US President Obama’s inaugural speech 21 January 2013

Vice President Biden, Mr. Chief Justice, Members of the United States Congress, distinguished guests, and fellow citizens: 

Each time we gather to inaugurate a president, we bear witness to the enduring strength of our Constitution.  We affirm the promise of our democracy.  We recall that what binds this nation together is not the colors of our skin or the tenets of our faith or the origins of our names.  What makes us exceptional – what makes us American – is our allegiance to an idea, articulated in a declaration made more than two centuries ago:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” 

Today we continue a never-ending journey, to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time.  For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they have never been self-executing; that while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by His people here on Earth.  The patriots of 1776 did not fight to replace the tyranny of a king with the privileges of a few or the rule of a mob.  They gave to us a Republic, a government of, and by, and for the people, entrusting each generation to keep safe our founding creed. 

For more than two hundred years, we have. 

Through blood drawn by lash and blood drawn by sword, we learned that no union founded on the principles of liberty and equality could survive half-slave and half-free.  We made ourselves anew, and vowed to move forward together. 

Together, we determined that a modern economy requires railroads and highways to speed travel and commerce; schools and colleges to train our workers.

Together, we discovered that a free market only thrives when there are rules to ensure competition and fair play. 

Together, we resolved that a great nation must care for the vulnerable, and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune.

Through it all, we have never relinquished our skepticism of central authority, nor have we succumbed to the fiction that all society’s ills can be cured through government alone.  Our celebration of initiative and enterprise; our insistence on hard work and personal responsibility, are constants in our character.

But we have always understood that when times change, so must we; that fidelity to our founding principles requires new responses to new challenges; that preserving our individual freedoms ultimately requires collective action.  For the American people can no more meet the demands of today’s world by acting alone than American soldiers could have met the forces of fascism or communism with muskets and militias.  No single person can train all the math and science teachers we’ll need to equip our children for the future, or build the roads and networks and research labs that will bring new jobs and businesses to our shores.  Now, more than ever, we must do these things together, as one nation, and one people. 

This generation of Americans has been tested by crises that steeled our resolve and proved our resilience.  A decade of war is now ending.  An economic recovery has begun.  America’s possibilities are limitless, for we possess all the qualities that this world without boundaries demands:  youth and drive; diversity and openness; an endless capacity for risk and a gift for reinvention.   My fellow Americans, we are made for this moment, and we will seize it – so long as we seize it together. 

For we, the people, understand that our country cannot succeed when a shrinking few do very well and a growing many barely make it.  We believe that America’s prosperity must rest upon the broad shoulders of a rising middle class.  We know that America thrives when every person can find independence and pride in their work; when the wages of honest labor liberate families from the brink of hardship.  We are true to our creed when a little girl born into the bleakest poverty knows that she has the same chance to succeed as anybody else, because she is an American, she is free, and she is equal, not just in the eyes of God but also in our own. 

We understand that outworn programs are inadequate to the needs of our time.  We must harness new ideas and technology to remake our government, revamp our tax code, reform our schools, and empower our citizens with the skills they need to work harder, learn more, and reach higher.  But while the means will change, our purpose endures:  a nation that rewards the effort and determination of every single American.  That is what this moment requires.  That is what will give real meaning to our creed.  

We, the people, still believe that every citizen deserves a basic measure of security and dignity.  We must make the hard choices to reduce the cost of health care and the size of our deficit.  But we reject the belief that America must choose between caring for the generation that built this country and investing in the generation that will build its future.  For we remember the lessons of our past, when twilight years were spent in poverty, and parents of a child with a disability had nowhere to turn.  We do not believe that in this country, freedom is reserved for the lucky, or happiness for the few.  We recognize that no matter how responsibly we live our lives, any one of us, at any time, may face a job loss, or a sudden illness, or a home swept away in a terrible storm. The commitments we make to each other – through Medicare, and Medicaid, and Social Security – these things do not sap our initiative; they strengthen us.  They do not make us a nation of takers; they free us to take the risks that make this country great. 

We, the people, still believe that our obligations as Americans are not just to ourselves, but to all posterity.  We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.  Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging fires, and crippling drought, and more powerful storms.  The path towards sustainable energy sources will be long and sometimes difficult.  But America cannot resist this transition; we must lead it.  We cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries – we must claim its promise.  That is how we will maintain our economic vitality and our national treasure – our forests and waterways; our croplands and snowcapped peaks.  That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God.  That’s what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared.

We, the people, still believe that enduring security and lasting peace do not require perpetual war.  Our brave men and women in uniform, tempered by the flames of battle, are unmatched in skill and courage.  Our citizens, seared by the memory of those we have lost, know too well the price that is paid for liberty.  The knowledge of their sacrifice will keep us forever vigilant against those who would do us harm.  But we are also heirs to those who won the peace and not just the war, who turned sworn enemies into the surest of friends, and we must carry those lessons into this time as well.

We will defend our people and uphold our values through strength of arms and rule of law.  We will show the courage to try and resolve our differences with other nations peacefully – not because we are naïve about the dangers we face, but because engagement can more durably lift suspicion and fear.  America will remain the anchor of strong alliances in every corner of the globe; and we will renew those institutions that extend our capacity to manage crisis abroad, for no one has a greater stake in a peaceful world than its most powerful nation.  We will support democracy from Asia to Africa; from the Americas to the Middle East, because our interests and our conscience compel us to act on behalf of those who long for freedom.  And we must be a source of hope to the poor, the sick, the marginalized, the victims of prejudice – not out of mere charity, but because peace in our time requires the constant advance of those principles that our common creed describes:  tolerance and opportunity; human dignity and justice. 

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth. 

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began.  For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts.  Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.  Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote.  Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country.  Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm. 

That is our generation’s task – to make these words, these rights, these values – of Life, and Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness – real for every American.  Being true to our founding documents does not require us to agree on every contour of life; it does not mean we will all define liberty in exactly the same way, or follow the same precise path to happiness.  Progress does not compel us to settle centuries-long debates about the role of government for all time – but it does require us to act in our time. 

For now decisions are upon us, and we cannot afford delay.  We cannot mistake absolutism for principle, or substitute spectacle for politics, or treat name-calling as reasoned debate.  We must act, knowing that our work will be imperfect.  We must act, knowing that today’s victories will be only partial, and that it will be up to those who stand here in four years, and forty years, and four hundred years hence to advance the timeless spirit once conferred to us in a spare Philadelphia hall.
My fellow Americans, the oath I have sworn before you today, like the one recited by others who serve in this Capitol, was an oath to God and country, not party or faction – and we must faithfully execute that pledge during the duration of our service.  But the words I spoke today are not so different from the oath that is taken each time a soldier signs up for duty, or an immigrant realizes her dream.  My oath is not so different from the pledge we all make to the flag that waves above and that fills our hearts with pride. 

They are the words of citizens, and they represent our greatest hope. 

You and I, as citizens, have the power to set this country’s course. 

You and I, as citizens, have the obligation to shape the debates of our time – not only with the votes we cast, but with the voices we lift in defense of our most ancient values and enduring ideals. 

Let each of us now embrace, with solemn duty and awesome joy, what is our lasting birthright.  With common effort and common purpose, with passion and dedication, let us answer the call of history, and carry into an uncertain future that precious light of freedom. 

Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America.

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@_Cosatu Media release 27 February 2008

COSATU Media Release, 27 February 2008

Willie Madisha

The Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the

Congress of South African Trade Unions has

received the report of the Commission of Enquiry

into allegations involving the COSATU President,

Willy Madisha. The CEC decided to release the copy

of the report publicly in the light of the

misrepresentation by some in the media and

unauthorised sources in the Federation which all

combined to misinform the public about the real

facts behind the establishment of the commission

and its terms of reference. [We attach the full

report of the commission.]

The CEC has accepted the Commission’s findings

and recommendations. The CEC unanimously

resolved to remove Willy Madisha as President of

COSATU in terms of Clause of the COSATU

constitution. An Acting President will be elected at

next CEC in May 2008.

COSATU will hold a press conference on this

matter today at 15:00 at the COSATU Head office

in Braamfontein.

REMINDER: The media are also invited to a press

conference to receive a report of the CEC meeting

on the political, socio economic and other issues

dealt by the CEC. The details are:

DATE: Thursday 28 February 2008

TIME: 11h00

VENUE: COSATU House, 1 Leyds Street, cnr

Biccard, Braamfontein

Patrick Craven (National Spokesperson)

Congress of South African Trade Unions

1-5 Leyds Cnr Biccard Streets

Braamfontein, 2017

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South Africa’s 2013 full budget speech (pdf format)

See: 2013 budget speech

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2013 State of the Nation Address by Jacob G Zuma, President of South Africa

