President Jacob Zuma: End-of-the-year statement

18 Dec 2015

2015 End of year statement by President Zuma: Building a better South Africa, better Africa and a better world

The year 2015 was full of activities in advancing government’s programme of action to move South Africa forward. A lot of progress has been made in various areas in the implementation of our Medium Term Strategic Framework derived from the National Development Plan.

This abridged report touches on only a few areas of the work that has been done to transform the country and attack poverty, inequality and unemployment, and to further deepen relations with Africa and the world.

SOCIAL TRANSFORMATION
Much has changed in the education landscape since 1994, and government has sought to build on these gains since 2009. Our focus has been on getting the fundamentals right in basic education, while strengthening and improving higher education.

This has translated into a focussed approach that is beginning to pay dividends, yet we are aware that more still needs to be done.

A number of achievements have been scored.

Government has increased investment in early childhood development (ECD) as an investment in the future. To date government spends R1.8 billion on ECD benefitting 948768 children nationwide. Over 1.5 million children access ECD from 26000 registered ECD programmes. Government pays a subsidy of R15 per child per day for 264 days of the year.

The National School Nutrition Programme has reached more than nine million learners daily over the past few years, offering nutritious meals to over 20 000 primary, secondary and special schools nationally.

To improve the learning environment, the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative, (ASIDI) has demonstrated the capability of the state in dealing head on with the infrastructure backlogs. To date, the ASIDI programme has delivered 123 state-of-the-art schools. A further 520 schools were provided with water, 395 were given decent sanitation and 293 were connected to the power grid. These interventions have been life changing to the learners and educators at these schools.

We continued to improve access to higher education which is becoming a challenge due to most welcome increase in number of young people seeking higher education.

This year, our funding for students through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme or NSFAS has been increased from R3 billion to R9,5 billion. It helps to ensure that deserving students can access education at all 25 public universities and 50 public Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) Colleges.

Since its inception NSFAS has awarded approximately R50 billion in loans and bursaries to about 1.5 million students. We are also pleased that student enrolments at all institutions have increased exponentially since 1994.

Funding for higher education came into a sharp focus this year. Students took to the streets to demand zero percent increases in universities next year. Following discussions with vice chancellors, university council chairpersons and student leaders we agreed that this would be granted.

The Presidential Task Team appointed to look into this matter has provided its recommendations. A short-term solution for the no fee increment is already in the process of being implemented. The R2.3 billion that is required will be shared by government and universities at 83% government and 17% for universities.

Universities have already received allocation letters addressing the financial shortfall. The government portion of the shortfall will be transferred to institutions in January 2016 and the rest in April 2016.

Early in January I will announce the commission that will look at promoting access to higher education.

Since 2009 enrolments at TVET Colleges has increased from 340 000 to well over 700 000 in 2015. We hope to increase current enrolments to about 2.5 million in 2030. We have also seen the launch of the three new universities built since 1994. The Sol Plaatje University in the Northern Cape and the University of Mpumalanga are exciting new additions to the higher education landscape. The Sefako Makgatho Health and Allied Sciences University is a welcome new addition in the medical field.

The life expectancy of South Africans for both males and females has significantly improved and is currently 62 years across genders, which is an increase of 8.5 years since 2005.

The White Paper on National Health Insurance was released this month aimed at improving health care for everyone in South Africa. Importantly there will in the future be greater emphasis on prevention of illness and promotion of health so that people will get sick less often and so live longer and healthier lives.

The Back to Basics local government revitalisation plan was launched in September 2014 and 2015 has been the year of intensive implementation. The programme has been formally launched in all nine provinces and is becoming an integral part of local government governance and renewal.

It has been institutionalised within government and is a standing agenda item in the President’s Coordinating Council meetings which bring together national, provincial and local government and also in the MinMecs which bring together the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and provincial COGTA MECs. The Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Basic Services was established and is functioning well.

