President Jacob Zuma & Deputy President Budget Speech
31 May 2017
President Jacob Zuma , gave his Budget Vote Speech on the 31 May 2017.
Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers
Our Special Guests
Thank you for granting us the opportunity to present the Presidency Budget Vote today.
Our primary goal as government is to make South Africa a better place to live in for all, and in particular to improve the quality of life of the poor and the working class.
Work continues in our quest to build a South Africa without poverty, inequality, unemployment or crime. We want a South Africa without despair, where each person young and old, has hope of a better future.
Achieving a better life for our people includes ensuring the achievement of the country’s vision with regard to safety and security.
This vision states that people living in South Africa should feel safe at home, at school, at work and in the streets, and that they should live without fear.
This freedom is currently being curtailed by the ongoing brutal attacks and killings of women and children in some parts of the country.
Some of the women are killed by people they trusted, their intimate partners. Violence against women has been declared a priority crime by government. Nobody has the right to attack women.
We urge women to report the perpetrators to the police. We also appeal to families to provide support to the survivors.
Our country also faces other serious crimes against women and girls, namely human trafficking and forced prostitution. It is despicable that there are people who turn other human beings into commodities to make money.
This is a gross violation of human rights and is tantamount to modern day slavery.
We appeal to the public to inform the police if they notice suspicious activity at any house or building.
Government has enacted Combating of Trafficking in Persons Act which is aimed at effecting international agreements which includes the Palermo Trafficking in Persons Protocol.
As we mark Child Protection Week, we also urge families to support their children when they report abuse by anyone, including family members. They should also be taught to identify abuse and inappropriate conduct by adults towards them.
I visited Elsie’s River here in Cape Town for the second time yesterday.
I had first visited the area two weeks ago to meet the family of three year old Courtney Pieters who was brutally killed earlier this month. The community reminded us that the solution to crime will not only come from policing.
They asked for social workers to support families and basic services such as housing.
Indeed, strengthening households and families, reviving the social fabric of society and improving the living condition, are key to the prevention of crime.
We need to unite as communities and all sectors, from business, traditional leaders, faith-based communities and others, to promote safer communities.
United we shall defeat this scourge.
A better life for our people means participation in economic activities that will give them dignity and freedom from want. People need jobs or entrepreneurial opportunities.
The partnership between government and business remains key in the drive to re-ignite growth in this difficult climate. I would thus like to reiterate our commitment to the work done together with business on improving investor confidence in the country.
Our economy must remain competitive, not to merely prevent ratings downgrades but for the good of the country. We also wish to reiterate that we remain committed to the expenditure ceiling in the 2017 budget and to stabilise debt levels.
We also continue efforts of making our country attractive for investments.
Government launched the InvestSA One Stop Shop initiative early this year, bringing critical services needed to establish a business under one roof, such as visas, water or electricity licenses, tax requirements and so forth.
There are some outstanding policy issues that we are also attending to.
We have to finalise the broadband rollout, digital migration and spectrum allocation as a means to reignite economic growth. On energy security, the Ministers of Public Enterprises and Energy are working together to find an amicable solution to the Independent Power Producers impasse.
With regard to nuclear energy, we reiterate that the programme will be implemented at a pace and scale that the country can afford.
We await Parliament to conclude processing the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill and bring it back to the President. I sent it back to Parliament due to some issues that I believed would not pass the Constitutional muster.
The Mining Charter will be gazetted in a few weeks’ time. Through the Charter, Government seeks to radically transform the ownership of the South African mining assets by ensuring that black people meaningfully and effectively participate in the mining and minerals industries, while ensuring that the mining industry remains globally competitive.
The Mining Charter includes requirements on beneficiation and procurement. There is also a community development element to ensure that mine communities and major labour-sending communities optimally benefit from mining activities taking place in their areas. The Mining Charter proposals will also further empower mineworkers with requisite skills and enhanced job opportunities.
Importantly, government continues to provide support to state owned companies, addressing governance and financial challenges. Support is being provided to the SAA, SABC and Eskom and other affected entities.
On social grants payments, the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) will be submitting the quarterly reports to the Constitutional Court as per its judgment. SASSA has also begun engagements with other organs of state, including the South African Post Office towards phasing out the services of the current service provider.
The plan is to phase in the services of the new service provider by November this year. This will give the Agency enough time to ensure a seamless transition when the current contract comes to end in March 2018.
