Statement by President Jacob Zuma to The New Age/SABC Morning Live Breakfast session Mangaung, Free State
17 May 2012Premier Ace Magashule
Ladies and gentlemen good morning,
We are delighted to meet with you here in the beautiful historic Mangaung.
This special city gave birth to the oldest liberation movement in the continent, which brought about freedom and democracy to our country and our people.
A visit to Mangaung is inspirational. It reminds us of the men and women who met here 100 years ago, and decided that South Africa should be a free, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous democracy.
Whatever success we have had in the last eighteen years of democratic rule in this country is largely because of the wisdom of founding fathers and mothers of our democracy.
It is on the strength of their commitment and the foundation they laid, that our nation has registered significant progress in key areas such as poverty eradication, health, education and the economy, to name a few. They gave us a solid vision 100 years ago.
We are proud of the fact that we have done well in just a few years.
Our government‘s progressive pro-poor policies continue to assist in achieving significant reductions in the levels of severe poverty and in the improvement of the quality of life of millions of fellow South Africans.
Though we may be satisfied with the progress made, in a short space of time, we will not be complacent.
Too many households and communities remain trapped in poverty, unemployment and inequality and are unable to access the opportunities created by an improving political and economic climate.
It means we must continue to work together, as our forebears did 100 years ago, but with increased urgency, to address the socio-economic challenges that still confront our country.
The unfinished business of economic transformation, accelerating economic growth, creation of decent work and a caring society as well as sustained prosperity for all our people, is ongoing work.
We developed the New Growth Path framework to help us tackle some of these challenges. Some aspects of the New Growth Path such as infrastructure development, are a key focus area this year.
We also continue to make difference in the five areas we identified in 2009 - health, education, the fight against crime, rural development and creating decent work. In addition, we remain steadfast in working to consolidate our democracy and in strengthening relations between the three arms of the state, the judiciary, legislature and the executive to improve service delivery and the quality of life.
With regards to the priority areas, we continue to make progress in the fight against crime.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate our police officers for their sterling work in recent weeks in apprehending suspects in a number of high profile cases.
The improvement in the detection rates and arrest rates for crimes acts as a powerful deterrent and helps us to reduce the crime levels in our country.
We are also impressed with the progress made by the courts. An average of 1687 courts function daily in South Africa. The case finalisation rate is constantly being improved.
There has been an increase in conviction rates at the High Courts, Regional Courts and District Courts. The country-wide situation regarding the outstanding and backlog cases per court level is also improving.
We congratulate Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and the Heads of Courts on the work they are doing to improve the performance of the courts.
While good work is being done in the fight against crime, we remain very worried about crimes against children in particular.
The horrific rape of a 17-year-old Soweto girl made international headlines and has highlighted the need for all to support the police in dealing with crimes against women and children. Such brutality has no place in any normal society, and we can never condone or tolerate it.
We applaud the police for moving swiftly to arrest the perpetrators.
They demonstrated that perpetrators of violence against women and children will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.
The police and the courts are empowered to arrest, prosecute and convict perpetrators of violence against women and children by among others the Domestic Violence Act, Sexual Offences Act and the Children’s Act.
The South African Police Service has also re-established the specialised Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Unit, which ensures that dedicated investigators and other resources are assigned to cases where women and children are affected by violence.
The unit also assists in the preparation and support of witnesses during court procedures, working with social workers, educators and victim-support organisations.
Beyond the law enforcement agencies, we need society to work with us, rallying around this critical matter.
Therefore, Government is embarking on a massive campaign to raise awareness of the rights of children as articulated in the Children’s Act of 2005.
The campaign, known as Child Protection Week will run from 27 May to 3 June 2012 under the theme: “Working Together to Protect Children”. I will launch the campaign in Galeshewe in Kimberley on the 27th of May.
We call upon non-governmental and community organisations, labour, business and all sectors to join this campaign and raise awareness of the need to protect our children.
Ladies and gentlemen,
While the police continue to do sterling work in the fight against crime, we have also been concerned about recent negative publicity, which fortunately has not impacted on policing work.
The Minister of Police has acted on the matter affecting the police crime intelligence unit and has established a task team to investigate.
He has informed us that the task team has already met and is expected to complete the investigation within a month.
In addition, the Inspector General of Intelligence has the legal mandate of oversight with regard to the financial management of Crime Intelligence.