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 President Thabo Mbeki and Mrs Mbeki,
Former President De Klerk and Mrs De Klerk,
Former Deputy Presidents Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and Baleka Mbete,
Honourable Chief Justice of the Republic, and all esteemed members of the Judiciary;
Honourable Peeroo, Chairperson of the SADC Parliamentary Forum,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
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; Ms Gill Marcus,
The Deputy Chairperson of the National Planning Commission and Deputy President of the ANC, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa and all ANC Officials,
Leaders from business, sports, traditional, religious and all sectors,
Members of the diplomatic corps, Special and distinguished guests,
Honourable members,
Fellow South Africans,
Good evening to you all, sanibonani nonke, molweni, dumelang.
Let me thank the Presiding Officers for affording me this opportunity to share our 2013 programme of action with the joint sitting of Parliament.
We greet all who are watching this broadcast from their homes and at GCIS viewing centres around the country, including those in Khayelitsha, Nyanga and Gugulethu here in Cape Town.
Let me also extend my gratitude to all who contributed to the preparation of this address.  I received several messages via email, twitter and Facebook.
I also spent some time with Grade 12 learners who shared their own views on what should be contained in the speech. I found the inputs very informative and enriching.
Honourable Members,
Compatriots and friends,
On the 15th of August last year, the National Planning Commission handed over the National Development Plan, the vision of the country for the next 20 years, to the President in this august house.
The NDP contains proposals for tackling the problems of poverty, inequality and unemployment.
It is a roadmap to a South Africa where all will have water, electricity, sanitation, jobs, housing, public transport, adequate nutrition, education, social protection, quality healthcare, recreation and a clean environment.
The achievement of these goals has proven to be difficult in the recent past, due the global economic recession.
The crisis in the Eurozone affects our economy as the Eurozone is our major trading partner, accounting for around 21 per cent of our exports.
Our GDP growth is expected to average at 2.5% cent, down from 3.1% in the previous year.  We need growth rates in excess of five per cent to create more jobs.
The National Development Plan outlines interventions that can put the economy on a better footing. The target for job creation is set at 11 million by 2030 and the economy needs to grow threefold to create the desired jobs.
In my last meeting with the business community, the sector indicated that for the economy to grow three-fold, we must remove certain obstacles.
We will engage business, labour and other social partners in pursuit of solutions. No single force acting individually can achieve the objectives we have set for ourselves.
Honourable Members,
I would now like to report on progress made since the last State of the Nation Address and also to discuss our programme of action for 2013.
I will look at the five priorities – education, health, the fight against crime, creating decent work as well as rural development and land reform.
Last year, I addressed the nation on government’s infrastructure plans. 
By the end of March this year, starting from 2009, government will have spent about 860 billion rand on infrastructure. Various projects are being implemented around the country. I will discuss just a few.
The construction of the first phase of the Mokolo and Crocodile River Water Augmentation has commenced and it will provide part of the water required for the Matimba and the Medupi power stations.
The construction of the bulk water distribution system for the De Hoop Dam began in October 2012, to supply water to the Greater Sekhukhune, Waterberg and Capricorn district municipalities.
We have to shift the transportation of coal from road to rail in Mpumalanga, in order to protect the provincial roads. Thus the construction of the Majuba Rail coal line will begin soon.
We have also committed to improve the movement of goods and economic integration through a Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and industrial corridor.
In this regard, substantial work is now underway to develop the City Deep inland terminal in Gauteng.
Initial work has commenced in the expansion of the Pier 2 in the Durban Port.
And thirdly, land has been purchased for the development of a new dug-out port at the Old Durban airport.
In the Eastern Cape, I officially opened the port of Ngqura and construction is now underway to develop a major new transhipment hub.
The Umzimvubu Dam is critical for rural livelihoods. Preparatory work has commenced for the construction to begin next year.
The upgrading of Mthatha airport runway and terminal and the construction of the Nkosi Dalibhunga Mandela Legacy Road and Bridge are currently underway.
I have asked for work in the North West to be fast-tracked further in light of the huge backlogs in that province, especially electricity, schools, clinics, roads and water in the next two years.
To improve the transportation of iron-ore and open up the west coast of the country, we have expanded the rail capacity through the delivery of 11 locomotives.
The first phase of the expansion – to increase iron ore port capacity at Saldanha to 60 million tons per annum – was officially completed in September last year.
Construction work is taking place in five cities – Cape Town, Nelson Mandela Bay, Rustenburg, eThekwini, Tshwane to integrate the different modes of transport – bus, taxi and train.
In the energy sector, we have now laid 675 kilometres of electricity transmission lines to connect fast-growing economic centres and also to bring power to rural areas.
In addition, government signed contracts to the value of R47 billion in the renewable energy programme. 
This involves 28 projects in wind, solar and small hydro technologies, to be developed in the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, Northern Cape and in the Free State.
We established an 800 million rand national green fund last year.  To date, over 400 million rand investments in green economy projects has already been approved for municipalities, other organs of state, community organisations and the private sector across all provinces.
We have also rolled out 315 000 solar water geysers as of January this year, most of which were given to poor households, many of whom had never had running hot water before.
We have scored successes in extending basic services through the infrastructure programme. Close to 200 000 households have been connected to the national electricity grid in 2012.
You will also recall that Census 2011 outlined the successes in extending basic services. The report said the number of households with access to electricity is now at 12.1 million, which translates to 85%. Nine out of 10 households have access to water.
To prepare for the advanced economy we need to develop, we will expand the broadband network.
Last year, the private and public sector laid about 7000 new fibre optic cables. The plan is to achieve 100% broadband internet penetration by 2020.
With regard to social infrastructure, a total of 98 new schools will have been built by the end of March, of which more than 40 are in the Eastern Cape that are replacing mud schools.
Construction is expected to begin in September at the sites of two new universities in the Northern Cape and Mpumalanga.
Last week, we published an Infrastructure Development Bill for public comment.
We are cracking down on corruption, tender fraud and price fixing in the infrastructure programme.
The state has collected a substantial dossier of information on improper conduct by large construction companies.
This is now the subject of formal processes of the competition commission and other law enforcement authorities.
The infrastructure development programme has been a valuable source of learning for government. In the year ahead, we will fast-track many of the projects that the PICC has announced.
The lessons are that we must coordinate, integrate and focus on implementation.
Honourable Members,
The past two years have demonstrated that where the state intervenes strongly and consistently, it can turn around key industries that face external or internal threats as has happened in our manufacturing sector.
We have seen the revitalization of train and bus production in South Africa, largely because of the drive for local procurement. 
PRASA and Transnet have committed hundreds of billions of rands to improving our commuter and freight train network.
The clothing, textiles and footwear industry has stabilised after 15 years of steadily falling employment. A clothing support scheme provides broad financial support, saving a number of factories and jobs.
On broader economic transformation, revised Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act and codes are being finalised.  The development of black owned enterprises and black industrialists will be prioritised.
Government has several programmes of supporting small business.  A key project for the Presidency currently is to get government departments to pay SMMEs within 30 days.
Departments are required to submit monthly reports so that we can monitor progress in this regard.
We have taken a decision that accounting officers who fail to execute this directive, should face consequences.
In the 2010 State of the Nation Address, I announced the Job fund, and three billion rand has been approved for projects that will create jobs.
Honourable Members,
Just over a third of the population is under the age of 15. Our country, like many others, has a crisis of youth unemployment.
Last May I asked constituencies at NEDLAC to discuss youth employment incentives. I am pleased that discussions have been concluded and that agreement has been reached on key principles. The parties will sign the Accord later this month.
The incentives will add to what Government is already doing to empower the youth.
State owned companies provide apprenticeships and learnerships and we urge that these be increased.  We appeal to the private sector to absorb 11 000 FET graduates who are awaiting placements.
The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform runs the National Rural Youth Services Corps, which has enrolled 11 740 young people in various training programmes.
The Department is also planning nine Rural Youth Hubs per province, including in the 23 poorest districts in the country.
We will also use the Expanded Public Works Programme and the Community Work programme to absorb young people.
Working together we will find a solution to youth unemployment.
Honourable members,
We identified tourism as one of our job drivers.
Tourist arrivals grew at an impressive 10.7 percent between January and September 2012, which is higher than the global average of 4% for last year.
Ironically, the very success of South Africa’s national conservation effort resulting in over 73% of the worlds’ rhino population being conserved here, has resulted in our country being targeted by international poaching syndicates.
We are working with recipient and transit countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and China and are intensifying our efforts to combat this increasing scourge.
Honourable Speaker
Honourable Chairperson,
Mining, which is historically the backbone of the economy, has faced difficulties in recent months.
Last year the sector was hit by wild cat strikes and the tragedy in Marikana where more than 44 people were killed.
We established an Inter-Ministerial Committee made up of senior cabinet Ministers to assist families during that difficult period. The Judicial Commission of Inquiry led by Judge Ian Farlam continues its work.
Through working together we were able to restore social stability in the area.
Government, labour in the form of COSATU, NACTU and FEDUSA, Business Unity SA, Black Business Council and the community sector met in October and reached an agreement which laid the basis for a return to work across the mining industry.
In particular, we agreed to work together to strengthen collective bargaining; to address the housing problems in the mining towns; to support the National infrastructure Programme; to address youth unemployment; and to identify measures to reduce inequalities.
Work is underway and the team will report in due course with specific plans for Rustenburg, Lephalale, Emalahleni, West Rand, Welkom, Klerksdorp, Burgersfort/Steelport, Carletonville and Madibeng.
Two weeks ago, I had a meeting in Pretoria with Sir John Parker, the chairman of Anglo-American Plc to discuss the reported plans to restructure and retrench 14 000 workers at Anglo American Platinum.
Honourable Members,
We believe that at a policy level we have managed to bring about certainty in the mining sector. The nationalisation debate was laid to rest in December at the ruling party’s national conference.
Ensuring that the public services we provide our people today can continue to be provided to our people tomorrow, requires that we have suitable tax policies to generate sufficient revenue to pay for these services.
From time to time, we have commissioned studies into our tax policies, to evaluate the extent to which they meet the requirements of the fiscus.
Later this year, the Minister of Finance will be commissioning a study of our current tax policies, to make sure that we have an appropriate revenue base to support public spending.
Part of this study, will evaluate the current mining royalties regime, with regard to its ability to suitably serve our people.
Honourable Members,
Distinguished guests,
In last year’s address we raised the issue of the gap market, the people who earn too much to qualify for an RDP house and too little for a bank mortgage bond.
From April 2012 to December 2012, Provincial Departments committed a budget of 126 million rand of the Human Settlements Development Grant for this programme, known as the Finance Linked Individual Subsidy programme.
The money is being used through the National Housing Finance Corporation, which has been appointed to deliver houses to people within the Gap market in twelve registered projects.
A total of 70 million rand of this amount has been used to date.
Projects include Walmer Link in the Eastern Cape, Lady Selbourne, Nelmapius, Bohlabela Borwa, Cosmo City and Fleurhof in Gauteng, Intabazwe Corridor Housing in the Free State and Seraleng in North West.
The implementation of these eight GAP housing projects is currently underway.
Compatriots and friends,
Honourable Members,
On education, we are pleased that the Grade 12 pass rate is finally on an upward trend. We congratulate the Class of 2012, their teachers, parents and communities for the continued improvement.
We congratulate the top province for 2012, Gauteng and top grade 12 learner, Miss Madikgetho Komane, from Sekhukhune district, Limpopo, who is our special guest.
Honourable members,
The Annual National Assessments in our schools, have become a powerful tool of assessing the health of our education system.
We welcome the improvement each year in the ANA results, but more must be done to improve maths, science and technology.
The Department of Basic Education will establish a national task team to strengthen the implementation of the Mathematics, Science and Technology Strategy.
We urge the private sector to partner government through establishing, adopting or sponsoring maths and science academies or Saturday schools.
We are pleased with the growth of our early childhood education programmes, including Grade R.
We are also pleased with our adult education programme, Khari Gude, which has reached more than 2,2 million people between 2008 and 2011.
We also continue to encourage people from all walks never to stop learning.  Many were inspired when accomplished musician and my special guest, Mr Sipho Hotstix Mabuse obtained his matric last year, at the age of 60.
Honourable Members,
We declared education as an apex priority in 2009. We want to see everyone in the country realising that education is an essential service for our nation.
By saying education is an essential service we are not taking away the Constitutional rights of teachers as workers such as the right to strike.
It means we want the education sector and society as a whole to take education more seriously than is happening currently.
All successful societies have one thing in common – they invested in education. Decent salaries and conditions of service will play an important role in attracting, motivating and retaining skilled teachers.
In this regard, we will establish a Presidential Remuneration Commission which will investigate the appropriateness of the remuneration and conditions of service provided by the State to all its employees.
I have directed that the first priority should be teachers.
The Commission will also assess the return on investment.
In elevating education to its rightful place, we want to see an improvement in the quality of learning and teaching and the management of schools. We want to see an improvement in attitudes, posture and outcomes.
Working with educators, parents, the community and various stakeholders, we will be able to turn our schools into centres of excellence.
Honourable Members,
Five years ago, South Africa had such a low life expectancy that experts suggested that by 2015, our life expectancy would have been exactly where it was in 1955.
