Transcript of South African Broadcast Corporation interview with President Mbeki after the State of the Nation Address
10 February 2008
Tsepiso Makwetla: Hello, and welcome. You’re watching a special broadcast here on SABC 2. We’re speaking to President Thabo Mbeki, Head of State of the Republic of South Africa, following his State of the Nation Address on 8 Friday, 2008. Mr. President, good evening, and thank you very much for joining us.
President Thabo Mbeki: Good evening.
Tsepiso Makwetla: Mr President, your State of the Nation Address, there were a lot of expectations around it. And notably you quoted from Charles Dickens, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”. But you’re very clear about the fact that you disagree with some of those crossroads that Dickens spoke about. Why would you disagree if this is how people generally feel?
President Thabo Mbeki: Well, I mean, we thought that we should raise the matter because indeed, you know, many people around the country have been expressing some concern about where the country is going because they see from their perspective some things which go wrong. I mean, the first thing of course is electricity – an emergency which descended upon people without warning. Because we’ve always known that we’ve got plentiful electricity and so on, and suddenly you’ve got these outages. It suggests there must be something wrong. Not just with Eskom, but more generally. And other things of that kind. So, we thought it was important to acknowledge that there are people who’ve got fears, who might think that something has changed or something is changing in a negative direction. And so that’s why we thought we should raise the matter, because I’m quite convinced that essentially the country continues to move ahead in the direction that it has moved in the last … indeed first 14 years of our democracy. You know, even the electricity crisis and other things that have happened, you know people sort of feel a bit shaken about the future. But I thought it was important to make a point that no, the country hasn’t lost course, it hasn’t lost direction. And that the programmes and the directions in which the Government has been taking the country for these last 14 years are not going to change.
Tsepiso Makwetla: Mr President, you used two words. You speak about change but you said negative change. And also going back to the Dickens example, what if people were to say referring to the political atmosphere in the country that indeed there has been negative change, that it’s not perceived. What would you respond to that?
President Thabo Mbeki: Well, people would have to say what it is that they’re talking about. I suppose you’re probably referring for instance to the ANC conference in December. One of the notable things about that conference is again that if you look at the policy decisions that were taken by the conference, the decisions adopted there, they don’t change policy in any way. Whether you’re talking about economic matters or social matters or any other matter, they really basically reaffirmed the correctness of the policies that we’ve been pursuing. It might be that people have a different sense, a perception perhaps that there’s some radical change in terms of the political direction in which we’re going, and there isn’t. As I say, if you go through any of the resolutions that were adopted there, the country stays on the same course. Those policy decisions reaffirmed the correctness of the policies that we’ve been pursuing. So, whichever way people read what came out of the Polokwane conference of the ANC, I’m saying the fact of the matter is that it didn’t change the policy direction in which the country is going.
Challenges implied by the change in leadership
Dr Snuki Zikalala: Mr President, the changes that happened in Polokwane in terms of leadership, in some areas it brought negatives and some areas it brought positives. In some areas, it brought tensions. How do you allay people’s fears and tensions because of these changes, especially within the political leadership of the ANC? Though the programme of the policies of the ANC intact, the economic policies intact, but there was that radical change of leadership within the ANC. And so, there is what you call apprehension within certain areas of the society.
President Thabo Mbeki: Well, that’s a matter must be addressed to the ANC. The ANC must address that particular issue. But you know, as you were saying Tsepiso, quite correctly, the State of the Nation Address is delivered by the President of the Republic to reflect on government policies and government programmes. And in that context, to talk indeed about the wider society, about where the country is going from the point of view of the Government. And so, as I say, Polokwane didn’t change anything about which way we should take the country in terms of the economy, in terms of education, in terms of agriculture, in terms of health − in terms of all sorts of things. So, indeed people might have their different varying reactions to the leadership changes, but those leadership changes did not signify a change in terms of direction.
Energy emergency resulting in power outages
Tsepiso Makwetla: Mr President, I go back to you saying you do not believe it is the worst of times. But, this energy crisis certainly has brought about a sense that there’s either a loss of control in terms of how the situation came about and how capable the Government is of dealing with it. So, using Charles Dickens, that analogy, and going back and saying I don’t believe it’s the worst of times, could you possibly be misinterpreted as not agreeing with how grave some people feel the situation is?
