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 - 4

Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP,

Honourable Speaker

The overall crime rate has decreased by 21 percent since 2002 and work is ongoing to make communities safer.

One of the key focus areas is to eradicate violence against women and children. We have introduced a number of measures to respond to this challenge.

These include the reopening of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units as well as the Sexual Offences Courts.

We thank the many NGOs that promote the rights of women and children who contribute positively to this important work.

Our country continues to be the target of rhino poachers.

Our law enforcement agencies are working hard to arrest this scourge.  We have also reached agreements with China, Vietnam, Kenya, Mozambique and other SADC countries to work together to stop this crime.

We thank the business community and all South Africans who participate in the campaign to save the rhino.

Compatriots

The independence of the judiciary has been further enhanced by the establishment of the Office of the Chief Justice as a separate institution from the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development. We have passed several pieces of legislation to support this new role of the Office of the Chief Justice.

Progress is being made in the transformation of the judiciary to reflect the race and gender demographics of the country.

The Chief Justice of the Republic continues to champion and lead this transformation.

Black judges (African, Indian and Coloured) now constitute 61% of all judges.

However, the acute under-representation of women on the bench remains of concern. Of the judicial establishment of 239 judges, only 76 are women.

The challenge is to transform the legal profession broadly in order to nourish the pool from which female judges can be appointed.

The finalisation of the Legal Practice Bill will assist to broaden the pool from which potential judicial officers could be selected.

Honourable Speaker and Chairperson,

South Africans are united in wanting a corruption free society. Fighting corruption within the public service is yielding results.

Since the launch of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline by the Public Service Commission, over 13 000 cases of corruption and maladministration have been referred to government departments for further handling and investigation.

Government has recovered more than 320-million rand from perpetrators through the National Anti-Corruption Hotline.

Some of the successes of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline include the following:

1 542 officials were dismissed from the Public Service.
140   officials were fined their three month salary.
20 officials were demoted
355 officials were given final written warnings.
204 officials were prosecuted.

To prevent corruption in the supply chain system, government has decided to establish a central tender board to adjudicate tenders in all spheres of government.

This body will work with the chief procurement officer whose main function will be to check on pricing and adherence to procedures as well as fairness.

The Special Investigating Unit is investigating maladministration or alleged corruption in a number of government departments and state entities, through 40 proclamations signed by the President during this administration. We will keep the public informed of the outcome of the investigations.

In the first six months of last year, the Asset Forfeiture Unit paid a total of 149 million rand into the Criminal Assets Recovery Account and to the victims of crime.

This is 170% above its target of 55 million rand and is higher than it has ever achieved in a full year.

Last year, the competition authorities investigated large-scale price fixing in the construction industry and fined guilty companies 1.4 billion rand.

Further steps against those involved are now underway.

Compatriots,

I would now like to touch briefly on the provision of basic services to our people.

Over the past 20 years, remarkable achievements have been made in increasing access to services such as water, sanitation and electricity.

Government has begun an intensive programme to eliminate  the bucket system as part of restoring the dignity of our people.

Phase One of the programme will eradicate buckets in formalized townships of the Free State, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape.

Phase Two will eradicate buckets in informal settlements in all provinces.

In housing, about 3 million housing units and more than 855 thousand serviced sites were delivered since 1994.

Nearly 500 informal settlements have been replaced with quality housing and basic services over the past five years.

The next administration will promote better located mixed income housing projects.

Compatriots,

Some communities still do not have these services especially in informal settlements and rural areas.We are therefore working with all spheres of government to ensure the provision of these services, especially in the 23 municipalities with the greatest number of backlogs.

Compatriots

In last year’s State of the Nation Address, I raised my concern with the manifestation of violence in some of the protests taking place in our country.

Violent protests have taken place again around the country in the past few weeks.

Also worrying is what appears to be premeditated violence, as is the case with the use of petrol bombs and other weapons during protests.

The democratic government supports the right of citizens to express themselves.

The right to protest, peacefully and unarmed, is enshrined in the Constitution.

However, when protests threaten lives and property and destroy valuable infrastructure intended to serve the community, they undermine the very democracy that upholds the right to protest.

The dominant narrative in the case of the protests in South Africa has been to attribute them to alleged failures of government.

However the protests are not simply the result of “failures” of government but also of the success in delivering basic services.

When 95% of households have access to water, the 5% who still need to be provided for, feel they cannot wait a moment longer.

Success is also the breeding ground of rising expectations.

Let me also add Honourable Members, that any loss of life at the hands of the police in the course of dealing with the protests cannot be overlooked or condoned.

Loss of life is not a small matter. We need to know what happened, why it happened. Any wrongdoing must be dealt with and corrective action must be taken. Police must act within the ambit of the law at all times.

Having said this, we should also as a society be concerned that  between 2005 and 2013, close to 800 police officerswere killed.

The police are protectors and are the buffer between a democratic society based on the rule of law, and anarchy. As we hold the police to account, we should be careful not to end up delegitimising them and glorify anarchy in our society.

The culture of violence originated from the apartheid past. We need to conduct anintrospectionin our efforts to get rid of this scourge.