It was with good reason that we were delighted when late last year, studies from the Medical Research Council, the Lancet medical journal and others began reporting a dramatic increase in life expectancy from an average baseline of 56 years in 2009 to 60 years in 2011. These reports also noted significant decreases in infant and under five mortality.
Increased life expectancy is a key to the country’s development. People are returning to work, they are being productive, economically and socially.  The family structure is increasingly stable and parents live longer and are able to take care of their children.
We should not become complacent, in light of these achievements.
Given the high co-infection rate between HIV and TB, we have integrated these services.
Work is also continuing on the research side. South Africa has discovered a candidate drug to treat Malaria.
In addition, researchers at the Centre for the Aids Programme of Research in South Africa consortium, also discovered broad neutralising antibodies against HIV.
Deputy President Motlanthe has appointed new members of the South African National Aids Council Trust. We congratulate the team, which is led by retired Judge Zac Yacoob, as chairperson.
Diseases of lifestyle are on an alarming increase.  We have to combat and lower the levels of smoking, harmful effects of alcohol, poor diets and obesity.
Honourable members,
In 2014 we will create the National Health Insurance Fund. The Department of Health will accelerate and intensify progress in the pilot districts.
In that regard, as from April this year, the first group of approximately 600 private medical practitioners will be contracted to provide medical services at 533 clinics within villages and townships in 10 of the pilot districts.
Compatriots and friends,
In June we will mark the centenary of the 1913 Land Act which turned black people into wanderers, labourers and pariahs in their own land.
Former ANC President Sefako Makgatho outlined as such in his 1919 ANC conference presidential address.
He said;
“The Native Land Act still operates as mercilessly in different parts of the Union, and as a result many native families are still working for white farmers only for their food’’.
We are also honoured, in this year of the anniversary of the 1913 Land Act, to have present among us, Mrs Nomhlangano Beauty Mkhize, one of the veterans who together with her husband, Saul Mkhize, led the struggle against forced removals in Driefontein and Daggaskraal, in the present Mpumalanga Province.
The land question is a highly emotive matter.
We need to resolve it amicably within the framework of the Constitution and the law.
I received a message on Facebook from Thulani Zondi who raised his concern about the slow pace of land redistribution. He said:  “Mr President, as we are commemorating 100 years since the Land act of 1913 was introduced to dispossess the African majority.
I urge you to accelerate redistribution of the land to the landless African people.
“When we do the redistribution we need to be mindful of food security. Training and mentorship of emerging black commercial farmers must take place”.
From 1994, we have been addressing the land reform problem through restitution, redistribution and tenure reform.
As stated before, we will not be able to meet our redistribution targets.
Government’s mid-term review last year revealed a number of shortcomings in our land reform implementation programme. We will use those lessons to improve implementation.
Firstly, we must shorten the time it takes to finalise a claim. In this regard, Government will now pursue the ‘just and equitable’ principle for compensation, as set out in the Constitution instead of the “willing buyer, willing seller” principle, which forces the state to  pay more for land than the actual value.
Secondly there are proposed amendments to the Restitution of Land Rights Act, 1994 in order to provide for the re-opening of the lodgement of restitution claims, by people who missed the deadline of 31 December 1998.
Also to be explored, are exceptions to the June 1913 cut-off date to accommodate claims by the descendants of the Khoi and San as well as heritage sites and historical landmarks.
Another key lesson is to provide adequate post-settlement support to new landowners so that land continues to be productive.
We also need to provide better incentives for commercial farmers that are willing and capable of mentoring smallholder farmers.
Another challenge we have faced is the preference for money instead of land by some claimants, which also does not help us to change land ownership patterns.
As part of the Presidency stakeholder engagement programme ahead of the State of the Nation Address, Deputy President Motlanthe held a meeting with both farmers and farm workers in Paarl on Tuesday.
Stakeholders agreed that there should be peace and stability in the agriculture sector and that the living and working conditions of farm workers should be improved urgently.
It is also encouraging that even the farmers called for the fast tracking of land reform and support to emerging farmers.
We will continue the engagement with both farmers and farm workers.
Compatriots and friends,
We should also remain mindful of rapid urbanisation that is taking place. The Census Statistics reveal that 63% of the population are living in urban areas. This is likely to increase to over 70% by 2030.
Apartheid spatial patterns still persist in our towns and cities. Municipalities alone cannot deal with the challenges. We need a national approach. 
While rural development remains a priority of government, it is crucial that we also develop a national integrated urban development framework to assist municipalities to effectively manage rapid urbanisation.
As part of implementing the National Development Plan, all three spheres of government need to manage the new wave of urbanisation in ways that also contribute to rural development.
Honourable Members,
Improving the status of women remains a critical priority for this government.
The Bill on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment has been approved by Cabinet for public comment. The Bill criminalizes practices that have adverse effects on women and girls.
It also legislates the 50/50 policy position with regard to the representation of women in decision making structures.
Honourable members,
The brutal gang rape and murder of Anene Booysen and other women and girls in recent times has brought into sharp focus the need for unity in action to eradicate this scourge.
The brutality and cruelty meted out to defenceless women is unacceptable and has no place in our country. Last year the National Council on Gender Based Violence was established.
It comprises government, non-governmental Organizations, Community-Based Organizations, Faith-Based organizations, academia, research institutions, government, men’s groupings, and representation from women, children and persons with disabilities.
We urge this coordinating structure to make the campaign of fighting violence against women an everyday campaign.
We applaud all sectors for the campaigns that have taken place already, highlighting that such acts will not be tolerated.
I have directed law enforcement agencies to treat these cases with the utmost urgency and importance. The Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units, which were re-established in 2010, have increased personnel.
During the last financial year, the Units secured over 363 life sentences, with a conviction rate of 73% for crimes against women above 18 years old and 70% for crimes against children under 18 years of age. 
Masibhunkule sisebenze sonke, silwe nalenkinga esibhekene nayo yabantu abadlwengula omame nezingane, ngisho nezalukazi imbala. Ihlazo nobunswelaboya obesabekayo lokhu abakwenzayo. Izigilamkhuba kufanele zibikwe emaphoyiseni ziboshwe.
Government is adding other mechanisms to protect women, such as the Protection from Harassment Bill. While the Domestic Violence Act also provides protection, it only applies to persons who are in a domestic relationship.
The Protection from Harassment Bill also deals with harassment by persons who stalk their victims by means of electronic communications.
In addition, the Combating of Trafficking in Persons Bill was passed by the National Assembly last year and is now at the National Council of Provinces.
Once implemented, the law will  assist women and children, who are often victims of this heinous crime.
Compatriots and friends,
There is increased visibility of the police which contributes to the reduction in the levels of serious crime.
The operations focusing on illegal firearms, stolen and robbed vehicles, liquor and drugs which are regarded as main generators of crime have assisted in crime reduction.
Compatriots and friends,
Government continues to wage a war against corruption.
The capacity of the Special Investigating Unit has grown from an initial 70 staff members to more than 600 at present.
I have since 2009, signed 34 proclamations directing the SIU to investigate allegations of corruption, fraud or maladministration in various government departments and state entities.
Criminal Investigations were initiated against 203 accused persons in 67 priority cases under investigation by the end September 2012.
In total, pre-trial proceedings have been initiated against 191 persons. A total of 66 persons under investigation are alleged to have received R5 million or more benefits through corruption. Freezing Orders were obtained against 46 persons.
In other successes, in the past financial year, 107 officials working within the criminal justice system were convicted.
The Asset Forfeiture Unit seized assets valued at more than R541 million. A total of R61 million of these assets have already been forfeited to the State. The assets are channelled back to fighting crime and corruption through the Criminal Asset Recovery Account.
Last year, additional funding of R150 million from the Criminal Assets Recovery Account was approved for the work of the Anti-Corruption Task Team which comprises the Hawks, the Special Investigating Unit and the National Prosecuting Authority.
These resources are aimed at strengthening the capacity of these law enforcement agencies in our resolve to fight corruption.
We urge the private sector to also take this fight against corruption seriously so that we tackle it from all angles.
To further boost the fight against corruption, we will fill all vacant posts at the upper echelons of the criminal justice system.
Compatriots and friends,
Honourable Members,
There are some lessons from Marikana and other incidents that we cannot allow to recur in our country.
Our Constitution is truly one of our greatest national achievements.   Everything that we do as a government is guided by our Constitution and its vision of the society we are building.
We call on all citizens to celebrate, promote and defend our Constitution.
Our Bill of Rights guarantees that “everyone has the right, peacefully and unarmed,  to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions”.
We therefore call on our people to exercise their rights to protest in a peaceful and orderly manner.
It is unacceptable when people’s rights are violated by perpetrators of violent actions, such as actions that lead to injury and death of persons, damage to property and the destruction of valuable public infrastructure.
We are duty bound to uphold, defend and respect the Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic. We will spare no effort in doing so.
For this reason, I have instructed the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster to put measures in place, with immediate effect, to ensure that any incidents of violent protest are acted upon, investigated and prosecuted.
Courts will be allocated to deal with such cases on a prioritised roll. The law must be enforced and it must be seen to be enforced – fairly, effectively and expeditiously.
The citizens of our country have a right to expect that their democratic state will exercise its authority in defence of the Constitution that so many struggled so long and hard for. We cannot disappoint this expectation.
The JCPS Cluster has therefore put measures in place at national, provincial and local level to deal with such incidents effectively.
Let me hasten to add that government departments at all levels must work closely with communities and ensure that all concerns are attended to before they escalate.  That responsibility remains. We are a caring government.
Honourable Members,
This year we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of the Organization of African Unity which has been succeeded by the African Union.
We pay tribute to the OAU for its relentless struggle for the decolonization of our continent, including contributing to our own freedom.
We will continue to work for a stronger and more effective organization of our Union.
The NEPAD programme as well as the African Peer Review Mechanism have just celebrated their tenth year of existence.
As the convener of the NEPAD Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative, South Africa continues to work with other champions to implement high impact infrastructure projects in the continent.
On peace and security, we stand by the people of Mali in their effort to claim and assert the territorial integrity of their country.
We urge the leadership in the Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau and Somalia to continue their march towards lasting peace for the sake of their people. We remain firmly opposed to unconstitutional change of government.
We are encouraged by the developments between Sudan and South Sudan. We commend our former President Thabo Mbeki and other members of the AU High Level Panel for the dedicated manner in which they have been working with the two sides.
We are in solidarity with the DRC as the country battles the menace to its security.
South Africa will continue supporting Africa’s peace efforts including through mediation, troop contribution for peace keeping, and by providing material and financial assistance.
In this regard, we look forward to the conclusion of political dialogues in Zimbabwe and Madagascar.
Our vision of a better Africa in a better world will receive great impetus when we host the 5th BRICS Summit next month in Durban.
We are inspired by the exponential growth of bilateral relations, diplomatically and economically, between South Africa and other BRICS countries.
Strengthening North-South relations remains central to our foreign policy agenda.
We reaffirm our partnership with countries of the North, especially the USA, Europe and Japan.
The UN’s 70th anniversary provides an opportunity to take forward the transformation of the UN Security Council.
We shall continue to use the G20 to represent the aspirations of the people of Africa and push for the transformation of Bretton Woods institutions.
South Africa’s internationalism has a strong element of solidarity to it.  We stand with the people of Palestine as they strive to turn a new leaf in their struggle for their right to self-determination; hence we supported their bid for statehood.
The expansion of Israeli settlements into Palestinian territories is a serious stumbling block to the resolution of the conflict.
The right of self determination for the people of Western Sahara has to be realised.
We remain firm in our call for the lifting of the economic embargo against Cuba.
Working together we can do more to create a better Africa and a better world.
In the year 2012, we focused on preserving and promoting our country’s cultural heritage with particular emphasis on our liberation heritage.
We also hosted a historic National Summit on Social Cohesion, focusing on building a socially inclusive, caring and proud nation.
In the implementation of our programme we will work with our Social Cohesion Advocates; eminent South Africans drawn from a variety of sectors within our society.
We are proud to have in our midst this evening, two of our eminent social cohesion advocates, Judge Yvonne Mokgoro and Advocate George Bizos.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Raid on Liliesleaf Farm, the Escape from Marshall Square as well as the Start of the Rivonia Trial.
A series of events are being planned throughout the year to mark the three events, culminating in a national commemoration on the 11th of July.
Honourable Members
We have just concluded a highly successful Africa Cup of Nations tournament. We extend hearty congratulations to the African champions, the Federal Republic of Nigeria and also to all participating teams for their contribution to showcasing the standard of African football.
We thank all our people for being excellent hosts and fans.
I had the opportunity to personally thank CAF President Honourable Issa Hayatou for affording us the honour of hosting the AFCON.
Compatriots and friends,
As I said earlier, this programme of action will be implemented differently as the activities of departments must be aligned with the National Development Plan.
Before concluding, let me take this opportunity to extend our heartfelt condolences to the family of struggle stalwart and prominent human rights lawyer, Comrade Phyllis Naidoo who passed on today.
Only recently, we lost Comrade Amina Cachalia.
We are truly saddened by the loss.
Honourable Members,
As South Africans, we should continue to have one primary goal – to make our country a truly great and prosperous nation.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you all!
I thank you.

