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Remarks by Presidency Spokesperson media briefing statement and programme update, Union Buildings

RESPONSE TO THE JUDICIAL COMMISSION OF INQUIRY INTO ALLEGATIONS OF STATE CAPTURE, CORRUPTION AND FRAUD IN THE PUBLIC SECTOR (“ZONDO COMMISSION”).
 
The President’s submission of the Response to the Judicial Commission into allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud in the public sector, marked a significant milestone in the fight against corruption and state capture and in re-building the capacity of the state.
 
More pleasing for the President are the gains already attained in this effort against corruption by various state institutions. The recent approval by cabinet of the national framework towards the implementation of the professionalization of the public sector, which was released by Minister Nxesi this morning is another key milestone aimed at developing a professional and ethical public service that will not bow down to undue pressure seeking to undermine government institutions and perpetrate state capture.
 
In his address to the nation on Sunday, President Ramaphosa said, “Since the start of the work of the commission, significant resources have been made available to build and rebuild the capacity and capability of law enforcement agencies to respond effectively to the findings and recommendations of the State Capture Commission.”
 
The President went on to say “As a result of this work, the Investigating Directorate that we established within the National Prosecuting Authority has to date enrolled 26 cases, declared 89 investigations and 165 accused persons have appeared in court for alleged state capture-related offences.
 
Our law enforcement agencies have, to date, been granted freezing or preservation orders to the value of R12.9 billion.
 
A total of R2.9 billion has been recovered and returned to the affected entities and SARS has collected R4.8 billion in unpaid taxes arising from the work of the Commission.
 
South African’s should therefore take to heart that the work of the commission is bearing fruits and will continue to do so as government and many other state institutions continue implementing their respective areas of the commission’s recommendations.
 
SUMMARY OF THE SIXTH ADMINISTRATION ACHIEVEMENTS
 
President Ramaphosa ascended into the Presidency to inherit a state crippled through corruption, state capture and a stagnant economy.  The Covid-19 pandemic worsened the challenges of unemployment and poverty. Notwithstanding these mounting difficulties, the President embarked on a bold INVESTMENT, GROWTH AND EMPLOYMENT DRIVE. 
 
- Raised R1.14 trillion in new investment commitments through four SA Investment Conferences. This is over 90% of the R1.2 trillion target for government’s ambitious investment drive. Of these commitments around R330 billion has already flowed into the economy.
 
- Invested around R15 billion in black industrialist businesses. 
 
- Established the Infrastructure Fund as a blended finance facility for infrastructure and Infrastructure SA to coordinate a massive public infrastructure build. To date, 34 out of 50 strategic infrastructure projects are in implementation stages, accounting for R281 billion out of a total budget of R340 billion.
 
The PUBLIC EMPLOYMENT AND YOUTH EMPOWERMENT established the Youth Employment Service (YES) together with private sector partners, which has to date created over 86,500 work experiences for young people.
 
- Created 1,098,304 work and livelihood opportunities for unemployed South Africans through the Presidential Employment Stimulus. Of the participants, 84% are youth and 62% are women. Key programmes in the stimulus include:
 
- employing 596,109 education and general assistants in 22,000 schools
 
- providing production input vouchers to 142,004 small-scale farmers
 
- provided 25,000 opportunities in environmental management and rehabilitation
 
FAR-REACHING ECONOMIC REFORMS, led to the established Operation Vulindlela as an initiative between the Presidency and National Treasury to drive an ambitious economic reform agenda to accelerate growth, investment and job creation. Some of the key achievements to date:
 
- On telecommunications, finalised auction of high-demand broadband spectrum, enabling lower data costs and a significant expansion of broadband access.
 
- On embedded generation, removed the licencing threshold for private investment in electricity produced. Over 1,132 MW at 5 September 2022 of private renewable power generation have been registered to date, with a pipeline of over 6,000 MW of projects at various stages of development.
 
- On ports and rail, identified possible private sector partners to invest in and manage container terminals at the Durban and Ngqura ports, and issued a request for proposals to allow third-party access to the freight rail network.
 
- On water, cleared the water use licence backlog and significantly improved turnaround time. Also published the Green Drop report for the first time since 2014 to ensure better monitoring of water and wastewater treatment quality, enabling stronger interventions in failing municipalities.
 
IN TACKLING POVERTY AND BUILDING HUMAN CAPITAL THE 6TH ADMINISTRATION;
 
- Introduced National Minimum Wage for the first time in South Africa’s history, guaranteeing a minimum floor below which no worker may be paid.
 
- Expanded social grants for people most affected by COVID-19, including the Special SRD Grant, which reached around 11 million unemployed people.
 
- Launched SAFE Sanitation for Schools to mobilise public and private funds to replace pit toilets. To date, 2,300 safe and appropriate toilet facilities have been built.
 
- Increased percentage of school learners not paying fees from 71.1% in 2018 to 75.5% in 2021.
 
- Increased NSFAS funding for poor and working class students in universities and TVET colleges from R21 billion in 2018 to R38.6 billion in 2021. The total number of students funded increased from 580,000 in 2018 to 770,000 in 2021.
 
- Increased the number of learners received free school meals by half a million, from 9.1 million in 2018 to 9.6 million now.
 
We will share more details of major milestones of the Ramaphosa led administration in the coming weeks.
 

CLARIFICATION ON MANAGEMENT OF PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA’S FINANCIAL INTERESTS
 
On assumption of the position of Deputy President in 2014, President Ramaphosa embarked on a process to comply with the Executive Ethics Code with respect to his financial interests.
 
The Executive Ethics Code requires that members of the executive should either dispose of financial interests, which may give rise to a conflict of interest or place the administration of such interests under the control of an independent and professional person.
 
The President decided to dispose of those interests, which may give rise to a conflict.
 
On 26th November 2014, Shanduka announced Mr Ramaphosa’s divestment from the group. This involved the disposal of interests in ‘regulated’ sectors like mining, telecommunications and energy, i.e. those which may give rise to a conflict of interest. He retained assets in some ‘non-regulated’ sectors like property and restaurants.
 
Although not required by the Executive Ethics Code, Mr Ramaphosa put these remaining assets from the Shanduka divestment under the management of independent and professional persons. These non-regulated interests have subsequently been disposed of.
 
The President’s farming operations have always been separate from Shanduka and were therefore not part of these transactions. The farming properties are not businesses that may give rise to a conflict of interest.
 
President Ramaphosa’s directorships and shareholding in the respective farming entities have been included in his annual Declaration of Interests to Parliament (2014-2018) and the Secretary of Cabinet (2014-2022).
 
Whilst the farming entities do trade in the purchase, sale and breeding of game and livestock, the President does not earn a salary from these entities. Revenues earned from the trading of game and livestock cover salaries of workers, upkeep of the properties, and the remainder is re-invested into the breeding of unique game and livestock species, veterinary services and other related costs.  
 

PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA PROGRAMME FOR THE UPCOMING DAYS
 
· On Wednesday 26 October 2022 the President will attend the medium term budget policy statement.
 
· On Thursday the 27th of October 2022 President Ramaphosa will welcome to the Union uildings Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez Perez-Castejon of the Government of Spain for an official visit.  The visit will solidify already strong relations between South Africa and Spain. It will be Prime Minister Sanchez’s first visit to South Africa since he assumed office in 2018. The expectation is that the visit will translate the long standing bilateral relations between the two countries into tangible projects that would stimulate greater interest from Spain into South Africa, especially regarding trade, investment, tourism and cooperation in other identified sectors.
 
· South Africa was 40th largest destination for Spanish exports and 47th largest source of Spanish imports, globally. Bilateral trade reached the highest peak in 2018, at R51.7 billion, before falling to R38.8 billion in 2019. Bilateral trade recovered slightly, by 0.5% to R39.1. billion in 2020 amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
 
· Engagements during the visit will also include session with the business communities from both countries.
 
· Friday the 28th of October,  President Ramaphosa will attend the inauguration of Prime Minister-elect Sam Matekane of the Kingdom of Lesotho. Attending the inauguration will provide President Ramaphosa with the opportunity to congratulate the Prime Minister-elect  on his electoral success and the people of the Kingdom for conducting successful elections. The visit to Lesotho will also cement relations with the Kingdom Lesotho and its new leadership.
 
· On Saturday the 29th of October President Ramaphosa will preside over the official certificate of recognition handover ceremony to the AmaZulu King, His Majesty King MisiZulu ka Zwelithini. The occasion will be held at the Moses Mabhida Stadium.
 
 
 
South Africa hosts peace talks to end the conflict in the Tigray Region
 
President Ramaphosa is honoured that the Government of the Republic of South Africa has been requested to host the African Union (AU) led peace talks between the Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and Tigray. 
 
The peace talks, which have been convened to find a peaceful and sustainable solution to the devastating conflict in the Tigray Region, started today, 25 October 2022 and will end on 30 October 2022.
 
As a country committed to the African Union’s objectives of silencing the guns, South Africa is ready to serve as a host and provide assistance to the peace talks.
 
President Cyril Ramaphosa readily agreed when he received the African Union's request for South Africa to host the peace talks, such talks are in line with South Africa’s foreign policy objectives of a secure and conflict-free continent. 
 
The talks will be facilitated by former President Olusegun Obasanjo of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, who will be supported by former President Uhuru Kenyatta of the Republic of Kenya; and former Deputy President Dr Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka of the Republic of South Africa.
 
South Africa wishes the facilitation team well and hopes the talks will proceed constructively and result in a successful outcome that leads to lasting peace for all the people of our dear Sister-Country – Ethiopia.

 
PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA CONGRATULATES PRIME MINISTER RISHI SUNAK OF THE UNITED KINGDOM OF GREAT BRITAIN AND NORTHERN IRELAND
 
President Ramaphosa has sent his sincere congratulations to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak following his appointment by His Majesty the King Charles III.
 
South Africa and the United Kingdom enjoy historically strong and friendly relations and the President expressed confidence that this strategic relationship will continue to grow frim strength to strength. President Ramaphosa looks forward to working with Prime Minister Sunak to further strengthen the bonds of cooperation and friendship between the two countries.


Issued by: The Presidency
Pretoria