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Parliament move mooted

Parliament’s future in Cape Town has again been called into question, with a new proposal for it to be moved to Gauteng.

During Tuesday’s debate on Parliament’s R1.763 billion budget, during which the institution came under severe criticism from opposition benches, a long-standing critic of its Cape Town location, ANC MP Vincent Smith, said it would work better if it was moved.

“South Africa is probably the only country worldwide where the seat of the legislature is more than 1 000km way from the seat of government,” he said.

Smith noted that MPs were frequently criticised for the expenses the current arrangement necessitated – such as flights, car-hire and accommodation.

Michael Bagraim, president of the Cape Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said in response on Wednesday he was “shocked to the core” that the issue had been raised again.

“It’s been debated repeatedly and proven, on every occasion, to be too costly and cumbersome.”

Bagraim warned that a host of highly qualified staff would have to be uprooted and there would be a “staggering” cost for new buildings.

Parliament’s seat in Cape Town has been challenged on a number of occasions in recent years – most recently last November, also by Smith.

Prior to that, in 2009, the issue was raised by President Kgalema Motlanthe, who said hosting itin Cape Town was an “expensive practice”.

Motlanthe said a ministerial task team looking to curb wasteful government spending was investigating its possible relocation and that its

report would go before the cabinet for consideration before any decision was taken.

No report followed, however, and no decision was taken

.

Cape Town Partnership’s Andrew Boraine said on Wednesday that Cape Town should never believe it had a right to host Parliament, but had continually to earn it. “Cape Town cannot be complacent,” he said. “It’s our job to make this an attractive city to everyone, including MPs and government.”

Boraine cautioned that a full analysis would need to be done to calculate precisely how much such a move could save, and its cost.

If ever Parliament did move, however, Boraine said there would be no shortage of takers for its properties.

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Posted by on May 31, 2012 in Politics

 

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DA has cleaned ANC stables – Zille

A year the 2011 local government polls, the DA claims it has put to rights much of the “damage” wreaked by the ANC in the 13 municipalities it snatched.

Most of the new DA-run municipalities were off to a good start, “cleaning out the stables they inherited” and salvaging municipal finances, DA leader Helen Zille said in a report on the party’s achievements in the past year. She added that it took some months for the full extent of the “damage” to become apparent.

The DA won 13 new councils – Bitou, Breede Valley, Drakenstein, George, Hantam, Hessequa, Karoo Hoogland, Knysna, Laingsburg, Langeberg, Nama Khoi, Saldanha Bay and Witzenberg.

Zille said the outgoing administrations were, as a rule, anything but co-operative.

“Issues included missing documents, break-ins, harassment and theft, as well as damaged, broken or stolen equipment.”

In many cases, she said, these actions were not simply vindictive, but apparently designed to destroy records, including clues to corruption.

The four biggest new DA municipalities – Breede Valley, Drakenstein, George and Saldanha Bay – were nearing financial collapse.

“Unaffordable excesses like international travel, food for councillors, mayors’ cars and, most costly of all, jobs for pals, meant that most of these councils faced a crisis of liquidity,” Zille said.

The new DA administrations were also hamstrung when taking corrective action, as all had to operate using budgets passed by the previous ANC administrations in the last few days before elections.

“In three municipalities – Bitou, Drakenstein and Hantam – the last ANC budget did not even cover staff salaries for the next year. Under the new DA administration all three were forced to take emergency measures… just to pay staff.”

Breede Valley’s financial crisis epitomised the situation at all these local councils.

Zille said the ANC had continued to spend freely, despite the recession.

“When the DA came to office, our first business was to cut this undisciplined expenditure on ‘nice-to-haves’. In the three largest new DA municipalities, Breede Valley, Drakenstein and George alone, these cuts saved some R140 million in the first year (2011/12). This process continues into the second year of DA governance.”

Zille added that one of the biggest inherited problems in municipalities was the blurring of the critical distinction between party and state.

“Many municipal managers under the ANC display openly partisan behaviour,” she charged. She made reference to a Saldanha case where the municipal manager – a former ANC party secretary for the Boland region – appointed a number of party members to the municipal housing and social services departments. “Despite the 18 officials in its housing department, Saldanha Bay constructed only 646 houses in 2010, while DA-run Swartland, a smaller municipality with only two housing officials, built over 2 000.”

Zille accused the ANC of treating municipalities as employment agencies, but said the new DA administrations had already demonstrated that impartial and honest administration was the key to delivery.

But she conceded that it would take a long time to turn around the affected municipalities, before people started to see and feel results.

Asked to comment, ANC’s metro chairman Xolani Sotashe rubbished Zille’s report card as yet another DA public relations exercise.

There was a forensic investigation into shady deals involving officials of the city of Cape Town, he said, “but as expected, the DA remains quiet about it”.

Sotashe added the city had for two consecutive years failed to spend its budget, “and it appears that for the current financial year the DA-led city will again have an under-spending problem”.

He pointed out that Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille conceded last week that there were continuing inequalities.

“The DA was going around saying that the city was on the brink of collapse when they took over, when in fact the municipality had well over R2 billion in reserve in 2006.”