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US President Barack Obama’s acceptance speech 2012

Tonight, more than 200 years after a former colony won the right to determine its own destiny, the task of perfecting our union moves forward.

It moves forward because of you. It moves forward because you reaffirmed the spirit that has triumphed over war and depression, the spirit that has lifted this country from the depths of despair to the great heights of hope, the belief that while each of us will pursue our own individual dreams, we are an American family and we rise or fall together as one nation and as one people.

Tonight, in this election, you, the American people, reminded us that while our road has been hard, while our journey has been long, we have picked ourselves up, we have fought our way back, and we know in our hearts that for the United States of America the best is yet to come.

I want to thank every American who participated in this election… Whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time.

By the way, we have to fix that.

Whether you pounded the pavement or picked up the phone… Whether you held an Obama sign or a Romney sign, you made your voice heard and you made a difference.

I just spoke with Governor Romney and I congratulated him and Paul Ryan on a hard-fought campaign.

We may have battled fiercely, but it’s only because we love this country deeply and we care so strongly about its future. From George to Lenore to their son Mitt, the Romney family has chosen to give back to America through public service and that is the legacy that we honour and applaud tonight.

In the weeks ahead, I also look forward to sitting down with Governor Romney to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward.

I want to thank my friend and partner of the last four years, America’s happy warrior, the best vice-president anybody could ever hope for, Joe Biden.

And I wouldn’t be the man I am today without the woman who agreed to marry me 20 years ago. Let me say this publicly: Michelle, I have never loved you more. I have never been prouder to watch the rest of America fall in love with you, too, as our nation’s first lady. Sasha and Malia, before our very eyes you’re growing up to become two strong, smart beautiful young women, just like your mom. And I’m so proud of you guys. But I will say that for now one dog’s probably enough.

To the best campaign team and volunteers in the history of politics… The best. The best ever. Some of you were new this time around, and some of you have been at my side since the very beginning.

But all of you are family. No matter what you do or where you go from here, you will carry the memory of the history we made together and you will have the life-long appreciation of a grateful president. Thank you for believing all the way, through every hill, through every valley.

You lifted me up the whole way and I will always be grateful for everything that you’ve done and all the incredible work that you put in.

I know that political campaigns can sometimes seem small, even silly. And that provides plenty of fodder for the cynics that tell us that politics is nothing more than a contest of egos or the domain of special interests. But if you ever get the chance to talk to folks who turned out at our rallies and crowded along a rope line in a high school gym, or saw folks working late in a campaign office in some tiny county far away from home, you’ll discover something else.

You’ll hear the determination in the voice of a young field organizer who’s working his way through college and wants to make sure every child has that same opportunity. You’ll hear the pride in the voice of a volunteer who’s going door to door because her brother was finally hired when the local auto plant added another shift. You’ll hear the deep patriotism in the voice of a military spouse whose working the phones late at night to make sure that no one who fights for this country ever has to fight for a job or a roof over their head when they come home.

That’s why we do this. That’s what politics can be. That’s why elections matter. It’s not small, it’s big. It’s important. Democracy in a nation of 300 million can be noisy and messy and complicated. We have our own opinions. Each of us has deeply held beliefs. And when we go through tough times, when we make big decisions as a country, it necessarily stirs passions, stirs up controversy.

That won’t change after tonight, and it shouldn’t. These arguments we have are a mark of our liberty. We can never forget that as we speak people in distant nations are risking their lives right now just for a chance to argue about the issues that matter, the chance to cast their ballots like we did today.

But despite all our differences, most of us share certain hopes for America’s future. We want our kids to grow up in a country where they have access to the best schools and the best teachers. A country that lives up to its legacy as the global leader in technology and discovery and innovation, with all the good jobs and new businesses that follow. We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet. We want to pass on a country that’s safe and respected and admired around the world, a nation that is defended by the strongest military on earth and the best troops this – this world has ever known.

But also a country that moves with confidence beyond this time of war, to shape a peace that is built on the promise of freedom and dignity for every human being. We believe in a generous America, in a compassionate America, in a tolerant America, open to the dreams of an immigrant’s daughter who studies in our schools and pledges to our flag.

To the young boy on the south side of Chicago who sees a life beyond the nearest street corner. To the furniture worker’s child in North Carolina who wants to become a doctor or a scientist, an engineer or an entrepreneur, a diplomat or even a president – that’s the future we hope for. That’s the vision we share. That’s where we need to go – forward. That’s where we need to go.

Now, we will disagree, sometimes fiercely, about how to get there. As it has for more than two centuries, progress will come in fits and starts. It’s not always a straight line. It’s not always a smooth path. By itself, the recognition that we have common hopes and dreams won’t end all the gridlock or solve all our problems or substitute for the painstaking work of building consensus and making the difficult compromises needed to move this country forward. But that common bond is where we must begin. Our economy is recovering. A decade of war is ending. A long campaign is now over.

And whether I earned your vote or not, I have listened to you, I have learned from you, and you’ve made me a better president. And with your stories and your struggles, I return to the White House more determined and more inspired than ever about the work there is to do and the future that lies ahead.

Tonight you voted for action, not politics as usual. You elected us to focus on your jobs, not ours. And in the coming weeks and months, I am looking forward to reaching out and working with leaders of both parties to meet the challenges we can only solve together. Reducing our deficit. Reforming our tax code. Fixing our immigration system. Freeing ourselves from foreign oil. We’ve got more work to do.