As part of her mandate, she is further able to look into any other issue that may arise in the course of this investigation.
Our country has enough instruments to ensure that there is no abuse of power or resources to further any objectives, especially by our intelligence and security services.
Our country’s constitution also has very specific provisions in this regard, protecting citizens from possible violations of their rights. There is therefore no need for alarm on this matter.
Let us give the Minister of Police the space to conclude this matter, assisted by other law enforcement agencies.
In the meantime, all law enforcement and security agencies continue to cooperate and work tirelessly to ensure a safe and secure South Africa.
Ladies and gentlemen,
South Africa has witnessed a few local protests again, purportedly about issues ranging from poor or no service delivery, lack of jobs, activities of foreign nationals and alleged corruption of officials.
Fact finding visits by Ministers have revealed that the issues are much more complex and revolve around the deeply rooted and long standing grievances of the people.
Government’s position is clear. We respect the right of citizens to protest peacefully as enshrined in the Constitution. However violent forms of protests that threaten lives and bring destruction to property are unacceptable and will be dealt with.
Government has policies and programmes to speed up the delivery of basic services in all communities. Often, the plans, progress made and challenges are not frequently or communicated to citizens at ward level, leaving them uninformed and vulnerable.
We have urged local government, the sphere that is closest to the people, to help us by strengthening and expanding the platforms for constructive two-way dialogue and interaction with citizens, supported by the provincial and national spheres.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have also noted the recent protests around youth employment support. As outlined in the 2011 discussion paper, we said that the youth support proposal would follow a particular process.
It was to involve discussions within the Economic Sectors and Employment Cluster on the youth employment incentive as part of the multi-pronged strategy to tackle youth unemployment.
We initiated discussions through the NEDLAC process to gather further inputs from social partners and then the final proposals were to be made to Cabinet.
Discussions have taken place within the Economic Sectors and the Employment Cluster and consultation with social partners began at NEDLAC on 10 May 2011 and are ongoing.
The proposal is just one of many government interventions intended to alleviate youth unemployment over the short-term and long-term.
Other than measures to boost economic growth to promote youth employment, we are also improving access to basic and higher education.
Already we have programmes to turn loans into bursaries for successful qualifying final year students at universities, while qualifying students can study for free at Further Education and Training Colleges.
We also have the Community Works Programme and others such as the National Rural Youth Service Corps, which received additional allocations in the 2012 budget to boost youth and overall employment in the short-term.
This government is investing in the youth and will continue to do so.
Moving to continental matters, the 25th of May is known as Africa Day worldwide, and is celebrated annually as a day of Africa's Independence from colonialism and oppression, not just in Africa but globally.
This year on Africa Day, South Africa will mark Africa Day and the 10th anniversary of the African Union by hosting the historic Global African Diaspora Summit in partnership with the African Union.
We are proud to host this conference as the continent values the significant role the African Diaspora played in the struggles against colonialism and apartheid.
We continue to perceive the Diaspora as vital in the pursuit for a peaceful and prosperous Africa.
The Summit will bring together various stakeholders from all over the continent including Heads of State and Government.
It will help in creating sustainable partnerships and development for the people of our continent and beyond.
It will also devise strategies on how to deal with skills development, boost African trade and invest in infrastructure development whilst strengthening the Pan-African agenda.
South Africa's hosting of the Global African Diaspora Summit is also in line with our foreign policy objectives, which include our determination to consolidate the African Agenda and strengthen Pan-African solidarity.
We look forward to hosting Africans from Africa and around the globe in this historic conference.
On the issue relating to the candidacy of the Minister of Home Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma to the African Union Commission as chairperson, we reiterate that we are driven by the principle of strengthening the AU and improving its functioning and operations.
We also believe in the principle of giving all regions of the AU the opportunity to serve the organisation.
South Africa has no intention of dominating the continent or to bully any country or structure.
We will serve, if elected, as a humble, loyal and disciplined member of the African Union.
We stand ready to respect whatever outcome emerges from the AU summit in Malawi. We all have a responsibility to promote the unity of the African Union so that it can continue its task of serving the peoples of Africa, leading them out of poverty and the legacy of centuries of colonialism and underdevelopment.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Fellow South Africans at home,
Thank you for the opportunity to address you this morning.
Issued by: The Presidency
17 May 2012
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