 
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Posted by on May 21, 2012 in Politics

 

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Clean up your act, Mayor tells city

MAYOR Patricia de Lille has promised that poorer areas will be as clean as the city centre once she has whipped city officials into shape.

In an interview De Lille slammed the city and some officials for failure to monitor refuse collection and to keep poor areas clean, saying more developed areas like the city centre were being prioritised.

She said companies contracted by the city to clean some communities were not being monitored well enough by city officials and the efficiency of cleaning services and refuse collection in some reas was dropping drastically.

She said Cape Town received accolades for being a clean city, but this was not reflected in certain communities like Nyanga and Athlone.

“Part of the city’s policy is to get services from SMMEs where we go for smaller contractors. But the quality of the service… is dropping because there’s no monitoring from the city’s side. So we’re going to beef up monitoring in the areas so we get the same kind of cleanliness as in the city centre,” said De Lille.

Areas of concern included Nyanga, Gugulethu, Athlone, Manenberg, Bonteheuwel and Sir Lowry’s Pass Village where there were protests last week.

“It’s also the areas where there are a number of people in backyards. We can’t give one household one wheelie bin. This will be a budgetary issue because we will have to buy more wheelie bins. We will now be employing extra people,” said De Lille.

She said in Sir Lowry’s Pass Village she would encourage the community to help the city monitor the contractor.

Gavin Silber of the Social Justice Coalition agreed that monitoring contractors had been an issue in informal settlements. Last year the Social Justice Coalition and Ndifuna Ukwazi complained and called for service delivery agreements between the city and the contractors to be released so they could be held accountable.

“Refuse collection in informal settlements is all outsourced and private whereas in the city it isn’t.”

He said in the Taiwan informal settlement, for example, residents were being offered refuse removal bags once a week, but some residents hadn’t received anything in six months though they were being forced to pay for these bags.

“Refuse collection is far below par and it’s all linked to sanitation.

ANC chief whip Xolani Sotashe said: “The City of Cape Town is only looking after affluent areas. The poor areas are in limbo. It is so filthy here I wonder how some people can live like this.”

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Politics

 

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Malema causes presidential stir

Expelled ANCYL president Julius Malema said on Monday he wanted to be a leader in the ANC.

“I will lead this ANC. You must put it on the archive. I am going to be a leader of the African National Congress,” he said a news conference in Joburg.

It was his first media briefing since he was expelled from the ANC on April 24. The event was arranged by the National Press Club.

“It doesn’t matter what time it takes, I will lead the African National Congress,” he said.

“For a diamond to shine it goes through a thorough process of being polished.”

Asked what he meant by “leader”, Malema said he was speaking about being on a structure like a provincial executive committee, as he had done before in his home province of Limpopo.

He said he had returned to Joburg, not because he was interested in reclaiming the league presidency alone, but because the youth league had summoned him from Limpopo, where he had been tending cattle.

He was expelled from the ruling party for unfavourably comparing the leadership style of President Jacob Zuma to that of former president Thabo Mbeki, and for remarks on bringing about regime change in Botswana.

Malema was flanked by Floyd Shivambu, who, as league spokesman, was suspended from the ANC for three years for swearing at a journalist and for issuing a statement calling for a change of government in Botswana.

Also with him was ANCYL secretary general Sindiso Magaqa. He had his appeal against his suspension dismissed, but had the period of suspension reduced from three years to one year. He made derogatory remarks about Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba and the ANC’s stance on nationalisation.

Malema maintained that the league’s top brass was politically targeted during the disciplinary hearings, saying it was unfair that they were not allowed to disagree on policy issues

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Politics

 

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DA ‘will march to Cosatu House’

Johannesburg – The Democratic Alliance said on Monday that it would march to Cosatu House, in Johannesburg, even though the Johannesburg metro police said earlier this would not be allowed.

The Johannesburg metro police had told the media that marchers would not be allowed to proceed to the Congress of South African Trade Unions’ headquarters, but “hasn’t sent any formal documentation to the DA”, said spokesperson Mmusi Maimane.

“We will proceed with the original plan and the original route,” he said.

Earlier, metro police spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar said the Democratic Alliance would be allowed to march in downtown Johannesburg on Tuesday, but not to Cosatu House.

Instead, the march would end on the lawns of the Johannesburg Civic Theatre.

He said the route had been changed after a “security assessment”.

Cosatu and its affiliates had called the march provocative and there have been threats of confrontation, with the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa threatening to “swamp the streets outside Cosatu House”.

“It was decided that the route would be changed so that speeches are done at a neutral venue,” said Minnaar. “They (the DA) won’t be allowed near Cosatu House,” he said.

On Monday night, DA leader Helen Zille posted a message on Twitter indicating that the march would go ahead as planned.

“DA march is ON tomorrow. Mischievous reports on SABC radio saying march cancelled are WRONG. See you tomorrow! #fb”

Zille is to lead the march with Maimane, DA youth leader Makashule Gana and the party’s parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko.

Minnaar said around 3 000 marchers were expected to converge at Beyers Naude Square.

According to him, the march would start at 11am and would proceed along President, Rissik, Jeppe, Sauer, Burger, Jorissen, Melle and Simmonds streets.