But that doesn’t mean your work is done. The role of citizens in our Democracy does not end with your vote. America’s never been about what can be done for us. It’s about what can be done by us together through the hard and frustrating, but necessary work of self-government. That’s the principle we were founded on.

This country has more wealth than any nation, but that’s not what makes us rich. We have the most powerful military in history, but that’s not what makes us strong. Our university, our culture are all the envy of the world, but that’s not what keeps the world coming to our shores. What makes America exceptional are the bonds that hold together the most diverse nation on earth.

The belief that our destiny is shared; that this country only works when we accept certain obligations to one another and to future generations. The freedom which so many Americans have fought for and died for come with responsibilities as well as rights. And among those are love and charity and duty and patriotism. That’s what makes America great.

I am hopeful tonight because I’ve seen the spirit at work in America. I’ve seen it in the family business whose owners would rather cut their own pay than lay off their neighbours, and in the workers who would rather cut back their hours than see a friend lose a job.

I’ve seen it in the soldiers who reenlist after losing a limb and in those SEALs who charged up the stairs into darkness and danger because they knew there was a buddy behind them watching their back.

I’ve seen it on the shores of New Jersey and New York, where leaders from every party and level of government have swept aside their differences to help a community rebuild from the wreckage of a terrible storm.


And I saw just the other day, in Mentor, Ohio, where a father told the story of his 8-year-old daughter, whose long battle with leukemia nearly cost their family everything had it not been for health care reform passing just a few months before the insurance company was about to stop paying for her care.


I had an opportunity to not just talk to the father, but meet this incredible daughter of his. And when he spoke to the crowd listening to that father’s story, every parent in that room had tears in their eyes, because we knew that little girl could be our own.

And I know that every American wants her future to be just as bright. That’s who we are. That’s the country I’m so proud to lead as your president.


OBAMA: And tonight, despite all the hardship we’ve been through, despite all the frustrations of Washington, I’ve never been more hopeful about our future.


I have never been more hopeful about America. And I ask you to sustain that hope. I’m not talking about blind optimism, the kind of hope that just ignores the enormity of the tasks ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. I’m not talking about the wishful idealism that allows us to just sit on the sidelines or shirk from a fight.

I have always believed that hope is that stubborn thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us so long as we have the courage to keep reaching, to keep working, to keep fighting.


America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth.

Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States.

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Fast facts about South African Sign Language

South African Sign Language (SASL) is a visual-gestural language using the hands, face, torso and space in front of the signer to express meaningful utterances. SASL is recognised in the South African Constitution (1996) as the “twelfth” language of South Africa, after the eleven official languages. Entering into the exciting world of the Deaf through South African Sign Language is an amazing experience, since one learns very soon that signs are not glorified gestures, and one can only marvel at the way in which SASL can be used to express even very abstract concepts.

The Deaf community consists of people who communicate in sign language, and is not restricted to the group of deaf people whose primary language is South African Sign Language. Children of Deaf adults (CODAs) and some hearing people also communicate in sign language (and often work as interpreters). It is wrong to assume that all deaf people communicate in sign language. This situation explains why, by convention, deaf (with a lower-case ‘d’) refers to the population who has a hearing disability whereas Deaf people (with a capital ‘D’) refers to the population who makes use of South African Sign Language and who identifies itself with Deaf culture.

More and more hearing South Africans are learning sign language to improve their relationships with the approximately 1.5 million South Africans who are Deaf or hard of hearing. SASL is the only language in South Africa that is understood by all communities, regardless of whether the signers are from Zulu or Afrikaans or English or Tswana-speaking backgrounds. Some of the signs may be different, but the language structure is the same – and it is a beautiful, expressive language.

Sign languages, however, are not universal – SASL (and other signed languages such as American Sign Language (ASL) and British Sign Language) are not related to the spoken languages used in the community. In fact, American and French Sign Languages are closely related, whereas British Sign Language is pretty different from ASL!  

Learning SASL will expose you to a new cultural and linguistic community whilst at the same time helping you realise the importance of being able to communicate with and understand Deaf and Hard of Hearing people.

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Not really. Forty to sixty percent of English sounds look alike when spoken. Thirty percent of what is said is actually discernable or visible on the lips, and the other seventy percent is guesswork. This sets up the perfect situation for miscommunication and misunderstanding.

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Full 2012 Budget speech by the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan.

Honourable speaker

It is my privilege to introduce the third budget of President Zuma’s administration.

Mister President, you have given us a clear and historic challenge to “write a new story about South Africa – the story of how, working together, we drove back unemployment and reduced economic inequality and poverty.”

This budget has been crafted at a challenging but hopeful time. We have to say to our people that economic uncertainty will be with us for some time, yet we have a programme of economic change that can steadily roll back unemployment, poverty and inequality.

We have demonstrated excellent resilience during the post-2008 crisis. We now need to introduce a new dynamism among all South Africans.

It requires an extraordinary national effort from all role-players, committed not just to identifying the barriers to progress, not just to proposing solutions, but also working together, over the long haul.

Our new story, our period of transition, is about building modern infrastructure, a vibrant economy, a decent quality of life for all, reduced poverty, decent employment opportunities. It is a story that must be written by all of us. Not just by government.

Not just by business. Not just by unions. By all of us, South Africans from all corners of this country.

The legacy of our past is not only that of difficulty and despair. We can draw pride from the celebration of the ANC’s centenary, and build on this past to get things done today. The idea of unity in action, working together to realise practical goals, must be revived. The idea of an active citizenry, drawn into motion by dedicated activists and inspired by a compelling vision of the future, has to be renewed.

Every one of the last hundred years has seen our nation overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable. Some may have been beyond our control, the result of changes to the environment to which we were compelled to adjust. Some were the result of our failure to act, even when the solutions were known to us. Others were the unintended consequences of our own successes.

A towering leader of our movement, Walter Sisulu, wrote from his prison cell on Robben Island, “In a certain sense, the story of our struggle is a story of problems arising and problems being overcome. It is understandable that many of the problems should generate much controversy and emotion. However cool and detached we may strive to be in our analysis, the fact remains that we are deeply involved and interested parties and the solutions we adopt are solutions we ourselves have to implement.”

We will not turn away from our challenges. We must confront them boldly, and with hope. In harnessing all the resources at our disposal, we have to do more, with less; we have to work smarter and harder. South Africans must focus on our strengths and opportunities, to identify and activate the levers of economic and social change at our disposal.

Mister President you have given effect to the wisdom of Walter Sisulu; through the work of the Planning Commission this country now has a 20 year vision, through your initiative we now have a massive infrastructure programme also extending over 20 years, which will increase the growth and job creating potential of our economy.


Overview of the 2012 Budget

We remain steadfast in addressing the challenges of creating jobs, reducing poverty, building infrastructure and expanding our economy.

In brief, Mister Speaker, today’s budget advises the following:

The global environment remains highly uncertain. While there are signs of a revival in the US economy, much of Europe is in recession, and significant financial risks cloud the global economic outlook.

South Africa’s finances are in good health. A budget deficit of 4.6 per cent of GDP is projected in 2012/13. We plan to reduce the deficit to 3 per cent of GDP in 2014/15, and public debt will stabilise at about 38 per cent of GDP.

An expansion in infrastructure investment is one of the central priorities of the 2012 Budget.

Special emphasis is given to improving competitiveness in industry, investment in technology, encouragement of enterprise development and support for agriculture.

Total spending will reach R1.1 trillion next year, representing some 32 per cent of GDP.

Education, health and social assistance will remain the largest categories of expenditure, sustaining and expanding the social wage over the MTEF period ahead. Investment in people is at the centre of our growth and development strategy.

The budget continues to support job creation, with a particular focus on unemployed youth.

The budget provides for personal income tax relief of R9.5 billion, with further measures to increase tax compliance.

Measures are proposed to invigorate household savings.

We will strengthen financial management in the public sector, pursue value for money with the greatest possible vigour and ensure that taxpayers’ money is well used.

Fraud and corruption will be combatted through changes to procurement policies and practices and tough enforcement of the law.

Giving the budget practical effect cannot be a project of government alone. In Setswana, we say “Mabogo dinku a thebana” meaning “we have to work together to achieve more”. Government has supported the recovery from the 2008 recession, but as we expand infrastructure investment over the period ahead we have to see business investing in our future as well. Government has expanded social assistance to households over the past decade, but employment and economic growth have to be the main future drivers of income growth and poverty reduction. Government is responsible for developing effective municipalities and broadening access to services, but business, civil society and organised labour have to be partners in building cohesive communities and promoting social solidarity.

And so Mister Speaker, in tabling the 2012 Budget we have to say: this is what we undertake to do, not just as government, but as a nation. Our development requires every one of us to ask – what can I do for my country, my people, our future!

The global environment

Allow me to reflect briefly, Mister Speaker, on the global environment and the historic shift in economic power that is taking place.

In 2012, global output is projected to expand by 3.3 per cent. Advanced economies are expected to grow 1.2 per cent, while developing Asia will grow by 7.3 per cent during 2012, and Sub Saharan Africa by 5.5 per cent.

Negative growth is forecast for the Euro area, impacting on trade in many other economies.

In the last 5 years, the Chinese economy has expanded by 60 per cent and India by about 45 per cent. Advanced economies barely show positive growth. A recent World Bank study argues that “new growth poles are redefining the global economic structure”. This study predicts that emerging economies will grow on average by 4.7 per cent a year, while advanced economies will grow by about 2.3 per cent between 2011 and 2025.

The speed of transformation is unprecedented and places emerging economies at the centre of the global economy. Emerging market multinationals are playing an ever increasing role in reshaping global industry, including marked increases in South-South investment and foreign direct investment.

The evolving world we face presents us with both challenges and opportunities.

Financial commentator Martin Wolf recently wrote: “Shaping this new world into a cooperative and flourishing order is going to prove extraordinarily challenging. History suggests that such times of transition, however inevitable and however just, are fraught with conflict and instability. Today, the western dominance of at least two centuries is under severe challenge. This period of transition is unlikely to be any less fraught than those that preceded it.”

