Hansard: President's Response to SONA debate

House: National Assembly

Date of Meeting: 15 Feb 2011


No summary available.




16 FEBRUARY 2012


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"National Assembly Chamber Main",Unrevised Hansard,16 Feb 2012,"[Take-40] [National Assembly Chamber Main][NAC-Logger][slr].doc"




The House met at 14:04.

The Speaker took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayers or meditation.


Start of Day



The SPEAKER: Hon members, before we begin, I wish to acknowledge the presence in the gallery of senior citizens from the Sedibeng region in Sharpeville. [Applause.] They are caregivers of the elderly and the women's veterans from the Western Cape who all have contributed to the struggle for freedom. [Applause.] I welcome you to our Parliament. [Applause.]



Reply By President To Debate On State Of The Nation Address

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Speaker, hon Deputy Speaker, hon Deputy President Mr Kgalema Motlanthe, hon Ministers and Deputy Ministers, hon members, fellow South Africans, and our veterans who are with us in Parliament today, let me begin by thanking all hon members for their contributions to this debate.

We outlined on 9 February a plan that will help us deal with the triple challenge of unemployment, inequality and poverty. We thank hon members for the general support of the plan. We welcome your suggestions on the implementation of the plan. Some hon members have raised caution about unveiling such a bold plan during a global economic meltdown and uncertainty, especially in Europe. Whilst there is uncertainty, there are also opportunities, especially in Africa and the emerging economies. For example, sub-Saharan Africa is expected to grow at an average of 5,4% over the next five years, making it one of the fastest growing regions in the world.

With the development of a continental free trade area, the South African manufacturing and export industries stand to benefit significantly from the expanded African market and the removal of obstacles to the movement of goods and people across borders.

In addition, our membership of the Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa bloc, BRICS, is also yielding results. We have achieved a fourfold increase in exports to fellow members in the BRICS groups of countries, while imports from them have doubled. I look forward to the BRICS Summit in New Delhi, India next month where we will be able to share the South African story and our drive to achieve labour-absorbing growth. We are also exploring partnerships in other regions, for example the Middle East. We want to get South Africa working, growing and moving, as accurately outlined by the hon Minister Gigaba. We have put before the nation a workable plan that will enable us to do just that.

Hon Holomisa pointed out the need for the state to intervene in the economy in the interest of the poor. Hon Godi also welcomed the enhanced role of the state in the economy. We agree with the hon members. In our view, the state must play a central and strategic role, driving investments especially in underdeveloped areas, as we are doing with the infrastructure programme.

Hon members, including hon Umntwana wakwaPhindangene, hon Ma-Njobe, hon Hoosen and hon Mfundisi, raised sharply the need to improve the performance of the state in order to achieve our goals. In 2009, we took a decision to change the way government works and to improve the performance of the state. We introduced the performance monitoring and evaluation function in government, with a focus on outcomes, and the results are encouraging in a few departments.

I have undertaken a number of visits to the provinces to monitor the performance of education, health, job creation, rural development and local government. Community members are the best monitors. They tell us outright where the problems are during these visits and where the achievements are. These visits will continue this year as well. In other words, we don't only listen to the reports, but we get to the people who are supposed to receive the services, where they will tell us whether there is delivery or not. We have tasked the Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in the Presidency to continue monitoring progress amongst all departments to ensure compliance with the performance culture. The department, working with the Offices of Premiers, has also started a joint programme of frontline service delivery monitoring, also conducting unannounced visits. They visited 120 facilities last year. Many departments have internalised the new ethos and are improving the way they deliver services.

The Department of Home Affairs has reduced the turnaround time for identity documents from an average of 127 days in 2007 to less than 45 days by February 2011. [Applause.] Similar improvements have been achieved in the processing of passport applications. More recently, the department cleared the backlog of 57 000 permit applications. The South African Social Security Agency has reduced the average turnaround time for processing new social grant applications from 30 days to 9 days. [Applause.] Parallel to that, there is an initiative in place to upgrade 300 social grant distribution centres, and to date 221 centres have been completed. [Applause.]

The Department of Mineral Resources established a new online application system in April 2011 which has enabled the department to issue prospecting rights within 3 months and mining rights within 6 months, as opposed to the periods of 6 and 12 months respectively, which were the case previously. [Applause.]

With regards to the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, between 2009 and 2011, a total of 43 665 cases have been disposed of, as a result of the introduction of additional regional and district backlog criminal courts. We applaud the judiciary for the extra hours put in to ensure access to justice. [Applause.]