President Thabo Mbeki: No, there wasn’t time during the presentation of the State of the Nation Address to address, to explain where the problem of electricity comes from. The problem of electricity comes from growth. It comes from the growth and the development of the country. Not from a country going down, but a country going up, with the growth of the economy. If you look at this from the point of view of the information put out by Statistics South Africa, you’d notice that on a number of occasions they have had to review the figures that they’ve issued, for instance about the gross domestic product, and revise them upwards. Because the system and the models they were using were tending to underestimate the size of the economy, the rate of growth of the economy. And so, they published those figures and we all plan on that basis. And in the practice they are then shown to be wrong. So, that’s why they would then revise upwards the growth rates. So, that’s part of what has put pressure on electricity supplies. And the second of course is the very big electrification programme generally of households, both urban and rural, again resulting in a bigger uptake in terms of electricity. And what that did is whereas Eskom had over the years tried to ensure that it maintains what they call a reserve margin, something like 16% capacity to produce more electricity, in periods where the electrical demand for electricity shoots up, that reserve margin went down as more people got to use electricity, with the result that when you have demand peaking, then the system couldn’t cope. The electricity emergency is borne out of positive development in the country. It’s like you see this thing on the roads. It’s clear that in many instances, particularly around the big cities, our roads are not coping with the volume of traffic. It doesn’t signify a breakdown, it signifies that more people are buying cars. And the only way people are going to buy more cars is because more people have got money to buy cars. You see, the problem was a problem of an underestimation of the demand for electricity, and therefore planning for increases in demand of electricity which were wrong. Whereas we should have planned for higher rates of growth and therefore higher rates of demand for electricity, and therefore intervene with regard to building new generating capacity earlier than we actually did. I’m saying the problems around electricity arise not from negative factors, but they arise from positive factors, and I think we got ourselves persuaded to be more on the pessimistic side about that growth. To believe more when somebody says, well, “you know you’re growing at 2%”. And somebody else says “no, you’re growing at 4%”. The tendency has been “let’s believe the one who says 2%”. But that results in wrong planning.
Tsepiso Makwetla: Mr President, let’s explore that issue of energy and the impact around it. You used words such as underestimation, we spoke about the issue of planning. And it is because of these things that some people feel that then somebody must take accountability. Somebody then needs to be fired to show that the Government is sincerely saying “we understand, we did something, somewhere wrong”.
President Thabo Mbeki: Well, I actually don’t understand, Tsepiso, that kind of thinking myself. I don’t. You see, we’ve got a problem to solve here. It might make a good story for the SABC that somebody has been fired. I’m saying that in part all of us, everybody in the country, misread what was happening to this economy. You see it everywhere. As I say, look at the roads and look at harbours and the railways and all sorts of things like that. I was saying that you know people tended to find it more comfortable to make an underestimate, to be more pessimistic. And that results in wrong planning. It’s not like it’s because Snuki Zikalala is not turning up at work to switch on the lights that you have a problem. So, we have to respond to the problem that we have. And as you know, we’ve said that let’s look at this question of conservation of the use of electricity, and various measures have been announced …
Tsepiso Makwetla: Mr President, with due respect, if I may interrupt you. If you look at the 2006 Nersa report on the Koeberg power outages, one of the words that came out quite frequently was “negligence”. There was even mention of “irregular maintenance”. So, as much as I hear the President says “as a country we need to take responsibility for that”, the South African public might argue and says on the issue of leadership “somebody was tasked with overseeing those things, why does that person not take accountability and therefore take the fall”?
President Thabo Mbeki: No, Tsepiso, I’m saying we’ve got a problem to solve. You might be happy to say one individual was sacked somewhere or the other. It’s not going to give you electricity. There are problems of maintenance at Eskom, which they themselves have raised publicly. And again you know maintenance became a problem, so, whatever routine you had to address the maintenance issue, the routine was overtaken by the objective development in terms of demand for electricity. So, the routine might have been alright, at certain levels of economic activity and demand for electricity therefore. And at other stages, when the demand is much higher then those routines have to be changed. There’s nobody at Eskom or Minerals and Energy, or Public Enterprises, who was not working, who was not attending to their particular task as a result of which you get this thing. I think reading as though there was some person there who was sitting doing nothing, sleeping instead of working is a wrong one. And I think it’s a wrong direction to look at, and it’s a wrong direction in which to point the country. And I think it’s a cul-de-sac. You can sack as many people as you like, it’s not going to bring electricity. What we’ve got to do is to address the actual challenges that we face.
Dr Snuki Zikalala: Mr President, you spoke about business unusual. What has really changed despite the electricity crisis that you spoke about, when you say it’s now business unusual?