Provincial Back to Basics task teams were established and are conducting hands-on monitoring.  These teams are comprised of national and provincial CoGTA, and sector departments. The teams have developed municipal support plans, and these have been formally adopted by municipalities. Support and intervention packages were prepared and implemented for identified “hot-spot” municipalities with good results.

Due to the directive inherent in the Back to Basics approach that the people must be put first, ward-based planning and spatial mapping of Annual Performance Plans are being initiated in a number of municipalities.

The next phase of the implementation will be announced in SONA 2016.

South Africa is a naturally water strained country, one of the 30 driest countries in the world. Efficient planning of our water resources has ensured that our regional water supply dams and schemes remain water secure and are sitting with a positive water balance. The national average dam level is currently sitting on average, at 66% to capacity.

The impact of the drought has however affected the country and five (5) provinces have since been declared as drought related disaster areas. These are the provinces of North-West, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State and most recently, the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces.

While approximately 2.7million households or 18% of the total national population are affected by the drought disaster; interventions are in place to ensure that all communities are serviced and receive water.

Despite the drought, we have ensured that all communities have access to water.

Nationally the Department of Water and Sanitation has invested just more than R450 million for drought relief. The funds have been spent on motorised water tankers, borehole drilling and rehabilitation as well as the improvement of dysfunctional infrastructure.

Additional water transfers from the Tugela River to the Goedetrouw Dam; and from the Uthongathi River transferred to the Hazelmere Dam; are taking place continuously. Water is also still being released from the Lesotho Highlands Water Scheme into the Caledon River to supplement the water supply to Mangaung. The raising of the dam walls are in progress at the Hazelmere, Clanwilliam and Tzaneen Dams; while construction is underway at Mzimvubu in the Eastern Cape. As mentioned before, we will ensure that all communities will have access to water.

At the 2015 SONA, I informed South Africa that R7 billion is lost annually to leaking taps and water pipes. To this end, the War on Leaks programme was launched and 3 000 unemployed, young people took up the challenge of assisting the government in dealing with this scourge. Young people are now in training across the country and during the course of the year they will take up jobs as water agents, plumbers and artisans.

PROMOTING INCLUSIVE GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
In the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2015 I announced the nine point plan to boost economic growth and creation of jobs, a response to gloomy global economic situation which impacts negatively on our plans to grow the economy by five percent in 2019

The nine point plan consists of:
a. Revitalisation of the agriculture and agro-processing value-chain;
b. Advancing beneficiation (adding value to our mineral wealth);
c. More effective implementation of a higher impact IPAP;
d. Unlocking the potential of SMME, co-operatives township and rural enterprises
e. Resolving the energy challenge;
f. Stabilising the labour market;
g. Scaling-up private-sector investment;
h. Growing the Ocean Economy;
i. Cross-cutting Areas to Reform, Boost and Diversify the Economy which are;
· Science, technology and innovation
· Water and sanitation
· Transport infrastructure
· Broadband rollout
· State owned companies.

We have made progress in many of the areas I will report on a few.

Government is committed to improving the investment climate and ease of doing business. I had announced during the SONA that we will establish a one stop Inter-Departmental Clearing House to attend to investor complaints and problems. The Department of Trade and Industry is adding capacity to create a specialised unit that will fast track, unblock and reduce red tape in Government. Investors are encouraged to contact the dti investment unit for this clearing house service. We will officially launch the OSS early in the New Year.

A lot of progress has been made in various sectors of the economy with active government support.

The review of the Automotive Production and Development Programme (APDP) and the policy certainty that the Depart of Trade and Industry has created have grown the country’s auto sector. The APDP has leveraged private-sector investment of over R25,7 billion over the last 5 years. In January 2015 we reported the investment commitments including Mercedes committing to invest (R2.4billion), General Motors (R1billion), Ford (R3.6billion), and Metair Group (R400m). In addition to that investment, we can report on the following new investments including BMW committing to invest R6billion in manufacturing the X3 range in its Rosslyn plant; Goodyear R670m; and VW R4.5billion.

Unilever has invested R 4 billion in South Africa in new plants and expansions across the country. Multinationals such as Nestle, Samsung, Hisense have also affirmed South Africa as a regional manufacturing hub and have retained and expanded their investments in new plants.

