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Source: The Presidency
Title: T Mbeki: Launch of W Cape Expanded Public Works
ADDRESS BY THE PRESIDENT OF SOUTH AFRICA, THABO MBEKI, AT THE
LAUNCH OF THE EXPANDED PUBLIC WORKS PROGRAMME, Gugulethu Township,
Western Cape, 2 September 2004
Minister of Public Works, Stella Sigcau
Premier of the Western Cape, Ebrahim Rasool
MEC for Transport and Public Works, Mcebisi Skwatsha
Mayor of the City of Cape Town, Nomaindia Mfeketho
Honourable MPs, MECs, Mayors and Councillors
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am happy to launch the Western Cape Expanded Public Works
Programme today, here in Gugulethu. As we know, this is an
important programme of government, which is aimed at creating the
much-needed infrastructure and services in the urban and rural
areas of our country, especially in the townships and villages that
have been neglected for many years.
Through the Expanded Public Works Programme government is
continuing with its task of pushing back the frontiers of poverty
and create work for our people. You would have noticed that this
programme has given many people an opportunity to work, people
whose desperate and desolate existence was a blot to the enormous
achievements of our ten years of freedom.
Through this and other programmes we make true our people's
contract, of working in partnerships with all sectors of our
society and the masses of our people, to create a better South
Africa for all her citizens.
Though this programme and others we are accelerating the pace of
our work and improving quality of our products such that, in time,
we must reach a point where there would not be a difference between
the township of Gugulethu and the suburb of Rondebosch. We have a
duty to use all our resources, in the public and private sectors,
to work towards a situation where the roads, services, shopping
complexes and economic opportunities are the same in every part of
South Africa, irrespective of whether one area used to be
designated exclusively to blacks or to whites.
We have a duty as South Africans, to bring to a stop the economic
boycott of our own areas by some of our own people whereby vast
resources would rather lie idle than to be invested in black
As government we invest in infrastructure such as through the
Expanded Public Works Programme because we believe that as we fight
poverty and create work, we need at the same time, to stimulate
creativity and energy of our people to fight the depressing
marginalisation of their areas.
Accordingly, for this programme to have a lasting impact, we need
strong partnerships with the private sector and the community so
that we build more infrastructure and create work opportunities,
particularly in poor areas such as Gugulethu, Mannenberg,
Khayelitsha, Elsies River, Langa, Crossroads and other areas of the
Western Cape and the rest of the country.
We are holding our meeting at NY 116 Stadium. I am told that NY
stands for Native Yard, and I am not sure what the number 116
stands for. However, as we know, in our unfortunate past, the word
native was used, wrongly, to refer to those who were supposed to be
inferior, backward and uncivilised and accordingly not fit to live
in humane and habitable conditions.
These were people who were only good to live under degrading
conditions; in locations and villages that had no proper roads, no
clean water, no electricity, no job opportunities and no proper
clinics. These people had to live far away from their places of
work and if they are lucky to work, had to toil under very bad
Today, all people, black and white, are proud to be the natives of
our country, not just because it is beautiful, but because many
have realised that South Africa offers greater and brighter
opportunities than was thought before and that working together in
the Native Yard that is South Africa, together we will enjoy a
better and prosperous life.
We are happy that we are launching this programme in Gugulethu
because those who forcibly removed the first residents of Gugulethu
from their homes in District Six, Elsies River, Kensington and
other places, thought they would condemn them to a slow death of
hopelessness, poverty and despair.
However, through the heroic struggles waged by you, the people of
this township, together with many more in the Western Cape and
other parts of our land, you have ensured that today we celebrate
ten years of freedom and we jointly make progress in our new
struggle against poverty and underdevelopment.
When we participated in the Imbizo here in the Western Cape in
August 2003, the people of this province raised many concerns among
them was that: