Christmas message by the Deputy President, Kgalema Motlanthe
24 December 2009Fellow South Africans,
Christmas Day is a time for celebrating with our loved ones and sharing with those who do not have.
At the same time we do well to recall that Christmas is not only a time for festive cheer.
We remember those citizens who are suffering due to the negative effects of the global economic recession which ended the most sustained economic upswing in our country.
During this festive season, all of us who can, and are able to, are compelled to lend a hand to those individuals and families that are unable to support themselves, and to show compassion to children that do not have clothes, something to eat or a simple gift to bring a smile to their little faces.
Working together as a united nation entails drawing strength from our unmatched resolve to doing what we can to end poverty and unemployment.
While we have technically managed to go beyond the recession in the third quarter of 2009, the Christmas period urges us to spread the message of love and peace to our neighbours and to those who may disagree with us politically or ideologically.
Above all, 2009 will be remembered in annals of history as the year we held our 4th national democratic elections and ushered in a smooth transition and administration committed to the values that have stood us in good stead in 15 years of our freedom.
In fulfilment of a legacy built by Presidents Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki, President Jacob Zuma defined the priorities of government which includes fighting poverty, creating jobs and growing the economy.
In this regard, it is important to recall that we are steadily but surely weathering the recession storm based on the viability of the multibillion infrastructure programme which has helped bring relief to the lives of many South Africans who are barely eking out a living.
This year also saw the successful hosting of the FIFA Confederations Cup, also known as the ‘Festival of Champions’, which was by any definition a litmus test for our nation ahead of the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Happily, and as it were to be expected, we were not found wanting.
In this regard, as we look forward to the year 2010 we should pat ourselves on the back for hosting a successful FIFA World Cup Draw for the 32 participating teams.
In this connection, it is much encouraging to learn that over 70,000 ordinary people have volunteered to assist in the World Cup.
Moreover, this aptly demonstrates those national characteristics which have set us apart as a people committed to building South Africa for the better among world nations.
Clearly, this is Ubuntu/Botho in practice.
It is equally heartening to see our social partners, which include business, civil society and labour, steadfastly working together with government to take to a higher level; the fight against HIV and AIDS, commitment to programmes meant to cater for people with physical and mental disabilities and fighting women and child abuse.
It is by caring for our most vulnerable members of society that we can save and cure the soul of the nation.
However, the prevalence of high crime rates blots our programmes of building safe and secure communities where everyone can exercise their right to live in peace and comfort.
I therefore wish to assure all the people of our land that our uncompromising stance to fighting crime in all its manifestations remains unshakable.
It is for this reason that I wish to commend the men and women in our police force who are geared to fighting crime and bringing lawbreakers to book.
I applaud our law enforcement officers along with traffic authorities who are doing their job under testing conditions to make sure that rules of the road are obeyed by all road users.
I salute the medical personnel who deem it their patriotic duty to save lives while sacrificing the time they could be sharing with their families.
May I also use this opportunity to condemn the inopportune and ill-advised acts of xenophobic violence we have witnessed in certain parts of our country.
Once again, the sacrosanct principle of indivisible humanity runs counter to any acts of xenophobia, racism, sexism and related intolerances.
Government remain unwavering in its commitment to improving delivery of essential services to all inhabitants of South Africa and therefore the spate of service delivery protests compels us as public servants to redouble our efforts to improving the quality of life of all.
On education, let us continue to support our young learners in the lower grades right up to university.
As they comprise our future, our children need the support from all of us! I extend best wishes to the matriculants who await their results that will determine their future.
Let me use this platform to congratulate our sporting men and women for proudly placing South Africa on the international map.
I applaud our athletes for putting on a sterling performance at the Berlin World Championships and congratulate Team South Africa for winning the Dakar Rally.
I pass on good wishes to the Springboks for being named the IRB Team of the Year.
To our national soccer team, I remain convinced that the boys will do well and surprise many as they did in the Confederations Cup.
Let thousands of vuvuzelas ring loud at Soccer City during the opening match against Mexico!
While we have much to cheer about 2009, it is imperative that we similarly take this time to console those families that have lost their loved ones.
Our hearts go out to the families of Chris Dlamini, Zakes Mokae, Helen Suzman, Winston ‘Mankunku’ Ngozi, Sheila Roberts, Thamsanqa Wilkinson Khambule, Guy Willoughby, Ting Ting Masango, Ambassador Curtis Nkondo, former Deputy Minister of Agriculture Dirk Du Toit, former MPs – Gasan Solomon and Current MPs – Khellima Shoba, Frans Masango and DA MP – Cobus Schmidt and former Minister Mantombazana Tshabalala-Msimang, and many others who left us this year. May their families be comforted.
Once again, we make an appeal to all road users to hid regulations meant for their safety.
Do not Drink and Drive! Arrive Alive!
Let us also remember to practice safe sex.
Let peace reign in our hearts, care for one another and spread festive cheer to those who do not have.
We wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!
I thank you.
Enquiries contact Vusi Mona on 082 047 2260
THE UNION BUILDINGS