Hon Meshoe mentioned the need to improve support to small businesses. There are noticeable improvements in the performance of government agencies providing services to small businesses. As said last Thursday, we are merging the small business support institutions, and a new one-stop institution will be launched in April this year. We had said in 2009 that government must pay small businesses within one month of receipt of a legitimate invoice. To fast-track timely payment for Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises, SMMEs, a call centre was established through the Small Enterprise Development Agency to facilitate payment within 30 days. As of 15 December 2011, the hotline call centre had answered in excess of 25 000 calls and facilitated payments in excess of R270 million to small enterprises. [Applause.] We continue to monitor the performance of the call centre to ensure continuous payment and to ensure that there is an improvement on this aspect.

C/W: I met with directors-general of ... [14:19:41



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The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF SOUTH AFRICA (Contd.): I met with the Directors-General of national and provincial departments in 2009 and 2010 and instructed them to institute changes in the functioning of departments including financial management and oversight.

Amongst the measures that are being undertaken as a result of further improving efficiency, all departments have been instructed to put in place monitoring systems to track the invoice as it moves through the various stages of approval in the departments.

The officials are required to provide a monthly exception report to the National Treasury on the number and value of invoices that have not been paid within 30 days. We are monitoring the compliance of departments with these instructions.

Hon Kopane, we noted the issues you raised relating to poor service delivery in some public hospitals and clinics. The National Department of Health has developed core quality standards for the availability of medicines and supplies, cleanliness, patient safety, infection prevention and control, positive attitudes and waiting times.

The department has audited compliance with these standards in 4 210 health facilities and quality improvement plans are currently in the process of being developed to address identified gaps.

In working to improve citizen care, we want to ensure that health professionals become caring and understanding and not making a visit to a hospital or clinic be more traumatic than the ailment that takes a patient to these facilities.

We assure you that we are progressing well in changing the way government works and to improve efficiency and put citizens first.

Hon Davidson raised the issue of the fight against crime. The Statistics SA Victims of Crime Survey 2011 confirms that the general perception by South Africans is that crime is indeed being brought under control.

More than 40% of households surveyed believe that the level of both violent and nonviolent crime had decreased in their area of residence during the period 2008 to 2010. Successive crime reports demonstrate that substantial reductions in serious crime have been achieved.

We must not be shy to congratulate ourselves on this achievement, which is a result of sterling work by our police and the criminal justice system as a whole and communities. [Applause.] But, the fight against crime and corruption continues. We will not become complacent.

We are increasing numbers of skilled personnel in areas such as crime scene investigation, forensic analyses, fingerprinting and investigation, prosecutions and legal aid, which will further improve performance. Already the impact of the improvements in investigative and forensic capacity is evident in the improved detection rates for serious crimes.

The Department of Correctional Services has introduced electronic monitoring of offenders who are granted parole and reintegrated into society. To promote access to justice, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development have completed the major additions to the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein, as well as the new wing in the Western Cape High Court.

Three new courts were completed in Tsakane, Ntuzuma and Kagiso. The Department will be completing the construction of a new High Court in Limpopo and Katlehong. We will also be starting with the construction of a new High Court in Mpumalanga, and that of new courts in Mamelodi, Port Shepstone, Dimbaza, Bityi and Plettenberg Bay. [Applause.]

The deployment of the SA National Defence Force on the border is yielding results. We are clamping down on illicit economic and criminal related border activities. Hon members raised the scourge of corruption as a serious problem. We are doing a lot already to combat corruption.

Hon Hoosen, we reiterate our undertaking made in 2009 to combat fraud and corruption in tender processes. Our announcement about vetting supply chain personnel is one of the interventions in this regard. Hon Chikunga outlined most of the interventions in the fight against crime and corruption. There is indeed a lot that has been done.

The anticorruption task team constituted by representatives from the security agencies is currently investigating 45 corruption related priority cases against 151 accused persons, and assets in excess of R600 million have been seized. More than R1 billion worth of assets obtained through illicit means have been forfeited by the state in the past two years.

Meanwhile, since the inception of the national anticorruption hotline, which is managed by the Public Service Commission, a total of 1 499 officials were charged with misconduct for corrupt activities at the national and provincial government levels. We thank all who use this hotline to report alleged corruption.

In addition, the Special Investigating Unit, SIU, is probing cases arising from 23 proclamations, relating mainly to procurement irregularities in the national and provincial government departments and also in some public enterprises. We have split the function of heading the SIU and the Asset Forfeiture Unit to improve focus and output.