The Department of Social Development has also released the much awaited Discussion Paper on Social Security Reform proposals for public consultations.
The InterMinisterial Committee on Comprehensive Social Security chaired by the President will continue to guide the processes.
Other important issues that we are attending to relate to the public discourse about what has been termed state capture.
Let me place it on record that there is no opposition from either the Government or the Presidency, to the calls for a commission of inquiry into the said 'state capture'. We fully support an inquiry as it will help to uncover the facts and remove rumours about the extent of capture.
What has caused a delay is the manner in which the former Public Protector directed that the inquiry should be done, which infringes on the powers of the President of the Republic.
If this is left unattended, it would cause problems even for future Heads of State as it sets a wrong precedent.
Legal advice obtained pointed at the fact that the remedial action on the appointment of a Commission of Inquiry undermines the doctrine of the separation of powers.
There are various other issues that we have placed before court in our application for a review. We trust that this matter will be resolved as soon as possible.
In the State of the Nation Address we gave prominence to the imperative of radical socio-economic transformation.
Our interventions are aimed at facilitating ownership and management of enterprises and productive assets by black people, workers, cooperatives and other collective enterprises.
The sovereign downgrade of South Africa rating to junk makes the process of transforming the economy of South Africa difficult yet necessary.
As we seek to radically transform the economy, we need to be mindful of the structural challenges as the South African economy continues to be driven by consumption, global demand for mineral commodities and a very narrow productive base with few large companies that control the entire value chain.
Another dimension is the financialisation and the de-industrialisation of the economy which calls for the deliberate intervention by government to support the productive sectors of our economy paying particular attention to the labour intensive sectors.
Supporting SMEs has been identified as an area with large potential for employment creation and economic growth.
Government is driving a programme to revitalise township and rural enterprises. Our National Informal Business Upliftment Strategy is making headway as it provides support to deserving informal businesses so that they graduate into formal small businesses.
Already, the National Gazelles programme, a pilot by the Department of Small Business Development has proved the potential of small businesses. Forty small businesses selected for specialised attention in 2015 survived a negative economy and even grew their turnovers.
If we have one million small businesses, and each employs one or two people, we would have created over one million jobs.
This is how important investment into small business development is.
In January of this year, the National Treasury gazetted new regulations in pursuit of Preferential Procurement by means of which 30% of public procurement will be made available to small businesses and cooperatives. This will provide a market for the small business sector.
Key support to small businesses must also include ensuring that they are not strangled by government regulations or red tape. We also reiterate that Government departments in all three spheres must also pay SMMEs on time, as directed when they submit legitimate invoices. These are some of the interventions that will make transformation a reality for our people.
We are pleased that the private sector supports our drive to boost SMMEs. We announced the establishment of a one billion rand SME fund following the meeting with the CEO Initiative in October last year.
We also encourage the private sector, which has a larger procurement muscle, to also embrace broad-based black economic empowerment by actively buying from black owned companies and supporting SMMEs.
Later this year, a rural and township economy summit will be held to among other things come up with critical ways to grow the indigenous entrepreneurs and ensure economic vibrancy in these areas where the majority of our people live.
With regards to leveling the playing field, the Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council advises the Presidency and government on broad-based black economic empowerment interventions. Progress is being made in fighting fronting through the BBBEE Commission, as such practices reverse the gains of transformation.
The application and implementation of BEE codes in all sectors and transformation charters and plans for sectors will be finalised and gazetted.
South Africa continues to enjoy respect because of the turnaround we have achieved since 2009 on the HIV and AIDS programme.
The HIV and TB epidemics had killed many of our people before the new policy was adopted in 2009. We have scored a number of achievements since then.
The number of people testing for HIV has increased phenomenally.
In 2009 government had conducted less than two million tests.
Last year, more than 14 million people took the tests enabling them to know their status so that they can obtain treatment.
South Africa has the largest HIV treatment programme in the world with more than 3.8 million people in the public sector on treatment.
The reduction of the number of babies born with HIV has also been dramatic.
By 2004, a total of seventy thousand newborn babies were born HIV positive per annum. Due to our very successful Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission Programme, the figure has dramatically dropped to below six thousand.
This government has saved the lives of our people, and has ensured a better life for those living with HIV. According to Statistics SA, life expectancy is now 62.4 years, up from 55 years in 2002.
