State of the Nation Address By His Excellency Jacob G Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa on the occasion of the Joint Sitting Of Parliament, Cape Town - 1

Honourable Members,

Our country has produced men and women of distinction, who have provided leadership during trying times.

One such leader was Mr Moses Kotane, former treasurer-general of the ANC and former SACP general secretary.

We are honouredto have his dear wife, Mama Rebecca Kotane, as our special guest this evening.

Mama Kotane turned 102 years old yesterday, and we wish her all the best.

We also pay tribute to the former ANC President Mr Oliver Tambo, who kept the torch of freedom alive both at home and abroad during the most difficult times of our struggle.

His son, Dali and his wife Rachel are sharing this occasion with us this evening.

We salute Solomon Mahlangu, a brave young man who went defiantly to the gallows in 1979 where he was executed at the age of 23. He said: “My blood will nourish the tree that will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them. They must continue the fight’’.

We are honoured to host his mother, Mama Martha Mahlangu and her grand-daughter Bathabile.

The year 2014 also marks the 40th anniversary of the cowardly murder through a parcel bomb, of student leader, Abram Onkgopotse Tiro in 1974 in Botswana.

We welcome his brother, Mogomotsi Tiro to this occasion. We express the gratitude of the people, for his brother’s selfless sacrifice.

We remember those who died in state-sponsored violence of the 1980s and 1990s in our townships and villages.

Ms Jabu Ndlovu, a former shopsteward of the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (NUMSA), was gunned down in 1988 in Pietermaritzburg together with her husband Jabulani and their son.

We welcome her daughter Luhle and son, Sanele, and pay tribute to all families who lost their loved ones, across the political spectrum.

Honourable Speaker,
Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP,

We were able to overcome all that pain of the past and build a new society.

We have built strong institutions of democracy.

We buried the undemocratic, unrepresentative, oppressive and corrupt state that was serving a minority.

We formed a unitary, non-racial, non-sexist democratic state, answerable to and representative of all South Africans.

We created a thriving constitutional democracy, with well-functioning arms of the state –the legislature, the executive and the judiciary.

We have Chapter 9 institutions which support democracy and protect the rights of citizens.
Liberation and democracy have also created space for an active civil society and a free media.

Liberation also brought for the first time, the promise of gender equality. The representation of women in public institutions has increased considerably since the dawn of freedom, and the extension of basic services also benefits women.

All these attributes have made South Africa a much better place to live in now than it has ever been.

However, our country still faces the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment, which we continue to grapple with. Dealing with these challenges has become a central focus of all democratic administrations.

We elected to focus on five priorities, education, health, the fight against crime and corruption, rural development and land reform as well as creating decent work.

We also reorganised the State to improve performance.

We created two key functions, long term planning as well as monitoring and evaluation.

We established the National Planning Commission which produced the landmark National Development Plan, the country’s socio-economic blueprint and one of the major achievements of this fourth administration.

The Plan outlines what we should do to eradicate poverty, increase employment and reduce inequality by 2030.

Our monitoring and evaluation indicates that many services continue to improve. For example, social grants and identity documents now take a shorter time to be processed. But many others still require further work.

I will report back on the five priorities, starting with the economy.

On average, the economy has grown at 3,2 percent a year from 1994 to 2012 despite the global recession which claimed a million jobs.

Working together as government, business, labour and the community sector, we nursed the economy to a recovery.

The national wealth, measured in terms of GDP, has grown to more than 3.5 trillion rand.

Jobs are now being created again.There are now 15 million people with jobs in the country, the highest ever in our history, and over 650 thousand jobs were created last year, according to Stats SA.

This is still not good enough. The unemployment rate still remains high. Youth unemployment in South Africa continues to be of concern, as it is throughout the world.

We are taking a number of measures, including the  Employment Tax Incentive Act which encourages employers to hire  younger workers.

Regulations will be passed to ensure that this does not affect unsubsidized or older workers adversely.

Further measures are contained in the National Youth Accord that was signed in Soweto last April.

The Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Work Programme continue to be an effective cushion for the poor and the youth.

We have created 3,7 million work opportunities over the past five years. Our people obtain an income and skills from the public works programme, which they use to seek formal employment.

Cabinet has set a target of 6 million work opportunities from this year to 2019, targeting the youth.

Our social assistance programme which now reaches about 16 million people, provides a safety for millions, especially vulnerable children.

Imizi eminingi ithola ukusizakala ngenxa yezibonelelo zikahulumeni, imaliyezingane, impesheni yabadala neyabakhubazekile.

Lezizibonelelo zizoqhubeka njalo ngoba imizi eminingi ithola ukusizakala ngoba amathuba emisebenzi ayivelakancane ngalesisikhathi somnotho ontengantengayo.

Lamathuba atholakala kuhulumeni, enza sisho ngeqholo ukuthi, iNingizimuAfrika esiphila kuyo namhlanje, ingcono kakhulu ukunaleyo esasiphila kuyo ngaphambikuka- 1994.

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