South Africa is also becoming a frontier for new sectors of FDI such as the green economy, oil and gas, shipbuilding and the ocean economy amongst others. Our Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Programme (REIPP) has become world renown and a policy blueprint for other countries and has attracted R190 billion in investment in the four rounds of bids.

Government’s Clothing and Textiles Competitiveness Programme (CTCP) has yielded results. Between the inception of the programme in 2010 and March 2015, over R3 billion was approved to support investment in the sector. As a result 68,000 jobs were retained in the sector, 6,900 new jobs created, 22 new factories in leather and footwear sector opened. The sector has been successfully stabilised, is steadily regaining domestic market share and is beginning to grow exports.

In the leather and footwear segment, the dti is partnering with the private-sector to establish a National Footwear and Leather Cluster. The work of the cluster has already been directly responsible for the creation of approximately 2,000 sustainable jobs and a reduction of R1.4bn in the sectoral trade deficit.

The steel industry came under a lot of pressure this year. Government intervened to save the steel industry under these steel glut conditions by:
· Fast-tracking a tariff investigation by the International Trade Administration Commission (ITAC) on three steel products.
· Completing a competition commission probe into steel pricing by the dominant company.
· Extending short-term industrial funding to one steel-mill to give it the space to restructure rather than close its doors.

We launched Operation Phakisa in 2014 to unlock the potential of the ocean economy and later rolled it out in the basic education and health sectors.

In its first year of its intense activity, the Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy has already achieved important results not only in the Oil and Gas Exploration sector, but also with respect to other strategic areas, namely Marine Transport and Manufacturing, Aquaculture, Marine Protection Services and Oceans Governance. The Small Harbours development and Coastal and Marine Tourism have also been included as strategic areas for the Oceans Economy Growth.

Following the adoption of a Public- Private-Partnership (PPP) model for port infrastructure development by Transnet National Ports Authority, R7 billion has been committed and already 200 jobs have been created in new port facilities and refurbishment and maintenance of existing ones over the last twelve months. Already, investment in manufacturing includes the unlocking of R1.25 billion in investment contracts over the next 5 years in respect of the building of catamarans in the port of Port Elizabeth, which in turn will create potential 500 job opportunities.

The first two bulk carrier vessels have been registered in Port Elizabeth under South Africa’s flag and the first young South African Cadets have boarded these vessels. The port of Cape Town has seen the launch of a fuel storage facility bringing an investment of R660 million with 150 construction jobs being created.

Whilst potential investments in oil and gas exploration amounts to R2.6 billion, there is also opportunity for investments in new refineries as well as bunker storage facilities for cleaner fuel, thus unlocking investments of approximately R1 billion with resultant jobs.

More than R305 million in private sector investment have been committed in the Aquaculture sector, augmenting R105 million Government investment, with 521 jobs already realised and committed among ten aquaculture farms which are already in production.  These farms are located within the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Northern Cape.  Moreover, new projects have been incorporated and this will directly lead to an increase in job creation and production (about 7000 additional tons) in the near future. Whilst a draft Aquaculture Bill had been finalised, authorisations have been streamlined to shorten the timeframes for approvals.  This sector paves the way for women participation and provides empowerment opportunities for small businesses.

In order to ensure sustainability of the oceans, the drafting of the Marine Spatial Planning Bill has commenced, with the Oceans Environment Bill to follow. Work has commenced in respect of the National Oceans and Coastal Information System and draft regulations and declaration notices had been completed for the nineteen offshore Marine Protected Areas. Through external funding from our international partners, the development of the Marine Spatial Planning framework commenced which will designate the ocean for specific use and avoid user conflict.