It is important to emphasise that most of the corruption you read about in the media is exposed as a result of the work of government and its agencies. [Laughter.] [Applause.] Hon members should remember that South Africa is the only country that has a programme to fight corruption. [Applause.] It is not being fought anywhere else. [Applause.] That's why you can't read about corruption in other countries. That's a reality. South Africa indeed is fighting corruption. You supposed to be saying well done government. [Applause.]

Let us work together to promote clean governance and remove corruption in the public service and society in general. We are one of the countries in the world that has a dedicated programme of fighting corruption.

The courts led by the Constitutional Court, through their judgments, continue to make an indelible mark in the transformation of society to realise the vision set out in the Constitution. As outlined by Minister Radebe, an initiative to assess the impact and effect of the decisions of the superior courts, in particular the Constitutional Court, will be undertaken in this year.

This assessment is with a view to reflect on the impact of the constitutional jurisprudence in the past 17 years of our democracy towards the realisation of the transformation goals envisaged by our Constitution.

C/W: The assessment will also focus on the role of the other arms of the state...14:34:05



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The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC (Contd.): 14:34:05

C/W: The assessment will also focus on the other arms of the state...

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: The assessment will also focus on the role of the other arms of the state in giving effect to the court judgments. We reiterate that this exercise must not be viewed as an attempt by government to undermine the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law which are enshrined in our Constitution. It is, in reality, the enhancement of our constitutional democracy. [Applause.] We reaffirm our firm belief in the separation of powers, and the independence of the judiciary and of all three arms of the state. [Applause.]

To the hon Meshoe, we wish to emphasise that this exercise, as decided upon by Cabinet in November last year, falls within the mandate of the executive of formulating and reviewing policies of government. There is nothing unusual or untoward about this. In fact, the Chief Whip of the Majority Party, the hon Motshekga, reminded us that constitutions the world over are dynamic and subject to review. [Applause.]

In recognition of this fact, our Constitution provides that it must be reviewed at least annually by Parliament, in terms of section 45(1)(c). That is why there is the Constitutional Review Committee in Parliament, and therefore reviewing these matters is not a matter foreign to what our Constitution dictates. We are actually within our mandate. If you have forgotten the Constitution, visit it; go and read! [Laughter.] [Applause.]

The hon Mulder stunned all of us and the whole country yesterday with his bold denial of historical facts about land dispossession. [Interjections.] [Applause.] We recall the words of Sol Plaatje on the impact of the Natives Land Act of 1913 when he said:

Awaking on Friday morning, June 20, 1913, the South African Native found himself, not actually a slave, but a pariah in the land of his birth.

John Langalibalele Dube stated around the same period:

Most Europeans would not know, and will never know, the bitterness of being driven from one's birth place.

[Applause.] [Interjections.] The land question is one of the most emotive issues in our history and present. It must be handled with the utmost care, and not in the careless and callous manner that the hon Mulder handled it yesterday. [Interjections.] [Applause.]

As a responsible government, we resolved to address the land reform problem through restitution, redistribution and tenure reform, within the confines of the Constitution and informed by the national policy of reconciliation and nation-building. We felt it was not going to help the country for us to be emotional about the land question. We therefore urge the hon Mulder to tread very carefully on this matter. [Interjections.] [Applause.] It is extremely sensitive, and to the majority of people in this country, it is a matter of life and death.

Hon MEMBERS: Yes! [Interjections.] [Applause.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: That is why we have been very careful on this matter, and I do not think we should provoke emotions in this country.


The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: We should not. It is wrong. It is not good leadership. No matter what your constituency may think, it is not good leadership. [Interjections.] [Applause.]

We have introduced a Green Paper on land reform. The reason is that we want a responsible handling of this matter. The three fundamentals for land reform that will apply are the following: the deracialisation of the rural economy; the democratic land allocation and use across gender, race and class; and the strict production discipline for guaranteed food security.

Another lesson learnt over the years is that the process of acquiring and distributing a particular piece of land is often lengthy, and this escalates the cost of redistribution because the former owner stops investing in the land. Many of the farms are therefore in a poor state of repair at the point of acquisition, with very low productivity. This led to the adoption of a recapitalisation programme in November 2010, run by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform. By December 2011, about 600 farms were in the process of being rehabilitated through this programme.

The centenary of the 1913 Land Act is just a few months away. It is in the interests of all South Africans, black and white, and in the interest of national reconciliation that we proceed faster ...


