Address by President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of the Budget Vote Debate of The Presidency, National Assembly, Cape Town
14 June 2011
Honourable Deputy President of the Republic, Mr Kgalema Motlanthe,
Honourable Speaker, Max Sisulu
Deputy Speaker, Ms Noma-India Mfeketo
Ministers, Premiers and Deputy Ministers,
Heads of the Chapter 9 Institutions,
Esteemed special guests,
Fellow South Africans,
This past weekend marked the end of an era as we bid farewell to Mama Albertina Sisulu, a dignified freedom fighter and pillar of our struggle for liberation, who was a founding Member of this democratic Parliament in 1994.
Mama Sisulu made history when she nominated Isithwalandwe Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela as the first president of a democratic South Africa in this House on the 9th of May 1994.
We salute her and may her spirit inspire us as South Africans to serve our people as selflessly as she did.
We thank you for the opportunity to present the Presidency Budget Vote to the House.
We will outline some of the work that we are doing to supervise government to ensure that it carries out its responsibilities of serving the South African people efficiently, speedily and in a caring manner as required by the Constitution of the Republic.
I will provide an update on some aspects of our work, with a particular emphasis on improving the performance of the State, local government, service delivery, progress on job creation and the international work.
The Deputy President, the Ministers and Deputy Minister in the Presidency will outline further aspects, including national planning, the campaign against HIV and AIDS, human resource development and promoting energy efficiency.
On the 18th of May we held the fourth democratic local government elections.
The elections illustrated the importance that South Africans are beginning to place on this sphere of government, and the depth of their concerns with service delivery and municipal accountability.
The political parties, the citizens, the Independent Electoral Commission and government departments, worked together to produce one of South Africa’s most exciting and competitive local government elections.
Local government became everybody’s business and we have to maintain that collaborative spirit for us to succeed.
We have emerged from the elections with a changed local government landscape.
There are eight instead of six metropolitan municipalities, with district municipalities decreasing from 46 to 44, while local municipalities decreased from 231 to 226.
Our goal is to achieve a responsive, accountable, effective and efficient local government system by 2014 in terms of the delivery agreement for local government.
With the election behind us and new councils inaugurated, now is the time to focus firmly on implementing the Local Government Turnaround Strategy.
The strategy provides a number of immediate solutions.
We have to address the immediate financial and administrative problems in some municipalities.
The findings from the Auditor General’s report for the 2010-2011 financial year indicate that of the 237 municipal audit reports currently available, only 57 municipalities showed some improvement.
Some remained unchanged while others have actually regressed.
Efforts to strengthen municipal audits continue through Operation Clean Audit, with a target of clean and unqualified reports by 2014.
We also plan to tighten and improve the supply chain management system to eliminate possibilities of fraud and corruption.
Most importantly, infrastructure backlogs should be reduced significantly. Citizens must have access to affordable universal basic services such as water, housing, electricity, sanitation, refuse removal and others.
To better coordinate and support the provision of housing at local level, government has begun to accredit metros and top performing district municipalities to perform the housing function in support of the Department of Human Settlements.
In March 2011, six Metros and two district municipalities were accredited to deliver housing programmes.
We are seriously exploring the need to have a single election for national, provincial and local government.
In this way, we will have one financial year, a single public service, a common five year medium term planning as well as aligned human resource and budgeting frameworks.
We welcome the improvement in the human resource management of municipalities.
By March this year, two hundred and thirty four municipalities had filled the municipal manager posts, representing 82% of filled posts nationally. A total of 242 chief financial officer posts have also been filled, representing 85% of filled posts nationally.
A total of 218 technical services or engineer posts were filled representing 77 percent of the filled posts nationally, while 120 municipalities have filled development and town planning posts.
This should contribute positively to an improvement in the operations of local government.
The turnaround strategy will help us to restore the confidence of citizens in our municipalities. They are key institutions through which government will improve the lives of our people.
Our focus on local government is part of a broader campaign to improve efficiency in government and to build a performance-oriented developmental state.
It was for this reason that we established the performance monitoring and evaluation as well as national planning functions in the Presidency.
Substantial progress has been made by the two Ministries.
Last Thursday, the National Planning Commission released its first set of outputs, a diagnostic document analysing the key challenges that confront us in fighting poverty and inequality.
The report forms the basis for a national dialogue on how to fix the problems raised in the report.
Over the next three months, the commission will lead a public engagement process.
We call on South Africans from all walks of life and from all organised formations to contribute to the development of a national plan for the country.
Only with the support and active participation of all South Africans can we work towards a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous society. Minister Manuel will speak further on the work of the NPC.
The Performance Monitoring and Evaluation department has been keeping track of the implementation of the Ministerial performance and delivery agreements, including the local government outcome.
Our work goes beyond written reports from Departments and provinces to hands on monitoring visits to communities from time to time.
The visits are intended to promote a service delivery ethos across the public service, and to speed up delivery in the communities visited.
The lessons drawn enable the implementing departments to intervene more successfully in other areas.
We are pleased with the progress made since our visits to a number of communities.
Following the visit to the Bethlehem Informal Settlement, in Hermanstad in the City of Tshwane, housing the poor white community, a mobile health clinic now visits the community once a month.
The Gauteng Provincial Government has identified land to accommodate the community.
There is also progress in the Sweetwaters informal settlement south of Johannesburg that we visited.
The area forms part of a consolidated development project that will yield some 2 600 sites, two primary schools, a high school with a community centre, open space plans and a taxi rank.
The Gauteng Government has purchased land for this purpose.
There is progress at the Madelakufa Informal Settlement in Tembisa, Kempton Park. This very dense settlement, with more than five thousand dwellings, is now receiving much more dedicated temporary services pending relocation.
It is a complex project and the time frames for upgrading all the households will take three to six years to complete.
Through the Presidential intervention in Siyathemba township, Balfour in Mpumalanga, previously incomplete houses were completed, additional housing units have been built and roads have been rehabilitated.
Access to basic services such as water, sanitation and electricity has been expanded. Community services such as a community hall, two libraries, a clinic, a disaster management centre and computer centre have been completed. Policing services have also improved.
More work is to be done to ensure that these projects reach finality.
The issue of the transfer of Balfour from Mpumalanga province to Gauteng is receiving the attention of the two provincial governments.
Following the raising of the Bekkersdal service delivery challenges by Ms Portia Mrwetyana on the Presidency Facebook page, mentioned in the State of the Nation Address, the provincial government is looking for safer land for the relocation of the community.
They will also improve the services provided to the informal settlement in the interim.
UMzimkhulu town, which was also mentioned by Bongokuhle Miya on Facebook and quoted in the State of the Nation Address in February, is receiving priority attention from the KwaZulu-Natal provincial government.
The sewerage problem is being resolved, the water cuts in the central business district have stopped and the flooding of the CBD during heavy rains is to be corrected.
Two large reservoirs are under construction to increase the town’s water storage capacity.
We have established an Inter-Ministerial Committee led by Minister Chabane to attend to the revitalisation of the King Sabata Dalindyebo Municipality area, especially in uMthatha.
The team is working on the delivery of water, sanitation, electricity, roads, housing and the renovations of the airport and the stadium. This is part of our efforts of creating thriving rural towns.
On the 7th of June we entered a new monitoring phase. We have begun a programme of focused site visits, emphasising a single priority area per visit. For example, we visited the Eastern Cape to assess the state of education.
The visit was aimed at promoting and restoring effective learning and teaching in the province.
It enabled us to discuss with the province how best to implement section 100 (1 b) of the Constitution, designed to enable national government to assist the province.
We had intervened due to the failure to supply textbooks and stationery, the termination of the services of temporary teachers leaving children without educators, the stopping of nutrition and scholar transport and a host of other difficulties.
A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed with the provincial government, enabling the transfer of functions from the province to the national government.
Teams from national and provincial government will work closely together to implement the decisions taken.
Next month we will visit the Limpopo province to assess the state of health care.
Our contact with the public also continues through the Presidential Hotline. Minister Chabane will report on the work of the Hotline, which remains a key direct contact point with the public.
You will recall that in the State of the Nation Address we declared that job creation would be the key focus this year, and pointed to the importance of the New Growth Path as the key jobs driver.
We also stated that government would work with other sectors, especially business, to achieve these objectives.
The Presidency has since convened meetings with business and labour separately, and plans a joint summit later in the year. Meetings also take place within the ambit of NEDLAC.
The signs are good thus far and the economy continues to recover from the global economic recession, which made us lose over a million jobs.
Formal employment creation has recovered in the past two quarters, according to both major employment surveys published by Statistics South Africa, one of households and one of employers.
We are particularly pleased with the growth in formal employment, which provides better opportunities for most working people. In the year to March 2011, net formal employment grew by forty two thousand. The government sector created 133 000 new jobs in the past financial year. This compensated for the still weak performance of the private sector.