To succeed in this environment, we have to seize the opportunities presented by this changing world.

As a major mining economy, we should be benefiting more from the continued buoyancy in commodity markets internationally. We also need to take advantage of rising demand for agricultural and manufacturing goods. Some 85 million manufacturing jobs in China will shift to other countries over the years ahead. Do we have the right policies, conditions and boldness to enable South African businesses to gain from these immense shifts in the patterns of production and trade?

There are expanding opportunities on our own continent. Africa is the second fastest growing region in the world. This growth is sustained by high commodity prices, but also reflects a youthful, increasingly educated population, rapid urbanisation and a new entrepreneurial spirit. Ten years ago there were fewer than 10 million internet users on the continent. Today they number almost 100 million.

As well as developing South African business interest in the continent, we should use the strength and sophistication of our financial system to turn our country into a true gateway for investment into, and development of, Africa.

Both the National Development Plan and the New Growth Path recognise that to compete in the global economy requires flexibility, innovation and leadership, in government and the private sector. We have to build a more adaptable economy. This requires more effective and dynamic partnership between government, the private sector and civil society.

At the same time, the crisis and its aftermath have revealed intractable problems in the old system. Growing inequalities in income and wealth have undermined economic growth and social well-being. The difficult task of moderating and reversing inequality requires active government intervention. Unregulated capitalism is clearly in crisis.

Economic outlook

In building partnerships that will take us through this crisis, Mister Speaker, we have to implement a strategy for faster and more inclusive economic growth. We are not doing well enough in growing our economy and creating jobs for our young people.

The South African economy has averaged about 3 per cent growth a year since 2009. Against the background of the slowdown in the global economy, real GDP growth is likely to fall to about 2.7 per cent in 2012.

We expect a recovery to 3.6 per cent and 4.2 per cent growth in 2013 and 2014, but these are modest rates of expansion relative to the social and developmental challenges we face and the opportunities that our mineral wealth and human capabilities offer.

On present trends, the deficit on the current account of the balance of payments will widen from 3.3 per cent in 2011 to 4.4 per cent GDP in 2014.

There was a welcome recovery in job creation during 2011, but employment has not yet returned to its 2008 peak and the unemployment rate remains high at 23.9 per cent.

Vision for the economy in 2030

Mister President through your leadership we are able to say to South Africa and the world that we have a vision for our country and our economy – where we want to get to in the next 20 years.

Our New Growth Path recognises that special employment initiatives have to be a priority in our present circumstances, while in the longer term growth in agriculture and manufacturing, and investment in a knowledge-based economy must be prioritised.

The draft National Development Plan identifies several key objectives:

Lowering costs for both households and business

Increasing public infrastructure spending

Growing our manufacturing and agricultural sectors

Raising mining output

Improving the functioning of the labour market, particularly to help young people access work; and

Raising competitiveness and exports.

In each of these areas there are steps proposed over the three-year period ahead.

Our development strategy requires a capable state, and active citizens. We need parents to work with the state to deliver quality education, community leaders that will help protect neighbourhoods; business leaders and trade unions to grow the economy; investors to create jobs. In isiZulu, “Uzothola kanjani hleli ekhoneni” meaning how far will you get if you are sitting in your corner.

The levers of economic change

Mister Speaker, if we are to succeed in putting our economy on a more rapid and inclusive growth path to 2030, we need to effectively direct and manage the levers of change – levers that activate both public and private sector energies and capabilities.

These include:

Our public-sector infrastructure programme

Support for industrial development and special economic zones

Investment in science and technology

Support for emerging farmers and land reform beneficiaries

Expansion of employment programmes

Improvements in further education and skills development.

The fiscal framework

A sustainable fiscal framework, based on the principles of counter-cyclicality, debt sustainability and intergenerational equity underpins our growth strategy.

Mister Speaker, we can be proud of the collective wisdom and will of our government in making the tough decisions that have kept our fiscus on a sustainable track.

Reprioritisation, savings, haircuts – these have been executed with singular determination.

The consolidated resources available to the state over the MTEF period amount to some R4.5 trillion, taking into account the investment plans of state enterprises and development finance institutions. Key features of the budget framework include:

Real growth in non-interest expenditure averaging 2.6 per cent over the medium term, bringing spending in line with long-term revenue trends.

Additional allocations of R55.9 billion over the next three years, including R9.5 billion for an economic support package.

Tax revenue stabilising at about one-quarter of GDP.

A reduction in the budget deficit from 4.8 per cent in 2011/12 to 3 per cent in 2014/15.

A public-sector borrowing requirement of 7.1 per cent of GDP in 2011/12, declining to 5 per cent in 2014/15 before rapidly rising again as the infrastructure programme of government accelerates.

By phasing in our fiscal consolidation over the medium term, we avoid the social and economic dislocation associated with more rapid adjustments, while still stabilising the fiscal position without burdening the economy and future generations with excessive debt.

Funding of infrastructure

The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission has made considerable progress in identifying projects and clarifying long-term investment plans to drive economic change.

The Budget Review lists 43 major infrastructure projects, adding up to R3.2 trillion in expenditure. Over the MTEF period ahead, approved and budgeted infrastructure plans amount to R845 billion, of which just under R300 billion is in the energy sector and R262 billion in transport and logistics projects.

These projects are funded in various ways:

The fiscus meets the costs of public-service facilities such as schools and courtrooms, hospitals and rural roads.

Public entities such as Eskom and Transnet finance their investments from internally generated surpluses and borrowing from the capital market. This means they have to generate sufficient revenue from tariffs and charges to repay debt over time, and cover operating and maintenance costs.

In some cases, a mix of tax finance and cost recovery is appropriate – we make budget contributions to the costs of commuter transport services and electricity and water service delivery to low-income communities, for example.

Private sector investment plays a substantial role in several sectors. Access to telecommunications services is financed by private operators, and our airlines industry has several private sector players. The first round of over 1 200MW of renewable energy projects was recently successfully tendered to independent power producers. Private sector capacity can also be through construction and operating concessions, for example in the management of industrial development zones, freight logistics and ports operations.

The Development Bank of Southern Africa will play a coordinating role in raising finance, in partnership with multilateral finance institutions, foreign investors and other investment funds. The Industrial Development Corporation similarly invests directly in income-generating projects, in partnership with other investors.

South Africa has deep and liquid capital markets, through which long-term capital can be raised at competitive rates by government, state enterprises and the private sector.

Our development finance institutions are capable of raising capital and co-financing investments of the private sector, state entities and municipalities. These are considerable strengths – they mean that we do not have to rely on expensive external finance or complex structured arrangements.

But the key consideration, Mister Speaker, is the impact and economic viability of our infrastructure investments. The PICC will ensure expert project assessment, subject to appropriate standards of review and public accountability – a critical requirement before investment decisions are taken.

No good project will be short of funding.

Infrastructure implementation

We are aware of several weaknesses in the state’s infrastructure capacity. In the past, spending has lagged behind plans. Our estimate is that in 2010/11, R178 billion was spent out of a planned R260 billion, or just 68 per cent. We have to do better than that – state enterprises, municipalities and government departments all need to improve their planning and management of capital projects.

In addition to long delays, we have often experienced significant cost over-runs in infrastructure projects. So we shall step up the quality of planning, costing and project management, so that infrastructure is delivered on time, and on budget.

This means that government departments and municipalities that do not spend, under-spend or misspend their allocated funding, will be at risk of losing the allocations. The relevant officials will also be held liable for such misdemeanours. National Treasury will be pro-actively monitoring the spending of grants to ensure value for money, adherence to Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) targets and implementation of operational and maintenance programmes.

Several measures are in place to improve infrastructure project implementation and build management capacity.

Within state-owned entities, development finance institutions and the private sector, considerable capacity is already mobilized in project planning and management.

The Infrastructure Development Improvement Programme assists national and provincial departments, focused largely on education and health projects and support for provincial public works departments. The Construction Industry Development Board has played a key role in developing standards and procedures for government tenders.

A new Cities Support Programme will get under way this year, initially in eight metropolitan authorities, focused on improved spatial planning, public transport systems and management of infrastructure utilities.

The Municipal Infrastructure Support Agency will be established by Minister Baloyi this year, focused on rural municipalities that lack planning capacity.

Technical assistance to municipalities is also provided through the neighbourhood development programme, which supports over 220 projects aimed at catalysing business investment in township partnership projects.

The infrastructure skills development grant supported 150 graduate interns in engineering and spatial planning in 2011/12, and will be extended to a further 43 municipalities over the period ahead.

Special attention will be given to the procurement processes for major infrastructure projects, to ensure both value for money and development of local suppliers and support industries.

Training and mentorship programmes have a critical role to play in addressing capacity constraints of departments and municipalities. But professionalism, hard work and commitment to value for money are preconditions for successful project delivery.

There can be no compromise on the basic principles of sound financial management in ensuring that resources are mobilised efficiently to serve our people.

A capable state focussed on delivery requires a passionate and patriotic public service – without those few individuals whose only desire is to profit from the state.

Revenue estimates and tax proposals

I turn now, Mister Speaker, to the revenue estimates and tax proposals. The underlying principles are that the tax system should be fair, efficient, transparent certain – and, where possible, uncomplicated.

Tax revenue recovered during 2010/11 and 2011/12, following a decline in 2009/10 during the global recession. Although tax revenue is slightly lower than our estimate in February last year, the revised estimate for 2011/12 of R739 billion is R10 billion higher than projected in last year’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement.

This year’s tax proposals are as follows.

Personal income tax relief

Personal income tax relief of R9.5 billion is proposed, which takes account of inflation and provides modest real tax relief.

Tax treatment of medical expenses

As from 1 March 2012 the tax credit for contributions to medical schemes will be introduced, at a rate of R230 a month for the first two beneficiaries and R154 each for additional beneficiaries. Taxpayers 65 years and older and people with disabilities will be included in the second phase of this reform, which will be implemented in 2014.

These reforms will significantly improve the fairness of the personal income tax system.

Retirement funding and savings

Reform of the tax treatment of contributions to retirement funds is also envisaged, to take effect in 2014.

