Annual Address by President Jacob Zuma to the National Council of Provinces, East London
The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces,
Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP,
Honourable Ministers and Premiers,
Deputy Ministers and MECs,
Members of Parliament and Provincial Legislatures,
Executive Mayors and the leadership of SALGA,
Mphakathi wase Buffalo City namaphethelo,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Molweni, Sanibonani, Dumelang,
We thank the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) for bringing us together for another session of “Taking Parliament to the People.”
We meet in the beautiful home province of Oliver Reginald Tambo. Next year in October 2017, the country will celebrate the centenary of his illustrious life.
An Inter-Ministerial Committee has begun planning this momentous celebration or a national hero and a man who sacrificed a lot for the liberation of our country and people.
One of the highlights of the year 2016, is that it marks the 20th anniversary of the signing into law of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, by President Nelson Mandela.
This took place in Sharpeville on 10 December 1996.
The Executive, Judiciary and Legislature and our people, will come together in Sharpeville on 10 December next month, to mark this historic occasion.
The anniversary is an opportunity for us to recommit ourselves to building a truly non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa, as called upon by this progressive Constitution.
Just over three months ago, over 15 million South Africans come out to vote in the local government elections.
Of the 257 councils only two have not been constituted as a result of court processes, Nquthu Local Municipality and UMzinyathi District Municipality, both in KwaZulu-Natal.
The success in constituting councils means our local government sphere has come of age.
On the 9th of November the first by-elections of this new administration were held in 15 wards, across six provinces, and these also went well.
The task now is to continue improving the performance of local government so that services to our people can be delivered better and faster each day.
Inhloso ka-hulumeni ukuthi abantu baphile kangcono, bahlale ezindaweni ezinezidingo – ugesi, amanzi, imitholampilo, imigwaqo, izikole kanye nokuphepha kuphele ubugebengu.
Asisoze siphumule uma kusekhona abantu abalala bengadlile, abahlala ezindaweni ezingaphephile, abangenawo ugesi namanzi nezinye izidingo.
Kuningi osekwenziwe uhulumeni. Progress is being made in many areas.
Let me talk about housing for instance. Government has an impressive record of delivering over 4,3 million houses and subsidies since the dawn of democracy.
We are happy to announce that Eastern Cape Province has contributed close to six hundred thousand (600 000) housing units since 1994, providing shelter to more than two million people in the province.
Since the beginning of the current financial year, which is April 2016, we have successfully delivered more than one thousand five hundred houses and services to the people of various communities in the Buffalo City Metro at a cost of about one hundred and twenty five million rands.
The Government is also hard at work fast-tracking the issuing of title deeds to the beneficiaries of our Government subsidised houses.
Access to water remains a critical priority, not only now during the crippling drought but generally as an essential service for our people. Water is life and sanitation is dignity.
We expect to see the beginning of the construction of the Mzimvubu Dam. The detailed design work for this ground-breaking mega-project is already nearing completion.
The highly anticipated new Foxwood Dam in Adelaide and the Zalu Dam near Lusikisiki are also advancing well and are now in the planning stages.
The construction of the Xhora Dam is 57% complete while the Mbashe Dam also on schedule.
Other newly completed dams in this province are the Ludeke Dam at Bizana, which is now 100% complete and Mdwaka Dam which is 100% complete.
We are a nation at work, building a better life for and with our people.
I know that all of you care about the future of our youth and about education.
Our host, the Eastern Cape, has amongst the best schools and universities.
I am happy to report today, that this province is now the leading beneficiary of Government’s school infrastructure programme under the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative, popularly known as ASIDI.
The objective of ASIDI is to build decent modern schools with water, sanitation and electricity.
It is also to replace schools constructed from inappropriate materials such as mud, plankie or asbestos structures with proper structures.
In the Eastern Cape alone, government has to date built one hundred and twenty six new state-of-the-art schools.
Just yesterday, the Basic Education Minister handed over yet another state-of-the-art school, namely Bhungu Primary School in Libode at the OR Tambo District Municipality.
The school boasts, amongst others, a nutrition centre, an internet connection, a science laboratory and a resource centre to name just a few.
This school shows how far we are prepared to go to provide a better education for our children in this country.
Nationally, to date, a total of two hundred and seventeen replacement state-of-the-art schools have been built and handed over to the communities.
And also since 2014, we have provided electricity to one hundred and eighty schools, sanitation to one hundred and sixty seven schools and water to another two hundred and forty eight schools.
At the same time, Government is aware of the perennial problems of shortages of vital resources, such as learning and teaching support materials, school furniture, and teachers.
The Basic Education Department has assured me that it has completed a comprehensive needs assessment for all schools in this province.