That said, we recognise that unemployment in South Africa remains very high by international standards, which is why the New Growth Path is critical.
We are implementing a number of the undertakings made in the 2011 State of the Nation Address, geared towards removing obstacles and boosting job creation.
I announced that R20 billion would be made available in tax allowances or tax breaks to promote investments, expansions and upgrades in the manufacturing sector.
To date, three projects have been approved, with a total investment of 4.1 billion rand.
The total investment allowance or incentive made available is one point three billion rand and 364 jobs have been created. The projects are in the Eastern Cape, Free State and Gauteng.
As you are aware, the Companies Act has been enacted, to assist the creation of jobs, through amongst others, simplifying the registration of companies and reducing the regulatory burden.
The Jobs Fund was launched by the Minister of Finance last week, and we have asked the Development Bank of Southern Africa to administer it.
The National Treasury has indicated that its target is to disburse at least two billion rand of the jobs fund on job creation during the current financial year.
We are also looking to our competition policy to improve job creation. The strategic approach to competition policy is ensuring lower prices especially for intermediate goods and wage goods, including fertiliser and food.
In addition, while inviting foreign direct investments, we will also do all we can to protect local jobs and industries. We believe it is possible to do both.
We have found some companies cooperative and willing to assist us so that there can be a win-win situation.
We will also take advantage of opportunities offered by the global push to reduce emissions and green the economy, thereby creating more jobs.
For example, the Integrated Resource Plan for energy ensures that close to half of our new electricity will come from clean sources.
Government is also providing subsidies for solar water heaters and energy-efficient light bulbs to households.
Black economic empowerment remains an important policy of government. We need BEE to address the monopoly domination of our economy, which remains an obstacle to the goals of economic transformation, growth and development.
The Presidential BEE Advisory Council has recommended a review of the BEE Codes and of the BBBEE Act to harmonise the implementation of black empowerment across government.
The Council has also recommended stern measures to eradicate the fraudulent practice of fronting.
We also want to shift the focus of BEE away from equity investment and ownership towards productive activities.
Minister Rob Davies will soon present to Cabinet, proposals for a review of the B-BBEE Act and the refinement of the Codes of Good Practice.
Part of the process of transforming our economy to promote economic growth and job creation involves strengthening the role of state-owned enterprises.
The Presidential State Owned Entreprises, (SOE) Review Committee began its work in September last year.
The committee’s preliminary observations indicate that we may need to revisit the regulatory framework for SOEs, to enhance the state-ownership attributes and enable the SOEs to function more effectively.
The committee is also looking at how to align the SOEs with the New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plan, as well as black economic empowerment instruments.
The role of SOEs in skills development is another critical area of focus.
The final report will be handed to the President early next year.
We have asked all Cabinet Clusters to report on the employment impact of their work and what they are doing to create the right environment for job creation. The first reports are due next month.
Working with Premiers and Mayors in the President’s Coordinating Council, we will together keep track of progress in both job creation and service delivery.
We meet just two days before the commemoration of the 35th anniversary of the June 16, 1976 uprising in Soweto. This is an important day in the calendar of our struggle for freedom and justice.
We are pleased that in the build up activities the National Youth Development Agency, (NYDA), has taken young people born after the dawn of freedom to important liberation sites in Soweto.
Awareness will make them realise that they carry a huge responsibility of assisting the country to eradicate the legacy of colonial oppression and apartheid.
The older generation has taken the country thus far to a non-racial, democratic and non-sexist society.
The youth must prepare themselves for hard work to make this a prosperous society. They also need to look beyond South Africa and work with their peers within the African continent to promote sustainable development, peace and prosperity in Africa.
We are therefore happy that the youth has chosen economic transformation as the theme for the youth month.
We support the NYDA in its efforts of promoting youth development, employment, entrepreneurship and skills development to enable them to undertake the economic revolution successfully.
Minister Chabane will outline our work on youth development.
Still on the subject of youth development, last year I accepted the role of Patron-in-Chief of the President’s Award for Youth Empowerment, taking over from former President Nelson Mandela.
This international youth development programme which is affiliated to the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award Association, targets young people between the ages of 14 and 25 in over 132 countries around the world, 21 of them on the African continent.
There are currently 10,000 young people actively involved in the Award Programme in the country.
They include young people from a broad diversity of socio-economic and cultural backgrounds, drawn from schools, community youth groups, residential youth facilities and correctional centres, nationally.
The President hands out awards at the Bronze, Silver and then Gold Level seeks to encourage young people to engage in their own holistic development.