We congratulate all South Africans on this remarkable achievement by our country.
The Deputy President leads our efforts in the fight against HIV and AIDS as Chairperson of the South African National AIDS Council.
We continue to find innovative and new ways of implementing government programmes.
In 2014 we launched Operation Phakisa Big Fast Results Methodology, aimed at ensuring faster implementation.
Labour, business, government, academia and other sectors come together to develop implementation plans for government programmes.
We have applied this methodology to the ocean economy, health through producing ideal clinics, information and communication technologies in schools as well as agriculture and land reform, with very good results.
Minister Radebe is the coordinator of the Phakisa methodology, working with the relevant sector ministers. He will report on the projects involved.
We begin National Youth Month tomorrow. Government is doing a lot of work already in supporting youth development.
The Committee of Deputy Ministers in the Presidential Working Group on Youth continues to monitor the implementation of youth development programmes. Progress has been made in many sectors.
Last year I reported that the Department of Water and Sanitation is training thousands of young people as artisans through the War on Leaks Programme.
More than 10 000 young people have been recruited thus far and are being trained as water agents, electricians, plumbers, machinists and in other fields.
These are young people who were unemployed and with no money for further education.
I am encouraged that 55% of these trainees are females and six percent are people with disabilities. This is a government at work, empowering our youth.
Government also supports entrepreneurship for the youth. The National Youth Development Agency is directing more resources towards young aspirant entrepreneurs.
More than eight hundred new enterprises will be created and a further 18 000 young people will receive the necessary support in order to succeed as entrepreneurs.
Through the Department of Human Settlements, over five hundred host employers in the Real Estate Sector will absorb over 8 000 unemployed youth and graduates to take up opportunities in real estate.
Through the Department of Health and civil society organisations, the DREAMS Campaign will help grow girls and young women that are determined, resilient, empowered, AIDS-free, mentored, and safe.
Our National Rural Youth Service Corps (NARYSEC) Programme is the biggest youth development programme of government, run by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
To date, the Programme has recruited about 19 000 young people. The programme targets rural, unemployed young people between the ages of 18 and 25 who are in possession of a Grade 12 qualification.
A number of young people, on leaving the NARYSEC Programme, start their own businesses, some find employment while others study further.
Government spends the highest share of its budget on young people through education and skills development.
Government is doing as much as possible to support children of the poor and the working class to obtain higher education.
Government paid the fee increase capped at 8% for all qualifying registered students with a gross combined family income up R600 000 per annum for the 2017 academic year.
This is a grant which covers the increases for tuition fees and official accommodation, and will not have to be repaid by qualifying students.
Government also made arrangements through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) to pay the registration fees for all NSFAS funded students as an upfront payment to universities and TVET colleges in January each year.
Therefore, NSFAS qualifying students did not pay any registration or upfront fees in 2017.
I established the Heher Commission on Higher Education Funding after protests by students in favour of free higher education. The commission will present its report at the end of June.
We look forward to joining young people at the National Youth Day Commemoration in Ventersdorp in the North West province.
The Presidency actively supports our musicians and other performing artists.
The Presidential Task Team on Creative Industries, chaired by the Deputy Minister in the Presidency has been hard at work to find solutions for some of the long standing challenges that the creative sectors face.
They have championed the process of bringing two important bills to parliament that will bring about welcome change for practitioners in the industry.
The Intellectual Property Bill and the Performers Protection Amendment Bill are now before Parliament and the public hearings on these Bills have begun.
Lack of ownership of intellectual property affects many writers, producers, performers and content creators. The new legislation will give creative practitioners the right to own their work and to profit from it.
The task team of Deputy Ministers is also working closely with agencies of the Department of Arts and Culture and the Department of Trade and Industry to create better systems for the funding of Film and Theatre productions in the country.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the creators and cast of the film Kalushi which was released in South African cinemas in the month of March.
This film symbolises the coming of age of South African cinema where quality films directed and performed by South Africans tell an epic South African story.
One of the key features of our democracy is cooperative governance.
The embodiment of cooperative governance at the national level is the President’s Coordinating Council in which the President meets with the Premiers and the South African Local Government Association.
The PCC worked on a lot of projects last year including monitoring the implementation of the Back to Basics programme on the revitalization of municipalities, the management of migration and service delivery interventions through the Presidential Hotline.
The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission also brings together the leadership of the three spheres of government, to discuss the seamless delivery of infrastructure programmes across the country.