I announced the establishment of the Jobs Fund in 2012. The fund supports innovative approaches to employment creation and provides work seeker support. To date the Fund has issued five calls for proposals, and approved 108 project applications of which 85 are in implementation. A total of R5.6 billion in grants has been committed to the 108 projects. These project partners have committed R7.9 billion in matched funding. To date R2.78 billion in grants have been disbursed to implementing projects and R4.2 billion in matched funding has already been leveraged from these partners. The 85 projects have to date created 60 675 new permanent jobs and an additional 30 358 persons have been placed in vacant positions on a permanent basis. 16 124 short term jobs have been created, 13 291 persons completed internships and 128 196 persons has received work readiness/technical training.

Last year, the tourism industry raised concerns about the impact of new immigrations regulations which were introduced to combat child trafficking and improve security at our country’s points of entry. We listened to these concerns. We committed ourselves to finding a better balance between our security and our economic development interests.

An Inter-Ministerial Committee on Immigration Regulations, chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa, brought several government departments together, and they collaborated to find this balance.

Cabinet has approved several measures to make it easier for tourists coming to South Africa to apply for visas and to travel with children. At the same time, we have ensured that the safety of all children and the security of our country is not compromised. We are confident that tourism will continue to contribute significantly to our economy once the revised measures are put into effect.

Discussions towards a national minimum wage continued in earnest this year led by the Deputy President, taking forward the agreement in November 2014 at a Labour Relations Indaba which brought together senior leaders from all our social partners comprising of Organised Business, Organised Labour, Nedlac Community Constituency and Government. The social Partners agreed unanimously on the need to introduce a national minimum wage in South Africa.

This year the Social Partners began the work of translating the broad agreements reached at the Labour Relations Indaba through two Technical Task Teams; One dealing with Wage Inequality (Minimum Wage) and the other dealing Labour Relations related issues such as protracted strikes and strikes related violence.

Support to state owned enterprises continued under the leadership of the Deputy President. As we stated in the past week support will be done in a fiscally sustainable manner and no entity will dictate to government how it will be supported.

The global financial crisis had highlighted some of the areas of financial regulation that needed strengthening.

Consequently, our Cabinet processed the Financial Sector Regulation Bill, 2015 and it was tabled in Parliament on 27 October 2015. The draft Bill is a culmination of Cabinet’s approval in December 2013, for the establishment of two authorities, a Prudential Authority within the South African Reserve Bank to supervise the safety and soundness of banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions; and the Financial Sector Conduct Authority, to supervise how financial services firms conduct their business and treat customers. The shift to a “Twin Peaks” regulatory system will present a comprehensive and complete system for regulating the financial sector, prioritising consumer protection and fair treatment of financial customers and protecting their funds.

We announced the establishment of the Office of the Chief Procurement Officer to improve government supply chain management processes. To date, the Chief Procurement Office has facilitated 39 centre lead transversal contracts which represents a consolidated contract at the value of about R28 billion. Strategic sourcing of projects for travel and accommodation, mobile and fixed line communication as well as medical waste, hospital laundry and linen and hospital nutrition programmes has also been initiated. Issues concerning the reduction of administrative cost pertaining to transacting for both suppliers and departments have been addressed through the establishment of the Central Supplier Database Centre and implementation of eProcurement system for government.

Building plans for schools have now been standardised and costed. Provinces are now compelled to adhere to this standard when building schools. In this process, it is anticipated that this intervention will reduce the average cost of building a new school from R60-R70 million to just under R35 million. Further initiatives to contribute towards improving efficiency in procurement in the educational sector involved the establishment of stationery contracts at an average cost of R 100.00 per learner for a full suite of stationery per grade.

SAFETY AND SECURITY
The South African Police continued to undertake its work to make South Africans feel safe and to be safe, working with other members of the criminal justice system.

Public order policing came into sharp focus given the numbers of demonstrations in the country which indicate the freedom of association and expression in our country. The SAPS continues to train the 28 Public Order Policing Units that it has at its disposal to manage community protests, including the training and equipping of members to deal with crowd management. During 2014/15, 14 740 crowd-related incidents were managed, comprising 2 289 unrest-related and 12 451 peaceful incidents. During the first semester of 2015/16, 7 306 incidents were managed, including 1 386 unrest-related incidents and 5 920 peaceful incidents.