President Thabo Mbeki: You will see Snuki that we have been saying this for a long time now, and we’ve just been talking about it now, that basically the policy directions in which the country is going are correct. The policy positions of the Government are correct. And so, the principal task we face is not to elaborate new policies. The principal task we face is to ensure that the policies that have been decided on are implemented. I was saying then in the State of the Nation Address, that we’ve got to address that matter of implementation in a new way. It probably comes back to the matter that we should not work in the same way as we have worked in the last five years. You need more energy, more application, more attention to detail, all sorts of things like that − to make sure that its correct policy positions, and to translate into change in much shorter periods of time. So we’ve got to do things differently. That’s the point that we’re making. And I’m quite sure that that is a perfect thing to do, and that’s what we must do.
Vote of no-confidence
Dr Snuki Zikalala: Mr President, the ID is calling for a vote of non-confidence in you as a result of handling of the electricity crisis, and the DA saying they’ll propose dissolving the National Assembly. What’s your opinion about that?
President Thabo Mbeki: Well, they can do that. I suppose they have a right to do things like that. We’ll see what they do. I have doubts myself about whether they’d − even if they combined, the DA and the ID − be able to persuade Parliament to take decisions of that kind.
Tsepiso Makwetla: Mr President, you were speaking about government policy and how nothing has changed and you at some point even mentioned that the fundamentals are in place. But there is a concern and some economists have even sounded the alarm that growth is slowing down, coupled with various factors. How does this impact on government’s objectives of, for instance, unemployment, of alleviating poverty?
President Thabo Mbeki: Well, I’m repeating myself, we are not going to change policies. And indeed, I said this is the penultimate State of the Nation Address for the current government. You know the elections are coming next year, so I think it would be very foolish to try now to add so late in the day of the current Parliament and government any radically new policies. So, economic growth may very well slow down, as economic growth is slowing down in the United States and all sorts of other countries in the world. It may very well slow down, but that doesn’t change the direction in which the country is going. So we’ve said, for instance with regard to the economy, that the process of the naturalisation of the country must continue, and therefore we must implement the industrial policy action plan. That’s why I said that two and a half billion rand was set aside for that industrialisation process − it won’t stop there − as well as an additional five billion rand in terms of tax incentives, to encourage the growth of industry, manufacturing and so on. So, there may very well be a slowdown, but it doesn’t change the character, the nature, the direction in which the country would develop.
Directorate of Special Operations/Scorpions
Tsepiso Makwetla: Mr President, just to go back to some of the issues arising from that address. There was a lot of anxiety prior to your address on the issue of the Scorpions. And you mentioned in your speech that at some point towards the end of March there will be an engagement with Parliament on the process. What will inform that engagement? I mean, in terms of if you look at the statement made by the ANC’s NEC on what should happen with the Scorpions, you yourself mentioned the Khampepe Commission recommendations. Which line will government be following in implementing in this proposal?
President Thabo Mbeki: Well, I thought I’d explained this. You see, indeed Judge Khampepe, who sat on this judicial commission, made certain recommendations. The Scorpions were set up to specialise in organised crime. The first thing that we must address as government is the issue of organised crime. We did a review of the criminal justice system as I indicated, but not only dealing with the matter of organised crime but the system as a whole. You would find that in terms of government structures you have the DSO, the Scorpions. As I was saying, it was constituted specifically to focus on organised crime. The police has a division, which specialises in organised crime. You have the Financial Intelligence Centre, which is focusing on organised crime. You have National Intelligence, the South African Secret Service, and the Customs Services. All of these deal with organised crime. So, the challenge for the Government was to say “what do we do around this whole area of organised crime”? And it couldn’t be just the Scorpions, what about the other elements in the government system that deal with that? So, the review of the criminal justice system therefore had to go beyond just the Scorpions. So I said in Parliament on Friday, that the ministers of justice and of safety and security will address all the details of these matters next week. So, I can understand people just saying Scorpions, Scorpions. But in fact, it’s not just the Scorpions in the country that are dealing with organised crime. And you couldn’t deal with the Scorpions as a kind of stand-alone thing. You had to deal with it in context of organised crime. The thing that’s very special about the Scorpions is that it is placed together with the National Prosecuting Authority. None of these other institutions that fight organised crime are there. And that is the one matter that is specific to the Scorpions, and therefore that is a matter that Judge Khampepe addressed. And it’s a matter that we then had to address in the context of the overall review. Now, as I said, the ministers will give details about this thing, and certainly the view of the Government is that you’ve got to deal with this in an integrated way.