Several projects are being rolled out including the building of dams, schools, roads, hospitals, training colleges and the three universities.
We launched the Trans Africa locomotive in April and the People’s Train in Tshwane earlier this month. The People’s Train boasts both comfort and safety for rail passengers.
The infrastructure programme improves the quality of life and contributes to economic growth and job creation.
The Presidency also interacts with constitutional bodies such as the National House of Traditional Leaders and Chapter 9 Institutions to discuss matters affecting their portfolios and to provide support.
We also work with various stakeholders through Presidential Working Groups in which we meet business, youth formations, women’s groups, religious leaders, black professionals and non-governmental organisations.
The National Orders Advisory Council plays a critical role of assisting us to identify distinguished men and women who receive the highest honours from their country, the National Orders.
We take the country’s human development needs forward through the Human Resource Development Council which is chaired by the Deputy President.
We wish to acknowledge and thank all these sectors, councils and working groups. We appreciate their ongoing support.
We celebrated Africa Day on the 25th of May, marking the 54th anniversary of the OAU/AU.
In marking Africa month we also celebrated the legacy of President OR Tambo, the country’s foremost diplomat who opened the continent and the world to South Africa through his tireless work to bring about freedom.
In his memory, South Africa continues to contribute to shaping the agenda of African renewal and the implementation of Agenda 2063.
We participate in the special efforts of ensuring the silencing of the guns and ending pockets of conflict by 2020 so that everyone can live in peace.
We continue to support sister nations such as South Sudan, Lesotho, Central African Republic, DRC, Mali and others to find solutions.
We also continue to stand with the people of Western Sahara as they struggle for self-determination, so that we can conclude the decolonization of Africa.
We support the quest for regional integration through building the necessary infrastructure to connect capitals, harmonise trade regimes and grow the means of production.
South Africa values her membership of strategic forums such as the G20, BRICS, IBSA and the Indian Ocean Rim Association.
They add immense value to South Africa as we pursue the national interest.
South Africa will assume the chair of SADC in August and that of the Indian Ocean Rim Association later in the year.
We shall do our best in serving these two regions to advance sustainable growth and development.
We shall continue our advocacy for a reformed system of global governance, including the reform of the United Nations Security Council and the Strengthening of the United Nations.
One of the highlights of Africa Month has been the appointment of Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus as the new Director-General of the World Health Organization, the first African to hold this position.
We also congratulate Justice Mandisa Maya on being appointed as the first female President of the Supreme Court of Appeal in our country.
We wish them all of the best in their new responsibilities.
Allow me to remind smokers that today is the World No Tobacco Day. They should kick the habit to ensure healthier lifestyles.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the Deputy President, the Ministers in the Presidency and the Deputy Minister for their support.
I also appreciate the contribution and hard work of the Director-General, the Chief Operations Officer, the Presidency Audit Committee, advisors, senior management, and all staff in the Presidency.
It is my privilege, Honourable Speaker, to commend Budget Vote 1 to the House.
I thank you.
Address by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa on the occasion of the Presidency Budget Vote, National Assembly, Cape Town
President Jacob Zuma,
This month marks the 105th anniversary of the birth of one of the greatest sons of our soil, one of the architects of our freedom, Isithwalandwe Walter Sisulu.
Walter Sisulu was, by nature and by conviction, a unifier, a consensus builder.
There is much that we can learn from him in terms of the great ability he always displayed in addressing the challenging issues that he had to confront in his days as a leader who was trusted and loved by our people.
I remember very fondly the simplicity, his warmth, and the natural way in which he got people to work together to reach consensus.
He worked throughout his life to draw together different people, sometimes with sharply differing views, into the service of one common cause – the liberation of the people of this country.
Walter Sisulu’s words after the adoption of the Freedom Charter in 1955 come to mind.
“It was not for nothing that thousands of South Africans from all walks of life, of all races, of different political outlooks, religious beliefs and of different social status, travelled to take part in the greatest assembly ever known in our country, the Congress of the People.
“These men and women came in response to a clarion call … to meet and plan the future of their country as they would like to see it.”
It should not be out of place to suggest that as members of Parliament we are all here in response to a historic clarion call from our people as a whole to meet and plan the future of our country as they would like to see it.
We are required to work together in a common cause for the realisation of the vision that was well articulated by the drafters of the Freedom Charter.
