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Address by President Jacob Zuma on the occasion of The Presidency Budget Vote debate, National Assembly, Cape Town

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Honourable Speaker,
Honourable Deputy President,
Deputy Speaker, 
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Honourable Members,
Special guests,
Fellow South Africans.

Honourable Speaker,

Allow me to express my gratitude for the opportunity to present The Presidency Budget Vote for the 2016/2017 financial year.

A few days ago, we celebrated the twenty-second International Workers Day in a liberated and democratic South Africa.

This year we also mark the 70th anniversary of the historic 1946 black mineworkers strike in the Witwatersrand, in which workers demanded higher wages of ten shillings a day.

During that strike, the President of the African Mine Workers' Union, JB Marks said to the workers:

“You are challenging the very basis of the cheap labour system, and must be ready to sacrifice in the struggle for the right to live as human beings".

We agree with uncle JB Marks that the workers and the poor must enjoy the right to live as human beings in the land of their birth. They earned this right through a relentless struggle for freedom.

We have come a long way since then. The rights of workers are now enshrined in the constitution. The pro-poor government policies that we have implemented since 1994 continue to help improve the lives of workers and the poor.

The improvement in the quality of life is the reason why thousands of our people were celebrating in Giyani and all over the country on Wednesday last week, during the national Freedom Day.

Njengohulumeni, siyaqhubeka nomsebenzi wokwenza iNingizimu Africa ibengcono. Sikhuluma nje, isingcono kakhulu.

Impilo yabasebenzi nabampofu iyathuthuka njalo ngenxa yemisebenzi kahulumeni. Abantu sebenezindlu, bathola izibonelelo zezingane nabadala, izikole ezinhle, imitholampilo (amakliniki) nokuningi.

Kodwa-ke, siyazi ukuthi asikakaqedi. Yinde lendlela esiyihambayo, eya kwi-Ningizimu Afrika lapho bonke abantu beyohlala banethezeke.

Umsebenzi wehhovisi likaMongameli ukuhola iminyango kahulumeni nezwe lonke ukuze siyihambe kahle lendlela eya empilweni engcono kubobonke abantu, ikakhulukazi abasebenzi nabampofu.

The Presidency, as the nerve centre of government, continues to lead government on this journey to a better life for all, especially for the poor and the working class.

The better life means that we must change the fortunes of farm workers so that their children can stand a better chance of becoming farm owners.

We are educating the children of peasants who did not spend a single day at school, so that their children can become medical doctors, lawyers, captains of industry or rocket scientists.

This is the South Africa we are building, brick by brick.

Honourable Speaker,

We are building a better life for our people during a gloomy global economic climate. We discussed these difficulties and our response to them in the State of the Nation Address in February and also in the Budget Speech by the Minister of Finance.

We have not sat idly since then waiting for the storm to pass.

We have taken concrete measures to reduce the negative impact of the global economic downturn on our economy, and to prepare for robust growth when the economic cycle turns positive.

We are also working hard to remove domestic impediments to growth.

A key positive attribute for the country at this time, is that Government and business are working together, more than any other time, to find ways of re-igniting growth.

Some key action points were identified at the ground breaking meeting we held with CEOs of key companies here in Cape Town just before the State of the Nation Address in February.

I asked the Minister of Finance and Mr Jabu Mabuza, the chairperson of Telkom and President of Business Unity SA to lead the government and business teams in finding solutions.

I will convene a report back meeting soon for us to take stock of progress made.

I will also convene a high level meeting with labour soon as well, to discuss the economic challenges and solutions so that we can all move together, in building a better life for all. We postponed two meetings recently due to clashing schedules.

Honourable Speaker,

As part of efforts to reignite growth and build a better life for all, we have also been vigorously implementing the Nine Point Plan that I announced in the State of the Nation Address last year.

Energy is high up on the agenda. During last year’s Presidency Budget Vote debate our country was facing an acute energy challenge. We have made remarkable progress since then.

Recently, the Chief Executive Officer of Eskom, Mr Brian Molefe, announced that in five years’ time South Africa will have surplus electricity. The Minister of Public Enterprises has also announced that Unit 3 of Ingula power plant was successfully synchronised to the grid on the 6th March this year.

This means that an additional three hundred and thirty megawatts of electricity will soon be added to the grid. 

Most importantly, there has been no load shedding for close to a year now. It is clear that the decisions and steps we took are beginning to bear fruit.

The Department of Energy is also finalising the appointment the country’s first Independent Power Producer for coal. The process to procure a gas independent power producer is also underway.