You couldn’t just talk Scorpions and not talk about the Organised Crime Division in the police service, and the relation between them − what do they do together. One of the issues that arose about the Scorpions was that the law doesn’t allow the Scorpions to undertake intelligence work. But it raises a problem. Because that’s an investigative unit, the Scorpions. But how do you investigate where you are prohibited from carrying out intelligence? So I’m saying there are various matters of this kind. If it doesn’t have the right to legally to carry out intelligence work, then how does it link up with the organs that deal with intelligence? So it’s a complex matter, it’s not merely a matter of just one unit.
Tsepiso Makwetla: But without being pedantic, Mr President, I think the concern is whether or not ultimately the intention by government, the intention by government, the intention by the ANC in its resolutions is to keep the Scorpions operating as a unit which some people say…
President Thabo Mbeki: The thing to do… I’m saying the thing to focus on is that the Scorpions were established to fight organised crime. The issue that arises is whether or not the Government continues, determined to fight organised crime. And indeed I said this very clearly, that this remains a principal matter of focus. So, at the end of the day whatever happens in terms of that or the comprehensive review of the criminal justice system, the question that must be answered is whether we have the strength and the capacity to fight organised crime or weaken it. And indeed I was saying on Friday we must make sure that we in fact increase the capacity to fight organised crime. It can’t be just an obsession about one institution of government that’s fighting organised crime, it’s got to be about the totality of the institutions that we have. And I’m saying that the Government remains very, very firmly committed to ensuring that our capacity to fight organised crime is enhanced, not reduced.
Dr. Snuki Zikalala: Now Mr President all that you’re saying to us and the public is that the Scorpions won’t be dissolved but will be realigned.
President Thabo Mbeki: I keep saying, Snuki, the minister will explain all of these things. We can spend a whole hour discussing this, because we are dealing with a complex thing. I’m talking about the criminal justice system as a whole. The fact of the matter is whatever happens to the Scorpions, we will try to ensure that our capacity to fight organised crime, even maintaining the specialist nature of the capacities that were supposed to be in the Scorpions, you don’t lose that either. That’s the outcome, that’s what you must get at the end.
Action on the National Commissopner of Police
Dr Snuki Zikalala: Mr President, you said that you do have trust in the former Police Commissioner, Jackie Selebi. Now that he’s been charged and of course has not appeared in court, is that trust still there?
President Thabo Mbeki: I don’t know in what context now that was said. I mean, what I said in the past was if anybody brought me evidence to show that the Commissioner of Police, had engaged in criminal wrongdoing, of course we will act. And what happened, again I think I’ve explained this thing, is that the National Prosecuting Authority came to me to say they had received allegations about criminal misconduct in the past of the National Commissioner of Police. We’re investigating those allegations, and I said fine. And then they would say that they would like me to assist them with regard to those investigations, I said fine. And so where they said for instance we would now like to interview the National Commissioner of Police, I said fine − I spoke to him, they interviewed him. We’d now like to gain access to certain documentation that the Police Service has, fine. So, I do that they can access to that information. And that’s all that happened. And at the end of it all, they say that we now think that we can charge National Commissioner of Police, I say okay. And therefore then he went on leave from his job, so that the prosecutors can then do what they believe is correct. So, that’s what happened.
Tsepiso Makwetla: We’ve been going through various issues arising from your address. One of the issues you spoke about was education and one government objective in 2004, you said yourself, was that by the end of that year you hope for a situation in which no child remains studying under a tree. Yet, that is still a reality in certain parts of the country.
President Thabo Mbeki: Yes, no doubt that is true. You know the system, the South African constitutional system of government. Schools fall under the provinces, and indeed every year if you look at the budget, every year national government allocates funds to the provinces to be able to do their work as far as schools is concerned, including a capital budget for dealing with schools. And it’s true that in some provinces they have not moved as fast as we wanted them to move. So it’s a matter that we raise all the time, about the need for the provinces really to complete this process of removing kinds of schools that are physically, in terms of their school buildings themselves, not the sort of buildings that you would want to put children in. But sure, it’s true that in some provinces they haven’t made as much progress as we wanted to.
Tsepiso Makwetla: Mr President, if that is the case, you also then spoke of accelerating no-fee schooling systems, and that objective against what you have just said, that government set a target for achieving something and has been unable to do so, one would ask the question are you then not getting ahead of yourself? Should you not be concentrating on ensuring on achieving one objective before you move onto the next one?