The DA said it was marching about job losses.

“The march is to protest against the trade (union) federation’s continued opposition to the youth wage subsidy, a policy that could create an estimated 423 000 jobs for young, unemployed South Africans,” said spokesperson Kelly Miller.

She said Cosatu had become a stumbling block to job creation.

The ANC and Cosatu have urged the DA not to march.

“Cosatu calls upon the DA to reconsider its decision to march to Cosatu House tomorrow,” said spokesperson Patrick Craven.

“There is no way this march will make any contribution to solving the problem of youth unemployment, which they claim to be so concerned about, and they will certainly not convince workers to agree with their phony solution of a youth wage subsidy.”

African National Congress spokesperson Jackson Mthembu said the decision to march was “ill-informed and opportunistic”.

“If the DA has any view regarding the issues of labour brokers and youth wage subsidy, our contention is that they must engage with Cosatu rather than being confrontational and provocative,” he said in a statement.

“The only way, in our view, that any of the parties can influence one another and even influence government around these matters is through meaningful engagement.”

The National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) and its affiliates said the march was informed “by the provocative, deceitful and cheap political blackmail from the chief representatives of white monopoly capital and apartheid apologists the DA”.

Numsa said it would be joined by the South African Commercial, Catering and Allied Workers’ Union, the Communication Workers’ Union, the Progressive Youth Alliance, the ANC Youth League, the Young Communist League and the South African Students’ Congress.

In a statement, Numsa spokesperson Castro Ngobese said the DA was trying to coerce the ANC-led government, particularly its ally Cosatu, to agree to the neo-liberal proposal of a youth wage subsidy.

He said the subsidy would create a two-tier labour system which would result in a flood of retrenchments as major factories favoured youth wages

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Politics

 

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‘The time for pious talk is over’

Cape Town – Former president FW de Klerk’s comments about apartheid and the homelands were reminiscent of politicians who did nothing more than talk about reconciliation, anti-apartheid activist Allan Boesak said on Monday.

He said the activist Beyers Naude had been right when he warned of people who committed themselves to reconciliation but did not follow through, making their promise “nothing but cheap talk”.

“Naude said the talk of reconciliation remains meaningless and even dangerous if words are not transformed into deeds… We look at the signs of an unfulfilled, unfinished, even somewhat forced reconciliation process.”

In an interview on Thursday, De Klerk reportedly said that in as much as apartheid trampled human rights it was morally indefensible, but that providing an own state where people with one culture and language could fulfil their democratic aspirations was not repugnant.

He reportedly denied that blacks in the homelands were disenfranchised.

“They were not disenfranchised, they voted. They were not put in homelands, the homelands were historically there. If only the developed world would put so much money into Africa, which is struggling with poverty, as we poured into those homelands. How many universities were built? How many schools?” he asked.

“At that stage the goal was separate but equal, but separate but equal failed.” He said he later became “a convert” against the system.

Reacting to criticism of his remarks on Monday, De Klerk asked why he would have nostalgia “for that which I abolished and for that which I apologised?”, adding: “I don’t want to get into the twisted interpretation of what I’ve said.”

He said he was optimistic about the country’s future, despite its many “challenges”.

“What is wrong in South Africa can be put right and I think that it’s time we all join hands, stop shouting at each other and we work together to improve things.”

Speaking in Stellenbosch to commemorate what would have been Naude’s 97th birthday, Boesak said South Africa’s post-apartheid reality was far from what Naude envisaged.

Addressing a crowd in Durban in 1973, the activist and theologian had spoken of an unwavering belief that the black man would eventually be free.

Boesak said South Africa in 2012 was still marginalised, with a growing gap between the rich and the poor.

The “denial and insidiousness of racism” continued to reveal itself, he said. “It makes us believe that non-racialism is the failing dream of idealistic fools.”

He said this generation had failed in realising equality, but that the next generation had more hope.

Asked about corruption in post-apartheid South Africa, Boesak said people should remember that corruption was as old as time.

“We should not act as if it’s a disease that started in 1994. We see corruption as a problem with government, but we forget that corruption needs two parties – the one that comes with the bribe and the one who takes the bribe.”

He described it as not only a political and economical problem, but also a “deeply moral issue” because money was being diverted away from the oppressed.

Boesak said that if politicians chose to follow through on their promises, they would begin to realise Naude’s dream.

“His challenge still stands… It is time to transfer words into deeds. The time for pious talk is over.”

 
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Posted by on May 15, 2012 in Politics

 

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South Africa State of the Nation Address 2012

State of the Nation Address

Cape Town

9 February 2012

 

Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,
Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces;
Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP;
Deputy President of the Republic, Honourable Kgalema Motlanthe;

Former Deputy President FW De Klerk,

Former Deputy President Baleka Mbete,

Honourable Chief Justice of the Republic, and all esteemed members of the Judiciary;
Honourable Chairperson of the SADC Parliamentary Forum and Speaker of the
Parliament of Zimbabwe; Mr Lovemore Moyo,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,

Honourable Minister of International Relations of the Republic of
Angola, Mr Rebelo Chikoti,
Honourable Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Mozambique, Mr
Julio Baloi,

Distinguished Premiers and Speakers of our Provinces;
Chairperson of SALGA, and all local government leadership;
Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders;

The Heads of Chapter 9 Institutions;
The Governor of the Reserve Bank;

Leaders of all sectors from business, sports, traditional and religious leaders,

Members of the diplomatic corps;

Special and distinguished guests,

Fellow South Africans,

 

Dumelang, good evening, goeie naand, molweni, thobela, abuxeni!

