Programme Director, Yusuf Abramjee
Chairperson of the Primedia Group, Paul Nkuna
CEO of the Independent Group of Newspapers, Tony Howard
The CEO of the Primedia Group of Companies, Kuben Pillay
The CEO of Primedia Broadcasting, Terry Volkwyn
The Editor of the Star, Makhudu Sefara
Deputy Minister of Sport and recreation, Gert Oosthuinzen
Chief Whip, Mathole Motshekga
General Bantu Holomisa
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Ladies and gentlemen.
Thank you for inviting me to this special occasion to mark the second anniversary of Lead South Africa today. This is indeed a very special occasion in the evolving moral character of our nation. I also wish to thank you for the breakfast this morning, you know without food there is no life.
In fact, I had contrived to finish my talk while you were still engrossed in your breakfast, following on the advice of Franz Kafka who says so long as you have food in your mouth, you have solved all questions for the time being. So my earlier intention was that I would speak while you were still solving all the questions for the time being through the act of feasting, getting away with whatever weaknesses that may be contained in my address.
As such I am deeply disappointed that you hurried through breakfast and you are now back to your heightened senses of curiosity. On a more serious note, let me take this opportunity to thank Team South Africa for gallantly representing our nation in the 2012 London Olympics.
So far Cameron van der Burgh, Chad le Clos and the rowing team of James Thompson, Matthew Brittain, John Smith and Sizwe Ndlovu have hoisted the South African flag with admirable finesse by winning gold medals. These are indeed magnificent achievements that suffuse our nation with an exalted protean spirit of patriotism. So hearty congratulations to team South Africa.
I am confident that more gold medals will follow as the games continue, further giving credence to our well-founded belief that we are indeed a winning nation.
It is commendable to see civil society, especially the media, taking an active role in contributing to the reconstruction and development of our nation. All South Africans must continue to hold hands and build on the foundations we have laid so that we can strengthen and consolidate our constitutional democracy.
Each positive contribution we make to our nation, whether big or small, helps our country expand its core vision of unity, democracy, non-racialism, non-sexism and justice. Further, the Lead SA initiative resonates with government's belief that working together we can achieve more. This is no empty slogan, for the challenges that beset society today cannot be left to government alone.
Government has identified the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality as the most demanding social realities that must be addressed with urgency. Each and every South African has to set their sights on making a contribution in a manner that answers the adage of the late American President, J F Kennedy, who said I ask not what your country can do for you ask what you can do for your country.
Our country is fortunate in that we have inherited the legacy of an illustrious generation of leaders who were visionary and epitomized high-minded values such as self-sacrifice, selflessness and the moral rectitude to stand for what is right despite the all-too-real prospect of insufferable consequences. In this regard, two weeks ago South Africans from all walks of life joined hands in celebrating Nelson Mandela Day, during which all of us were called upon to make a difference to those in need. Lead SA once again came to the fore, giving the day impetus.
This is as it should be, since Lead SA is among social forces inspired enough to ensure that every day is Mandela Day. As a leading force, Lead SA will serve to inspire people, through force of example, how to resist greed, selfishness and the degenerating culture of moral dissolution threatening to engulf society.
In this regard, your work is in keeping with the Lead SA's all encompassing slogan that says: "Stand up for the future you want for your family. Stand up for your community. Stand up, and lead South Africa".
This brings me to the all-important issue of active citizenship, a core element of participatory democracy first envisioned during the drafting of our constitution. The National Planning Commission, under the leadership of Minister Trevor Manuel, raises this in its report which is open for discussion and debate. It is the duty and responsibility of every citizen to take an active stand.
Lead SA's call says "stand up for the law". This is an important point because we cannot act outside the framework of the law. At the same time active citizenship is the bedrock upon which democracy is built. I am heartened by the reported results of the Primedia Group's Crime Line initiative which recently celebrated its fifth anniversary 3000 plus arrests and over R41-million of confiscations ¨C thanks to the tip-offs from the public.
We need, in the true spirit of Lead SA, to continue to grow and develop a culture of getting communities to blow the whistle on crime. We have to break our silence by doing what is morally and ethically right. In this regard, the failure to deliver school work books and text books is indicative of a passive citizenry whose silence is complicit in the commission of such a tragic folly.
Ordinarily the commission of such a failure would have prompted an active citizenry to call for action as far back as January this year. The fact that this issue of failure to deliver books only became part of our national discourse mid-year when the entire semester was almost lost is regrettable.
Ladies and gentlemen
Part of the merits of active citizenship that enhance the quality of democracy is the fight against corruption. Since inception Lead SA has made some notable gains against the spectre of corruption. Corruption is an immoral force, a pestilence that chokes the potential of a blossoming democracy. Corruption hollows out the democratic vision, creating despair where hope was supposed to flourish, instilling pessimism where optimism was supposed to take root.
Government through the Department of Arts and Culture recently hosted a social cohesion summit in Kliptown, in Soweto. Once again all the participants from a variety of social formations reconfirmed the need for stronger social cohesion. A critical achievement in this regard is the extent to which we have ended an era of confusion and stigma related to the HIV and AIDS epidemic.
Drawing from the example of the fortitude we have shown in dealing with the biggest pandemic to afflict health and social morality, we can emulate this example in dealing with other forms of discrimination, especially racial and ethnic chauvinism and its related intolerances.
Recently we were in Washington to attend the International Aids Conference and our story was told by a young lady from Soweto Ms Florence Ngobeni, who shared with the conference attended by 20 thousand participants the journey that we have travelled as a country.
Her own personal story mirrored our own journey as a country. Because as a young married woman she gave birth to a baby who was tested to be positive, and subsequent tests on her as a mother and her husband also proved that they were both positive, and because of those early years of her confusion, she lost her husband and her young baby.
But today she said that she is now on full ARV treatment and she is remarried and she gave birth to two wonderful babies who are negative. After 20 years of facing this pandemic head-on we can today speak of the possibility of:
The achievement of these ideals can only serve to help us to address the underlying social determinates of this pandemic.
We commend the Lead SA initiative for the following meritorious contributions in its short existence:
The success of these programmes demonstrates the amazing energy and clarity of vision by all the Lead SA stakeholders. I wish to congratulate Lead SA on launching the Heroes initiative today which aims to recognise many South Africans who are doing extraordinary work to make our country a success. Government recognises the pivotal role Lead SA has and continues to play in promoting and encouraging patriotism and national pride.
The month of August is dedicated to the memory and legacy of women from all walks of life who in 1956 marched to the Union Buildings in protest against oppressive brutal pass-laws of apartheid. It is the time of the year that re-ignites memories about the brave historical struggles of the women of our country against gender oppression.
This is an iconic time in the political almanac of our nation. This year's theme for the women's month will focus on addressing the challenges confronting rural women. In like manner, Lead SA should once again take up the cudgels in pursuance of this lofty ideal the struggle for gender equality.
I am confident that with concerted effort our society will finally rid itself of the scourge of gender oppression and see the blooming of new relations where the gender of human beings is as irrelevant as the shapes of their noses. I am aware that the road ahead is long, arduous and winding.
I nonetheless wish you well in your road ahead and want to appeal to fellow South Africans to support your philosophy, which is certainly a noble one. We all need to hold hands and make our country shine even further. I encourage all and sundry to adopt the Lead SA principles. You are all leaders and together we can do much more.
And I thank you for your attention.