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Address by President Zuma in response to the Debate on The Presidency Budget Vote, National Assembly, Cape Town

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Honourable Speaker,
Deputy President,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Honourable Members,
 
Thank you for the opportunity to respond to the 2017 Presidency Budget Vote 1 debate.

I wish to thank all Honourable Members for the contributions to the debate.

Today is International Children’s Day. 

On this day we reflect on what is being done and what else we should do to protect, mould and provide space for our children to grow into successful adults and citizens of the Republic.

From 1994, as we were reminded by the Deputy Chief Whip, the democratic government has concentrated on making life better for our children, especially those from poor households. We started then with the provision of free health care for children from birth to six years.

There is a host of other services provided for children in the country, from social grants to welfare services, free basic education to those who cannot pay, free meals at school and subsidised early childhood development centres for almost a million children.

We celebrate these achievements of our country today, while also noting the work we must still do to improve the lives of children in informal settlements and rural areas of our country. We remain fully aware of our responsibilities in this regard, as a caring government.

In fact, South Africans in general live a better life now as outlined by many Honourable Members in their speeches yesterday. They now live longer due to improved medical care. There is improved and expanded access to basic and higher education. There is expanded access to water, electricity, housing and many other basic services.

We adopted the National Development Plan (NDP) in 2012 as the socio-economic development blueprint to provide a road map for further work that we need to do as we build a better South Africa.

Honourable Shenge, the NDP is definitely being implemented by all government departments.

As outlined by Minister Radebe, the goals and targets of the NDP have been integrated into government’s Medium Term Strategic Framework for the electoral period 2014 to 2019.  Each government department has a programme of action that is derived from the NDP.

We need to improve the manner in which we communicate the implementation of the programme of action and ensure that our communication clearly links the programmes to the NDP more explicitly.
 
Honourable Shenge you also sought clarity on radical socio-economic transformation.

This approach is a decision of the 53th national conference of the ANC which took place in Mangaung in 2012. We met under the theme, Unity in Action towards Socio-Economic Freedom.

A key resolution of that conference was that the second phase in our transition from Apartheid colonialism to a National Democratic Society would be characterised by more radical policies and decisive action to effect socio-economic and continued democratic transformation.

We put practical meaning to this programme this year in the January 8 statement of the ANC with a direct call for radical socio-economic transformation in general and broadly, and an added emphasis on radical economic transformation.

We identified economic growth, accelerated radical socio-economic transformation, land reform and redistribution, the funding of higher education, fighting crime and corruption as well as building the capacity of the state as the key priorities of the ANC in the current year, which automatically makes them key priorities of government.

The ANC NEC lekgotla in January emerged with a definition of radical socio-economic transformation. The ANC said it refers to “a fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female”.

This is the definition that was provided in the State of the Nation Address in February.

Let me emphasise that while economic emancipation is an imperative, our approach is much broader and seeks socio-economic transformation, covering both the social and economic aspects. The economic component of our programme has gained popularity in the public domain, and is now known as RET.

Honourable Maynier, your favourite government programme, the Nine Point Plan, encompasses the levers that the government is using to ignite growth and the sectors in which we believe we can achieve meaningful economic transformation.

These areas include energy, manufacturing, transport, telecommunications, water, tourism, the ocean economy, SMME development, mining, agriculture and the Industrial Policy Action Plan.

Therefore, the Nine Point Plan is our instrument that we are using to achieve radical socio-economic transformation.

Honourable Fubbs indeed there can be no sustainability in any economy if the majority is excluded. As stated in the State of the Nation Address, only 10% of the top 100 on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are owned by black South Africans, directly-achieved principally, through the black empowerment codes, according to the National Empowerment Fund.
 
With regards to management, the 17th Employment Equity Report released last month, once again pointed to the painfully slow pace of Transformation in the South African Labour Market.
 
Sixty eight point five (68,5) percent of the top management positions are occupied by the White group.  Africans are at 14,4%; Indians 8,9%; Coloureds 4,9% and Foreign Nationals 3,4%.
 
Fifty eight (58) percent of the positions in senior management are occupied by the White group; Africans 22,1%; Indian 10,6%; Coloured 7,7% and foreign nationals 1,4%.
 
Njengohulumeni sifuna ukuphathwa komnotho kuguquke ngokushesha okukhulu. Kuyasikhathaza ukuthi umnotho usahleli ezandleni zabamhlophe namanje.
 
Sithi ngaloluhlelo lokuguqulwa komnotho ngendlela ejulile nesheshayo, akunikezwe abantu abamnyama amathuba okuba nezimboni nabo futhi babe namabhizinisi amakhulu.
 
Sifuna banikezwe izikhundla ezinkulu ezimbonini baphathe kubonakale ukuthi inkululeko ifikile ezweni. Akuyekwe ukubacwasa ngebala ezimbonini abamnyama.
 
Kufanele bahlonishwe kubonakale ukuthi ibona abaningi ezweni, kufanele babe baningi nasezikhundleni kanye nokuba ngosozimboni.
 