The Energy Security Cabinet Sub-Committee, which I announced during the 2014/2015 Presidency Budget Vote, is overseeing the development of a sustainable energy mix, to ensure that the gains we are making are sustainable.

Honourable Speaker,

We are also using infrastructure as a key instrument of creating jobs and to build a better life for all.

Through the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, we have made tremendous strides in fast tracking infrastructure across the country.

In the past year, we can count the building of one hundred and sixty new schools, twenty nine new clinics, the connection of two hundred and forty five thousand houses to electricity and building close to one hundred and fifty thousand new houses. The construction of three universities, 12 technical colleges as well as courts is on-going.

Siyaqhuba, asimanga! Asidlali!

The construction of economic infrastructure is also continuing as we deliver rail, road, dams, bus rapid transit systems, refurbishing  ports, building boats and also the three new power stations.

Indeed, South Africa is a nation at work, with government leading the way, in building a better life for all.

Honourable Speaker,

In the State of the Nation Address I announced reforms that would be undertaken to transform State Owned Companies, enable them to contribute better to the goals of the National Development Plan.
An inter-ministerial committee chaired by the Deputy President, is overseeing the process.

The July Cabinet Lekgotla will consider and approve some of the approaches for implementation. 

Honourable Speaker,

Our Nine Point Plan to reignite growth also includes the implementation of Operation Phakisa, the Big Fast Results Methodology that we learned from the Malaysians.

We launched Operation Phakisa in the Oceans Economy in Durban in 2014, and it was followed by Phakisa projects on the Ideal Clinic and basic education, focusing on information and communication technologies.

Next to be launched will be Phakisa Mining and preliminary work has begun in this regard.

Honourable Speaker,

Operation Phakisa truly re-ignites growth as is evident in the ocean economy. In less than two years we have invested billions of rand on infrastructure development.

Transnet’s National Ports Authority has allocated R7 billion for building port infrastructure.

Investments in boatbuilding and a fuel storage facility have been committed in the Port of Cape Town amounting to about Three Point Six Billion Rand.

An amount of Eighty Million Rand has also been allocated for the rehabilitation and maintenance of proclaimed fishing harbours in Gansbaai, Saldanha Bay, Struisbaai, Gordons Bay and Lamberts Bay.

The establishment of three new harbours in the Northern Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal will provide opportunities for local and rural economic development.

On Phakisa education, more than twenty two thousand schools had received electronic Administration infrastructure by the end of 2014/15 financial year.

More than one thousand five hundred schools were provided with connectivity through the Universal Service and Access Obligation, hence benefiting more than a million learners nationally.

We are building a better life for our school children, with this access to technology, Honourable Speaker.

Minister Radebe is responsible for the overall management of the Phakisa delivery methodology as well as the monitoring and evaluation of the implementation of this innovative programme in The Presidency.

Honourable Speaker,

Resolving workplace conflict and promoting labour stability is one of the key priorities of government as we work towards inclusive growth.

Under the stewardship of the Deputy President, work is also underway at NEDLAC to agree on a framework for speedy labour dispute resolution, and also to finalise the level of the National Minimum wage.

Honourable Speaker,

A key instrument of ensuring wider societal participation in building a better life, is through the Presidential Working Groups.

The Presidency convened several meetings of different Working Groups in the last financial year.

These include the Presidential Business Working Group, the Presidential Youth Working Group, the Presidential Working Group on Disability and the National Consultative Mining Forum.

We also hosted a crucial meeting with organisations representing black professionals, which will be institutionalised into a working group as well.

Honourable Speaker,

Growing up in a free South Africa, should enable our youth to pursue their dreams and undertake any career path – as artisans, scientists, business leaders, lawyers or artists.

In this regard, we shall not rest, for as long as some of our youth still sit in street corners with no jobs and no skills to offer.

The public employment programme is led at a high level in The Presidency, as the Deputy President is the convenor of the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Public Employment.

We also prioritise skills development. In this regard, the Deputy President chairs the Human Resource Development Council.

On youth in particular, Deputy Minister Manamela leads a committee of Deputy Ministers who form the backbone of the Presidential Youth Working Group.

Several steps have been taken to implement the decisions of the Working Group, which are aligned with the National Youth Policy 2020. Government has also taken concrete and direct steps to encourage youth employment and training through public employment programmes.

An example is the War on Water Leaks programme of the Department of Water and Sanitation which will draw fifteen thousand young people to be trained and employed as plumbers, artisans and water agents.

Every government department has been tasked with ensuring that its programme targets young people for development.

We have also urged municipalities to prioritise youth employment programmes.