Together, with the Provincial authorities, they are in the process of addressing the identified needs. All hands are on deck to address the reported problems as they arise.
We are a nation at work, building a better life, for and with our people.
Chairperson, Honourable members,
The fight against extreme poverty continues.
Government’s social assistance programme plays an important role in protecting the poorest households against poverty, supporting 17 million South Africans especially vulnerable children, older persons and people with disabilities.
In the Eastern Cape, government provides about three million social grants. With almost two million targeting poor and vulnerable children. Of these child beneficiaries, over twenty-five thousand are in grade 12 this year. Government has taken thus far, and will most likely continue support with other services such as NSFAS at tertiary level.
Within the Buffalo City Region, government provides social grants to about two hundred thousand child beneficiaries, located particularly in East London and King Williams Town to alleviate poverty.
Government is also keen to provide income generating opportunities for beneficiaries of the social grants.
Opportunities exist in the provision of school uniforms to vulnerable children, food to the network of food distribution centres and also the provision of other goods and services.
One hundred and thirty nine cooperatives in the Eastern Cape have been contracted to provide Social Relief of Distress packages or food parcels at a value of six million rand.
In 2013, Cabinet approved the National Policy on Food and Nutrition Security, together with the Household Food and Nutrition Security Strategy.
In line with this policy, Food Distribution Centres were established, with food being bought from local producers and suppliers.
To date over 200 distribution centres have been established nationally and are operating at a budget of one hundred million rand. In the Eastern Cape, a total of 25 centres were established.
Six of these centres are in Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality, located in Embongweni, KwaZakhele, Dimbaza, Abbasford and two in East London.
Sithi komame masiwabenzise lamathuba afika nohulumeni, sixoshe indlala. Masakhe izakhiwo ezibizwa ngama-cooperatives silime, sidayisele uhulumeni, sixoshe nendlala emakhaya.
Akufuneki ukuthembela kuhulumeni kuphela. Amathuba avulekile manje okusebenza siziphilise.
I believe that we all share the concern about the future of our youth and the need to provide the best opportunities for them which we did not have during our time.
We would like to reiterate that we have heard the legitimate concerns of our students who have been protesting about fees, especially students from poor households.
We all support the call to make education accessible to the poor, which is why we will continue to expand access for the poor through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS).
The scheme currently supports close to five hundred students at university and TVET colleges.
This year alone, NSFAS has disbursed loans and bursaries to the tune 14 billion rand.
Government will also provide an additional 9 billion rand for NSFAS over the period ahead, raising its funding by over 18 per cent a year to universities over the next three years.
Sifisa ukugcizelela ukuthi uhulumeni uyavuma ukuthi izingane eziphuma emakhaya ampofu kufanele zisizwe uma zifunda emanyuvesi nasemakolishi.
Uhlelo lwemali i-NSFAS luyaqhubeka nokusiza intsha. Siyaqhubeka futhi nokufuna amakhambi okusweleka kwemali yokufunda emakhaya amaningi. Kunekhomishana ehleli sikhuluma nje, eholwa ijaji uHeher ebheka ukuthi singayixazulula kanjani lenkinga.
Sinxusa izinhlangano zomphakathi neze mfundo zibambisane nekhomishane zihambise imibono khona ukuze izwe lithole ukusizakala.
Beyond higher education, we are acutely aware of the challenges particularly of unemployment among our youth.
Our university graduates sit in street corners and road pavements, crying out for something to do, anything.
Government is doing its best, working with business and labour, to create the right environment for job creation. We are also creating more opportunities for business to thrive.
Right here in the Eastern Cape, Government has, through the Department of Trade and Industry, made possible approximately 23 billion rand private sector investment through various incentive programmes that has supported over 33 000 jobs.
Over R9 billion of the investment was made available through the Automotive Incentive Scheme that supported investment from Mercedes Benz SA, Volkswagen South Africa, Goodyear South Africa and FAW Vehicle Manufacturer.
Last week, the trade and Industry Minister, Dr Rob Davies and the Eastern Cape government launched the Komani Industrial Park revitalisation project in Queenstown.
This is the fourth industrial park to be launched this year. To date, the four launched parks combined employ almost 40,000 people.
Indeed, we are a government at work, building a better life, with and for our people.
Building a better life includes ensuring safety and security of the most vulnerable, especially women and children.
On 25 November the campaign of 16 days of activism of No Violence against women and children will begin.
We call on all our citizens to join hands with government and civil society organisations to fight the scourge of abuse and violence against women and children.
We urge the police to treat these cases with empathy, seriousness and urgency. Let us increase the conviction rates so that we eradicate this scourge.
