building a truly non-sexist society and to extend basic services to more women, who suffer most from the persistent poverty, unemployment and inequality.
The Minister in the Presidency responsible for the Women portfolio, has been given a mandate to lead, champion and monitor women’s socio-economic development and empowerment, rights and equality.
The Department of Women will work closely with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation to keep track of the performance of government and society with regards to women’s development.
We will also gain from the expertise of various non-governmental organisations working in this field.
Youth development is an important function within the Presidency, falling under the Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation portfolio.
Minister Radebe, assisted by Deputy Minister Buti Manamela, will prioritise the tasks of mainstreaming youth development and empowerment.
The responsibility of the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation will go further than oversight over the National Youth Development Agency.
It will include championing and monitoring youth development programme performance across government.
We will continue to lead the country’s international relations programme, premised on building a better Africa and a more just world and to promote mutually beneficial relations with various countries and regions of the world.
We will contribute to building a stronger and more effective African Union so that it can drive the African Agenda.
Our participation in the work of key AU structures will continue this term. These include the African Peer Review Mechanism, the Pan African Parliament and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development.
During the past term, South Africa championed the continent’s infrastructure build programme, focusing on the North-South Road and Rail Development Corridor, a trade access corridor from Durban through Dar-es-Salaam to Cairo.
Our participation in regional integration efforts will continue, within the Southern African Development Community and the Southern African Customs Union.
We also look forward to continued negotiations to establish a Tripartite Free Trade Area among the Regional Economic Communities of the Common Market of East and Southern Africa, East African Community and SADC.
We are honoured to serve in key structures of United Nations organization. Last year, South Africa began serving a three-year term on the UN Economic and Social Council. Our priority is the articulation of the Post-2015 UN Development Agenda.
Our country was in January this year elected to the UN Human Rights Council until December 2016.
This honour reaffirms South Africa’s commitment to the achievement of human rights locally and worldwide.
Our participation in the BRICS forum continues to yield results.
We attended the Sixth BRICS Summit in Brazil last week. The ground-breaking establishment of the New Development Bank and Contingent Reserve Arrangement were the highlights of the summit. This development represented a major advancement for BRICS and the developing world.
We look forward to hosting the Bank’s Africa Regional Centre in South Africa, to be established concurrently with the headquarters in Shanghai in the People’s Republic of China.
We will continue to participate in the India, Brazil, South Africa Dialogue Forum, (IBSA), in further pursuit of global political governance reform and to promote socio-economic cooperation among the three diverse democracies.
We value our participation in the G20, and will continue to use South Africa’s role to promote and strengthen the interests of Africa and of the South.
We will also continue to strengthen relations with key regions of the world such as Europe, North America, South America and the Caribbean, the Middle East, Asia and Australia.
We look forward to the United States-Africa Leadership Summit that will take place in Washington DC next month. The forum should open new opportunities, especially with regards to trade and investment relations between the United States and Africa.
In further promoting partnerships for growth and development, the Global Smart Partnership Dialogue will be hosted in South Africa in October 2014.
The Dialogue serves as a platform for Heads of State, business leaders, scientists and academics, to exchange ideas related to the role of science, technology and innovation in boosting socio-economic transformation, development and growth.
We will continue to participate in peacemaking and peacekeeping missions in the continent, through the South African National Defence Force.
Most importantly, we are honoured to be requested by other nations to share our country’s negotiations and peacemaking expertise.
In this regard, Deputy President Ramaphosa is South Africa’s special envoy to South Sudan and Sri Lanka, assisting the two countries to overcome recent challenges.
Like all peace loving people the world over, we are shocked and dismayed by the violence and tragic loss of life in Gaza.
We call on the Israeli government to stop its ground and air offensive, which continues to cause loss of life and a devastating humanitarian crisis.
We also call for an end to the firing of rockets on Israeli citizens by Hamas.
We are also opposed to the veiled attempts by the Israeli Government to use its onslaught on Gaza to undermine the Unity Government in Palestine.
There will never be a military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The only solution lies in serious and genuine negotiations involving all parties.
South Africa joins the UN Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-moon, in calling for an immediate ceasefire by all sides, and a resumption of the flow of humanitarian aid to the suffering people of Gaza.
We appeal to the Egyptian authorities to open their doors to the injured and affected people of Gaza.
With electricity, fuel, and medical supplies running out in Gaza, the only lifeline for the people of Gaza is their brothers and sisters in Egypt.
This is not the time to apportion blame but to focus on the needy and dying, especially defenceless women and children.
South Africa will work with her BRICS partners to develop a common position to this crisis.
We have done well in consolidating democracy and building a new nation. However, we need to do much more work to build the soul of the nation, especially to promote unity, cohesion and a common nationhood.
Programmes such as the promotion of the national flag and the preamble to the Constitution in our schools will assist in building a national identity among our children and the youth at an early age.
We are currently also engaged in processing outstanding work from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, to support the victims who were identified during that process, as part of the post-apartheid healing process.
In building our new nation, we also need to confront difficult issues, such as the demon of racism. We welcome the global campaign against racism in sport which was launched this week.
It is a reminder of the need to continue to promote the building of a truly non-racial society, with zero tolerance for racism and prejudice.
Nation building must also involve working together to make our country safer for children.
We were shocked and horrified by the manner in which four-year old Taegrin Morris of Reiger Park in Johannesburg was dragged under a hijacked run-away car until he died.
No child should be subjected to such brutality. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the Morris family and to the community of Reiger Park as a whole.
On Tuesday last week the country had been shaken by the kidnapping of six-year old Mongezi Phike, after he and his father, Mr Aaron Phike, were hijacked in Bronkhorspruit. His father was severely assaulted.
We thank the police and the public for the swift work which led to Mongezi being found.
We condemn all these coldblooded criminal acts and appeal to our people to assist the police to bring the perpetrators to book.
The Commonwealth games begin today and we wish all our athletes strength and victory. Let us stand fully behind the team. With our support, they will do well and make us proud.
In September, the country will host the 4th International Karate Organization World Cup in Durban, under the Theme; “Self-Defence, Self-Discipline and Crime Prevention”.
The Departments of Sport and Recreation, Police, Social Development as well as Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation which is responsible for youth development will work together to ensure a successful Karate World Cup.
Our journey continues towards a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
We humbly invite South Africans to join us in building a South Africa in which all, especially the poor and the working class, will fully enjoy the fruits of freedom.
The action of each South African counts, as we move South Africa forward, together.
As Pixley Ka Isaka Seme stated in his 1911 article the Native Union, “co-operation is the key and the watchword which opens the door, the everlasting door which leads into progress and all national success".
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, advisors, senior management and all staff in the Presidency.
It is my privilege, Honourable Speaker, to commend Budget Vote 1, to the House.
I thank you