Police have been directed to manage the protests effectively but with restraint and proportional use of force. They demonstrated their capability to do this in an exemplary fashion during the policing of the #FeesMustFall campaign by students.

The SAPS is implementing the Back-to-Basics of Policing Approach to improve management efficiency and effectiveness.

We have experienced attacks on police officers by criminals who are challenging the might of the state. Eighty six police officers were murdered during 2014/15 and 57 police officers have been murdered to date during the 2015/16 financial year. The message to our police officers is not ambiguous. When they are under attack in the course of executing their duties they must defend themselves and members of the public effectively but within the parameters of the laws of the country.

The visible and high impact crime fighting programme, Operation Fiela was launched this year and has led to the arrest of more than 40 000 suspects.

The country continued to face serious environmental crimes key among which is rhino poaching which is now a matter of national security. We launched a national joint operational centre at Kruger National Park to fight this scourge. We have scored some successes.

During the period July 2014 to July 2015, 882 crime scenes were attended, 242 arrests were made (193 inside the Kruger National Park and 49 outside), 142 firearms were seized in addition to 57 Rhino horns and a total of 112 cases have been registered and 87 convictions achieved on a range of charges related to Rhino poaching.

The commission chaired by Judge Ian Farlam to look into the Marikana tragedy completed its work and submitted its report in June 2015. A number of departments have to implement parts of the report, for example the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mineral Resources, Police and Labour and work began this year.

A Board of Inquiry has been established to look into the allegations of misconduct by the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, and/or her capacity to execute official duties efficiently, as also recommended by Judge Farlam.

The board of inquiry is looking into whether;

· the National  Commissioner acting together with other leadership of the South African Police Service or alone, misled the Commission by concealing that it had made the decision to implement a “tactical option”, taken at the National Management Forum (NMF) meeting on or about 15 August 2012;

· the decision taken to implement the “tactical option” ought reasonably to have foreseen the tragic and catastrophic consequences which ensued;

· the remarks by the National Commissioner at the SAPS parade on 17 August 2012  would have been understood to be an unqualified endorsement of the police action and thereby having the consequence of undermining, frustrating or otherwise impeding the work of the Commission;

· the report prepared by the National Commissioner for the President of the Republic on the 16 August 2012 and the media statement subsequently issued on 17 August 2012, was deliberately amended to conceal the fact that there were two shooting incidents (Scene 1 and Scene 2), resulting in misleading the public that all the deaths had occurred at Scene 1 which arose out of members of SAPS having to defend themselves from an advancing mass;

· the overall testimony by the National Commissioner at the Commission was in keeping with the office which she holds and the discharge of her duties commensurate therewith.

On 29 September 2015 we announced that government was exploring initiating an alternative dispute process to expedite the processing of all claims arising from the tragic incidents of Marikana.

State lawyers have been instructed to invite the legal representatives of all the claimants to a round table discussion to be held on or before 29 January 2016. The meeting will be aimed at discussing the process to resolve the claims in a manner which is transparent, effective and expeditious.

PROMOTING INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION
South Africa hosted the African Union Summit in June and the Forum on Africa-China Cooperation. We thus hosted the leadership of the African continent twice this year, a real honour and privilege.

Engagements bilaterally with countries in the SADC region and within our continent continued successfully to strengthen relations.

South Africa continued to support peace and security and regional economic integration through participation in the African Union (AU) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC) initiatives. Thus following the operationalisation of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC) we hosted the AMANI AFRICA II Field Training (19 October- 7 November 2015) to test its full operational capability as prelude to the launch the African Standby Force (ASF).

At regional level, South Africa Chaired the SADC Organ on Peace, Security and Defence Cooperation from August 2014 to August 2015 and led SADC Electoral Observer Missions (SEOMs) to Mozambique, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius, Zambia and the Kingdom of Lesotho.