Honourable Speaker,

On June 16 last year we launched the Mara Mentor youth online mentorship scheme, pairing young entrepreneurs with CEOs of companies.

We are encouraged by the uptake.

By April 2016, over three hundred and forty thousand young people in our country were being mentored by two hundred and sixty nine mentors.

We appeal to CEOs and other industry leaders to engage the National Youth Development Agency and avail themselves for this innovative online mentoring.

Let us all participate in building a better life for our aspirant young entrepreneurs and professionals.

Honourable Speaker,

The Status of Women in the South African Economy Report  produced by the Ministry in The Presidency responsible for Women has exposed gaps and shows that we must do much more to empower women in the economy.

In September 2015, I issued a directive to economic cluster departments to place the empowerment of women centrally in their plans and in particular, in the Nine Point Plan to further grow the economy.

Progress is being made. The departments of Human Settlements, Public Works and Small Business Development are utilising the approach of set-asides to enhance women’s empowerment. 

Women contractors were allocated over three billion rand of the Human Settlements Development Grant for the 2014/2015 financial year alone.

This allocation was shared by over one hundred and twelve female-owned enterprises.

Indeed, we are building a better life for all, especially women, during this 60th anniversary of the women’s march to the Union Buildings.

Minister Susan Shabangu will elaborate further on our programmes directed at women’s advancement and empowerment.


The Presidency also coordinates government’s work through statutory bodies.

The Presidential Coordinating Council is the President’s statutory meeting with Premiers and the South African Local Government Association, in order to promote sound intergovernmental relations between the three spheres of government.

Over the past year, the PCC has focused on the implementation of the Back to Basics local government revitalisation programme.

To complement the Back to Basics Programme, the PCC is also considering the provincial integrated service delivery models such as the KwaZulu-Natal Province’s Operation Sukuma Sakhe Programme, Free State’s Operation Hlasela and North West’s Setsokotsane Programme.

This is done to encourage provinces to intensify these models and to share best practices.

The PCC also continues to monitor the resolution of cases and incidents reported through the Presidential Hotline, in order to promote open, transparent and responsive government and to put people first.

The President’s Council has also been a useful platform of processing matters from the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Migration led by Minister Radebe.

The premiers and mayors discussed and agreed on the proposed approaches to deal with the identified shortcomings and challenges relating to border controls and the inflow of migrants into the country.

Some of these challenges came into sharp focus last year during the tragic and unacceptable attacks on foreign nationals. 

Compatriots, as we celebrate Africa Month, we reiterate that we are one people, we are all Africans. Any challenges that may arise must be resolved peacefully.

Honourable Speaker,

Economic transformation remains pivotal to ensuring a better life for all. In this regard, Government values the contribution of the Presidential Black Economic Empowerment Advisory Council.

Council members are drawn from organized labour, the private sector, professional associations, community-based organisations and academic institutions.

The Council is currently focusing its work on very important areas.

These include ensuring that there is alignment between broad-based black economic empowerment and the Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act.

The Advisory Council is also looking at creating partnerships between organs of state and the private sector, as well as strengthening programmes geared towards the revitalisation of the township economy and rural development.

We also appreciate the work of the National Orders Advisory Council.

We congratulate all South Africans and foreign dignitaries who were honoured on the 28th of April with various National Orders.

Honourable Speaker,

Government works better when it works closely with the people.

In this regard, The Presidency runs a monitoring programme called the Presidential Siyahlola Monitoring Programme and the Presidential Imbizo Programme.

We also run the War on Poverty Programme which is led by the Deputy President. Through these programmes we visit communities and are able to monitor the performance of government directly through talking to the citizens.

In the last financial year, we conducted Siyahlola visits to Eesterust in Pretoria east, the N2 Gateway housing settlement in kwa-Langa township in Cape Town, the Tshwane University of Technology in Soshanguve and Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga.

The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation ensures that undertakings made at these important public engagements are implemented.

Honourable Speaker,

All the work we are talking about also requires planning. In September 2015, I appointed new commissioners to serve on the National Planning Commission following the successful conclusion of the term of office of the first group of commissioners.

We have specifically asked the commission to urgently focus on the economy.

Under the leadership of the chairperson, Minister Radebe the Commission is focusing particularly on speeding up economic recovery, growth and transformation, infrastructure in particular water planning, energy, transport, improving food security, easing the cost of living for households as well as enhancing the capacity and governance of state institutions.

Work has begun in each of these areas and the commission will report to the nation periodically on progress.

Honourable Speaker,

The month of May is Africa Month, and it is celebrated under the theme Building a Better Africa and a Better World.

