A speech by Zuma to the South African National Editors Forum
Editors, Ladies and gentlemen of the media,
Thank you for the opportunity to brief you this morning and to discuss a few issues.
We meet at a time when the African National Congress is in a much stronger and healthier space than it was this time last year.
The 53rd national conference brought about policy certainty and outlined the direction we are to take for the next five years as an organisation.
With the adoption of the National Development Plan, we also provided policy certainty in the long-term, for 20 years.
We are continuing with the programme of renewing and strengthening ANC structures nationwide. We are encouraged by the cooperation in all provinces and the willingness of leaders to work together.
A stronger, cohesive and united ANC is good for the country given this movement’s size, history, influence and its role in the country.
The renewal programme includes the rebuilding of the ANC Youth League so that it can continue to be the energetic fighting force that it has always been since 1942, within the discipline and policy framework of the ANC.
The ANC Youth League National Task Team is continuing its work of rebuilding and healing youth structures.
The Youth League has a responsibility to inspire South African youth. It must provide hope and leadership to young people in dealing with the crisis of youth unemployment, the fight against drugs and substance abuse or the violence against girls and women.
More importantly, it must influence government policies to promote economic opportunities and a better life for the youth.
We will hold the Alliance Summit on the 4-6 July. The Alliance partners are independent organisations, bound together by the pursuit of a National Democratic Society – a South Africa that is united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.
BUILDING A NATIONAL DEMOCRATIC SOCIETY
In a few months we will be marking 20 years of freedom.
Twenty years of democracy have changed the face of our country. South Africa is a much better place than it was before 1994, and the last five years have pushed that change forward.
Our view is that the achievements of the country and the ANC government do not obtain the necessary exposure.
Starting from a low base, we have built millions of homes. Water and electricity, quality education and better health care are reaching millions more people.
We have created more jobs, provided social grants to the poor and vulnerable without discrimination to alleviate poverty. These have grown from 2,5million in 1993 to 16 million to date, which is regarded as impressive and progressive for a developing country.
The South African economy has expanded by 83 per cent over the past 19 years.
National income per capita has increased from twenty sever thousand five hundred rand (R27 500) in 1993 to thirty eight thousand five hundred rand (R38 500) in 2012, an increase of 40 per cent. Disposable income per capita of households has increased by 43 per cent since 1994.
Total employment has increased by more than 3.5 million since 1994.
Average real wages in mining and industry have increased by over 150 per cent since 1994. Gross fixed capital formation increased from 15 per cent of GDP in 1993 to an average of 20 per cent over the past five years.
During the past five years we have successfully tackled one of the country’s key challenges – HIV and AIDS leading to improved life expectancy.
Every kind of crime has been reduced except white-collar crime. The fight against corruption continues. The security cluster released an update recently, naming 42 individuals who have been convicted and investigations are ongoing in many other cases within government.
Infrastructure investment has expanded.
At the same time, we know that we must still do a lot more to improve the quality of life for the poor and the working class.
Dealing with the massive challenge of rebuilding and developing our country could not happen all at once. Some areas changed before others and there are still communities we must yet reach.
We also admit that the public service must still perform much better than it is doing now, to speed up services.
All this work is being done during a difficult time for the country during a global recession. We are collaborating with business and labour to search for solutions and to make the economy resilient.
Going forward, we have learned from experience what policies work and what has not worked over the past 19 years. We have heard the comments of our people everywhere as we travel and meet communities directly.
That is why we saw the need to produce a long-term National Development Plan to guide our work over a longer period of time.
The creation of the National Planning Commission are outcomes of ANC and Alliance processes that began immediately after the ANC’s 52nd Conference, the Polokwane Conference.
These processes were refined and developed in many workshops and meetings, since 2008 and ultimately the 2009 ANC manifesto spells out the need for a planning entity within government.
The main reason why the ANC endorsed the National Development Plan is that it is hugely consistent with the ANC’s understanding of the National Democratic Revolution. It encourages a multi-class alliance to combat unemployment, poverty and inequality in South Africa.
The Plan identifies three key priorities that must be addressed urgently and with much vigour.
These are, raising employment, improving the quality of education and building a capable developmental state. We fully endorse these priorities which have been included in our national conferences for example 2007 and 2012.
On employment in particular, the plan proposes numerous ways to get more people into work, and ultimately get close to full employment by 2030.
This means creating 11 million jobs, and ensuring that total employment rises from 13 million to 24 million by 2030. Promoting youth employment in particular, is a key focus area for us, hence the promotion of the Youth Employment Accord that was signed in April this year by government, business, labour and the youth.
The ANC will be discussing the implementation of the NDP at its forthcoming makgotla, also as part of preparatory work for the Manifesto. We have noted debates on the Plan, which should we welcomed as part of the South African culture of democracy and open debate.
INTERVENTION IN MINING
As you are aware, Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe is currently engaging the mining sector to ensure the return of labour peace and stability in this crucial economic sector.
We are pleased with the progress registered thus far and expect a conclusion of the talks and an outcome soon.
We look forward to the Official Visit by United States President Barack Obama to South Africa between the 28 and 30 June.
He previously visited South Africa in 2006 as senator.
The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation will brief the media later today at length on the visit.
This is a significant visit as the United States is a major trade, investment, tourism and technology partner for South Africa. The United States is a significant investor in South Africa, with about 600 US companies operating within the South African economy.
About 90 per cent of South African exports gain access into the US duty-free through the African Growth and Opportunity Act South Africa has also been very successful in using the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief funding to address HIV and AIDS and other infectious diseases.
The visit will further strengthen the A US-South Africa Strategic Dialogue in which we engage on an ongoing basis on areas including health, education, agriculture, law enforcement, trade, investment, energy, nuclear security and non-proliferation, and regional security.
The visit also coincides with the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Organisation of African Union and presents an opportunity to showcase progress since the establishment of the African Union and to discuss cooperation on matters of socio-economic development as well as peace and security in the continent.
THE CONDITION OF FORMER PRESIDENT MANDELA
Former President Mandela remains in a critical condition in hospital.
The doctors are doing everything possible to ensure his well-being and comfort.
We thank the media for support and keeping the public informed during this difficult time.
I thank you.