President Thabo Mbeki: There’s no reason why we can’t achieve both. There’s no reason that to make sure that people, children who come from poor families don’t have to carry this burden of having to pay fees. You can’t say that that should wait until we’ve built a better school. I am saying you can do both. Must do both. Increase the number of no-fee paying schools, while you attend to the matter of schools that might not physically be in good shape. As indeed I am sure you’d have to attend to all other matters with regard to the educational system. And I don’t think you can… it would be correct to sequence them. To say we finish this first and then we come to another one tomorrow. When I think we’ve got the means to do both at the same time.
Dr Snuki Zikalala: Mr President, you announced during the State of the Nation Address that children at school be taught an oath of allegiance to the country. What does it mean? What made you to think about that?
President Thabo Mbeki: You see, all of us had been talking now, the country has been talking and trying to do something about this for a long time, this whole issue of moral regeneration. Of ensuring that the society is informed by a certain value system, so that we are able to deal with other matters whether it’s crime or misbehaviour, misconduct of one kind or the other. And we believe as government that indeed it is a very important matter, and that it would be good to start even during those school years. I mean, if you look at other situations in the States, take the United States for instance. The United States in the school system has had for many, many years the same system. Aas the children grow up you’re taught about… you value human life, human solidarity, you know, be aware. Let’s all inculcate this value system and in all of us, so that as they grow up this is where they come from, that’s what should inform their behaviour. But we would want this matter also discussed by society as a whole. So again as I said, the Minister of Education will initiate that programme this week. There is also a youth pledge, along the same lines, much longer than the one that you would expect the schoolchildren to make every morning. But it’s really targeted at ensuring that our youth grow up within the context, understanding that there are certain values that we should all respect − values which would really govern our behaviour.
Dr. Snuki Zikalala: Mr. President, coming back to education and training, there’s a big problem of skills in the country itself, and yet you have Setas who don’t spend money. Some of the Setas have had to turn back money, something like 20 million rand, money which is not claimed by employers. What are you going to do with the Setas? Because they’re definitely not producing the goods that are required in the country.
President Thabo Mbeki: Some Setas indeed are behaving in the way that you are saying but some of them are performing very well. So, again you see this is part of the challenge that we face. It’s the way our systems work here. Setas are basically in the hands of the particular industries and the trade unions in those industries. It’s true that the Minister of Labour has general oversight over all of these. And so the process in which we are engaged now, we’re engaging all of the Setas currently, to look at this question, particularly this question of output and use of funds that they have or non-use. But also we are looking at them from the point of view of what I was saying about implementing the industrial policy action plan; which industries are we focusing on, and therefore what should we do in those particular sectors to make sure that you address the skills issue. So, there is very comprehensive work that is going on about reviewing the whole Seta system. Because, why do some succeed and others fail? It suggests that it’s not a systemic thing, but it’s particular weaknesses in particular sectors of the economy.
Tsepiso Makwetla: Mr President, one of government’s and certainly your stated goals is the issue of poverty alleviation, and looking on not only MDGs but looking at this current administration. How far are we from achieving that goal and what is the link with the national war room? Is there a strong link in terms of helping government then achieve those goals before that…
President Thabo Mbeki: Well, all elements of government policy over the years have been focused on the matter of poverty, in all its various manifestations. The issue of that national war room arises from we’re saying that as government, because of the extensive support system in government for poor families, we actually have a very extensive register of poor households. Because they’re already receiving assistance, so people come, my name is so and so, this is my address, this is my ID number, and the base of which they get support of one kind or another. So we know which household is under strain, and we’re therefore saying that let’s then get into each household and rather than just have blanket programmes, general programmes which do reach people, let’s go from household to household. Because it’s there. I’m saying we’ve got the register because they’re already receiving assistance. What then do we do with this household to make sure that we speed up the problem of addressing poverty in that particular household? You see, you can see the detailed amount of work that has got to go into that. It’s more than saying you know we are raising the Child Support Grant age to whatever, and then you make money available for that. That’s fine. That’s fine as far as it goes, but to go beyond that is as I say to come down to these individual households, and that’s why you need a mechanism to be able to do that, that war room on poverty.
Foreign land ownership
Tsepiso Makwetla: And Mr President on the issue of foreign land ownership, you said in your address that the goal is not to prohibit from foreign land ownership, but the question is when the concern arose over the issue of foreign land ownership it was the fact that there is bias towards foreigners who have the economic means to buy prime land. Why not for instance consider long term leases like other African countries?