To encourage voluntary savings, consideration is being given to the introduction of tax-exempt short and medium-term savings products. The proposal is that individuals should be permitted to save up to R30 000 a year, with a lifetime limit of R500 000, in registered savings or investment products that would be free of tax on interest, dividends or capital gains. The current tax free interest income thresholds will be reviewed and possibly phased out as part of this reform.

Full details of the proposals are in the Budget Review.

Dividends tax

The secondary tax on companies will be terminated on 31 March 2012 and a withholding tax on dividends will be implemented on 1 April 2012. This will align South Africa’s tax treatment of dividends with that in most other countries. Pension funds will benefit from this transition as they will receive dividends tax free. The dividend tax will be introduced at 15 per cent.

Capital gains tax

The introduction of capital gains tax in October 2001 was an important step in broadening the tax base.

In order to reduce the scope for tax arbitrage and broaden the tax base further, the CGT inclusion rate for individuals and special trusts will be increased with effect from 1 March 2012 from 25 to 33.3 per cent, and for companies and other trusts from 50 to 66.6 per cent. To mitigate the impact on middle-income earners, the various exclusion thresholds are increased.

Relief for small businesses

Mister Speaker, I am pleased to advise that there will be further tax relief for small businesses and micro-enterprises.

The tax-free threshold for small business corporations is increased to R63 556, the 10 per cent rate is reduced to 7 per cent and the threshold up to which this rate applies is increased to R350 000. For taxable income above R350 000, the normal 28 per cent corporate rate applies.

With effect from next month, qualifying micro-businesses (within the R1 million turnover limit) will be able to pay turnover tax, VAT and employees’ tax twice a year. This means that the number of returns and payments a year will be reduced from about 18 to just two.

Corporate tax measures

Several measures are set out in the Budget Review to improve the corporate tax environment, Mister Speaker:

Further steps will be taken to limit excessive debt financing

Amendments to the mark-to-market taxation of foreign currency and other financial instruments will be phased-in

The governance and tax treatment of property loan stock entities will be aligned with the present treatment of regulated property unit trusts

Tax relief is proposed for housing developers and employers who provide housing below R300 000 a unit.

Special economic zones

The Minister of Trade and Industry has published draft legislation to provide for the creation of special economic zones. Tax relief is under consideration for businesses that invest in these zones, including a reduction in the corporate income tax rate and support for employment and training expenses.

Carbon tax

A revised policy paper on a carbon tax will be published this year for a second round of public comment and consultation. As set out in the Climate Change Response White Paper approved by Cabinet in 2011, the need to price carbon emissions and the phasing in of a tax instrument for this purpose are accepted.

Electricity levy

The levy on electricity generated from non-renewable sources will increase by 1c/kWh as from 1 July 2012 and will replace the current funding mechanism for energy-efficiency initiatives such as the solar water geyser programme. There should be little overall impact on electricity tariffs.

Fuel levies

The general fuel levy on petrol and diesel will be increased by 20c with effect from 4 April 2012, and the Road Accident Fund will increase by 8c to 88c/l.

Square Kilometre Array

Members of the House will know that under the guidance of the Minister of Science and Technology, South Africa is bidding to host the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), an international collaboration to build the world’s largest radio telescope. I am happy to confirm that the project will qualify for VAT relief, which will surely give Minister Pandor the winning edge in this contest.

Tax on gambling

Following the 2011 Budget proposal on gambling, it is proposed that a national tax based on gross gambling revenue should be introduced effective from 1 April 2013, as an additional 1 per cent levy on a uniform provincial gambling tax base. A similar base will be used to tax the national lottery.

Excise duties on tobacco and alcohol products

Dhiveshan Naicker has offered the following tip, Mister Speaker: “Raise the tax on alcohol and cigarettes so that people will stop drinking and smoking too much”. This is good advice. The increases in duties on tobacco products will be between 5 and 8 per cent this year.

In respect of beer and spirits, an increased benchmark tax burden is proposed, to be phased in over two years. The excise on spirits will increase by 20 per cent to R36 for a 750 ml bottle this year, the tax on beer goes up by 10 per cent to R1.01 for a 340 ml can and wine will contribute 8 per cent more to the fiscus.

Tax on financial transactions

South Africa has a financial transaction tax on securities transfers, at a rate of 0.25 per cent. It is proposed that the current exemption for brokers should be abolished. Transactions for the broker’s benefit will be taxed at a lower rate. The inclusion of financial derivatives in the base of the securities transfer tax is also under consideration.

Ad valorem excises

With effect from October this year, an ad valorem excise duty at a rate of 7 per cent will apply to small aeroplanes and helicopters with a mass below 5 000 kg. A duty of 10 per cent will apply to motorboats and sailboats longer than 10 metres.

Tax administration

Mister Speaker, whereas several nations around the world are confronting severe austerity measures and significantly higher taxes, we are able to propose tax relief of R2.3 billion overall, in part because of the strength of our tax policy and administration, and in part because millions of South Africans pay their taxes and duties in full and on time.

The recent Voluntary Disclosure Programme has attracted approximately 18 000 applications, and has yielded almost R1 billion in additional tax so far. It has also provided useful insights into areas of non-compliance that will receive focused attention, including:

Under-declaration of income such as rental and foreign income and capital gains

Claiming of excessive income deductions

Under-declaration of VAT outputs and inflating of VAT inputs

Abuse of share incentive schemes by corporate executives

Abuse of benefits granted to foreign persons employed in South Africa

Non-payment of PAYE and failure to submit PAYE returns by employers.

Poor tax compliance is also apparent in respect of trusts and in parts of the construction sector, and the role of tax practitioners and other intermediaries will come under scrutiny. Analysis of compliance among the country’s 34 000 tax advisors shows practitioners owe over R260 million in outstanding taxes and have more than 18 000 income tax returns outstanding in their personal capacity. If that is their attitude to their own tax compliance, one shudders to think what advice they are giving to their clients!

Within the trade environment, customs officials will continue to focus attention on under-valuation of imports, especially in textiles, using a reference price database which industry is helping to update. During the current financial year, SARS has already confiscated 3.4 million articles of clothing and footwear valued at almost R580 million.

In addition SARS has seized drugs worth R139 million and 683 million sticks of cigarettes valued at R180 million. Since April over 230 taxpayers have been successfully prosecuted for a range of tax-related offences resulting in sentences totalling 370 years and nearly R5 million in fines. A further 1 500 tax-related cases are awaiting prosecution with the National Prosecution Authority.

Since 1 April 2011 SARS has issued over 700 000 taxpayers with administrative penalties for failing to submit an income tax return on time as required. These and other measures have helped increase the proportion of on-time submission. SARS received almost 5 million returns during the most recent tax season – a 23 per cent increase over the year before.

The Tax Administration Bill has been approved by Parliament. It incorporates the common administrative elements of current tax law into one piece of legislation, and makes further improvements in this area. The bill is expected to be promulgated and most of its provisions brought into force in 2012.

During 2012, South Africa will establish a dedicated ombud for tax matters. The office is intended to provide taxpayers with a low-cost mechanism to address administrative difficulties that cannot be resolved by SARS.

Nedlac consultation

Mister Speaker, in preparing for the budget, various consultations occur (including a wide range of tips from the public). This year, a pre-budget consultation was held with the Nedlac constituencies. Issues raised included:

The need to shift expenditure towards investment, rather than consumption activities

Sustainability of increases in the public-sector wage bill

Rapid increases in administered prices

Reinforcing taxes on luxury goods and more effective taxation of the super-rich

Budgetary support for rural development and more effective strategies for eliminating poverty

Financial transactions tax

Improving financial management

Support for the community works programme

Responding to rising food prices.

Many of these recommendations find resonance in the contents of the budget and our spending proposals.

Medium-term expenditure proposals

In our spending recommendations, Mister Speaker, we have taken advice from Amanda Mzulwini. “I think that you should spend money on things that matter, like improving healthcare, building more schools in the rural areas and building clinics”.

Job creation

Job creation is a central priority of government. An additional R4.8 billion over the 2012 MTEF period is provided for the expanded public works programme, bringing its allocations to a total of R77.8 billion.

The community work programme receives an additional R3.5 billion, which gives it a total of R6.2 billion, enabling the number of people employed to increase to 332 000 in 2014/15 from 90 000 in March 2011. We will continue to increase allocations to this programme over time.

Working for Water and Working on Fire receive an additional R1.1 billion (a total of R7.7 billion) providing for a total of 135 000 jobs over the medium term.

The non-state sector programme receives an additional R345 million (a total of R1.1 billion).

The National Rural Youth Service Corps receives an additional R200 million (a total of R900 million) over the next three years

R300 million is added to the arts and culture sector for job creation.


Spending on education will grow from R207 billion in 2012/13 to R236 billion in 2014/15. Additional allocations of R18.8 billion over the medium term are accommodated, including equalisation of learner subsidies for no-fee schools and expanded access to grade R. An amount of R235 million is added to the baseline of the national department over the three-year spending period to extend the national assessments system. An additional R850 million is allocated to improve university infrastructure, including student accommodation facilities.

Health and social protection

Medium-term priorities in health spending include hospital infrastructure, the comprehensive HIV and Aids treatment and prevention programme, and expanding health professional training. Progress in these areas will strengthen the public health system, paving the way for the introduction of national health insurance.

The health sector is allocated an additional R12.3 billion over the next three years. R1 billion is allocated for national health insurance pilot projects and increasing primary health care visits. To improve health infrastructure, R450 million has been provided to upgrade about 30 nursing colleges. A further R426 million is allocated for the initial work on rebuilding five major tertiary hospitals. To accommodate provision of antiretroviral treatment at the CD4 threshold of 350, an additional R968 million is made available over the medium term.

Social welfare priorities include early childhood development programmes and the Isibindi childcare and protection programme. These are initiatives which have strong community-based employment benefits, and they are allocated an additional R1.4 billion over the MTEF.