Mnr P J GROENEWALD: Geagte Speaker, geagte Speaker ...

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: ... guided by the Constitution ...

The SPEAKER: What point are you rising on, sir?

Mr P J GROENEWALD: Sir, I want to know whether the hon President is willing to take a question. [Interjections.]

The SPEAKER: No. No. [Interjections.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: No, let him ask the question. I am ready to take the question.

Mr P J GROENEWALD: Thank you. Thank you, Mr President. Mr President, do you think that it is responsible leadership if some leaders in the ANC constantly tell white people that they have stolen the land and therefore are thieves? Is that responsible leadership? [Interjections.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: Hon Speaker, I am sure the hon member does not want me to get to the land question - how the land happened to be in the hands of the minority in this country.

Hon MEMBERS: Yes! [Applause.]

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I do not think he wants me to deal with that. [Applause.]

The SPEAKER: Order! Order! Order!

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC: I have said we are dealing with this matter responsibly. That does not change the facts of history, but it says we are a responsible leadership today ... [Interjections.] ... and that is what we do. [Applause.] [Interjections.]

As I was saying, it is in the interests of all South Africans, black and white, and in the interest of national reconciliation that we proceed faster, guided by the Constitution, to transform our policy framework. What guides us to these matters is the Constitution that we all adopted. All we are saying is that no one must go and deviate from the Constitution, because if that is allowed, then we have a problem on our hands. [Interjections.]

Compatriots, our leader and father, the hon Mlangeni, emphasised the need to improve the education of African working class children. We are working tirelessly to bring about change in education and to make our education system pro-poor, as outlined by the hon Minister Motshekga. The Eastern Cape education intervention is clearly of great interest to hon members from the opposition benches, in particular. We are assisting the province in dealing with the following urgent matters: the National School Nutrition Programme; the allocation and appointment of teachers; the supply of stationery and textbooks, especially to non-section 21 schools; the provision of scholar transport; and infrastructure development, especially the eradication of mud, inappropriate, and unsafe school structures.

We sent the Deputy Ministers of Basic Education, Finance, Justice and Constitutional Development, Public Service and Administration and Higher Education to the province recently to monitor progress and evaluate. They will facilitate the implementation of the recommendations in a problem-solving and solution-oriented manner, working with the Presidential Task Team on the Eastern Cape intervention.

In promoting our pro-poor education policies, we are investing in children and the youth from toddlers to tertiary level. In addition to the Grade R enrolments which have doubled - and which we mentioned in the state of the nation address - our Early Childhood Development Programme is also growing. The numbers of centres registered with the Department of Social Development have increased from 16 250 to 19 331 last year.

This programme now reaches more than 800 000 children, with government subsidising more than 500 000 children at between R12 and R15 per child per day, depending on provinces. The subsidies enable children from poor households to also benefit from early childhood support and education. May I take this opportunity to inform hon members about the marking of Child Protection Week, from 28 May to 1 June? We invite all to participate in this worthwhile campaign.

The hon Minister Patel pointed out the scarce skills which could impact on the infrastructure programme, such as engineering, project management, financing and procurement; and technical skills, such as artisans, technologists and technicians. It is for this reason that we have programmes such as the Youth into Science Strategy to encourage learners to pursue science, engineering, technology and mathematics studies at tertiary levels. In particular, we need to increase the numbers of graduates in engineering and the sciences.

The Department of Higher Education is working with the deans of the relevant faculties at tertiary institutions to determine short to medium-term strategies to achieve the 2014 graduate output targets for these scarce skills. I will meet with the principals of further education and training colleges in April to discuss their role in producing the skills that will make our economy grow faster and be sustainable.



C/W: Hon Pandor shared the work we are doing...14:51:50

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The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC (Contd.): Hon Pandor shared the work we are doing to promote a knowledge economy and innovation.

Government set itself the task of increasing broadband penetration, reducing information communication technology costs, developing national broadband legislation, developing wholesale backbone infrastructure, rolling out Digital Terrestrial Television and local loop unbundling. To date, more than six thousand rural and urban schools in South Africa have access to the internet. [Applause.]

Hon Bhoola and hon Lekota's, proposals for a youth employment incentive were published in February 2011. Discussions are currently in progress under the auspices of the National Economic Development and Labour Council, Nedlac. We trust that stakeholders will find an appropriate design quickly as this is an urgent and important matter.

We announced an extensive heritage programme to contribute towards shared values and a common national identity in the country.