The aspirations set out by our forebears in the Freedom Charter are now deeply embedded and entrenched in our Constitution.
We are required to be bold, drawing our conviction and courage from our forebears, as we continue to plan the future of our country because the shadow of our terrible past has not yet receded and the challenges that confront our people are still substantial making the tasks that we need to undertake urgent.
We must therefore be bold and act with haste because, despite the significant achievements of the last 23 years of democracy, there are children in this country who still go hungry, there are parents who have been looking for work their entire adult lives, there are people who die from diseases that are preventable and treatable.
We must act with determination because the legacy of land dispossession, bantu education, migrant labour and low wages continues, to this day, to define the life prospects of millions of black children.
It is only through united action and working together as Walter Sisulu enjoined us to do, through collaboration, partnership and dialogue, that we will put an end to 365 years of hunger, misery and want.
We know from our history, from our struggle for democracy, from the Congress of the People and from the making of our Constitution, that we have the capacity for bold, determined and united action.
It can be done.
But only if we work together.
Working together in various endeavours of social and economic interaction has become the new normal around the world.
Leaders and policymakers who ignore this tried and tested approach to addressing and resolving problems do so at the peril of preventing societies from moving to higher levels of progress and development.
I have seen over the past year how working together can achieve great outcomes on a number of issues where positive outcomes were thought to be impossible.
Positive outcomes can be achieved if we draw on the energies of all stakeholders to address the challenges that face our people be they how to grow an inclusive economy, build skills and capabilities, enhance the capacity of the state and promote leadership and partnerships throughout society.
It can be done, but only if we forge new ways of working together that involve all South Africans in a common struggle to fundamentally transform our economy and our society.
South Africans are evolving ways of working together in a number of areas and endeavours.
We are finding new opportunities to forge new partnerships, to come up with new initiatives and to create space for collective effort.
A few examples of how South Africans are working together to forge effective social compacts come to mind.
Earlier this year, the social partners at Nedlac reached a historic agreement on labour stability and the introduction of a national minimum wage.
Many of us thought the differences between the social partners – particularly a militant labour component and a business class whose main focus is profit – would stand in the way of reaching agreement.
Following two years of intensive engagement between government, labour, business and the community sector an agreement was reached.
You could say that this was a response to the clarion call to work together as envisaged by Walter Sisulu.
Although each of the social partners at times advanced vastly different positions, they all remained committed to an outcome that would best serve the interests of South Africa and its people.
They all remained committed to an outcome that would increase the wages of the working poor, that would contribute to reducing inequality and that would support our efforts to create more jobs.
Although they were representing the interests of their respective constituencies and although they fought vigorously to protect those interests, they were all keenly aware that over and above everything else, they had to represent the colllective interests of the people of South Africa.
The consensus that was reached by all the social partners on the national minimum wage enabled me to answer a question posed by Sello Molefi from KwaZulu-Natal on why the national minimum wage had been set at R20 an hour and not at a much higher figure.
Mr Molefi was one of a number of residents who I met while going door-to-door in Nquthu who wanted to understand more about the national minimum wage.
It was during the course of those conversations – in which I had to justify every decision taken by the social partners in Nedlac – that it became plainly clear that we cannot hope to forge a meaningful social compact without the direct involvement of the people most directly affected.
It was during these conversations that I was able to inform Mr Molefi that while it would have been ideal and desirable to peg the minimum wage at a much higher level, it would have resulted in many people losing their jobs.
After the explanation, Mr Molefi said he understood the reasons for the agreements that were reached and appreciated the tremendous impact these agreements would have on the incomes of over 6 million working South Africans.
He also understood that this landmark agreement forms a foundation for the struggle to gradually rid South Africa of income inequality.
From the 1st of May next year, when the national minimum wage is introduced, people like Mr Molefi will be among those workers who experience the real benefits of this agreement.
They will experience the real benefits of dialogue, inclusion, consensus building and collaboration.
There are other areas where we can see emerging the seeds of a new social compact.
One of these is the youth employment initiative, which is aimed at the challenge of youth unemployment
This scheme will draw on the resources, capabilities and commitment of business, government and labour to provide paid internships for up to a million young South Africans over three years across the economy.
For the proposed youth employment service to be successful companies are called upon to say YES by providing the internships and mentorships necessary for the transition of young people into the world of work.