Last week two Gold Award holders, Tinashe Chandauka and Duncan Van Niekerk, joined 200 other young people in the Youth Parliament hosted in Parliament, and contributed significantly to the robust debates of the day.
We encourage the private sector to support the programme given its impact around the country.
We present our budget vote against the background of encouraging news in the fight against HIV and AIDS.
The Medical Research Council reported in Durban last week that the HIV transmission from mother to child has dropped to 3,5% in all provinces except in Mpumalanga and Free State where it is 6%.
Upbeat researchers believe that the virtual elimination of HIV transmission to children could be possible by 2015.
We are clearly on the right track with the fight against AIDS and we congratulate all South Africans for responding so seriously to all campaigns, including the call for HIV testing.
However, these successes do not mean we must now relax. We must intensify campaigns to prevent the spread of HIV, conduct research and to support the infected and affected.
The Deputy President chairs the South African National Aids Council and leads the country’s fight against AIDS. He will report on this area of our work and other priority areas.
We continue to play a role in international relations, promoting the agenda of Africa and the South.
The 11th of June 2010 marked the anniversary of the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup. A year later, we are building on that momentum to create a better Africa.
Heads of State and Government of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa, the East African Community and the Southern African Development Community gathered in Johannesburg to launch the negotiations for the establishment of a common market.
The 26 countries translate into a combined population of nearly 600 million people and a total GDP of approximately one trillion US dollars.
The establishment of a Tripartite Free Trade Area will boost intra-regional trade by creating a wider market, increase investment flows, enhance competitiveness and develop cross-regional infrastructure.
The Tripartite Summit adopted a developmental approach based on three pillars: market integration, infrastructure development and industrial development.
On the sidelines of the Tripartite Summit, we hosted the Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State and Government of SADC.
The Summit endorsed our approach towards the faster implementation of the Zimbabwean Global Political Agreement, to ensure that free and fair elections can be held when the environment permits.
In this regard the Summit supported the full mobilization of the Joint Monitoring and Implementation Committee to create conditions of a level political playing field.
We are concerned about the ongoing conflict in Libya which is resulting in the loss of innocent lives, the destruction of property and a deteriorating humanitarian situation.
We have spoken out against the misuse of the good intentions in Resolution 1973, which was co-sponsored by the Arab League and supported by African countries in the UN Security Council.
We strongly believe that the Resolution is being abused for regime change, political assassinations and foreign military occupation.
These actions undermine the efforts of the African Union in finding solutions to the problems facing its member states. It also flies in the face of all efforts to promote the sanctity of international law.
All parties must respect human rights and comply with international humanitarian law.
The events in Libya have re-emphasised the urgency for the full operationalisation, without delay, of the African Peace and Security Architecture, and also the reform of the UN Security Council.
We express the hope that, following the briefing by the Ministers of the African Union ad-hoc High Level Committee on Libya to the UN Security Council tomorrow, 15th of June, common ground would be found on a political track as the best means towards a durable solution to the Libyan crisis.
With regards to Madagascar, we believe that the endorsement of a revised Road Map by the SADC Extraordinary Summit in Sandton this past weekend paves the way for the resolution of the Malagasy crisis.
This will allow the main political stakeholders to participate in the process to restore Constitutionality and civilian rule based on the will of the Malagasy people.
We wish to urge the political stakeholders, including the Transitional Authority in Madagascar and its President as well as the opposition parties to accept and implement the amendments to the Road Map. They must fulfil the aspirations of the Malagasy people for peace, stability and socio-economic development.
We welcome the return to peace and normalisation of the situation in Côte d’Ivoire. The immediate challenge facing the Ivorian government is to re-unite the country, re-establish the government administration and restore law and order.
We avail ourselves to help during the process of reconciliation and reconstruction.
On the 9th of July 2011 South Africa will be joining African nations in celebrating the independence of South Sudan.
While there are still challenges of consolidation such as the contested oil producing area of Abyei, and tension in Kordofan, we trust that the AU mediators, including former President Thabo Mbeki, will be able to amicably resolve this impasse between Khartoum and Juba.
Together with the AU and the international community, we will continue our collective work to ensure that the objectives of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement are met.
We will continue to support all international efforts to promote peace and a strong human rights culture in the entire Sudan, including the Darfur region.
With regards to Western Sahara, we have worked for the integration of a human rights aspect into the mandate of the UN Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara. We have done this in light of recent reports of human rights abuses against the Saharawi people.