 

I would like to extend warm greetings to all on this important day.

 

It is an honour to speak to South Africans in this House and in their homes and viewing centres around the country.

 

I also extend a warm welcome to Ambassadors and High Commissioners representing 146 countries, with which South Africa has diplomatic relations. We value your presence in our country.

 

Compatriots and friends,

 

 

This State of the Nation Address takes place during a significant year in the history of our country, the centenary of the ruling party, the African National Congress.

 

In marking this occasion we are recognising the work of all South Africans in bringing about a truly free, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous country.

 

 

We wish to single out the former presidents of the ANC who led our struggle for liberation and of creating a better life across generations. We salute John Langalibalele Dube, Sefako Makgatho, Zac Mahabane, Josiah Gumede, Pixley ka Isaka Seme, AB Xuma, JS Moroka, Chief Albert Luthuli, Oliver Tambo, Nelson Mandela and Thabo Mbeki.

 

 

We welcome the families of the former ANC Presidents who are our special guests this evening.

 

We also recognise other components of the liberation movement – the Black Consciousness Movement which was led by Mr Steve Biko, whose son Samora is also our special guest, and the Pan-Africanist Congress which was led by Mr Robert Sobukwe.

 

 

We acknowledge too, the  contribution of the late former MP, Ms Helen Suzman, who was a lone voice in this very House, speaking out against oppressive laws.

 

Honourable Members,

Compatriots and friends,

 

 

 

 

 

 

The year 2012 is also special because it marks the 16th anniversary of the Constitution of the Republic, which gives full expression to our democratic ideals.

 

The Constitution is South Africa’s fundamental vision statement, which guides our policies and actions. We reaffirm our commitment to advance the ideals of our country’s Constitution at all times.

 

Compatriots and friends,

At the January Cabinet lekgotla, we decided to undertake a mid-term review, looking at progress from 2009 till now instead of the usual annual review.

 

The mid-term review indicated steady progress in various areas such as health, education, the fight against crime, human settlements, energy, water provision, rural development and others.

 

However, the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality persists, despite the progress made. Africans, women and the youth continue to suffer most from this challenge.

 

Somlomo nosihlalo abahloniphekileyo,

 

Njengekhabhinethi kazwelonke sithathe isinqumo sokuthi  kufanele senze ngokwedlulele, ukukhulisa umnotho wezwe, ukuze siqede lezizinkinga zokwesweleka kwemisebenzi, ubumpofu kanye nokungalingani ezweni. 

 

Ilezo zinto ezintathu esizobhekana nazo ngqo, kulonyaka naseminyakeni ezayo.

Compatriots,

 

When freedom was attained in 1994, South Africa inherited a problem of structural unemployment which goes back to the 1970s. Employment continued to deteriorate in the 1990s and the early 2000s due to slow growth and declining employment in gold mining and agriculture.

 

 

Although jobs grew rapidly during the boom of 2003 to 2008, unemployment did not fall below 20%.

 

Employment received another setback in the recession of 2009.

 

 

Fortunately, Government entered the 2008-2009 recession with healthy public finances, and a comparatively low level of debt.

 

This allowed for a flexible response to deteriorating economic conditions.

 

For example, we increased spending on social security and on infrastructure development to  stimulate the economy, mainly through the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup build programme.

 

 

Informed by some of these difficulties and the need to move away from piecemeal planning, we took a decision in 2009 to establish the National Planning Commission and asked them to produce a national development plan for the country, informed by the Constitution of the Republic.

 

The Commission released the first draft of the National Development Plan for consideration, which looks at where we want to be in 20 years’ time.

 

The Plan also directly addresses the elimination of poverty and inequality as critical points that must be attended to.

The solution for the country therefore, is higher growth and job creation to reduce and ultimately eradicate poverty and inequality.

As a developmental state that is located at the centre of a mixed economy, we see our role as being to lead and guide the economy and to intervene in the interest of  the poor, given the history of our country.

 

Informed by this responsibility, in 2010 we launched the New Growth Path framework and identified our job drivers as infrastructure development, tourism, agriculture, mining, manufacturing and the green economy.

 

We declared 2011 the year of job creation, and mobilised our social partners, namely business, labour and the community sector, to work with us in implementing the New Growth Path.

The results are encouraging, although we are not out of the woods yet, given the global economic situation.

 

The fourth quarter figures released on Tuesday, indicate that the rate of unemployment has come down from twenty-five percent to 23.9% as a result of new jobs.

 

During 2011, a total of 365 000 people were employed. This is the country’s best performance since the recession of 2008.

 

What is also important is that all the new jobs are in the formal sector of the economy, in sectors such as mining, transport, community services and trade to name a few.

 

 

There are two main things that we did right in 2011 which are contributing to this joint success.