Sifuna nosomabhizinisi abancane emalokishini nasezindaweni zasemakhaya bathole ukuxhaswa uhulumeni. Iminyango kahulumeni isithunyiwe ihhovisi likaMongameli ukuba yenze konke lokhu kwenzeke ukuze ziguquke izimpilo zabantu.
 
Honourable Khubisa and Honourable Swart we agree with you that there should be an inquiry into the said state capture by the business community. 

Honourable Mafu and Honourable Memezi outlined accurately the work of the Presidency in leading and coordinating government work, and in galvanising society towards a common goal of building a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.

The Izimbizo and Presidential Siyahlola programmes, which are also supported by Honourable Galo, are indeed important instruments as they enable us to meet our people regularly and obtain feedback on the work of government.

The focus currently is the fight against crime given the urgency and suffering of communities.

We will soon visit Lusikisiki village in the Eastern Cape where people live in fear of a vicious criminal gang called Amavondwe who terrorise the community.
 
I visited the communities of kwa-Mhlabuyalingana in KZN, Soshanguve in Tshwane as well as Elsie’s River and Nyanga here in Cape Town who are affected by crime. There are others too that we have not yet reached.

The police can deal with crime and arrest perpetrators. However, society itself must play a role in fighting this wanton criminality and in preventing these crimes. We cannot make this a responsibility of the police alone.

The serious crimes include violence against women which Honourable Members have strongly condemned.

Honourable Shabangu made a call to action to Members of Parliament to actively fight gender based violence in their constituencies. Indeed we all have a role to play in fighting this horrible crime.

Honourable Motau, South Africa is not on the road to being a failed state.

You need to free yourself from your party’s propaganda and honestly track the progress that South Africa is making. You will feel proud to have been a leader during this period in our democratic transition.

Honourable Galo you raise a concern that the Presidency may be fashioning itself as a mini-regulator of other departments.

The Presidency provides strategic leadership and coordination of the work of government, and it also supervises and monitors the work of departments. Therefore, if it sounds like a regulator, it would be correct.

Honourable Godi we have noted your concerns about the need to improve the work of the Anti-Corruption Inter-Ministerial Committee and law enforcement agencies.

We also take seriously your concerns about the financial management challenges in government departments. We will continue to monitor these shortcomings at the level of Cabinet to find solutions.

A key aspect is to ensure that officials managing public finances are qualified and experienced, and also to ensure adequate internal controls.

Honourable Speaker,

I am delighted that the Democratic Alliance MPs have been reading speeches of President Oliver Reginald Tambo lately.

This means that our OR Tambo centenary campaign is effective. The forebears of the DA regarded OR Tambo as a terrorist and a danger to South Africa.

We therefore trust that the sudden discovery and embracing of OR Tambo is not opportunism aimed at diluting his legacy or distorting it to support what he did not stand for, which is the protection of the privileges of a few.

We have seen this happening with President Nelson Mandela where the Opposition has created its own Mandela who was never the founding commander of Umkhonto Wesizwe, and definitely not the Mandela who warned the public about the DA in 2002.

Compatriots

We begin Youth Month today in which the whole country will honour and celebrate our young people who are the leaders of the future. We will honour the contribution of our youth to the attainment of freedom, and also reflect on what else we must do to prepare a better future for them, working with them.

Tomorrow I will be meeting with leaders of various youth formations in the Presidential Youth Working Group. I reported yesterday on the good work done by this working group, which is coordinated by a committee of Deputy Ministers led by the Deputy Minister in the Presidency Honourable Manamela.

We will be celebrating the achievements of our young people.

The Deputy President showcased some of the talented young people who are excelling in various fields after hard work.
 
I join the Deputy President in appealing to the private sector to adopt our Training and Vocational Education Colleges, and also to absorb our graduates from these colleges and universities for internships and learnerships.

Fellow South Africans,

Honourable Manamela’s exposition yesterday was a strong call for the DA to break free from colonialism and from developing and implementing policies that seek to maintain the colonial and apartheid set up in a liberated non-racial South Africa.

Such actions delay the socio-economic transformation of our country. They also derail the advance towards true national reconciliation in our beautiful country.

Honourable Members,

Let me join the Deputy President in wishing our Muslim compatriots well during the holy month of Ramadan.

They are part of the diverse and multicultural society that makes South Africa vibrant and unique.

Madam Speaker,

We pride ourselves of the fact that media freedom is enshrined in the Constitution of the Republic.

South Africa is thus the perfect venue for the 69th World News Media Congress that will take place in Durban next week, from the 7-9th of June.

South Africa looks forward to hosting the publishers, editors and other practitioners from all over the world to our shores. We wish them all of the best with their deliberations on how to take the global fourth estate forward.

Allow me Honourable Speaker, to take this opportunity to thank Parliament for the successful departmental Budget Vote debates that have now been concluded with Vote 1, The Presidency.
 
Work will now continue towards the goal of building a better South Africa and a better life for our people.

Let me wish all our children a happy International Children’s Day.

I thank you.