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Source: North West Provincial Government
Title: E Molewa: Inauguration as North West Premier
ADDRESS BY THE HONOURABLE EDNA MOLEWA ON THE OCCASION OF HER
INAUGURATION AS A PREMIER OF THE NORTH WEST PROVINCE, GARONA
BUILDING, MAFIKENG, 30 April 2004
Judge President Mogoeng
The honourable outgoing Premier, Dr Popo Simon Molefe
Hon. Minister Jeff Radebe
Colleagues in government
Executive Mayors, Mayors and Councillors
Our beloved traditional leaders
Provincial Commissioner of SAPS
Chairperson of Public Service Commission, Prof. Sangweni
Fellow South Africans
I am truly honoured to welcome all of you to the seat of the
provincial government, Mafikeng, on this solemn occasion of the
inauguration of the Second Premier of the North West Province. We
are deeply humbled that you could join us today.
Your presence not only lends dignity and importance to this
occasion, but also makes a profound statement that our democracy is
now firmly entrenched and embraced by all. There is no going
The recent elections delivered a resounding mandate by our people.
The campaign issues and the election results painted a stark and
narrow path that we must all travel to meet the needs of our
people. We assure the citizens of this province that to us the
purpose of our glory is not gloating. We embrace their mandate with
humility and dedicate ourselves to the challenges.
There comes a time in the history of nations when critical choices
have to be made. That time came in 1994 for the South African
nation, and we chose reconciliation over civil war, nation building
over national suicide, and peace over strife. Because of that
choice, all South Africans, black and white, are free today, the
one free from bondage and misery, the other free from guilt and
hatred, and that is why we are gathered here today.
In 1994 there was a gathering of today's character and purpose. In
1999 there was yet another one. This, the third since the advent of
democracy, reconfirms that we are indeed a free nation, a nation at
peace with itself and a nation on an irreversible path to
prosperity. It resoundingly re-echoes our national war-cry that
never again will one race oppress another in our country, never
again will one religion be privileged over others, never again will
traditional institutions and leaders be ignored, never again will
women be downtrodden, never again will children die of
malnutrition, never again will workers be exploited and, as the
President has pronounced, we will all be given our place in the
By gathering here today we are continuing, as the North West
Province, to stake our provincial claim in the national sun of
South Africa. In so doing, we join our compatriots in other
provinces as they too bask in the national glory of our country as
it begins the third lap of democracy and its tenth year in the sun.
This occasion thus forms an integral part of the celebration of the
tenth anniversary of our freedom, a celebration of the triumph of
good over evil, a celebration of the victory of that which is
humane over that which is inhumane, and indeed the celebration of
many milestones we have reached since our liberation in 1994.
On this historic day we must pay tribute to that generation of
leaders who have made massive contribution in the struggle to pull
our country and our province from the abyss and place it on the
path of genuine reconciliation and prosperity. I speak here of the
generation represented by our outgoing Premier, Dr Popo Simon
Molefe, Moses Kotane, Onkgopotse Tiro, Sol Plaatjie, Ruth Mompati
and many other who shaped the history of our province and, indeed
We walk in the footsteps of these heroes, and we must today make a
solemn pledge to carry their proud legacy forward, and never to
betray their faith in us to build on the foundation they have
We must today enter into a covenant with our people that,
collectively, we shall achieve new advances in the effort to create
new jobs, reduce poverty and limit unemployment by exploiting
natural wealth, flora, fauna and beauty of our province. We must
leverage to levels untried before our latent potential to be
another economic powerhouse by maximising our agricultural
production, developing our tourist appeal, exploring our
mineral-rich landscape, and diversifying and increasing our
manufacturing capacity. At a time when Africa is fast becoming
economically integrated our geographic location presents us with an
opportunity to benefit from the Pan- African synergies envisaged by
NEPAD and represented by the Platinum Highway.
I stand here convinced that, with the National Skills Development
Strategy founded upon our network of Further Education and Training
institutions, our reconfigured Higher Education Institutions and
the Sector Education and Training Authorities, we can ride on the
back of the macroeconomic sectors I have referred to and turn our
province into the economically well-oiled machine it has to be. If
we factor in government's own extended and accelerated public works
programme we have the makings of an economy, which offers our
people an escape route from, clutches of unemployment and
It is against the background of economic development and
opportunity that we shall finally win our battle against the
despondence of the youth, crime, HIV/AIDS, physical and
psychological violence against women, development of women, youth,
people with disabilities and the elderly.
We must reaffirm our commitment to taking our country and province
further in the struggle against racism, sexism and general
We must pledge to continue building strong local government as a
vehicle for effective service delivery, and indeed as government
tier closest to the people.
Democracy and its worth must be deepened through material
improvements in those conditions under which our people live.
