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Remarks by Minister in The Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni, as she invited President Ramaphosa to address the BBC Awards and Dinner

Programme Director,
His Excellency, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa,
The President of the Black Business Council, Mr Elias Monage,

Allow me to stand on the protocols already established.

Mr President,

I always find it difficult to introduce you as a President of the Republic, when you have to address your people. Tonight, I think I have figured out how to do it.

Last year, I was privileged to speak and participate at the BBC Annual Summit on “the political economy of South Africa and where we were heading”.
In that conversation, I insisted that Decades of institutionalised discrimination created vast disparities in terms of access to wealth and opportunities, hence South Africa still has levels of  economic marginalisation and exclusion. 
I reassured the Summit, that at the forefront of the government’s programme is  addressing the triple challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality which are the legacy of Apartheid. A critical aspect of this programme is the  pursuit of economic transformation and empowerment.

I asserted that the future of South Africa's political economy:

1. Will be the pursuit of inclusive growth aimed at addressing income inequality, and empowering marginalised communities.
2. That as the nation sought to reduce its reliance on finite resources and adapt to changing global trends, economic diversification will gain importance. Encouraging sectors such as renewable energy, technology, tourism, services and green economy to increase their contribution to long-term sustainability and resilience.
3. That South Africa will focus on enhancing infrastructure networks to support industrialisation, trade facilitation, and regional integration, while also addressing historical disparities in access to services.
4. That tackling corruption and strengthening governance structures will remain crucial.
5. Reducing poverty and improving social welfare programs will also remain a political priority as we continue on a quest to break generational poverty.
6. Encouraging innovation, fostering digital literacy, and promoting the growth of the technology sector by embracing digitalisation and technological advancements is also a priority.

7. Lastly that strengthening ties with African nations, deepening partnerships with emerging economies, and pursuing mutually beneficial trade agreements will feature prominently in South Africa's economic strategy.
Of course, my contribution to the discussion on the political economy was before the Census 2022 Results that clearly articulated the progress our country has made in the last 30-years whilst point to the gaps confronting us, and the release of the Manifesto of the governing party.  

So, Mr President, it is always better to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth. Let me invite you to address this august gathering of an important sector of our society. 

Mr President.

Keynote address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Black Business Council Gala Dinner, Radisson Blu, Kempton Park

Programme Director,
President of the Black Business Council, Mr. Elias Monage,
CEO of the Black Business Council, Mr. Kganki Matabane,
National Officer bearers of the BBC,
Representatives of the business community,
The generous sponsors of this evening’s dinner,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening. It is a pleasure to be here, and it is indeed always an honour to be invited to the annual gala dinner of the BBC. 

Our relationship as government with the Black Business Council has deepened since the sixth administration took office in 2019, and I think I can say with confidence that it is also stronger.

I would like to begin by paying tribute to a business legend, Dr. Sam Motsuenyane, who passed away yesterday.

He was a pioneer and a visionary. His founding and stewardship of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce marked a pivotal point in the trajectory of economic transformation in this country.

Dr. Motsuenyane’s impact was a lasting one and on behalf of the government and people of South Africa I offer my condolences to the family, to his peers and to the black business community at large.

In my inauguration speech five years ago I called on all South Africans to join us as we set our collective sights high, on a future of growth and economic opportunity. 

I further called on all of society to mobilise their respective resources and capabilities to make this a reality. 

The Black Business Council, the men and women in this room tonight, and your membership across the country, did not hesitate to answer this call.

You have rallied both with us and around us as government, in what has been a turbulent period marked by a global pandemic, civil unrest, natural disaster, crises in energy and logistics, and slow economic growth that has been further exacerbated by all the aforementioned challenges. 

We also know that as the sixth administration took office, we were also confronted with the task of rebuilding capacity in key state institutions practically from the ground up, following the devastating years of state capture. 

What has been immensely encouraging is that the door of engagement has always remained open, and that has government and the BBC our engagements have been productive, and have always taken place in a positive spirit of partnership.

I would like to thank the leadership of the BBC for the support you have given us as the sixth administration. I believe we can continue to count on this support for the incoming administration following the national elections in late May.

This year we celebrate 30 years of democracy, and it is a time that we reflect on the progress we have made in building a South Africa of equality, human rights, freedom and mutual prosperity. 

Of course it is also a time for sober reflection on the substantial challenges we face and how we are going to overcome them. 

High unemployment, the energy crisis, challenges in logistics, infrastructure and other sectors, crime and corruption, and the effects of poverty and underdevelopment on economic growth are just some of the problems we are contending with. 

Even as we do so, and continue to engage on various platforms, I think tonight is an opportunity to reflect on just how much the economic landscape has changed over the past thirty years with respect to transformation. 

In my State of the Nation address earlier this year I told the story of Tintswalo, a metaphor of democracy’s child. 

It was as story of how the transformative, pro-poor policies and programmes introduced under democracy have changed the lives of the millions born into freedom.

A story that has not being fully told or explored, and we should think of how we do this both as government and as the BBC – is of how the democratic state working in partnership with black business, have pushed the frontiers of economic transformation in this country.

This year marks twenty years since the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act was enacted into law. 

The BBBEE Act is the singular most significant, far-reaching piece of legislation introduced under democracy to bring about the transformation of the South African economy, and its impact has been considerable.

This law, alongside affirmative action legislation and supportive initiatives like the Black Industrialists Programme, worker shareholder schemes, and funding for black entrepreneurs, have enabled fundamental transformation in the economy over the past thirty years.

During apartheid the prospects for black business, for black entrepreneurs, and for black South Africans in general were bleak.

The economic landscape was extremely unequal. A small number of white-owned firms exerted significant control over the major sectors, and new entrants faced barriers to competition, further entrenching the concentration of economic power. 

As black South Africans we were systematically excluded from owning businesses or operating them outside of townships and in the so-called homelands. 

Access to capital or the ability to accumulate capital was constrained. 

Laws around land ownership made it impossible for those black businesses who had managed to eke out an existence in the system to expand, grow or become sustainable. 

This led to highly concentrated markets in key economic sectors like chemicals, steel, finance and retail, which were dominated by a small minority of white-owned firms.

Afrikaner capitalism, so called Volkskapitalisme, skewed the economy even further as the state mobilised the savings of Afrikaner farmers to create a capital base that they used to further entrench white minority business interests.  

With respect to the workplace, job reservation and lack of meaningful educational opportunity closed the door to black professionals in nearly every sector.

When South Africa's first democratically-elected government took office, it inherited an economy in crisis. 

Over the preceding decade, GDP growth had stagnated at a mere 1,2 per cent. The early 1990’s saw our country emerge from a deep four-year depression, marked by high public and foreign debt.

It is undeniable, particularly given the state of the apartheid economy in 1994, coupled with the scale of the market and workplace distortions we inherited that we are light years away when it comes to economic transformation.

Our economy, despite its present challenges, has opened the doors of opportunity for millions of  black South Africans and for black business. 

I like to think of this new frontier we have created together as a galaxy

The transformative economic policies of democracy have birthed stars and leading lights, constellations of interconnected and interdependent black-owned businesses, and indeed, supernovas as well. 

Many are in this room tonight. 

Men and women who are established and respected senior business leaders. CEO’s of black-owned companies both small and large. Heads of listed companies that have grown from humble beginnings.

Many of us will remember the news stories from the early days of democracy. Being a black person at the helm of one’s own business, being a black CEO, a black or female chairperson of a board. This was the headline. This was how decades of professional personal experience was condensed, because it was a rarity.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

That this is no longer something prioritised as being of news value, in itself speaks volumes about the progress we have made on our collective journey.

In 1994, total employment stood at 8.9 million, with black South Africans predominantly in wage employment while skilled workers, managers, and executives in both public and private sectors were overwhelmingly white.

Since 1994, the number of South Africans in employment has increased to 16.7 million in 2023, reflecting a doubling of opportunities and livelihoods for our people.

While unemployment remains a challenge, the proportion of black South Africans in executive management positions has increased almost five-fold between 1996 and 2016.

The Black Economic Empowerment Commission reports that black ownership of firms in South Africa has grown from negligible levels in 1994 to approximately 30 per cent of reporting firms today, with black women's ownership averaging around 14 per cent. 

The Black Industrialists Programme that we initiated in 2016 had an initial target of 100 black industrialists to be supported and developed.

Today, in 2024, we have over 1,700 black-owned and black-managed firms across all sectors of the economy that are benefitting from the programme.

Last month we hosted the Second Black Industrialist and Exporters Conference, which brought together more than 1 200 black-owned businesses. 

The Conference was an opportunity to reflect on progress made, on challenges encountered and on steps to be taken to boost black industrialist development in the next 5 years. 
These firms are active in the food and agriculture sectors, in clothing and furniture, in cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, high-tech, steel and the creative sectors, amongst others. 

These firms have a combined R330 billion annual turnover, measured in their operations and that of their core suppliers. They support over 282,000 direct and indirect jobs. 

These black industrialists are investing in fixed capital stock, in factories, machinery and equipment, mobilising working capital and bringing the spirit of entrepreneurship to their businesses. 

Many are exporting to the continent, to the US, Europe, the Middle East and Asia.  

The Africa Continental Free Trade Area or AfCFTA holds immense potential in this regard. 

We will be setting ourselves an ambitious target for expanding trade with our fellow African countries over the next five years leveraging the AfCFTA. 

This strategic initiative will form the cornerstone of our efforts to deepen economic integration and maximize the benefits of regional trade.

As government we plan to roll out a program aimed at assisting companies to take advantage of the AfCFTA. 

This will include identifying critical markets, products, and value chains where targeted support can make a transformative impact. 

By adopting a nuanced and adaptive strategy, we aim to foster sustainable partnerships and unlock new avenues for trade and investment within Africa.

At the Black Industrialists Conference, we secured R261 billion in pledges to buy from more than 230 black-owned firms over a period from 1 to 5 years through private sector procuring entities in retail, automotive, metal fabrication, food and agriculture, ICT, the financial sector and others.  

What we are also pleased to report that of this, R11,8 billion in pledges were made by 18 black industrialists to procure goods and services from 55 black industrialists in turn.

We are also seeing more black industrialists making pledges at the annual South Africa Investment Conference. 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

This is all progress. This is transformation. This is change. We will not be swayed to shy away from it or to diminish it. The landscape for black business has fundamentally transformed since 1994. 

We know the picture is not all rosy. Much more remains to be done if the SA economy is to enter a phase of transformation, dynamic and inclusive growth.

Resolving the crises in the energy sector, in logistics and in critical infrastructure is key to the viability of businesses. The scourge of unemployment threatens to roll-back our hard won gains under democracy.

I want to call on black business and on black industrialists in particular to be part of the effort to rebuild our economy.

Without investment there can be no jobs, and without job creation on a large scale, our prospects for achieving full economic transformation are diminished.

By strategically investing in the economy we are laying the groundwork for prosperity, connectivity, and opportunity across our nation. 

Green industrialisation is an area of opportunity for black business. 

As government we are prioritising the production of electric vehicles, green hydrogen production, and the processing of critical minerals essential for the battery value chain. 

In February 2024, we announced a comprehensive set of incentives designed to spur investment in these critical sectors, which will be rolled out over a ten-year period. These incentives will stimulate innovation, attract private capital, and accelerate the adoption of green technologies, ensuring a just and equitable transition towards a sustainable future.

By embracing green industrialization and promoting a just transition, we are not only safeguarding our environment but also fostering economic resilience and creating new opportunities for our workforce. 

As part of our commitment to fostering economic inclusion and levelling the playing field, the Competition Commission will continue to embark on market inquiries across the economy.  

These inquiries are aimed at addressing high levels of economic concentration and encouraging greater participation by small businesses. By identifying barriers to entry and promoting fair competition, we will create opportunities for emerging entrepreneurs to thrive and contribute to our economy.

These initiatives underscore our dedication to promoting economic empowerment, fostering entrepreneurship, and creating a more inclusive and equitable economy.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Over the past thirty years South Africa has undergone deep, fundamental and irreversible change. It has been tangible and its dividends are there for all to see. 

Black business has been a valued partner along this journey and I have no doubt will continue to be so for time to come.

We salute you for your solidarity, your positive, cooperative spirit with us as government, and above all for your patriotism. This year’s celebration of democracy is a celebration of you all, and of your achievements.

As we look to the future with optimism, let us continue to work together on this journey towards a fully transformed economy where no one is left behind. 

I thank you.

Oration by the Grand Patron of National Orders President Cyril Ramaphosa at the presentation of the 2024 National Orders, Sefako Makgatho Guest House, Tshwane

Deputy President Paul Mashatile,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Members of Parliament,
Chancellor of National Orders, Ms Phindile Baleni,
Members of the Advisory Council on National Orders,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
Recipients of the National Orders together with their family members and friends,
Fellow South Africans, 

It is my honour and privilege to present the recipients of this year’s National Orders. 

National Orders are the highest accolade bestowed by a country on the men and women, citizens and non-citizens, who have played an invaluable role in building our nation. 

Two days ago, on the 27th of April, we celebrated Freedom Day and the victory of the democratic breakthrough that enabled South Africans of all races to cast their votes for the first time. 

This year marks 30 years since we attained our freedom. 

This would not have been possible without the bravery, fortitude and noble acts of those the preamble of our Constitution recognises as having suffered for justice and freedom in our land. 

The men and women we honour here today have played an invaluable role in giving birth to the free South Africa that we all enjoy today. 

Our nation owes each of them a great debt. 

By bestowing these National Orders, we want to ensure that their contributions are recognised and spoken of by generations to come. 

The recipients of the National Orders are chosen by the South African people themselves. It is the South African people who makes nominations for consideration. 

This is most appropriate because the recipients are the heroes and heroines of the entire nation. 

The truest test of heroism is that these acts are not done for the sake of name, prestige, fortune or fame. 

They are done out of conscience and an unwavering sense of responsibility. 

They are born of a burning quest for social justice. 

They are anchored in the belief that the achievement of equality and human dignity for all is the highest aspiration of humankind. 

The Order of Mendi for Bravery is made to South Africans who have performed acts of great bravery.

All this year’s recipients were anti-apartheid activists and they are being awarded posthumously. 

They lived at a time when apartheid repression was at its zenith, and they displayed the outmost courage. Their sacrifices will never be forgotten and their memories live on. 

The Order of Luthuli is awarded to South Africans who have contributed to the struggle for democracy, human rights, nation-building, justice and peace. 

Several of the recipients of this year’s Order of Luthuli were brutally killed by the apartheid regime. 

One of them is Ms Nokuthula Simelane, who was abducted and tortured by the apartheid Security Branch. Her remains were never found. 

This is a wound that will never heal for her family, like the scars of many other South Africans whose loved ones disappeared during the repressive years of apartheid. 

By honouring those fallen heroes with National Orders we are saying that no matter how great the passage of time, they have not been forgotten. 

The Order of Ikhamanga recognises South Africans who have excelled in the arts, culture, literature, music, journalism and sport. 

In this, the 30th year since we achieved our freedom, we also celebrate the democratic gains we have made in enshrining the principle of a free and independent media. 

Among those being honoured today are legendary journalists who were the voice, words and conscience of an oppressed people during the darkest periods in our history. The standard they set for media ethics and freedom are embodied in today’s generation of journalists and media workers. 

The Order of the Baobab recognises South Africans who have made a difference in business and the economy, in science, medicine and technological innovation, and in our communities. 

As we strive to bring about social and economic transformation in South Africa, we are keenly aware of the importance of every endeavour, be it in business, in science or in innovation, being put in the service of social justice for all. 

The recipients of The Order of Mapungubwe displayed excellence in scientific endeavours for the benefit of South Africa and beyond. This year’s recipient undertook valuable research in the aerospace field and set a standard that today’s generation of researchers will strive to emulate for time to come. 

Lastly, The Order of the Companions of OR Tambo recognises the great friends of the South African people from beyond our shores, whose sense of moral duty to oppose apartheid saw them undertake acts of solidarity and cooperation in the cause of the liberation struggle. 

We honour journalists who helped amplify the voice of the liberation movement abroad, campaigners and fundraisers for the anti-apartheid movement, and activists who played an important role in the sports boycott against the regime. 

Congratulations to all who are being honoured today and to their families. 

Under the powers vested in me by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996), I now confer the Order of Mendi, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli and the Order of the Companions of O R Tambo. 

The recipients shall henceforth be honoured as esteemed Members of the Orders. 

The people of South Africa salute them all.

I thank you.

Address by Deputy President Shipokosa Paulus Mashatile on the occasion of the African United Business Confederation, Bryanston Country Club, Sandton, Gauteng Province

Programme Director, Ms Katlego Msomi;
Mr George Sebula, AUBC President;
AUBC Global Director and NAAMSA CEO, Mr Mike Mabasa;
Director General of the Department of Planning, Monitoring, and Evaluation in The Presidency, Dr Robert Nkuna;
Representative of the National School of Government, DDG Dr Maja;
President of the South African Indo-Afro Business Association (SAIBA), Dr Kinesh Pather;
Business leaders and representatives;
Representatives from The Presidency;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen;

I had eagerly anticipated interacting with you, particularly because of the theme of this engagement, "the role of leadership in economic growth." Undoubtedly, effective leadership significantly affects the economic landscape of nations and societies.

We are convinced that to build our economy, leaders from all sectors, including business, politics, Government, and civil society, must work together. We must collaborate, with each playing a distinctive part, to generate employment and boost trade investment between our nation, the continent and the world. Our roles are all important, and if one lags behind, it will affect the growth of our economy.

It is our duty as political leaders in Government to formulate policies that promote an environment conducive to economic growth. This is because effective economic policies can stimulate innovation, promote entrepreneurship, and drive innovation.

Moreover, as you may have observed, since the advent of democracy, we have created political stability by promoting free and fair elections, which will continue to be the case in the upcoming election on 29 May 2024. A stable political environment is critical for investor confidence and economic growth.

Your responsibility as a leader in the private sector is to foster entrepreneurship and innovation, both of which are vital to economic expansion and job creation. Furthermore, the private sector is key to enhancing the competitiveness of the South African economy. Together, as leaders, we possess the foresight to identify opportunities, mitigate risks, and make strategic decisions that drive sustainable economic development.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Our journey to freedom and democracy illustrates the results of leaders who collaborated for the greater good. We were able to achieve our freedom because of selfless leaders like former President Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani, Helen Joseph, Albertina Sisulu, Winnie Mandela, Ahmed Kathrada and many others who gave up their lives to achieve the political freedom we enjoy today.

Despite attaining political freedom and substantial advancements since 1994, South Africa is yet to realise economic freedom and an economy that adequately provides for the majority of its populace. As present-day leaders across various sectors of our society, we must set aside our differences and concentrate on fully rousing the potential of South Africa’s economy.

We must proactively address socio-economic challenges such as high unemployment, poverty, inequality, and corruption. In this regard, I agree with what Prof. Somadoda Fikeni once said; “Corruption is the biggest threat to SA's democracy.” To reach the goal of ending poverty and boosting economic growth set out in the National Development Plan (NDP), we must all work together to fight corruption and support accountability, openness, and good government.

Indeed, this fight against corruption should be multifaceted, involving both the public and private sectors. We have to strengthen anti-corruption partnerships, intensify efforts, and promote a zero-tolerance approach to corruption led by capable leaders, who are resilient, highly adaptable and are willing to implement bold reforms to surmount our challenges and transform the economy.

Cognisant of the legacy of exclusion from participating in the economy because of race, and gender specifically, it is critical that leaders across sectors become intentional in their inclusion of women, youth and other marginalised groups in economic reform efforts. The participation of women specifically is essential in addressing some of the socio-economic challenges that potentially hinder economic growth, considering the significant role they generally play in society generally. Investment in women and female-led businesses to achieve economic development and gender equality must as such remain a priority in the agenda for transformation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

An ANC Government will continue with the expansion of industries for an inclusive economy, revitalising the economy, and investing in people and micro businesses, particularly those owned by previously marginalised groups. We aim to make South Africa a nation that fosters investment by creating an environment that is conducive for investment to everyone.

In this regard, under the leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa, we have introduced the Red Tape Reduction Team to improve the ease of doing business in the country and further stimulate business development. The team focuses on reducing red tape in priority areas such as mining rights, tourism operator licenses, travel visas, work permits, and the informal sector, aiming to create a competitive and vibrant economy. The intention is to speed up the discipline of execution and ensure faster results.

In this case, we are making progress in reducing regulatory impediments for SMMEs and cooperatives, as well as making it easier for entrepreneurs to start businesses. Specifically we have reduced regulatory hurdles for SMMEs and cooperatives, reduced VAT refund processing time from 15 weeks to 4 to 5 weeks and reduced the Corporate Income Tax audit process from 32 weeks to 17 weeks.

Additionally, the Minister of Small Business and Enterprise has proposed an SMME and Cooperative Funding Policy, mandating Business Development Service Providers to provide pre-funding support to these enterprises.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Regarding the energy supply, we commend the Minister of Electricity's leadership for tirelessly striving to find solutions to power cuts and increasing energy availability. It is commendable that we have had four conservative weeks without power interruptions. We equally commend the Eskom team as led by Mr Dan Morakane in this regard.

While some think that this is an electioneering strategy, I want to reassure you that this reality is just evidence of improvements in the entities operations. Our strategy has been the implementation of a concerted and deliberate Energy Action Plan (EAP), which has improved Eskom's performance.

As Government, we remain committed to implementing the EAP’s key interventions, which include fixing Eskom and improving the availability of existing supplies; enabling and accelerating private investment in generation capacity; and unleashing businesses and households to invest in rooftop solar energy.

Furthermore, we are ensuring that all power stations have the right leaders who will drive the appropriate discipline within those operations. As the government, we welcome the changes made over the past 18 months in Eskom’s leadership and believe that with the right skills, talent, and experience we can sooner achieve an energy secure future.

We are similarly committed to implementing all necessary steps to maintain the security of our infrastructure, as it is crucial to attaining long-term economic and social goals. As you may recall, in May 2020, the Cabinet adopted the Infrastructure Investment Plan to demonstrate our commitment to infrastructure development and moved swiftly to implement it.

The plan includes projects from the Government, State-owned enterprises, and the private sector in six sectors, namely; energy, water and sanitation, transport, digital infrastructure, human settlements, as well as agriculture and agro-processing. We are certain that these ambitious projects will boost the economy and reduce unemployment.

Recently Cabinet has taken a decision to establish a water task team which I lead working with the Ministers of Water, Human Settlements, Police, Electricity, Finance and COGTA. The task team seeks to implement a coordinated intervention to avert the water supply shortage in the country. Together with these Ministers, we are visiting water infrastructure facilities across the country, engaging with water boards and visiting the Lesotho Highlands Water Project as part of our effort to meet the water needs in the country.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would also like to urge the Confederation and its members to take advantage of the Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement. This trade revolution will shape the continent's future by stimulating innovation and value-chain growth, industrialisation and job creation across the continent.

Given Africa's present population of 1.2 billion and its predicted increase to 2.5 billion by 2050, the AfCFTA will be the biggest free-trade area since the World Trade Organisation's inception. It will boost African trade, enhance the capacity of African companies to cater to global markets, and foster African economic and commercial diplomacy.

To achieve these we must champion policies that empower marginalised communities and create opportunities for all individuals to participate in, and contribute to the economy.

We must continue to address skills shortages and mismatches primarily because a shortage of trained professionals stifles innovation, reduces productivity, and inhibits foreign direct investment. Furthermore, it perpetuates the cycle of unemployment and inequality, preventing individuals from securing gainful employment and contributing to the nation's overall economic prosperity.

As chair of the Human Resource Development Council (HRDC), I am pleased that we have signed Social Compacts to demonstrate government and social partner dedication to addressing skills shortages in critical economic sectors.

These compacts prioritise digital skills for the 21st century, aligning with the global demands of the Fourth and Fifth Industrial Revolutions. We need to realise that technology has the potential to level the economic playing field, facilitating more and better access to markets. Therefore, as leaders, we must equip the younger generation with skills relevant to the digital economy and necessary for them to succeed in the workplace.

On that note, as we celebrate International Workers Day tomorrow, it is crucial to recognise the vital role of the workforce in the economy. Human labour produces goods and services, and the market relies on individual skills and competencies. We, as social leaders, can improve these abilities through education and training, making the labour force a dynamic talent pool for businesses.

In conclusion, let me re-emphasise that we have a collective role to play in paving a way for future generations of leaders to contribute to the transformation of our economy. Through strategic leadership, we unlock the countries' potential, drive innovation, and creates a better future.

Thank you and I look forward to having a meaningful discussion with you.

President Ramaphosa pays tribute to the late Dr Sam Motsuenyane

President Cyril Ramaphosa is deeply saddened by the passing of black-business pioneer and co-founder of the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (NAFCOC) Dr Sam Motsuenyane at the age of 97.

President Ramaphosa offers his condolences and those of government to the family, friends and associates of the veteran visionary business leader, farmer and philanthropist.

Dr Motsuenyane was also an Esteemed Member of the National Order of the Baobab (Gold) in recognition of his significant personal achievements – which included leading the establishment of African Bank – and the inspiration and leadership he provided in fostering the development of black-owned businesses and economic liberation more broadly.

He served as a Member of Parliament and as South Africa’s first ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

President Ramaphosa said: “The passing of Dr Sam Motsuenyane 60 years after the establishment of NAFCOC is a profound reminder of the breadth, durability and longevity of his vision and passion for self-reliance and development.

“The remarkable sweep of his life as an entrepreneur, leader of organised business, parliamentarian and diplomat among other roles embodied our resilient national character and values of ubuntu.

“His philosophy of self-sufficiency is today entrenched in the constitutional right each of us enjoys to freely choose our trade, occupation or profession and in the socio-economic rights that our constitution safeguards.

“Dr Motsuenyane’s passing on the eve of the 2024 National Orders Ceremony causes us to recall the honour bestowed on him in 2002 as the nation paid tribute to an outstanding patriot and source of inspiration for our then fledgling democracy.

“May his soul rest in peace.”

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President –

Issued by: The Presidency

President Ramaphosa to address Black Business Council Summit dinner

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Tuesday, 30 April 2024, deliver the keynote address at the annual Black Business Council (BBC) Summit Dinner.

The BBC Summit is convened under the theme, “30 Years of Democracy – lessons learned and plans for the next 30 Years."

The BBC is the over-arching confederation that represents black professionals, business associations, and chambers.

The objective of the BBC is to lobby Government on policy related matters and to play an advocacy role where policies are in place in order to accelerate the participation of black business in the mainstream economy.


Media enquiries: Ms Masedi Sesele, BBC Stakeholder and Communications Manager, on 066 588 2464

Issued by: The Presidency

President Ramaphosa to bestow the 2024 National Orders Awards

President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Grand Patron of the National Orders, will on Tuesday, 30 April 2024, bestow the 2024 National Orders Awards on distinguished citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and have made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans. 

National Orders are the highest awards that a country, through its President, bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals.

The President will bestow on deserving recipients the Order of Mendi for Bravery, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, the Order of Mapungubwe, and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo.

Date: Tuesday, 30 April 2024
Time: 11:00 (Accredited media to arrive at 08h30)
Venue: Sefako M. Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria 

Only accredited members of the media will be allowed access and must bring with press cards or identification documents

Dress code: Members of the media are kindly requested to wear attire that is in keeping with the decorum of this ceremony. 

The ceremony will be live streamed on all PresidencyZA social media platforms and major news channels. 

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to President Ramaphosa –

Issued by: The Presidency

Media briefing by Spokesperson to the President, Mr Vincent Magwenya

Developments related to the SABC Group Executive News

The story published yesterday, Sunday the 28th of April, attempted to create a link between recent developments at the SABC concerning the vetting process of Mr. Moshoeshoe Monare, the SABC Group Executive for News, with utterances attributed to the President through a leaked recording of a meeting of the governing party.

I must emphasise that indeed the State Security Agency does not publicly discuss the names of individuals that are being vetted, neither does The Presidency. However due to grave nature of the claims that have been made and calls directed to The Presidency, we do have the obligation to provide the facts on the matter and dispel with falsehoods or doubts about the President’s commitment to media freedom as enshrined in our Bill of Rights.

Herewith is the understanding of The Presidency on the matter:

• The SABC made the request to the State Security Agency (SSA) to conduct a vetting process on Mr Monare, as per the established practice with all SABC executives.

• Mr Monare’s predecessor, Ms Phathiswa Magopeni, who now serves on the board of directors of the SABC, went through a similar vetting process without any hitches. It is therefore not true that Mr Monare is being targeted ahead of the elections.

• The vetting process does not cover practicing journalists or reporters at the SABC. Mr Monare is not a reporter at the SABC.

• Upon his appointment, Mr. Monare gave consent to the vetting process and completed the form that was furnished to him and went further to submit some, but not all of the required information.

• The process was then stalled when Mr. Monare did not want to submit himself to a polygraph test, which is part of the vetting process.

• Consequently, the vetting of Mr. Monare was never completed as claimed and no one from SSA recently phoned Mr. Monare to ask him to submit himself to a polygraph test as it has been alleged.

• Mr Monare is not being vetted for the second time, the process that started in 2022 when he joined the SABC and has not been completed due to his aversion of the polygraph test, which is only one element of the broader vetting process.

• The Presidency is also informed that the new SABC Group Chief Executive, Ms Nomsa Chabeli, is currently going through the same vetting process and that the current board of directors of the SABC went through a similar vetting process.

President Ramaphosa or any part of his Administration will never sanction acts of intimidation or harassment of journalists, because such behavior will stand contrary to sacrosanct adherence to the bill of rights that are enshrined in our country’s Constitution.  

Presidency rejects the emerging narrative around the proposed BHP Billiton-Anglo American transaction

The Presidency has noted with concern the emerging narrative around the proposed BHP Billiton transaction with Anglo American. Some analysts and sections of the media have sought to portray this market activity as a vote of no confidence on South Africa. The Presidency rejects the notion that a commercial approach by BHP Billiton equals to a hostile environment for investors.  

Some of the issues being sighted are in the process of being resolved with the participation and partnership of business.

For example, in June 2023 President Cyril Ramaphosa, members of his Cabinet and senior business leaders agreed to establish a partnership to reverse the economic downturn and rebuild confidence in the country’s trajectory. Three priority areas were identified as undermining investor and societal confidence, namely load shedding, the challenges in the freight logistics sector, and crime and corruption. 

The Joint Initiative on Crime and Corruption (JICC) was established to drive collaborative efforts to tackle the most serious forms of crime and corruption and support Government efforts to remove South Africa off the FATF grey list.

The Joint Initiative on Crime and Corruption (JICC) is an example of Government’s commitment to work with social partners to foster a safer and more ethical South Africa.

The first success has been to rebuild the credibility of critical state institutions involved in law enforcement. These efforts include:

• Appointing new leadership in the South African Police Service (SAPS), the DCPI (also known as the Hawks), the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), the State Security Agency (SSA), and the South African Revenue Service (SARS).

Once in the hands of credible leadership, these institutions have made significant progress in the fight against crime and corruption, including: 

• The recruitment of 20,000 police trainees and an additional 4000 public-order policing members.

• The establishment of twenty specialised SAPS Economic Infrastructure Task Teams working with social partners to tackle illegal mining, construction site extortions, cable theft and vandalism to economic infrastructure. By November 2023, the task teams had made over 4000 arrests for damage to critical infrastructure and 3000 arrests for illegal mining.

• The NPA recorded an average conviction rate of 91% in high courts, 82% in regional courts and 95% in district courts since 2019. 

• The NPA Investigating Directorate has taken 34 state capture and corruption cases to court involving 203 accused persons and 65 entities.

• The NPA has also secured the conviction of over 500 government officials and nearly 800 people in the private sector on offences related to corruption since 2019.

• The Special Investigation Unit (SIU) has recovered over R8.6 billion of stolen funds from corrupt individuals. 

• R14 billion worth of freezing orders have been granted for state capture-related cases to the NPA’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU), with R5.4 billion recovered and returned to the state. 

While much still needs to be achieved to turn the tide around completely, the significant steps taken to rebuild credible institutions have begun to bear fruit and set the stage for further progress.

The President will continue leading a multi-stakeholder effort to accelerate existing Government interventions to address the scourge of crime and its impacts on the economy. This partnership should reassure both local and foreign investors that considerable resources and expertise are being leveraged in Government and in the private sector to curtail crime, continue improving the functionality of our ports and enable an investor and societal environment that fosters inclusive economic growth and prosperity.

The Presidency would implore the investor community to note the optimism expressed by the business community in various publications and platform on the progress achieved across the three focal areas. This should reassure investors that momentum is building and will be maintained to reduce crime and corruption, continue improving energy supply and resolve logistic backlogs.

President Ramaphosa also finds it satisfying that both domestic and international investors continue to demonstrate confidence towards South Africa through their continued investments as evidenced in the last few years and in exceeding the investment targets set at the beginning of the term. President Ramaphosa is confident that the rebuilt capacity of the state remains firm and focused on responding to crime and corruption. 

Herewith is a list of significant investment commitments that have been completed:

• Amazon Web Services invested R15.6bn from 2018 and 2022 to support demand for cloud computing services,

• Google announced investment in its Google Cloud region in South Africa, the first on the continent, in 2022, expected to launch this year valued at R2.3bn,

• Metair Hesto Harnesses facility in KwaDukuza investment at R1.4bn which was launched in 2022,

• In motor manufacturing industry, Toyota invested R4.2bn in 2019-2022, Isuzu R1.2bn, Mercedes invested R10bn by 2023, Ford R16bn, Nissan R3bn by 2023 and BMW R5bn which is not clear how much has been spent yet,

o In total over five years, some R83bn in automotive investments was committed between 2018-2023, of which the majority have been completed

• Vedanta invested R6bn in Gamsberg zinc mine phase-1 project in Northern Cape in 2022,

• Sappi invested R7.7bn expansion and environmental upgrade, including for export, launched in 2022,

• SAB (AB-Inbev) confirmed completion of its pledged investment of R5.8bn in upgrading and increasing capacity at two plants,

• Aspen has R3.4 billion investment in 2018-2022 including in Africa’s first vaccine manufacturing capability and first anaesthetic production facility,

• Bidvest and Petredec have R1bn investment in Richards Bay mounded LPG storage facility commissioned in 2020,

• Polarium (Sweden) li-ion battery assembly plant in Western Cape investment of R500m which was completed in 2022, within a year was planning to double capacity,

• Consol glass investment of R1.5bn Nigel expansion completed in 2022 (Consol acquired in 2022 by Luxemburg-based package maker Ardagh Group, committing R1.5bn further investment),

• Scatec Kenhardt renewable energy project in the Northern Cape USD1 billion investment, with installed solar capacity of 540 MW and a battery storage capacity of 225MW/1,140MWh. It was completed in November, and the launch was to take place with Minister of Electricity,

• Newlyn logistics investment of R3.4bn in Bayhead PX Rail Terminal in Bayhead, just outside the Port of Durban completed in November 2023 (President launched it in April),

• Tetra-Pak R500m factory upgrade in Pinetown is the largest investment in South Africa made by the Group, launched by President in April. It enable the production of advanced format products (PLH) (Tetra Pak Pinetown factory will be the only Tetra Pak factory on the continent with the ability to produce these formats).

• In February 2024 Belgian company Lotus Bakeries opened a new natural snacks factory expansion to its plant in Wolseley, in Western Cape. The site is Lotus' second largest, after its home base in Lembeke in East Flanders (About R200m investment),

• R330-million Nelson Mandela Cruise Terminal was officially inaugurated in Durban in November, by MSC Cruises (in partnership with Transnet),

• De Beers invested $2.3 billion in developing its underground operations at its Venetia Mine in Limpopo, starting underground production in 2023; and

• Just recently, Volkswagen Group Africa announced a R4 billion investment in its Kariega (formerly Uitenhage) assembly plant, to upgrade facilities in preparation of a third model to its production line-up from 2027.

The three biggest single commitments are MTN (R50bn), Vodacom (R49bn + R60bn) and Anglo American (R71bn + R29bn + 10bn, including Venetia at about R30bn):

• Vodacom completed its R50bn by 2022 and announced R60bn more at 2023 SAIC.

• Anglo had completed R60bn by end of 2020, therefore, it is likely that they have delivered R100bn+ as they announced additional R10bn in 2022.

Ports of entry

On the logistics and ports of entry the National Logistics Crisis Committee has already contributed to the reduction of trucks waiting time at the Lebombo Port of Mozambique from 9 hours to about three (3) hours, just short of an hour to the global average of two (2) hours.

In Beit Bridge, the Border Management Authority has enable the reduction of people processing times from four (4) hours during the festive season at ports to about 30 minutes, this was further stated by travellers to the media during the  Easter period. The BMA prevented about 281 000 people from entering the country illegally.  Counterfeit cigarette to the value of R250 million was intercepted and stopped from entering our borders. 

Improvements in the energy supply

The Presidency rejects claims that recent improvements in the energy supply are a ploy related to the upcoming elections. The Presidency will therefore like to remind the public of the following facts:
• The actions taken since President Ramaphosa announced the Energy Action Plan (EAP) in July 2022 have had a direct impact in reducing the severity and frequency of load shedding, which was the primary objective of the plan.

• The EAP outlined a multi-pronged strategy to end load shedding, including improving Eskom’s plant performance, accelerating the procurement of new capacity, enabling private investment in electricity generation, and supporting rooftop solar.

• The implementation of Eskom’s Generation Recovery Plan, including increased maintenance and recovery interventions at the six of the worst-performing power stations, together with the return of three units at Kusile have contributed to reduced breakdowns and improved plant performance.

• Tax incentives and financing mechanisms have facilitated a rapid increase in rooftop solar, which has more than doubled to over 5000 MW since the announcement of the EAP.

• Regulatory reforms introduced in 2021 and 2022 have unlocked massive investment in new generation capacity, with a confirmed pipeline of 136 projects representing 22500 MW. These projects have begun to connect to the grid, and are alleviating the energy supply shortfall.

• While the energy system remains constrained, the combined impact of these interventions through the EAP is making a significant difference.


Freedom Flotilla delivering humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip

South Africa calls on the government of Israel to allow the Freedom Flotilla to provide humanitarian assistance where Israel as occupying power that does not provide this aid while imposing its siege on Gaza. The United Nations, other states and aid organisations (like those on the flotilla) have been forced to provide aid in the face of Israel’s refusal to comply with its obligations under international law as an occupying power.

As Judges Xue, Brant, Gomez-Robledo and Tladi emphasized in their concurring opinion with the International Court of Justice’s 28 March Order, Israel bears the “primary responsibility to ensure unhindered and unimpeded access, in particular, the land crossing access, for the delivery of humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians in Gaza” on the basis that “Israel is the occupying Power in the Gaza Strip” and “controls Gaza’s land border and all its land crossing access as well as its air and maritime areas”.

Any action taken to impede the passage of the Freedom Flotilla would constitute a further and egregious breach of the two binding Order the ICJ issued to prevent irreparable harm to the rights of Palestinian protected under 1948 Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention).

On 26 January 2024 the ICJ ordered Israel, amongst other things, to “take immediate and effective measures to enable to provision of urgently needed basic services and humanitarian assistance”. On 28 March the ICJ further specified – in light of the onset of famine in the Gaza strip – that Israel was obliged to “ensure, without delay…the unhindered provision at scale by all concerned of urgently needed [humanitarian aid]”.

Moreover, the Court specifically ordered Israel to ensure that “its military does not commit acts which constitute a violation of any of the rights of the Palestinians in Gaza as a protected group under the [Genocide] Convention…, including by preventing, through any action, the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian assistance”. 

The “naval blockade” that Israel would seek to enforce by impeding the Freedom Flotilla is also, in and of itself, a violation of international law. Not only is Israel’s ongoing blockade unlawful, the rules concerning such blockades specifically prohibit states from preventing the flow of humanitarian aid to starving populations.

South Africa calls on the international community, including countries that are allied to Israel to impress upon the state of Israel to ensure 


President Ramaphosa to bestow the 2024 National Orders Awards

President Cyril Ramaphosa, the Grand Patron of the National Orders, will on Tuesday, 30 April 2024, bestow the 2024 National Orders Awards on distinguished citizens and eminent foreign nationals who have contributed towards the advancement of democracy and have made a significant impact on improving the lives of South Africans.

The National Orders are the highest awards that a country, through its President, bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals.

The President will bestow on deserving recipients the Order of Mendi for Bravery, the Order of Ikhamanga, the Order of the Baobab, the Order of Luthuli, the Order of Mapungubwe, and the Order of the Companions of OR Tambo.

President Ramaphosa to address Black Business Council Summit Dinner

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Tuesday, 30 April 2024, deliver the keynote address at the annual Black Business Council (BBC) Summit Dinner to be held at the Radisson Hotel & Convention Centre, O.R. Tambo in Johannesburg.

The BBC is convened under the theme “30 Years of Democracy – lessons learned and plans for the next 30 Years."

The BBC is the over-arching confederation that represents black professionals, business associations and chambers.

The objective of the BBC is to lobby government on policy related matters and to play an advocacy role where policies are in place in order to accelerate the participation of black business in the mainstream economy.

President Ramaphosa to attend the unveiling of 100 Home Affairs trucks in Mokopane

President Cyril Ramaphosa will, on Tuesday, 7 May 2024, officially unveil 100 additional Home Affairs mobile trucks that will assist the Department of Home Affairs improvement its services reach to especially remote areas.

The unveiling of these mobile trucks are made possible by the Department’s approved Hybrid Access Model to ensure an expansion of services in areas where the department’s footprint is limited.

The approach is to increase the fleet by 100 every financial year until they reach 1000 from the current fleet of 120.

30 Years Review of South Africa's Democracy Report

On 08 May 2024, the President will attend the launch of the 30 Years of Democracy Review Report in Pretoria.

The report to be handed over to the President by the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation will reflect on the political, social, and economic journey of transformation of South Africa since 1994, the advent of democracy, in order to derive lessons and make recommendations for the country’s development agenda.

The report will also provide critical evidence for the development of the new MTSF 2024 – 2029, which serves as a five-year plan of government towards the implementation of the National Development Plan Vision 2030.

President to interact with communities in the Northern Cape Province

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday, 09 May 2024, lead government’s interaction - in the form of a District Development Model Presidential Imbizo - with communities and stakeholders within the  John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality in the Northern Cape Province.

Themed "Leave No One Behind, the 12th Presidential Imbizo promotes participatory democracy and inclusive development by allowing community members and stakeholders to voice proposals and express any concerns or dissatisfaction they may have about conditions in the district or province.

The Imbizo is directed at enabling successful implementation of the “One District, One Plan” District Development Model in which residents, traditional leaders, business formations, organised labour and faith- and community-based organisations work with government across all phases of planning, implementation, and evaluation.

Preceding the Imbizo there will be a series of build-up outreach activities led by Ministers, MECs and Mayors in parts of John Taolo Gaetsewe District Municipality and across the Northern Cape Province.

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President -

Issued by: The Presidency

Presidential Spokesperson to brief media

Presidential Spokesperson, Vincent Magwenya, will on Monday, 29 April 2024 host a media briefing to update the public on the President’s public programme and other related topical issues. 

Members of the media are invited as follows:

Date: Monday, 29 April 2024
Time: 12h30
Venue: Union Buildings, Room 153
RSVP: Members of the media wishing to attend the media briefing in person are requested to submit their details to 

Media following remotely can text their questions to 083 376 9468. The media briefing will be streamed live and the link will be shared prior. 

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President -

Issued by: The Presidency

Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Freedom Day, Union Buildings, Tshwane

Programme Director,
Deputy President Shipokosa Paul Mashatile,
Former President Thabo Mbeki,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Justices of the Constitutional Court and Supreme Court of Appeal,
Judges-President and members of the judiciary,
Members of Parliament,
Representatives of the Chapter Nine institutions,
Traditional, faith-based and community leaders present,
Distinguished Guests,

Fellow South Africans, 

Sanibonani. Molweni. Goeie môre. Dumelang. Kgotsong. Lotjhani. Ndi matsheloni. Nhlekanhi. Good morning. 

Exactly thirty years ago on this day, freedom’s bell rang across our great land. 

It rang in every city, every town and every village. 

It could be heard in Musina and Thohoyandou in the furthest reaches of the north; in the vast expanses of the Kalahari, the Karoo and the Richtersveld; Komatipoort, Ermelo, Tsitsikamma, Bhisho, Mthatha, Ulundi, Durban and Manguzi on the Eastern Seaboard; in Saldanha, Cape Town and Klein See on the Western Seaboard of South Africa

The sound of freedom rang in Soweto, in Sharpeville, Soshanguve, Evaton, Botshabelo, Umlazi, Khayelitsha, Mitchell’s Plain and Mangaung. 

It rang in Kliptown, where the Congress of the People met in 1955 to lay out the vision for a new, free South Africa. 

It rang here at the Union Buildings, a place that had been a symbol of power and oppression for more than a hundred years. 

On that day, as we cast our votes for the first time, a great heaviness lifted from our shoulders. 

Our shackles had been cast off. The weight of centuries of oppression was no longer holding us down. 

Even though our backs bore scars of the cruel lashes of those who had whipped and subjected us for more than three hundred years, on that day, as a united people, we stood tall. 

We watched as the flag of the new South Africa was hoisted for the first time. 

Today, thirty years later, we gather as a united people of all races at the same Union Building that once symbolised our pain and oppression. 

As we celebrate today, we recall and honour all those who fought for justice, peace and freedom in our land. 

We remember the heroes and heroines whose actions made it possible for us to gather here today as a free people. 

On this day, we fondly remember Nelson Mandela, our first democratically elected president and the father of our democracy.

In his memory we will continue to work tirelessly to achieve the democratic ideals to which he and many other heroes and heroines dedicated their lives.

Few days in the life of our nation can compare to that day, when freedom was born. 

South Africa changed forever. It signaled a new chapter in the history of our nation, a moment that resonated across Africa and across the world. 

After casting his ballot President Nelson Mandela described that day as the beginning of a new era – moving from pessimism and division to nation-building, reconciliation and hope. 

The advent of democracy in 1994 ushered in a constitutional order premised on equality, freedom and human rights for all. 

On that day, the dignity of all the people of South Africa was restored. 

Over the course of three centuries, the dignity of the black inhabitants of this land had been deliberately and cruelly denied, first by colonialism and then by apartheid. 

Millions of black South Africans – African, coloured and Indian – were at the mercy of laws and practices that were enforced to serve the interests of a white minority.

Their land was taken, their labour was exploited, their prospects were stunted.

Running like a malevolent thread through these many forms of oppression was patriarchy, which placed upon black women the greatest burden.

Apartheid was an ideology and a system aimed at controlling every aspect of people’s lives. It sought to humiliate and degrade.

That we have been able to cast off the yoke of oppression and build a new nation rooted in equality and human rights is among the greatest feats of modern history. 

The 27th of April 1994 was a victory for non-racialism, for non-sexism, for human dignity and progress. Not just in South Africa, but everywhere. 

It was a victory for reconciliation. 

The democratic breakthrough was as much about liberating black South Africans from apartheid as it was about freeing white South Africans from their prejudice and fear. 

As President Nelson Mandela said, the system of apartheid robbed both the oppressed and the oppressor alike of their humanity. 

Before the 27th of April 1994 many believed our country would descend into a race war. Many believed that given how deep the wounds of mistrust were, that we would turn against each other. 

And yet we did not do so. Together, we worked hard and with purpose to bring about a reconciliation between the races. 

We must never let our spirits be dampened by detractors, whether they are abroad or in our own country, who want to diminish what we achieved in 1994 and in the years that have followed. 

South Africa’s democracy is young. Most of the world’s most established democracies are over a hundred years old. 

The progress that has been made in a relatively short period of thirty years is something of which we can and should all be proud. 

In his great work Revolution of the Aged, the poet Njabulo Ndebele writes: 

“It is a blind progeny that acts without indebtedness to the past.” 

It is only those who willfully will not see, who shut their eyes to progress, who will deny that South Africa today is an infinitely better place than it was thirty years ago. 

We have established a society founded on the rule of law and the premise of equality before the law.

We have built democratic institutions and have rid our statute books of racist and sexist apartheid laws.

As the democratic state we have worked to restore the dignity of all the South African people, particularly the dispossessed, the marginalised and the vulnerable. 

Over the past thirty years we have sought to implement policies and programmes that advance equality and human dignity in areas like economic empowerment, education, health care, social support and the provision of basic services. 

During apartheid, the policies, programmes and services of the state had a strict racial bias and hierarchy.

Our task over the last 30 years has been to bridge the huge divides of wealth and opportunity in our country – between black and white, between men and women, between urban and rural dwellers.

We have done so not only to correct the injustices of the past, but also so that we may realise the full potential of an economy in which every person has a stake and in which every person has the opportunity to make a meaningful contribution.

Although there have been setbacks, although we have faced challenges both beyond our borders and at home, our economy has tripled in size since 1994.

While unemployment still remains our greatest and most pressing challenge, the number of South Africans in employment increased from eight million in 1994 to over 16.7 million now.

Through affirmative action, broad-based black economic empowerment, worker share ownership programmes and progressive labour laws, we have brought about transformative change in South Africa’s boardrooms, in workplaces and on the shopfloor. 

In South Africa today, more than half a million workers are part-owners of the companies they work for. This is about one in every 20 workers in the formal private sector.

The proportion of black people in senior management position in both government and business has increased many times over.

We still have a long way to go before we can declare that all South Africans do indeed share in the wealth of the country. But we have made much progress, and we are determined to do much more.

Today, our social development system benefits all, providing vital support to the poor and vulnerable, women and children.

The democratic state has, through its health care programmes, brought down child mortality, improved life expectancy and made important strides towards overcoming the HIV/Aids pandemic.

Working together, we have opened the doors of learning and culture.

We have invested in improving and building new schools, colleges and and two new universities. We have vastly increased the number of matriculants, graduates and young skilled people.

Although we have much further to go, we have worked to ensure that poverty is no barrier to a decent education.

We have introduced no-fee schools and the school feeding programme. We have expanded funding to students from poor and working class families and are now focused on early childhood development.

By working together, we have broken down many of the barriers of race and gender, ensuring that all parts of society better reflect South Africa’s diverse population.

We see this in our classrooms and places of higher learning, in government, in our Parliament, in our judiciary, in our security services and in our defence force.

We see the diversity of South Africa in our sports associations and religious groups, in our public spaces and businesses, at our embassies and on our trade missions.

In South Africa today, our Bill of Rights is the foundation for a society rooted in equality regardless of race, gender, sex or sexual orientation.

Women in South Africa today enjoy full equality before the law. 

As a society, we have made significant advances in giving effect to the rights of women. We have worked together to ensure that women are empowered in the home, in communities, in society and in the economy.

The women of South Africa have stood up for themselves. 

The have fought for equal representation in positions of responsibility in the state, in academia, in business, in sport, in culture.

Close to half of the Members of Parliament, judges and magistrates are women. More than 60 per cent of public servants are women.

In South Africa today, girls learn alongside boys in our primary and secondary schools and receive equal education.

Last year, more females passed the matric exams and got more distinctions than their male counterparts. There are currently more female students enrolled at institutions of higher learning than males.

In working to affirm the dignity of all South Africans, we have recognised the different ways in which people are discriminated against and oppressed.

South Africa is a beacon of hope for the protections it affords to the LGBTQI+ community. Although we have much further to go, we have worked to overcome prejudice throughout society.

We have sought to affirm the rights and improve the circumstances of persons with disabilities. 

We are still working to remove the barriers that prevent persons with disabilties from realising their full potential and living lives of comfort, security and material well-being.

Centuries of colonialism and apartheid dispossessed black people of their most basic possession: the land. 

Since the advent of democracy, we have pursued land reform, distributing millions of hectares of land to those who had been forcibly dispossessed and providing security of tenure to many others who had lived on the land for generations.

We have built houses, clinics, hospitals, roads and bridges.

We have brought electricity, water and sanitation into millions of homes.

All those who cast their vote for a better South Africa in 1994 laid the foundation for a democracy that enhanced South Africa’s standing in the international community and opened up opportunities for engagement and cooperation. 

As a democratic country, the new South Africa was able to build alliances, negotiate trade agreements and participate in international organisations to advance the interests of its people. 

South Africa is an important voice on the world stage and an active member of the African Union. 

We continue to pursue a foreign policy that is premised on social justice, in pursuit of peace and a just world order, and that advances the African Agenda.

Fellow South Africans,

To those born after 1994, the impact and meaning of our democracy is very different to those who lived during apartheid.

And yet, apartheid’s legacy continues to define the choices and opportunities of so many South Africans.

We know that despite our achievements, South Africa remains a highly unequal society. 

Our people confront every day the apartheid legacy of unemployment, poverty and underdevelopment.

Crime, especially crimes of violence against women and children, are a scourge in our communities. 

Despite great progress, many households do not have electricity or clean water. There are still many families that go hungry.

There is a huge divide between the rich and the poor.

We see this divide in access to health care, in access to safe transport and proximity to services and work opportunities.

At times, it seems that these challenges threaten to undermine the achievements we have made over the past thirty years. 

And yet we know that if we work together, if we harness the same spirit of unity that we did in 1994, we will surely overcome them. 

History shows us that by working together in pursuit of a common goal, we will succeed.

Our journey since 1994 has proved that we are a nation of optimism, resilience and hope. 

We believe in a better tomorrow and it is within our hands to shape our collective destiny. 

It is within our hands to rebuild South Africa and make it a place of equal opportunity and shared prosperity where no-one is left behind.

At his inauguration here at the Union Buildings on the 10th of May 1994, President Nelson Mandela spoke of the realisation of our democratic breakthrough.

He said that: “The sun shall never set on so glorious a human achievement!”

Let us stand together, united in purpose, to build a future where the promise of freedom rings true for every single South African.

Let freedom reign.

May God bless South Africa and protect her people. 

I thank you.

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