As leaders from all walks of life, we must reflect on what we did or did not do, to systematically root out the violence that surfaced in protests during the early days of our democracy.

We have a collective responsibility to build a society that respects the rule of law, respects one another and which respects life and property.

We should work together to rebuild Ubuntu and a culture of responsibility in our society.

Honourable Speaker,

Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP,

A decision has been taken to improve functioning of local government.

The amendment of the Municipal Systems Act is intended to improve the capacity of municipalities to deliver services.

Qualified and experienced personnel must be deployed in municipalities.

We also need to strengthen existing forums of people’s participation and enable our people to play a greater role in development.

The fight against corruption must be intensified as well, especially given reports that some services are interrupted or stopped, so that certain people could provide those services at cost to the state.

These matters are being prioritised for the next administration.

Honourable Speaker and Chairperson

Democratic South Africa’s foreign policy was shaped many decades ago during the fierce international campaign to isolate the apartheid state.

ANC President Oliver Tambo played a key role in that regard, assisted by among others, the late Johnny Makatini, former head of international affairs.

His wife, Mrs Valerie Makatini is one of our honoured guests this evening.

Africa has remained at the centre of our foreign policy.

We have worked hard to strengthen support for the African Union, SADC and all continental bodies whose purpose is to achieve peace and security.

We have also prioritised the promotion of regional economic integration, infrastructure development, intra-African trade and sustainable development in the continent.

This year we also submitted our third country report to the AU African Peer Review Mechanism which was well received.

We continue to support peacemaking and conflict resolution.

Progress is being made in negotiations between Sudan and South Sudan on outstanding issues following the secession.

Following requests from Sri Lanka and South Sudan for assistance in bringing about peace and reconciliation, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, has been appointed as South Africa’s Special Envoy to the two countries.

His expertise in conflict resolution and negotiations as well as our country’s experience in this regard, will greatly assist the two countries to resolve their problems.

We will continue to strengthen relations with Europe, North America, Latin America, Asia and countries in the South.

Participation in international multilateral forums such as the G20 have been beneficial for the country.

And joining the Brazil, Russia, India and China (BRIC) group in December 2010 counts as among the key achievements of the fourth administration.

It was also a great honour to host the Fifth BRICS Summit on 27 March 2013 in Durban, which saw the participation of African leaders to discuss developmental cooperation with BRICS.

We will continue to serve diligently in the United Nations in promotion of strong international governance.

We will also continue promoting the reform of the UN Security Council and global financial institutions.

Honourable Members

As President of the COP17/CMP7 United Nations Climate Change conference which was hosted in Durban in 2011, South Africa successfully placed the world on an unassailable course, through the adoption of the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action.

Compatriots,

Over the past 20 years we have hosted a number of international sporting and cultural visits, which has helped to boost social cohesion and unity.

In the past five years, South Africa hosted the highly successful 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup and other key soccer, rugby and cricket tournament, which left a tangible feeling of pride and unity among all South Africans.

As we celebrate 20 years of freedom, we will do so having done well in building a new heritage landscape for our country.

A number of new museums and monuments were established, including the statue of Former President Mandela which has become a landmark in the Union Buildings.

More than 2000 geographical names have been changed in order to correct the ill-naming of places, as well as to give communities the right to determine the names of their areas.

Honourable Members

Allow me to acknowledge some of our compatriots who are making their mark in the world.

We congratulate Ladysmith Black Mambazo on winning their fourth Grammy Award last month. We welcome the group leader, Mr Joseph Shabalala, one of our guests this evening.

We also acknowledge Ms Yvonne Chaka Chaka who is one of our guests this evening.

She is doing a lot of good work as the United Nations Children’s Fund Goodwill Ambassador for Malaria in Africa and also the United Nations Millennium Development Goals Special Envoy for Africa.

Ms Chaka Chaka was also honoured with the Crystal Award by the World Economic Forum in Davos for her humanitarian work.

We also recognise, in her absence, our Oscar Award-winning Hollywood star, Ms Charlize Theron.

Ms Theron is also the UN Messenger for Peace. She also champions the fight against AIDS especially amongst the youth and young women.

She was also honoured by the World Economic Forum with a Crystal Award.

Compatriots

You would have noticed that in this SONA we have given a report of the past five yearsin particular and over the past 20 years in general.

This is not an occasion to present the programme of action for this financial year. That programme will be presented by the new government after the elections.

To prepare for that first State of the Nation Address by the incoming administration later in the year, we have over the past year, been working on a Medium Term Strategic Framework.

The Framework has been designed as the first five year building block of the National Development Plan, from 2014 to 2019.

It also incorporates key targets of the Industrial Policy Action Plan, the New Growth Path and Infrastructure Plan.

The intention is to table the draft Framework to the first Cabinet Lekgotla after the elections.

It will be refined by the new administration in line with its electoral mandate, so that work can start as soon as possible after the formation of a new government.

It has been an honour for my administration and I to build on the foundation laid by the first three democratic administrations, to serve the people of South Africa.

As a country we have scored many successes.

South Africa is a much better place to live in now than it was before 1994.

We continue to face challenges. But life will also continue to change for the better.

Nkosi Sikelel’ i Africa

God Bless Afrika.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency

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