President Thabo Mbeki: Sure, that’s one of the approaches that has got to be adopted. What we are saying is we have to complete the audit so that we actually know which land is owned by whom. Because that’s not clear now. The manner in which people registered their title deeds and so on is not clear; it’s not necessarily so that a foreigner will be registered as a foreigner. He might have a locally registered trust or something, which disguises the fact that the person who’s actually owning this thing is a foreigner. That audit needs to be done so that we have a more specific… not the perception is. It must be the actuality. What is the actual situation, and how does it impact on national goals? I mean, where you might have somebody buying land in an area that was developed, that was reserved for different kind of housing, and they say no I’m going to build one castle here for myself, which would conflict with the national goals. Those things have got to be looked at. But the first thing is do know the reality, what is the actual situation.
The situation in Kenya
Dr Snuki Zikalala: Mr President, you spoke about your concerns regarding the situation in Kenya and of course in Chad.
President Thabo Mbeki: Well, we have been supporting the intervention of the African Union with regard to that, and therefore we fully support the initiative – the process led by Kofi Annan. He’s been in touch with me a number of times about that situation in Kenya to get our views as to what we think might happen; we remain in contact with him about that. All of us were present at a summit meeting of the AU’s head and we supported the initiative, we hope that the conflicting parties in Kenya will co-operate fully. I’ve spoken to Raila Odinga about this and to Mwai Kibaki about it, and indeed when I last spoke to President Kibaki, he himself said to me that they are very keen indeed to co-operate with this mission led by Kofi Annan, and so that’s what we are all doing.
The elections in Zimbabwe
Dr Snuki Zikalala: We’re having elections taking place in Zimbabwe currently, are you happy with the progress so far? Of course we are mandated by the AU and SADC to start the negotiations and it went very well. Are you confident about the coming elections in Zimbabwe?
President Thabo Mbeki: Well, I think if the Zimbabwean parties handle themselves in the way they handle themselves during the negotiations, I think things should go very well. As you know, as I’ve said, they have concluded all matters of substance, they’ve agreed on a new Constitution, and they agreed on constitutional amendments, which have already been enacted. They agreed on particular amendments to the Constitution. The overall Constitution is a matter that we’re still debating as to when it should be enacted. But they agreed on a new Constitution, they’ve agreed on new laws, and amendments to the laws that have been complained about over the years. And those have been amended already. They also agreed on an approach to the elections about the use of language, about violence, about the conduct of the police and all that. So I think if they handle the elections in the same spirit with which they approached the negotiations, I don’t foresee that there should be any problem. Because you see, for instance, some of the things that used to cause conflict in the past, such as if you are going to hold a public meeting, the law required that you have to secure police permission. The MDC complained about this over many years, and that’s been changed as I said by agreement. And amended, and so now all you need to do is to notify the police. You don’t have to seek permission. So those things are done.
The President's view on his legacy
Tsepiso Makwetla: Mr President, while one accepts that this is not necessarily your last State of the Nation Address, the issue of your legacy though is something that’s been discussed, and one of the suggestions raised is the success of your administration and the vast economic growth that we’ve seen in the country. Is it possible that economic legacy is under threat, given the current situation, and how would you feel about that?
President Thabo Mbeki: There’s no Thabo Mbeki legacy in the first instance. What we’ve been doing since ’94 is to implement ANC policies. And if there’s any legacy, it’s a legacy of the ANC but also it’s a legacy of the country, of the people. We don’t and I don’t run companies; the ANC doesn’t run companies. So we’re talking about very good growth in the economy in response because there are people there, there are managers, there are trade unions and so on. I saw somewhere that some economists are saying there’s going to be a recession. There’s not going to be any recession, I don’t know where they get that from. A recession, a recession in economic terms, is a decline in the gross domestic product. Is the country getting poorer? It’s not going to get any poorer. You might have a slowdown in the rate of growth, that’s not recession. So I don’t think there’s going to be a recession. The economy will continue to grow, perhaps at lower rates than we would want, but it will continue to grow. Investment will grow, the size of manufacturing will grow, the numbers of people employed will grow. A slowdown, yes. So I don’t think South Africans must frighten themselves about things that are not going to happen.
Tsepiso Makwetla: And I think on that note Mr President we must thank you very much for your time and the opportunity to address you regarding the State of the Nation Address, thank you very much Mr President.
President Thabo Mbeki: Thanks.
Dr Snuki Zikalala: Thank you, Mr President.
Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)
10 February 2008