The hallmark of a caring government is the extent to which it
places its citizens first. The noble concept of Batho Pele is our
government's underlining of our obligation, as the people's
representatives and public servants, that our mandate is to meet
our people's expectations, and to affirm their humanity in the
manner we treat them. The levels and quality of our service, then,
should be benchmarked against the extent to which they respect our
people's dignity. We do have to counter modern condition of
numbering people by seeing not the numbers but the hearts, minds
and souls pulsating with running blood and copious amounts of
We must make an undertaking to mobilise our people behind the
implementation of the expanded public works program, and to improve
health and education of all our people. This, and all other
interventions we commit ourselves to, we must do, not only for but
also with people. We have to reignite our people's passion in and
for themselves. As government we should challenge our communities
by handing some developmental responsibilities to them.
We must never rest until we have uprooted from our society the
scourge of corruption, which robs the poor of what is legitimately
theirs. Let us finally transcend the poor morality that our
historical condition of so-called independence promoted in making
it almost impossible for honest men and women to prosper.
We must do all these things, and many others, in honour of the
sacrifices made by generation of leaders I referred to earlier. We
owe it to them to ensure that their sacrifice, dedication and hard
work were not in vain.
Let us pause for a moment and reflect upon why they put their own
lives at risk so that we could be free. It is because for them only
freedom could lead to the material amelioration of the plight of
the people. What greater tribute to them then, than to plan and
execute massive infrastructural upgrades in our province,
particularly in rural areas which apartheid conveniently
If we realise the level of development required, then we shall
never again hear people's cry as echoed by the late Angolan
President and poet, Dr Agostinho Neto, when in the poem " Farewell
at the hour of parting" he says:
We are the naked children of the villages in the bush
The urchins without schools
Playing at rag football on the sands at noon
We are as well the contract labourers
Burning up our lives in the coffee fields
Ignorant black men
Who must show respect to the white man
And be afraid of the rich
We are your sons
Of the black township
Outside where the electric light does not reach
Men falling down drunk
Lost in the rhythm of a death drum
Full of hunger
Full of thirst
Ashamed to call you Mother
Afraid to cross the streets
Afraid of men
It is we"
As we accept the baton from those who came before us, we do so
satisfied that work has begun in earnest to address many challenges
faced by post-colonial Africa and articulated by the poem.
Inspired by massive progress made so far in improving quality of
life of our people, we enter the second decade of freedom confident
that acting together we can and will overcome challenges that still
lie ahead. It is only those without any political vision who will
see no way beyond our current situation.
This we can say without any fear of contradiction, that the future
looks infinitely brighter than our past and present. We are on
course and our goal is realizable. In the words of the famous
Chairman of Bear Stearns, Alan C Greenberg, "this place is rocking
and our job is to keep it rolling".
As we march together into the future, we must refuse to succumb to
the idea that the road ahead is so long and winding, the inclines
so steep, that the challenges are insurmountable. With all the
twist and turns, the ups and downs, the thorns and the thistles
ahead of us, we shall make it.
As fatigue sets in, we must be spurred on by the overwhelming
confidence our people have placed on us as government to work with
them towards lifting, from their shoulders, the intolerable burden
occasioned by our unhappy past.
Millions of our people expect us to move faster in pursuit of the
goal of a better life for all. They do so confident that, just as
we have never done before, we will not now hold them in
They are convinced that we will continue to serve their interests
faithfully, honestly and to the best of our abilities.
This places responsibility on us as public representatives not to
let them down. Indeed, many of the problems we face require
greatest possible unity among us as representatives of various
political parties. This unity will allow us to use our collective
strength and wisdom to weave our way through any turbulence to the
benefit of our people.
My vision of my government's relationship with opposition parties
is encapsulated in the following moving lines by the Zimbabwean
poet, Solomon Mahaka:
Last night we met,
My friend and I,
Two wars old
Said I to him, "Let us build bridges
To cross rivulets of blood
Canals of hate
Canyons of prejudice
And furrows of pain."
We must draw courage from the reality that as a province we have
come a long way. Together we have reached many milestones,
weathered many storms and overcome countless challenges.
I therefore wish to take this opportunity to once more extend a
hand of friendship to members of opposition parties to
constructively engage government as it attempts to find appropriate
responses to the may challenges facing our people. Let us not allow
our differences to stifle and reverse the important gains we have
made so far in improving quality of life of the people of the North
In my maiden State of the Province Address on the 28th of May 2004
I will elaborate on how we intend to tackle many socio-economic
challenges that continue to confront us as a province.
Let us unite behind the objective of building a better province for
all, confident as the speaker in Mongane Wally Serote's poem, who
I do not know where I have been,
I know I'm coming
I do not know where I have been
I know I heard the call.
On this special day, I wish to pay a special tribute to the
outgoing premier, Dr. Popo Simon Molefe. I believe that I speak for
all my colleagues in your cabinet when I define your leadership as
empowering, nurturing, critical, supportive, and in the words of
one of Charles Dickens's characters, 'Always at hand when wanted
and never near when not wanted'.
Friends, colleagues, comrades, our people have called. Let us leave
this place and prove that we have heard their call and that we are
responding to it.
I thank you all.
Issued by: North West Provincial Government
30 April 2004