The election in Lesotho was a culmination of the successful facilitation by Deputy President Ramaphosa under the auspices of SADC. South Africa also continued with the regional peace and security initiatives in the Republic of Madagascar, and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). We also further deepened partnerships with Europe through an official visit to Germany which further enhanced the strong economic relations and further enhanced historic and economic relations with the Netherlands through an incoming Official Visit by the Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Mr Mark Rutte. EU-South Africa cooperation is set to intensify next year when we next meet. The meeting have not taken place since 2013 due to recent elections on both sides. Over 2000 EU companies operate within South Africa creating over 350 000 jobs. The EU also contributes 100 million Euros (1.5 billion rand) to infrastructure development for domestic as well as regional programmes. From January to September 2015 South African exports to the EU amounted to more than R163 billion of which half are manufactured goods.

At the Seventh BRICS Summit in Ufa, Russia; we announced the entry into force of the Agreements establishing the BRICS Contingent Reserve Arrangement as well as the BRICS-Led New Development Bank. This year, the Governors of our Central Banks signed the Inter-Central Bank Agreement, providing the framework upon which the objectives of the CRA can be met. The New Development Bank, whose establishment was announced at the Fifth BRICS Summit in eThekwini, is now a concrete reality. The city of Shanghai in China hosts its headquarters and the City of Johannesburg will host its Africa Regional Centre.

The Bank is intended to finance infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other emerging economies and developing countries.

On global governance, we utilised the occasion of the 70 year anniversary of the UN to advocate for the reform of the Global System of Governance, particularly the UN Security Council and the Bretton Woods Institutions.

On Saturday, 12 December 2015, Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) adopted a historic Agreement in Paris to address greenhouse gas emission for the post-2020 period, while increasing countries’ ability to adapt to the adverse impacts of climate change during the next session.

The success in Paris is the culmination of the watershed Durban Climate Change Conference in 2011 where Parties to the Convention agreed to the mandate for the Paris Agreement. We are very happy with the achievement.

We congratulate South Africans for this contribution to finding solutions to a global challenge.  We also thank the United Nations for the opportunity provided to us to play this role.

South Africa chaired the Group of 77 plus China – a group of more than 130 developing countries representing more than eighty percent of the world’s population. The Group is comprised of a diverse group of countries, but united by the goal to protect their vulnerable and poor. We thank the group for support during the Summit and also during South Africa’s chairship of the G77 plus China this year.

The strengthening of bilateral relations with countries in SADC and Africa as a whole continues to be a priority.

PROMOTING SOCIAL COHESION
Work continued to foster unity through the popularisation of our national symbols and engaging with schoolchildren to promote preamble to the constitution and the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Responsibilities and Values in Education booklets and the poster has been included in all Life Orientation workbooks which reached leaners in over 23,000 schools. Government continues efforts to ensure that there is a flag in every school. We are creating new sites that promote and preserve forgotten aspects of our heritage. These include the Sarah Bartmann Centre of Remembrance in Hankey, in the Eastern Cape and the Dr J.L. Dube project in Inanda, eThekwini and the Matola Monument and Interpretive Center which was officially opened by President Jacob Zuma and President Nyusi on 11 September 2015. A major new project, the Liberation Heritage Route was approved by Cabinet in August. The route will feature sites of significance in all nine provinces.

Like arts and culture, sport continues to be a major unifying force; even when we do not win for example the 2015 Rugby World Cup. Pride in SA sports teams is strong, with 82% people participating in domestic perceptions research showing pride in all the national sports personalities and teams representing the country at international level.

We hosted the inaugural Africa Month programme in May this year and planning for the second Africa Month celebrations in 2016 are underway.

The country experienced horrific attacks on foreign nationals in April this year in parts of Durban and parts of Johannesburg. The majority of South Africa spoke out strongly against the attacks and reaffirmed our country’s support of human rights and dignity for all.

A National Action Plan to combat racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance has been drafted in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders and will be submitted to Cabinet approval before the end of the financial year.

Work continues towards the achievement of a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

We thank all South Africans and stakeholders for support during 2015.

Enquiries: Bongani Majola on 082 339 1993 or bonganim@presidency.gov.za

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