Source: The Presidency
Title: SA: Zuma: Address by the South African President to the Parliamentary Press Gallery Association, Parliament
Chairperson, Caiphus Kgosana,
Members of the Press Gallery Association,
Good afternoon and thank you for hosting us today.
We meet a few days after the State of the Nation Address and the Budget Speech.
Earlier today we officially opened the National House of Traditional Leaders.
The provinces are busy with the opening of legislatures and the State of the Province Addresses.
Ministers have also begun the post-State of the Nation media briefings.
We are therefore moving ahead swiftly as government, preparing for a busy year ahead.
As we said in the State of the Nation Address, this is a year of action and a year of doing things differently in government.
In my reply to the debate on the State of the Nation, I drew attention to the fact that nearly 70% of the South African population is under the age of 35.
This has profound implications for the development of our country in coming years and over the next few decades.
For this reason, all our planning is designed to ensure that we take into account the development challenges of a youthful country.
As I said in my presentation to the National House of Traditional Leaders earlier today, we decided to prepare a shorter programme of action this year.
We decided at the January lekgotla against presenting a long list, and opted for only 12 outcomes.
Departments will now finalise their activities aimed at achieving these outcomes.
Presenting 12 outcomes does not mean the rest of the work of government is not important.
All 34 Departments will continue to work harder and faster.
Let me reiterate that we want to do things differently, and that we are building a performance orientated State.
Since the outcomes approach presents a new way of doing things for all of us, there are bound to be hiccups here and there.
However, we are determined to work hard together to ensure success.
Let me emphasise also that the purpose of the outcomes approach is not to trap or punish Ministries or Departments.
We are working together as a collective.
Where there are delivery bottlenecks, the affected departments will be assisted to make improvements so that there can be faster and improved service delivery.
We are also looking forward to constructive working relations with our stakeholders.
We welcome the constructive comments from the South African Democratic Teachers Union (SADTU) regarding school assessments.
They have cautioned against apartheid era type of school inspectors, whose role was to punish rather than develop teachers and schools.
We agree with the union that the education department officials who will be sent to audit all
27 000 schools, as announced in the State of the Nation Address, must assist the educators and the schools to perform better.
With regards to the economy, this needs to be a year in which we move beyond economic recovery towards our goal of prosperity for all.
Our economy has been significantly affected by the global economic crisis.
Before then, we were already faced by the challenge of unemployment, inequality and poverty.
Given the recovery, we are in a position to pursue a new growth path.
The finalisation of this growth path will require the cooperation of all key players in the economy - government, labour, business and the community sector.
The growth path will take into account a number of factors, especially the inequality that has persisted in our society despite the achievements scored at a policy level since 1994.
The economic cluster is working on this new strategy.
Some elements were discussed by the Minister of Finance in the Budget Speech, and the Minister of Trade and Industry in the briefing on the industrial policy action plan last week.
In addition, we are continuing to implement the Framework Agreement to mitigate the impact of the global economic crisis.
The measures include providing an alternative to retrenchment, assistance to companies in distress and providing poverty relief through social grants and public works work opportunities.
The partnership of business, labour, community and government through NEDLAC, which manages the implementation of the framework agreement, has proven to be successful.
We indicated in the ANC election Manifesto that government will have to ensure that the mandates of development finance institutions are clear and truly developmental.
Their programmes must contribute to decent work outcomes, the achievement of our developmental needs and sustainable livelihoods.
The same applies to State-owned Enterprises.
We are all aware of the pivotal role of the SOEs in the economy.
It is clear that we need to conduct a comprehensivereview of enterprises with a view to making them more geared towards our development goals.
On current matters, Government as a shareholder is doing everything possible to assist the Boards to ensure that where vacant positions exist, they are filled, to remove uncertainty.
An announcement is imminent with regards to the South African Airways Chief Executive Officer.
The Board of Eskom is also at an advanced stage with its selection process, and an announcement will also be forthcoming soon.
Government is also paying serious attention to matters at Transnet with a view to resolving the issue of appointments.
We have noted the continuing debate around the nationalisation of the mines.
As said before, government does not have a policy to nationalise mines.
I would like to encourage the media to read the legislation governing mineral resources in the country.
The Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act of 2002 as promulgated in May 2004, gives effect to the notion of State custodianship of mineral rights.
The foreword of the law recognises the mineral wealth as a national asset, a common heritage that belongs to all in South Africa and pronounces the State as its custodian.
The Act acknowledges the right of the State to exercise sovereignty over all mineral and petroleum resources within the Republic.
The policy on minerals and mining does not make provisions for nationalisation of mining assets, but it does not preclude the State from participating actively in mining.
We have made background information available for your perusal, but encourage you to conduct your own research in this regard, so as to engage in this debate on nationalisation and contribute meaningfully.
Chairperson, we have also noted the public discussions on lifestyle audits.
Within government, we have measures in place that regulate members of the executive as well as public servants with regards to the disclosure of business interests, gifts and assets.
We are always looking at ways and means to make these measures more effective.
That is why we recently appointed an Inter-Ministerial Committee to fight corruption.
The Minister of Finance also outlined some of the measures we are putting in place to prevent and eradicate corruption in procurement within the public service.
We have no reason to doubt the efficiency of the structures we currently have in place to deal with this issue.
Ladies and gentlemen, next week we will be undertaking a state visit to the United Kingdom, at the gracious invitation of Her Majesty the Queen.
South Africa and the United Kingdom share deep historical bonds.
The United Kingdom is also a valued development and trading partner.
The country is South Africa's largest foreign investor.
Investment flows have increased from R21 billion in 2004, to
R47 billion in 2005.
Total trade between the two countries was valued at
R74 billion in 2008.
We will be accompanied by 12 Ministers and a business delegation comprising more than 170 people representing various sectors of the economy.
The visit will enable us to further market South Africa's potential as a destination of choice for trade and tourism.
The visit will contribute enormously to taking our relations forward at both a bilateral and multilateral level.
As you would be aware, South Africa will, on the 2nd of March, celebrate 100 days before the kick off of the FIFA World Cup.
This milestone takes us even closer to the tournament, which will be a celebration of a lifetime.
We will use our visit in London to further promote the World Cup, and will underline the message to the world that South Africa is ready in all respects for this spectacular event.
Let me reiterate that we are determined to make 2010 a year of action and a year of doing things differently.
I thank you.