Njengoba sesizowuqala umkhankaso wokulwa nokuhlukunyezwa kwabesifazane nezingane, sinxusa isizwe sonke ukuthi sibambisane nabomthetho ukulwa nalesisihluku kanye nobulwane obubhekiswe kwabesimame kanye nezingane. Uma sibambisene, sizokwazi ukubhekana nalenkinga siyinqobe.
Building a better life means ensuring that our Constitution and the laws of the land protect our people from the violation of their rights to human dignity and from discrimination on the basis of colour or race amongst others.
In this regard, allow me to strongly condemn the painful treatment meted out to Mr Victor Mlotshwa from Middleburg, who was beaten up, put in a coffin and threatened with being burned alive by two men who reportedly accused him of trespassing.
This incident, which was posted on social media, is shocking, painful and despicable in the extreme.
The incident is a reminder of the deep-seated racist attitudes that still prevail among some in our country, who still regard black people as lesser human beings.
The perpetrators of this crime and all others who commit various acts of racism in our non-racial democracy must face the full might of the law.
This incident is also a reminder of the need to continue fighting for a better life for farm workers. Given the secluded nature of farm work, many suffer in silence.
We have urged the Department of Labour and other departments to ensure improved monitoring of the working and living conditions of farm workers.
This matter has also brought into sharper focus the question of access to land by black people.
Since 1994, the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform through the redistribution programme has transferred 4.7 million hectares of land. This is made up of five thousand two hundred and eighty one projects amounting to R12 billion.
More than one hundred and twenty thousand households have benefitted from the redistribution.
In addition to the above, the Commission on the Restitution of Land Rights have transferred more than 1,9 million hectares to restitution beneficiaries since 1994.
The programme continues to be implemented and government will continue to process land claims and assist communities to get their land back.
Government continues to look for ways of speeding up the process and also to support those who have re-gained the land to use it profitably.
The promotion of access to justice is one of our key achievements of democracy.
On 29 November this year, we will reach another milestone as we open the Limpopo High Court.
This is the first High Court building to be constructed since 1994 and the first High Court for the people of Limpopo Province, who have had to travel to Gauteng before.
In terms of the jurisdiction, the court has its main seat in Polokwane and two local seats, in Lephalale and Thohoyandou.
The services that reside in the Limpopo High Court are the Master of the High Court, Office of the State Attorney, Legal Aid South Africa, the National Prosecuting Authority, the Provincial office of the Office of the Chief Justice, Office of the Family Advocate and the Directorate Legal Administration of the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development.
We are very pleased to bring the wheels of justice closer to the people of the Limpopo Province.
Let me also take this opportunity to remind Honourable Members that November is Disability Awareness Month, during which we promote equality and opportunities for persons with disability.
On the 3rd of December, the country will commemorate the International Day for Persons with Disabilities.
Malungu ahloniphekile nomphakathi,
Uhulumeni uyaqhubeka nokusebenza kanzima ukulungisa izimpilo zabantu. Abaningi sebekutholile ukusizakala. Siyazi futhi ukuthi baningi abasalinde izidingo nempilo engcono.
Ngeke siphumule uma impilo yabamnyama, ababecindezelwe, ingakafiki esimweni esigculisayo kwezomnotho nasekuhlaleni.
Njengoba siqhubeka nalomsebenzi wokwakha impilo engcono, sigqugquzela amazinga omathathu kahulumeni - owasekhaya, owezifundazwe nokazwelonke, ukuba basebenze nabantu ngaso sonke isikhathi.
Imihlangano mayibizwe kuxoxwe nabantu, babeke izimvo zabo ngezindawo abahlala kuzo.
Abantu akufanele baze bagcwale emgwaqeni bebhikisha ngenxa yokungalalelwa abaphathiswa emazingeni ahlukene.
South Africa is a great country and has great people.
Our country has enormous potential and can be a real powerhouse of the continent and create a better life and prosperity for all.
To achieve the country’s true potential, we need to spend less time on political squabbles, and dedicate more effort to working and building our country together.
We have seen the value of working together, in the collaboration between government, business and labour to reignite growth and avoid a sovereign downgrade of our country.
We need to find ways of translating that spirit to all walks of life and to all battles that we need to fight as a nation.
We cannot defeat poverty, inequality and unemployment, if we continue to spend so much time fighting amongst ourselves.
Our country is a much better place to live in than it was before 1994.
An independent agency, the South African Institute of Race Relations, has pointed out in its latest report, that life in South Africa is much better since 1994.
We should build on these achievements as we create a more prosperous South Africa.
My plea is that we should unite, pull together, and build our country.
I thank you Chairperson for this opportunity to meet with the NCOP, once again on its important programme of Taking Parliament to the People.
I thank you all