The programme will also boost cultural tourism and economic activity in the areas where the monuments will be located. Hon Mphahlele questioned the representativity of the heritage sites selected and argued that government had not honoured PAC heroes, including the youngest prisoner to be hanged by the Pretoria regime, Bhekaphansi Vulindlela, who was tragically executed at the age of 18, on 03 July 1964.

Hon members will recall that on 15 December 2011 we launched the Gallows Museum in Pretoria, honouring the 134 former political prisoners. The names of all, including Bhekaphansi Vulindlela, are engraved at that museum for generations to know their contribution to the attainment of this democracy we enjoy today. [Applause.] The process of proclaiming heritage sites is inclusive and involves extensive public participation. Anybody can approach the SA Heritage Resource Agency with suggestions on the naming and proclaiming of memorial sites.

I want to say to my comrade Mphahlele, the leader of the PAC, that I have not come across an occasion where the PAC remembers its heroes; never. [Applause.] If my good comrade would like to make an application to the ANC for it to celebrate their heroes, including the battles that he was quoting which were fought in Mozambique, it would be very important for him to do so. It is the PAC that must tell the country what it did during the struggle. Ours is to remember all heroes. We cannot be blamed for the lack of information about what the PAC did. If there are processes that you can go through in order to honour your heroes, why don't you go through them? Unless you live in a neighbouring country called Azania,... [Laughter.]... in which case, you wouldn't know what happens in South Africa; unless you had the contact details of these institutions.

I'm just making this point because it is important that the PAC tells this country what it did during the struggle and tells us about the heroes who fell. We will certainly respond to that and respect them. We mention those that we know, as we did with the leader who founded the PAC, Robert Sobukhwe. We will do so with others as well. So, let us maybe engage a little bit more. [Laughter.]

Hon Dikobo and hon Godi, we are indeed determined to change the leadership of the African Union Commission, and we thank you for your support. [Applause.]

Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, as a candidate for chairperson of the AU Commission, carries a mandate from the Southern African Development Community, SADC. Since the formation, in May 1963, of the Organisation of African Unity, the SADC region has never been represented in the continental body at the level of chairperson of the commission. Secondly, South Africa has never before made an attempt to hold this position.

We believe our candidate can build on the good work done by previous leaders, as well as consolidate achievements made in the last 10 years of the existence of the AU. There are many things that we want to do in this organisation. [Applause.] There is indeed a need to consolidate the institution of the AU as a formidable, premier, Pan-African institution. We must ensure that Africa's developmental agenda is collectively advanced.

Issues relating to the integration and operationalisation of the African Peace and Security Architecture and enhancing co-operation between the AU and the United Nations in conflict resolution need to be attended to. We have to ensure that Nepad programmes are implemented. We also believe that the AU, having declared 2010 to 2020 as the decade of women, must ensure full implementation and consolidation of programmes aimed at ensuring the emancipation of women.

Our candidature will also enhance the health, education and skills development of children and youth in Africa, so as to ensure adequate future human resources for Africa's economic development. I am sure that if we are not paying lip service when we talk about women's empowerment we will certainly vote for this candidate. [Applause.] We also want to remain vigilant on Africa's continued advocacy for the reform of the global governance architecture and for a global deal on climate change.

More importantly, we seek to reaffirm the independence of Africa from neocolonial influences and interference from outside the continent, particularly by former colonial powers and other parties. It is for these reasons, amongst others, that we are going ahead with standing for the position of AU Commission chair, as South Africa.

Let me take this opportunity to thank you for supporting Census 2011. The results of this massive operation will be released in November 2012. We congratulate Minister Manuel and his team, the Yellow Man, for the success of this huge project.

I invite you to join me in extending good wishes to Mama Epainette Mbeki who turns 96 years old today. [Applause.] We wish her a very happy birthday! While on the subject of anniversaries, the legendary Alexandra Township in Johannesburg is marking 100 years of existence this year. [Applause.] The SA Hindu Maha Sabha, the representative body of Hindus in South Africa, is also marking 100 years of existence. [Applause.]

The Presidential Infrastructure Co-ordination Commission has developed a roadmap to finalise the components of each infrastructure project, relying on the results of technical and feasibility studies.

We are meeting tomorrow, the 17th, to work further on the implementation plan. There is no time to waste. I will convene a presidential infrastructure summit in April to brief potential investors and social partners. We will also draft a new infrastructure development law to simplify administrative requirements and promote co-operative governance across the three spheres of government, building on the soccer world cup experience. [Applause.]


TAKE ENDS AT 15:06:25.

The PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC (Contd.): Hon members, you will agree with me...

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TAKE STARTS AT 15:06:25.

The PRESIDENT (Contd): Hon members, you will agree with me. I am making this point taking into account what the opposition benches, particularly, were saying. For example, they said this speech lacks details and that there are things that were left unsaid. They went on to say a lot of things, including Umntwana, about how much the things which were not mentioned in the speech had gone wrong. You can imagine if I had stood here to count all of that; it would have taken the whole week. [Laughter.]

I'm sure you would have said: "Why tell us about the history? We want to know where the country is going." That is what would have happened. Now, I am saying this is the way we are going and our colleagues say: "No, we know that, but what about the history? What about this? What about that?" You know, I have dealt with these matters. Presently, for the first time, the Home Affairs, which could not be turned around by an experienced Minister who once run a homeland, has been turned around. [Applause.]

I could not stand here and go back to history because you do not know what I would have said if I did so. We are looking forward. We want to develop South Africa to become a better country. [Applause.]

My colleague and brother, the hon Magaqa, uMncwango, the hon Mncwango, spent a lot of time here asking why we are not saying anything about the contribution that Umntwana has made. We have always told it. We could count occasions. At one time we were in Thokoza in Johannesburg, where the former President, Mbeki, held Umntwana by hand and said that we worked together and that Umntwana was, in fact, sent by us to form the IFP. But when you talk, you forget about all of that. [Laughter.] That's a problem.

You can then imagine if I were to stand here and talk about the history of the ANC, the IFP, how the discussions went on in London, how ... Hey! Uyayibon' indaba? [Hey! Do you realise that?] [Laughter.]

My view is that we should look forward. Let us look forward. I can't stand here, for example, and talk about my interactions with Umntwana because I don't think it is worthwhile. There are very confidential things that we have discussed and I wouldn't want them to be said in the manner in which things are said. I'm not about competition. I am about going forward ... [Applause.] ... I have discussed going forward as well. [Applause.]

In those confidential discussions I have discussed how we move forward. I wouldn't want to do so again. Even last December I was keen to meet Umntwana, but, unfortunately, I just couldn't have time. I had already made him aware that we must meet but I did not have the time. I am still going to meet him. That is what the ANC believes in. We need to move forward. We need to discuss certain things before it is too late.

However, I must ask the hon Mncwango why they don't give themselves time to praise Umntwana, as the party, and tell the world what he has been doing all the time ... [Interjections.] ... and only use the opportunity afforded them by Parliament. You can stand here and say what Umntwana did, instead of blaming people for not saying what they have been saying anyway in the majority of cases. You can imagine if I stood here with tons and tons of paper, and talked about the DA when it was still the Progressive Party and then it became something else ... [Laughter.] ... Then it became the DA. [Interjections.]

When, for example, I recognised the contribution by a person who was a lone voice here, Mrs Suzman, I was talking about how we move forward because she always talked about moving forward. She was alone in this Parliament arguing against the male Parliament of apartheid. [Interjections.] Absolutely, I did recognise her. [Applause.] She was forward looking and we need to be forward looking, that's important. I'm just saying if we were to go to government details we would sit here for weeks on end because there is a lot that I can say. [Laughter.]

Allow me to thank the South African public for participation in the state of the nation address development process through the Presidential Hotline, social media and mainstream media. We also thank those who joined us during the broadcast. Almost three million people watched the state of the nation address on SABC2 and more than 1.3 million on e.tv. This is an increase from 1.5 million for the SABC and just under 500 000 for e.tv in 2009, when the state of the nation address was delivered in daytime. [Applause.]

The address was also broadcast live by SABC radio stations reaching even more people in the most remote areas of our country. Community radio stations also participated. This means that more people participated in their own state of the nation address.

We have charted a new course for our country. We want to see cranes and workers in every corner. We want to see dams, bridges, roads and railway lines mushrooming around the country. We must be a working country in order to develop ourselves. We want to see the infrastructure that enables the rural areas to have water, electricity and roads. We want to see an improved quality of life for all. Together, we can successfully drive back poverty, unemployment and inequality.

The former ANC President, Oliver Reginald Tambo, said much at the ANC rally closing the Second National Consultative Conference in Kabwe, Zambia in 1985. He said and I quote:

Working together as fellow South Africans, we have it within our power to transform the country into the land of plenty for all, where the nightmare of apartheid will just be a faint memory of the past.

Thank you very much! [Applause.]

Debate concluded.

The House adjourned at 15:16




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