It requires that all the social partners recognise that the contribution they are making now, the resources they are investing now, even the sacrifices they are making now, will benefit the economy, the country and the people for many years to come.
We are appreciative of the collaboration that is emerging on skills development.
We are pleased that a number of companies recognise the importance of making meaningful interventions on skills development.
It is this recognition that we have encouraged and that has inspired a number of leading companies to form partnerships with various TVET colleges across the country.
Through these partnerships, companies are providing resources and skills to institutions that are critical to the skills revolution that our country must necessarily undergo.
As a result of these partnerships, colleges are producing young people with skills that are needed, relevant and appropriate to industry.
It was during a Human Resource Development Council visit to one of these colleges – the Flavius Mareka TVET College in Sasolburg – that I met Refiloe Makholo, a remarkable young woman with great dreams.
Refiloe comes from Excelsior, a small farming town in the Free State, and was raised by her grandparents in poverty-stricken conditions.
Through her determination and through the collaboration between the college, business and government, Refiloe was able to gain critical technical skills and essential work experience.
Refiloe is now on a three-year training programme to qualify as an artisan specialising in electrical engineering.
Soon she will join the ever-expanding ranks of those young people with the specialist skills required to drive the industrialisation of our economy.
It was in this House last year that I described an encounter I had at another TVET college – the Ekurhuleni West TVET College in Gauteng – where I met Palesa Hlalele, a highly motivated 22-year-old who has now completed her studies in engineering and automotive design.
She told us of her ambition to be a diesel mechanic and in future to be able to design, assemble, operate and maintain big earth-moving equipment.
We saw how her story of determination reinforces the importance of the significant investment we are making in TVET colleges.
We challenge companies across the country that need these skills to adopt a TVET college.
Through such partnerships, young people will be able to access internships and apprenticeships more easily.
Even during these trying and difficult economic times, we will need to re-prioritise our budget so that colleges are provided with the necessary infrastructure and technical expertise.
Closer collaboration between industry and TVET colleges will help ensure that the curricula in these colleges is more relevant and responsive to the needs of industry.
Globally, colleges thrive when they are linked to industry.
This is a kind of collaboration that will move South Africa forward and liberate our youth from unemployment.
Over the course of the last year, more than 700,000 South Africans were engaged in a number of public employment programmes, where they were providing essential public services while receiving a stipend income, gaining work experience and acquiring skills.
These programmes are made possible by the collaboration between communities, civil society and the state.
These public employment programmes are responsible for touching and improving the lives of millions of our people – like Yandiswa Stemela, whom I met at the Community Works Programme in Orange Farm.
A mother of three, Yandiswa joined the community works programme in 2010, cleaning alleyways, clearing dumping sites and cutting grass.
An assignment as a cleaner in one of their site offices led Yandiswa to develop an interest in computers, despite the fact she had never touched one before.
Through the programme, Yandiswa developed her computer skills, and was given data capturing and administrative duties.
Today, she is a full-time Community Works Programme site administrator, providing her with the means to support her family, the skills to advance her career, and the motivation to mentor four other young people.
Today, she is one of the many young South African women who, thanks to the power of partnership and collaboration and through sheer strength of will, are improving their lives and the lives of their families.
Another young woman whose life has been transformed is Dr Ncumisa Jilata from Mthatha in the Eastern Cape who, at the age of 29 years old, has just become Africa’s youngest neurosurgeon.
A fortnight ago, she graduated from the University of Pretoria where she specialised after completing her Bachelor of Medicine at the Walter Sisulu University.
In doing so, she became the sixth black female neurosurgeon in South Africa.
Another area where we have seen the value of collaboration, leadership, patience, and understanding is through the work we do through SANAC.
Someone else who has paved the way for other young women through understanding is Prudence Mabele, who I met through the South African National AIDS Council.
Prudence was diagnosed with HIV in 1990 when she was a university student.
Showing great resilience and a steely determination, she decided that she would not allow HIV to kill her.
She was unable to access antiretroviral treatment for many years, and eventually started treatment at a public health care facility in 2005.
For much of the past three decades, Prudence has fought a struggle, not just for herself, but for the millions of South Africans who live with HIV.
She co-founded the influential National Association of People Living with HIV and the powerful Positive Women’s Network, and was an activist of the Treatment Action Campaign.
She is an organiser, an agitator, an activist and a valued collaborator.
In many ways, the progress we have made in our struggle against AIDS is one of the foremost instances of a social compact at work.
By bringing together such a wide range of social groupings and interests to forge a common programme to overcome a disease that so fundamentally threatens our society, we are demonstrating what can be achieved if we work together.
In developing the new National Strategic Plan on HIV, TB and STIs, which was launched in March this year, we had to draw on the insights, experience, learnings and concerns of dozens of different partners, organisations and individuals.
We had to consider the needs of many different and diverse constituencies.
We needed to ensure that all had a place and that all had a voice.
We have seen the importance of getting people to determine and own their destiny.
The achievements we celebrate in our national response to the AIDS epidemic bears testimony to the virtue of walking together, with care and understanding.
In another area of work, we started a programme to replicate high-performance, integrated delivery of services across the country.
For any government to succeed, it needs to be deeply entrenched in the communities it exists to serve.
Since 2014 we have been working with a number of provinces to replicate Operation Sukuma Sakhe as a best practice model of integrated service delivery.
Operation Sukuma Sakhe is a model of a government existing and living among its people.
Provinces have continuously shared best-practice experiences and they provide regular progress updates to Presidential Co-ordinating Council meetings.
Where we are performing exceptionally well, we want to ensure that we share experiences, insights and practices so that we create a rising tide of excellence across everything we do.
As Africa Month draws to a close today, we reflect that the freedom and democracy we enjoy today is partly a consequence of the huge sacrifices that the peoples of our continent made in the struggle against apartheid.
Today we stand proudly before this assembly of our people as direct recipients of the generosity and sacrifices of the peoples of our continent.
As South Africa we continue to work with our sister African countries, the African Union and the United Nations to contribute meaningfully to conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction and development.
It is in this context that we continue, on behalf of SADC, to facilitate the achievement of peace and stability in the Kingdom of Lesotho.
It is generally agreed, both in Lesotho and other SADC countries, that the solution to the country’s challenges lies in the constitutional and security sector reforms as directed by the SADC Troika.
We hope that the forthcoming elections scheduled for 3 June 2017 will create the necessary climate for the full implementation of SADC decisions.
We express the hope that these elections will be free and fair and an expression of the democratic will of the people of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
We reiterate our view that the law enforcement agencies must respect the rule of law and abide by the letter and spirit of the constitution of the Kingdom of Lesotho.
Soon after the election of a new government, a multi-stakeholder dialogue forum of the people of Lesotho will be convened to address constitutional and security matters.
This forum will be convened with a view to building consensus and trust among all stakeholders and ensure a renewed commitment to the full implementation of SADC decisions.
We will do so appreciating from our own experience the value of dialogue and cooperation in resolving intractable conflict.
It is the same experience that informs our work in working to advance peace and stability in South Sudan.
As I conclude, allow me to extend a word of gratitude to the remarkable young women who have allowed me to tell a part of their stories here today.
To Refiloe Makholo, Palesa Hlalele, Yandiswa Stemela, Ncumisa Jilata and Prudence Mabele, thank you for being our partners in building a new South Africa.
Thank you for inspiring us, motivating us and challenging us with your lives and your determination.
Thank you for demonstrating what is possible with perseverance, courage, collaboration and partnership.
Thank you most of all for gracing us with your presence here today.
We welcome you to Parliament.
We applaud you for being role models for your peers and demonstrating that South Africa is alive with possibility.
Right now, our country needs solutions that will help us to renew and grow, but these solutions will only present themselves if we listen with our hearts to the cries and aspirations of our people.
We must dream, hope and build again.
As the celebrated Nigerian author Ben Okri puts it:
“The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love.”
Ben Okri’s words must live in the lives of the young people who are in the public gallery with us today and the millions around the country.
As we enter Youth Month, we call on the young people of our nation to become socially and politically active and to help us create, overcome, endure, transform and love.
I wish to convey my sincere thanks to President Jacob Zuma for his confidence that we will diligently execute the responsibilities with which he has entrusted us.
I also wish to thank my Cabinet colleagues for their support, guidance and cooperation.
Thank you to the Director-General and staff in the Presidency for your commitment and hard work.
Finally, I wish all Muslims in our country a blessed Holy Month of Ramadan.
Your spiritual commitment is an important part of our nation’s moral and ethical fabric.
We wish you well.
Let us be bold. Let us work together.
Let us build a new social compact.
I thank you.
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