 

Firstly, we mainstreamed job creation in every government entity including state owned enterprises.

 

Secondly, we strengthened social dialogue and cooperation between government, business and the community sector.

 

 

The Accords, signed by government, business and labour on procurement, skills development, basic education, and the green economy, confirm our common purpose and determination to build this country.

 

Government alone cannot solve the challenges faced by the country, but working together, solutions are possible.

 

Compatriots,

Let me take this opportunity to report back on the undertakings made in the SONA last year.

 

The Job Fund which we announced last year began operating in June. Over 2 500 applications were received in the first round. Project allocations of over one billion rand have been committed.

 

We had also announced 20 billion rand worth of incentives under Section 12(i) of the Income Tax Act, designed to support new industrial projects and manufacturing, and seven projects with an investment value of 8,4 billion rand were approved.

 

The procurement regulations empowering the Department of Trade and Industry to designate specific industries where local content is prescribed came into effect in December.

The sectors include clothing textiles, canned vegetables, leather and footwear.

 

Progress has also been made in amalgamating small business institutions, and a new entity will be launched this year.

 

We had announced 10 billion rand to be set aside by the IDC for job creation.

To date, about one point five billion rand was approved for 60 companies to promote job creation.

 

Compatriots and friends,

 

The mining industry, one of the job drivers in the New Growth Path, plays a critical role in the socio-economic development of the country.

 

As part of addressing the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment, government has developed a beneficiation strategy, which seeks to provide opportunities in the downstream part of the minerals sector.

We remain committed to the creation of a favourable and globally competitive mining sector, and to promote the industry to attract investment and achieve both industrial growth and much-needed transformation.

 

Honourable Speaker,

Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP,

 

The work done last year indicates that if we continue to grow reasonably well, we will begin to write a new story about South Africa—the story of how, working together, we drove back unemployment and reduced economic inequality and poverty.

 

It is beginning to look possible.

 

We must not lose this momentum.

 

For the year 2012 and beyond, we invite the nation to join government in a massive infrastructure development drive.

 

Baba Somlomo noSihlalo,

 

Sizoqala umkhankaso omkhulu wokwakha izingqalazizinda ezweni lonke. Lokhu kuzophakamisa izinga lomnotho, futhi kuveze amathuba emisebenzi.

 

 

Compatriots,

 

We will use the project management expertise gained during the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup to make this project a success.

 

 

The infrastructure plan will be driven and overseen by the  Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission, (PICC), which was established in September, bringing together Ministers, Premiers and Metro Mayors under the leadership of the President and the Deputy President.

 

 

 

 

The PICC has identified and developed projects and infrastructure initiatives from state-owned enterprises as well as national, provincial and local government departments.

 

These have been clustered, sequenced and prioritised into a pipeline of strategic integrated projects.

 

 

 

We have chosen five major geographically-focussed programmes, as well as projects focusing on health and basic education infrastructure, information and communication technologies and regional integration.

 

The projects are as follows;

 

 

Firstly, we plan to develop and integrate rail, road and water infrastructure, centred around two main areas in Limpopo: the Waterberg in the Western part of the province and Steelpoort in the eastern part.

 

These efforts are intended to unlock the enormous mineral belt of coal, platinum, palladium, chrome and other minerals, in order to facilitate increased mining as well as stepped-up beneficiation of minerals.

Using the developments in Limpopo as a base, we will expand rail transport in Mpumalanga, connecting coalfields to power stations.

 

This will enable us to decisively shift from road to rail in the transportation of coal, which has caused a deterioration of the roads in Mpumalanga.

 

 

 

The eastern parts of the North West province will also benefit from the greater focus on infrastructure connected to mining and mineral beneficiation.

 

Secondly, we will improve the movement of goods and economic integration through a Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and industrial corridor.

 

This project is intended to connect the major economic centres of Gauteng and Durban/Pinetown, and at the same time, connect these centres with improved export capacity through our sea-ports.

 

 

 

 

In this regard, I am pleased to announce the Market Demand Strategy of Transnet, which entails an investment, over the next seven years, of three hundred billion rand in capital projects.

Of this amount, 200 billion rand is allocated to rail projects and the majority of the balance, to projects in the ports.

Amongst the list of planned projects, is the expansion of the Iron Ore Export channel from 60 million tons per annum to 82 million tons per annum.

It also includes various improvements to the Durban-Gauteng Rail corridor and the phased development of a new 16 million tons per annum manganese export channel through the Port of Ngqura in Nelson Mandela Bay.

The Market Demand Strategy will result in the creation of more jobs in the South African economy, as well as increased localization and Black Economic Empowerment. It will also position South Africa as a regional trans-shipment hub for Sub-Saharan Africa and deliver on NEPAD’s regional integration agenda.

We have also been looking at the necessity of reducing port charges, as part of reducing the costs of doing business. The issue of high port charges was one of those raised sharply by the automotive sector in Port Elizabeth and Uitenhage during my performance monitoring visit to the sector last year.

 

In this regard, I am pleased to announce that the Port Regulator and Transnet have agreed to an arrangement which will result in exporters of manufactured goods, receiving a significant decrease in port charges, during the coming year, equal to about 1 billion rand in total.

 

 

Thirdly, we will develop a major new South Eastern node that will improve the industrial and agricultural development and export capacity of the Eastern Cape region, and expand the province’s economic and logistics linkages with the Northern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

 

 

In the former Transkei part of the Eastern Cape, we are committed to building a dam using the Umzimvubu River as the source, in order to expand agricultural production.

 

 

 

In addition, the implementation of the Mthatha revitalization project, which is a Presidential special project, is proceeding very well.

 

Work is at an advanced stage to improve water, sanitation, electricity, roads, human settlements, airport development and institutional and governance issues.

 

 

Fourthly, in the North West, we will expand the roll-out of water, roads, rail and electricity infrastructure. Ten priority roads will be upgraded.

 

Fifthly, we see enormous potential along the west coast of the country and need to improve infrastructure to unlock this potential.

 

 

 

Our plans include the expansion of the iron-ore rail line between Sishen in Northern Cape and Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape, which will create large numbers of jobs in both provinces.

 

The iron-ore capacity on the transport-side will increase capacity to 100 million tons per annum.

 

 

This will allow for the expansion of iron-ore mining over the next decade to feed the developing world’s growing investment in infrastructure and industrial activities.

 

Compatriots,

 

 

We have also identified critical social infrastructure projects. These include projects aimed at laying the basis for the National Health Insurance system such as the refurbishment of hospitals and nurses’ homes.

 

A total of 300 million rand has been allocated for the preparatory work towards building new universities in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.

 

Another infrastructure project with great potential is South Africa’s bid to host the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope in partnership with eight other African countries. The winning bid will be announced next month. We urge you to support the country’s bid.

 

 

Lastly, our infrastructure work extends beyond our borders. South Africa champions the North-South Road and Rail Corridor, which is part of the African Union’s NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure Championing initiative.

 

Work in this regard, comprises various inter-related projects that cover roads and railways, border crossings, energy and information and communication technologies.

 

Compatriots,

 

The massive investment in infrastructure must leave more than just power stations, rail-lines, dams and roads. It must industrialise the country, generate skills and boost much needed job creation.

 
I will convene a Presidential infrastructure summit to discuss the implementation of the plan with potential investors and social partners.

 

Honourable Speaker, Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP,

 

 

I would now like to discuss matters relating to the extension of basic services, addressing inequalities, peace and security and social cohesion.

 

I received a lot of valuable correspondence in the run-up to this SONA. Such interaction enables us keep in touch with our people and their needs.

 

 

I received an email relating to a housing problem from Mzukisi Mali, a public servant from the Fingo area in Grahamstown. He wrote;

 

“In 1994 my income was too high to get an RDP and too low to get a

bond, this continued until to date.  I have three children and my

wife is not working.

 

 

“When I apply for an RDP I am told that I do not qualify and cannot get a bond because I am risky to the banks…’’

 

Fortunately we have gone some way to address the problem facing Mr Mali and many others.

In 2010, we announced a one billion rand guarantee fund to promote access to loans.

 

We are pleased to report that this fund will start its operations in April, managed by the National Housing Finance Corporation. The scheme will enable the Banks to lend to people who are in a similar situation as Mr Mali.

 

 

In addition, from April, people earning between three thousand five hundred rand and

R 15 000, will be able to obtain a subsidy of up to R83 000 from Provinces, to enable them to obtain housing finance from an accredited Bank.

 

 

 

 

 

Ungalilahli ithemba Mr Mali nabaningi abanye, kuzolunga ngenxa yalomxhaso ozotholakala kohulumeni bezifundazwe, kanye nalomshwalense omusha ozokwenza kubelula kumabhange ukuthi aniboleke imali. 

 

Compatriots,

 

There is an ongoing concern from business and communities about high electricity costs.

 

 

I have asked Eskom to seek options on how the price increase requirement may be reduced over the next few years, in support of economic growth and job creation and give me proposals for consideration.

 

We need an electricity price path which will ensure that Eskom and the industry remain financially viable and sustainable, but which remains affordable especially for the poor.

 

However to achieve sustainability,  a pact will be required with all South Africans – including business, labour, municipalities, communities and all customers and suppliers.

 

We must save electricity.

 

For the next two years, until the Medupi and Kusile power stations come into operation, the electricity system will be very tight.

We should all play our part in order to avoid load shedding.

 

To increase energy capacity we will continue searching for renewable energy sources, especially solar electricity and biofuels as we implement the Green Economy Accord with economic stakeholders.

 

To date we have installed more than 220 000 solar geysers nationwide.

The Government target is one million solar geysers by 2014-2015.

 

Honourable Members,

Compatriots,

 

Government continues to extend access to basic water supply. However, clearly, water access is still a challenge in some areas.

 

An email from Mmatsheko Pine from Hammanskraal is a case in point.

 

The writer says; “There is the area called Ngobi near Hammanskraal, under Moretele Local Municipality, the people residing in the area are now old, aged and mostly sick.

 

“The area has been without water for the past two years. People rely on rain to harvest water.

 

 

There are water pipes and machines installed but the problem is said to be pressure to pump water. Could your office kindly assist with the powers that be?”.

 

I have asked the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs to investigate this matter with a view to finding an urgent solution.

 

 

Water expansion has been delayed in some parts of the country due to a lack of infrastructure.  This is being attended to. For example, five new water augmentation schemes are on schedule.

 

 

 

These are Olifants River Water Resource in Steelpoort in Limpopo Province, the Vaal River Eastern Sub-System in Secunda in Mpumalanga, Komati Water Augmentation Scheme in Nkangala in Mpumalanga, the raising of Hazelmere dam in KwaZulu-Natal and the Clan William Dam in Clan William in the Western Cape. In addition, nine out of 25 dams have been rehabilitated.

 

In relation to the announcements we made during the United Nations COP 17 climate change conference, an amount of 248 million rand is to be invested over next two years to deal with the issue of Acid Mine Drainage in Witwatersrand.

 

Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the inter-ministerial committee on COP 17 for making the conference a huge success

 

The final outcome of COP 17 was historic and precedent setting, ranking with the 1997 conference where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted.

 

Building on the success of COP 17, South Africa will participate in the Rio plus 20 Summit in Brazil, which marks the 10th anniversary of the World Summit on Sustainable Development.

 

 

Honourable Speaker and Honourable Chairperson,

 

Our intensive focus on education is paying off.

 

We are pleased that the matric percentage pass is on an upward trend.  We congratulate the teachers, learners, parents and the communities for the efforts.

 

We will continue to invest in producing more teachers who can teach mathematics, science and African languages.

 

Compatriots,

 

 

Our call to teachers to be in school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day remains pivotal to success. We thank the teacher unions for supporting this campaign.

 

A major achievement is the doubling of Grade R enrolment, from 300 000 in 2003 to 705 000 in 2011. We appear poised to meet our target of 100% coverage for Grade R by 2014.

 

To fight poverty and inequality and to keep learners in school, over 8 million learners attend no-fee schools while over eight million benefit from government’s school feeding scheme.

 

Last year, national government instituted a Section 100 (1)(b) intervention in the Eastern Cape, to assist the department of education to improve the delivery of education.

 

Problems included non-delivery of textbooks, non-payment of scholar transport, excess teachers and a general poor culture of learning and teaching.

 

The implementation of the intervention will continue and we are working well with the province in this regard. Sizimisele ukwenza immeko yemfundo ibengcono eMpuma Koloni. We call on all stakeholders to work with us to make this turnaround a success.

Compatriots,

 

During the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup, we resolved that the South African legacy would be to promote universal access to education.

 

 

School attendance in the country is now close to 100 percent for the compulsory band, 7-15 years of age.  But we remain concerned by the report of the General Household Survey in 2010 that just over 120 000 children in that band are out of school.

 

Grade 10 drop outs appear to be a problem, particularly in the rural and farm areas of the Western Cape.

 

The national Government will work closely with the Western Cape government, to trace these learners and provide support so that they do not lose their future.

 

With regards to higher education, we are exceeding targets. Close to 14 000 learners were placed in workplace learning opportunities over the past year, and over 11 000 artisans have completed their trade tests.

 

 

Siyajabula ukubona ukuthi liyanda inani lentsha efunda amakhono kulamakolishi abizwa phecelezi ngama-Further Education and Training Colleges.

 

Siyaninxusa bazali ukuthi nigqugquzele izingane zifunde kulamakolishi. Akufanele zicabange ukuthi imisebenzi ifundelwa emanyuvesi kuphela.

 

Siyawadinga amakhono atholakala kulamakolishi.

 

To expand access to tertiary education as per our announcement last year, 200 million rand was utilised to assist 25 000 students to pay off their debts to institutions of higher learning.

 

 

Compatriots and friends,

 

 

We congratulate the health sector as well as the South African National Aids Council led by the Deputy President of the Republic on the success of the HIV and AIDS programme.

 

While we are doing well with regards to treatment and the prevention of mother to child transmission, general prevention efforts must also be accelerated.

 

 

 

We also wish to encourage South Africans to live healthier lives to reduce the impact of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension.

 

Compatriots and friends,

 

The year 2013 will mark the centenary of the Natives Land Act of 1913, which took away 87 percent of the land from the African people.

The Constitution requires that the State must realise the restitution of land rights for those who were dispossessed by the 1913 law.

 

We have only distributed 8% of the 30% target of land redistribution for 2014 that we set ourselves. The process is slow and tedious and there is general agreement that the willing buyer- willing seller option has not been the best way to address this question.

That is why have introduced a new policy framework, the Green Paper on Land Reform.

We urge the public to participate in the process of improving land redistribution and reform to reverse the impact of the 1913 Act.

 

Honourable Speaker,

Compatriots,

 

 

 

On economic transformation, we are amending the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act.  The amendments amongst other things, establish a statutory Commission that would deal with non-compliance and circumvention.

 

The proposed law will also criminalise fronting and other forms of empowerment misrepresentation.

 

 

With regards to issues of disability, we have directed all government departments to ensure that we meet the target we set several years ago of having 2% of people employed in the Public Service to be disabled persons.

 

 

We are also working towards a

Women Empowerment and Gender Equality Bill, to promote compliance in both government and the private sector and to provide for sanctions in the case of non-compliance.