We will later this year host the 17th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the 7th Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Kyoto Protocol from 28 November to 9 December 2011 in Durban.
Preparations are progressing well.
South Africa calls on the developed countries to take the necessary leadership to assist in achieving a successful outcome in Durban.
We will strive towards an outcome that is guided by the Convention principles of equity, and common but differentiated responsibilities.
The Conference itself will uphold multilateralism and be the result of a consultative process with all Parties.
South Africa recognizes the urgency with which an agreement needs to be reached, as this ultimately has an impact on the poverty eradication imperatives of developing countries.
We are thus of the view that Parties should find a common solution.
In April we officially joined the BRICS group, which provides opportunities for trade and investment linkages, as well as cooperation in science and technology, agriculture, finance and international relations.
We also have strong relations with Brazil and India in the IBSA forum which remains critical for relations among the three countries.
IBSA will meet in South Africa in October.
We continue to strengthen our relationship with the developed North. We work closely with France which currently holds the Presidency of both the G8 and the G20.
We are also reaching out to Poland as the incoming chair of the European Union.
Our country faces many challenges, but it has certainly done well in only 17 years of freedom and democracy.
Life has changed for the better for millions of South Africans, and continues to change each day, as we implement our transformative programmes working with the people.
We all have a responsibility to acknowledge and promote the country’s achievements and be good ambassadors for our country.
The work done during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup by all South Africans to profile our country as a globally competitive destination has yielded results.
This is evidenced by the awarding to South Africa of the Most Valuable Nation Brand in Africa.
South Africa, as a Brand, is now valued at 135 billion US dollars, making it the top valued African Nation Brand and the 34th largest Nation Brand in the world.
We met with the International Marketing Council last month, which brings together government, business, community representatives, sports and other sectors.
We agreed to enhance our domestic and international marketing. In addition to our sports and culture achievements, we have to market our global competitiveness so that we can attract investments, and create jobs.
We will work further with the IMC on this, including its own rebranding which will include changing its name to Brand South Africa.
We have more opportunities to promote Brand SA.
From the 4th of July, we will host the 123rd International Olympic Committee General Assembly in Durban, the first African country to do so.
The Session, to be attended by Heads of State and Government, royalty and the international sports fraternity, will attract extensive international media attention as the hosts of the 2018 Winter Olympics will also be announced during the session.
Together we must rise to the occasion, inspired by the same spirit of unity in diversity, hospitality, professionalism and efficiency demonstrated during our hosting of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup.
The World Cup event taught us that it is possible for South Africans to unite across race, gender and regional divides when facing a common purpose – to promote their country and make it succeed. We have to enhance this national attribute. It augurs well for the future.
Next week, the national netball team, Amantombazane, will travel to Singapore to participate in the World Netball Championships which will start on the 3rd of July. Huntshu, Mantombazane, ningabuyi nilambatha!
We wish the team success and we must all support them in this crucial competition.
Likewise, we wish the Springboks all the best as they prepare to defend our trophy in New Zealand in September. With our support, they will bring the trophy back home where it belongs.
Allow me before I conclude, to thank the other branches of government – the Judiciary and Parliament – for the harmonious working relations we have forged, while maintaining the necessary independence and adherence to the separation of powers.
We thank the leaders of political parties with whom we meet to share perspectives and approaches on issues that are in the national interest.
I also thank the Heads of the Chapter Nine institutions, whom we met last week, on the 10th of June. It was valuable to hear their perspectives on challenges facing the country and how we as the executive should respond.
We had so many issues to discuss we agreed to meet at least twice a year.
We thank Business Unity South Africa for their consistent support. We work very well together in promoting job creation and campaigns to attract investments to the country.
We thank organised Labour, COSATU, FEDUSA and NACTU for also making time to engage us on job creation and other priorities. We value the working relationship.
We thank the Advisory Council on National Orders which performs the important task of identifying men and women who are deserving of receiving the highest honour that the country can bestow.
The Orders contribute immensely to defining the character of the South African nation and encourages all South Africans to work harder in different disciplines.
We will meet the religious sector in August to engage on the national priorities especially the challenge of job creation, rural development and social transformation.
Working together we will continue to do more!
I wish to extend my sincere gratitude to Honourable Deputy President Motlanthe for his support.
I also thank Minister Chabane, Minister Manuel, Deputy Minister Pule, the Director-General Dr Cassius Lubisi, advisers, management and Presidency staff in general for their hard work.
It is my pleasure to commend the Budget Vote of the Presidency to the House.
I thank you!