The highlights of Africa Month will be the celebration of the centenary of the University of Fort Hare on the 20th of May in Alice.

On Africa Day, 25 May, we will reflect on African unity and progress in a gathering with ambassadors and high commissioners in Pretoria.

As we celebrate Africa month we will be enjoying the work of our performing artists and various other creative industry specialists.

The Presidency has made support to our artists a special project.

The Presidential Deputy Ministers’ Task Team for Creative Industries, led by Deputy Minister Manamela is mandated to promote a better business environment for artists and other practitioners across the broad spectrum of the creative industry.

Progress is being made.

The Department of Trade and Industry has established the Black Emerging Filmmakers Fund which aims to assist in bridging the inequality gap for filmmakers in South Africa.

In addition, the department will, in the next few months, place before Parliament two Bills, the Protection of Intellectual Property Bill and the Performer’s Rights Protection.

These bills will, among others, improve the royalty collection, promote fair compensation for the re-use of works and regulate local content. The task team is also looking at all available legislation to tackle the scourge of piracy, which is causing untold financial harm to our artists.

The Task Team is also working closely with the National Film and Video Foundation to ensure that better structures and systems are put in place to make the South African film industry a global competitor, while telling honest South African stories that are in line with our values as a nation.

These are stories that drive social cohesion and our national identity.

The long standing dispute on needletime payment for musicians has finally been resolved. The task team has met with the various collecting societies together with the SABC, to develop a process that will lead to the full payment of all outstanding monies to the relevant beneficiaries.

The public broadcaster will also be engaging local television content producers on the way forward, with regards to new content commissioning.

We will continue supporting our artists so that they can continue promoting the arts, culture and heritage of our country.

We are building a better life for our artists.


We pride ourselves on our ability to attract the world to visit our country.

Over thirteen thousand international delegates are expected to descend on South Africa in July for the International AIDS Conference in Durban.

Besides the tourism opportunities presented by our hosting of this conference, South Africa will use this opportunity to mark the remarkable progress we have made in fighting the AIDS epidemic since 2009. 

The Deputy President chairs the South African National AIDS Council and will speak further on our interventions in this regard.

In September, South Africa will host the 17th Conference of Parties (COP17) to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in Johannesburg. 

The conferences are an important marketing opportunity for our country and provide an opportunity for our international marketing agency, Brand South Africa to further promote our country abroad.

We recently appointed new trustees for the Brand South Africa Trust last month.

We thank the former Trustees for their contribution and look forward to working with the new Trust in the task of promoting South Africa.

Honourable Speaker,
We continue to contribute in various ways to building a better Africa and a better world through participation in various multilateral forums.
Through the African Union Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative, regional and cross-border infrastructure is being developed to facilitate trade and investment.
At a global level, South Africa participates actively in the work and meetings of the G20. South Africa is also the Co-chair of the G20 Development Working Group and has consistently promoted the mainstreaming of the development agenda in its engagements within the G20.
In this regard, South Africa supports the Chinese Presidency’s overall theme of working Towards an Innovative, Invigorated, Interconnected and Inclusive World Economy for 2016. 
The 8th BRICS Summit will take place in India in October 2016. We continue to support the coming into operation of the BRICS New Development Bank, including by hosting the African Regional Centre in Johannesburg.

The Bank recently approved a renewable energy project for South Africa to the value of 180 million US dollars.
Honourable Speaker,

From 18 April until 21 April 2016, I visited Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland and will also visit Lesotho to discuss South Africa’s perspective on the Southern African Customs Union.
Honourable Speaker,

We will continue with various bilateral engagements as well, with countries on the continent and beyond, as we pursue our goals of building a better life for all in our country, and contributing to building a better Africa and a better world.

As I conclude, allow me, Honourable Speaker, to express our gratitude to millions of South Africans who registered to vote during the two windows for registration that were opened by the IEC, especially the youth.

The next step now is for South Africans to go out in their millions to exercise their democratic right to elect public representatives of their choice on 3 August 2016.

Honourable Speaker,

Let me take this opportunity to thank the Deputy President, the two Ministers and the Deputy Minister in The Presidency for their support.

I also appreciate the contribution and hard work of the Director-General, Dr Cassius Lubisi, the Chief Operations Officer, Ms Lakela Kaunda, the presidential advisors, senior management and all staff in The Presidency.

We are also grateful to members of the working groups, advisory councils and all other institutions and stakeholders that support the work of The Presidency.

It is my privilege, Honourable Speaker, to commend Budget Vote 1 to the House.

I thank you.

Issued by: The Presidency