 

Meanwhile, the NEDLAC Process on the Atypical Forms of Employment and Labour Broking has now been completed.

 

 

Government seeks to eliminate all forms of abusive practices inherent in labour broking, in order to strengthen the protection of vulnerable workers. We trust that common ground will be found this year on this matter.

 

Compatriots,

 

In 2009 we made a commitment to accelerate the fight against crime and corruption.

 

The crime statistics for the period 2010/2011 indicate that our country witnessed a decline of 5% in the number of reported serious crimes compared to the previous year.

 

We will however, not become complacent. We are continuing to implement our programmes of making South Africans feel safe and to be safe.

 

 

We also continue to improve the performance of the state in various ways, including the fight against corruption.

 

The Multi-Agency Working Group on procurement led by the National Treasury, SARS and the Financial Intelligence Centre is reviewing the entire state procurement system to ensure better value for money from state spending.

 

Initiatives include the vetting of supply chain personnel in government departments.

 

To further improve security, the Department of Home Affairs, signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the banking industry, to roll out the online fingerprint verification system in all participating banks, to assist in fraud prevention and detection.

 

Compatriots and friends,

 

We are working with various provinces to improve governance, systems and administration.

 

These include Gauteng to improve health service delivery, the Free State on transport and roads and Limpopo to improve governance and financial administration in five departments, including the provincial treasury.

 

 

 

We welcome the launch of Corruption Watch by COSATU, as well as the recent agreement between government and business to implement anti-corruption programmes.

 

These interventions will complement the work of government in combating corruption.

 

 

 

Compatriots and friends,

 

As part of promoting social cohesion, this year we will undertake and continue many heritage projects.

 

Museums and centres to be unveiled will include the 1980 Matola Raid museum in Maputo, the Ncome museum in KwaZulu-Natal, phase 2 of the Freedom Park museum and the Steve Biko heritage centre in Ginsberg in King Williamstown.

 

We have also prioritised the  homes and graves of former ANC Presidents and other national heroes including Thomas Maphikela, Lillian Ngoyi, Walter and Albertina Sisulu, Griffiths and Victoria Mxenge, Robert Sobukwe and others.

 

 

Memorial sites to be prioritised include that of the Pondo Revolt, the sites of the Frontier Wars, the 1913 revolt by African women in the Free State, the 1957 anti-pass revolt by women in Zeerust, the Rocklands Civic Centre in Mitchells Plein where the United Democratic Front was formed and the Gugulethu Seven monument in Cape Town.

We are also in the process of purchasing and rehabilitating the Winnie Mandela house in Brandfort, the Dr. Moroka house in Thaba Nchu and the Bram Fischer house in Westdene.

Additional projects include the launch of the Dube Tradeport and the unveiling of the statue of John Dube at King Shaka International Airport next month and renaming the Kings House presidential residence in Durban after Dr Dube.

The Presidential Guest House in Pretoria will be named after Mr Sefako Makgatho and the Diplomatic Guest House in Pretoria after the late prolific diplomat, Mr Johnny Makatini.

 

Government will also table the National Traditional Affairs Bill which makes provision for the recognition of the Khoi-San communities, their leadership and structures.

It is important to remember that the Khoi-San people were the most brutalised by colonialists who tried to make them extinct, and undermined their language and identity. As a free and democratic South Africa today, we cannot ignore to correct the past.

 

I discussed this matter extensively with the Khoi-San community when I met with them in Cape Town last year and we agreed to work together to redress the injustices of the past.

Compatriots,

 

Next year 2013, the seat of government, the majestic Union Buildings, will mark 100 years of existence and planning will start this year to mark the centenary.

 

Fellow South Africans,

 

We must perform better in sports this year! Our star performer, Oscar Pistorius has set the standard for the year by winning the 2012 Laureus Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability Award.  Congratulations for this achievement.

 

We also congratulate the national women’s soccer team Banyana Banyana for qualifying for the London Olympics for the first time. With our support, they will do well.

We have been given the honour to host the Africa Cup of Nations next year, replacing Libya as they are unable to do so.

 

Compatriots,

 

 

Allow me to use this opportunity to extend heartiest congratulations and good wishes to Mama Rebecca Kotane, wife of former ANC treasurer general, Moses Kotane and SACP general secretary, who will turn 100 years old on Sunday the 12th of February.

 

The Young Men’s Guild of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Amadodana aseWesile, is also celebrating 100 years this year.

Another centenary celebration is that of Omama Besililo of the United Congregational Church of South Africa.

 

We wish them all successful celebrations.

 

Compatriots,

 

We have outlined a busy infrastructure implementation programme for now until 2014 and beyond.

I would like to appeal to all our people to join hands as they always do, as we deal decisively with the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality. Nobody will do this for us, it is in our hands. And we are all equal to the task.

 

As we get back to work tomorrow, let us internalise the words of ANC Women’s League founding president Charlotte Maxeke who said in her Presidential address to the National Council of African Women.

 

This work is not for yourselves — kill that spirit of self, and do not live above your people, but live with them. If you can rise, bring someone with you’’.

 

I thank you.

 
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Posted by on February 11, 2012 in Politics

 

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