Expenditure on social grants will grow from R105 billion in 2012/13 to R122 billion in 2014/15. At present, nearly 16 million South Africans receive social grants. With effect from April:

The monthly state old age pension and the disability and care dependency grants will rise by R60 a month to R1 200, or R1 220 for pensioners over the age of 75,

Foster care grants will increase by R30 to R770,

The child support grant will increase to R280.

We are mindful that these increases may need to be reassessed if inflation continues to rise.

Transport, Energy and Communication

The budget for transport, energy and communication services increases from R84 billion in 2012/13 to R98 billion in 2014/15, rising by an annual average of 8.4 per cent. A devolution of public transport services to metropolitan municipalities will be phased in over the period ahead, allowing for better integrated public transport networks including rail and bus rapid transit systems.

An additional R4 billion is allocated to the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa to begin purchasing new coaches. The agency also receives R1 billion to build three depots and upgrade signalling in Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal and the Western Cape.

Sentech will receive funding over the MTEF period for the dual illumination of analogue and digital television, and for digital broadcasting infrastructure.

In energy, the focus is on demand-side management to address the impact of limited supply until new generation capacity comes online. An additional R4.7 billion is allocated to complete the installation of one million solar water geysers. R600 million goes to municipalities to install low-energy lighting and equipment. R300 million is rovided for the electrification of informal settlements.

Human settlements and community amenities

Investment in municipal infrastructure and human settlements will grow from R120 billion in 2012/13 to R139 billion in 2014/15. Additional allocations of R9.9 billion over the medium term are proposed, including informal settlement upgrading, a wastewater treatment plant in Sedibeng, bulk water systems in Sekhukhune and water systems in the OR Tambo district.

Financial support for housing development is expanded over the period ahead, additional funding is allocated for the finance-linked individual subsidy programme, and further capitalisation of our housing finance institutions is proposed. A mortgage support facility is under consideration.

Economic services and environmental protection

Additional allocations of R15.8 billion are provided over the MTEF period for economic services and environmental protection.

The Department of Trade and Industry receives the bulk of this funding – R5.8 billion for the manufacturing competitiveness enhancement programme and R2.3 billion for industrial development and special economic zones.

Additional funds go to SANParks for tourism infrastructure, and to the National Metrology Institute for equipment.

An additional R1.9 billion goes to the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to improve agricultural support services. The Land Bank receives R1 billion to conclude its recapitalisation. R150 million is made available for provincial and municipal agricultural colleges. The Department of Rural Development and Land Reform has prioritised the settlement of 4 000 restitution claims over the MTEF period.

Science and technology

Total expenditure on science and technology increases over the MTEF period to R12.1 billion in 2014/15. Additional funding is proposed for the Agricultural Research Council for vaccines research and support for extension services, and for science council initiatives in support of industry and mining development.

General public services

The Department of Home Affairs receives additional funding for an integrated information technology system and upgrading border post infrastructure and housing.

An amount of R350 million is earmarked for transfer to Alexkor for the finalisation of obligations to the Richtersveld Community joint venture.

Defence, public order and safety

Spending on defence, public order and safety has increased by 9.7 per cent a year from 2008/09 to 2011/12, and will grow from R140 billion in 2012/13 to R158 billion in 2014/15. The sector receives additional funding of R7.6 billion over the MTEF period

to cater mainly for improved conditions of service, additional personnel and infrastructure.

Additional funding of R300 million is allocated for court infrastructure, including new high courts in Polokwane and Nelspruit. The Office of the Public Protector and the Independent Police Investigative Directorate are allocated additional funds to expand capacity. Funds are provided to the defence force to increase personnel deployment for border protection. The budget includes R700 million in 2012/13 to recapitalise Denel Aerostructures.

National health insurance

National health insurance is to be phased in over a 14-year period beginning in 2012/13. The new system will provide equitable health coverage for all South Africans. Over time, the new system will require funding over and above current budget allocations to public health. Funding options include an increase in the VAT rate, a payroll tax on employers, a surcharge on the taxable income of individuals, or some combination of the above. Alongside options for increased tax revenue, the role of user charges is also being investigated.

It is expected that an additional revenue source will be needed in 2014/15 amounting to about R6 billion in that year, which is not currently provided for in the MTEF.

Achieving an appropriate balance in the funding of national health insurance is necessary to ensure that the tax structure remains supportive of economic growth, job creation and savings. A discussion paper will be published by end-April 2012.

Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme

Mister Speaker, I am mindful that the introduction of tolling to finance the Gauteng Freeway Improvement Programme has caused considerable public reaction. We have listened carefully to the various suggestions and appreciate the difficulties that might be faced.

The total debt associated with the project is R20 billion. In order to contribute to a further reduction in the toll burden, a special appropriation of R5.8 billion is now proposed, to be included in 2011/12 expenditure. This will reduce the debt to be repaid through the toll system, and will make a steeper discount possible for regular road users.

It is important to remember that road-user charges also serve an important demand management function on roads that are heavily congested. Users benefit through lower vehicle operating costs, time savings and improved safety. In addition, improved maintenance of regional and provincial roads is made possible by the additional revenue that our toll roads generate.

Going forward, government will carefully evaluate future road infrastructure funding. In addition, the further development of efficient and cost-effective public transport systems will receive the urgent attention of the Department of Transport.

Financial management and combating fraud and corruption

Following on the announcements made previously to introduce measures to improve financial management and help combat corruption, I can report that there has been progress on several fronts.

The National Treasury has already issued new regulations which require departments to submit annual tender programmes, limit variations to orders, and require disclosures of all directives.

Significant progress is being made in identifying and dealing with those who have abused the system and whose activities fall within the category of priority crimes. The JCPS made an announcement on priority crimes and corruption statistics earlier this week. I want to thank Ministers Mthetwa and Radebe for the cooperation of departments and agencies under their control. Our joint multi-disciplinary approach to investigations is bearing fruit.

I also want to express support for the Cosatu initiative, CorruptionWatch. We call on ordinary South Africans not to sit back and accept bribery when you come across it, whether in the public or the private sector. Contact the hotlines in government departments. Contact CorruptionWatch. Don’t accept bribery. Don’t become part of corruption.

There are further steps National Treasury will soon take to improve our procurement capability.

We will strengthen fragmentation in the system and strengthen the national procurement architecture.

National Treasury will appoint a Chief Procurement Officer who will have overall responsibility for monitoring procurement across government.

We will review the competencies and capabilities required to perform the procurement function and as said by the President, there will be strict vetting of all the procurement officers to be appointed.

National Treasury plans to develop a national price reference system, to detect deviations from acceptable prices.

The tax clearance system will be strengthened to ensure that those who have defrauded the state cannot do business with the state.

The Minister of Public Works and I have agreed to undertake a joint review of the validity and cost effectiveness of all government property leases.

Steps will also be taken to improve the ability of departments to set the specifications for tenders.

Provincial interventions

During the past year, Mister Speaker, it has been necessary to take steps to address financial management weaknesses that have undermined service delivery and put financial sustainability at risk in several provinces.

The interventions in all three provinces are underway. The cash crises have been averted, I hope. We shall continue to work hard at building institutions and systems where weaknesses have been identified. We must do this in order to restore the trust of our people in our capacity to govern.

There are several lessons of general application from these interventions. We need stronger rules, as government, to ensure that legitimate creditors are paid within the legally prescribed 30 day period. We need better procedures to ensure that staff appointments are not made without the necessary budget allocations, and we need to reduce administrative staff in favour of frontline teaching, nursing and service delivery personnel. We need to improve financial management capability across national and provincial departments. We need stricter oversight of supply chain management processes.

I wish to acknowledge the efforts of Cabinet colleagues who are addressing these challenges in their respective areas of responsibility, in collaboration with provincial MECs. They will report further on progress in their respective budget votes.

Financial sector development

Mister Speaker, I am pleased to report that progress is being made on several financial sector reforms.

There is now agreement between stakeholders on enhanced targets for empowerment financing and access to financial services. A revised financial sector charter code will be gazetted shortly for public comment by the Minister of Trade and Industry.

More appropriate and balanced capital adequacy and liquidity standards are being phased in for banks, and similar reforms are planned for the insurance sector.

As announced last year, we intend to shift towards a twin peaks system for financial regulation, where we separate prudential from market conduct supervision of the financial sector. Consultations will continue this year, with a view to tabling legislation in early 2013.

Proposals will be published for simplifying and modernising procedures for cross-border investments in and out of South Africa. After taking public comments, treasury recognizes that some of the barriers identified also apply to domestic investors; we intend to consult further to explore how we can lower costs and barriers to all investment in South Africa.

A series of discussion papers will be released this year on promoting household savings and reforming the retirement industry. Consultation with the industry, employers and trade unions will take place on these reforms.

Among the issues are improved governance over pension funds, including more effective interventions to eliminate corruption and fraud and ways to improve preservation of retirement fund assets to ensure higher levels of income in retirement.

Fees for many products in the financial sector remain too high. High costs in savings products undermine the national objective of getting our people to save more. The financial industry must take more urgent steps to reduce costs and introduce more appropriate and transparent saving and investment products, including annuities.

There is also much to be done to improve market conduct practices in the financial sector. The “treating customers fairly” initiative will be accelerated to protect customers more vigorously.

Our financial institutions should also recognize the important role of women in our economy. This progress needs to be more transparently reported.

We must all invest in our future. Vele hande maak ligte werk.

Support for business sector growth

Allow me to return briefly, Mister Speaker, to the central policy challenges we face – growth of our economy, more rapid job creation and reducing poverty.

Initiatives in progress to strengthen support for business sector growth include the following:

Small enterprise financing has been consolidated is a new subsidiary in the Industrial Development Corporation. In October 2011, a Procurement Accord was signed with business and labour. Government procurement rules include incentives for both black economic empowerment and designated local supply sectors.

The tax regime for small businesses has been simplified.

A new competitiveness enhancement programme has been initiated as part of the industrial policy action plan, building on existing production incentives in the automotive and clothing and textile sectors. A support programme is being developed in the capital goods sector, leveraging large state procurement programmes.

The National Tooling Initiative is under way, in support of accelerated apprentice training.

A draft policy framework and legislation have been published for special economic zones.

Technology investment is supported both through partnerships between science councils and industry and through R&D tax incentives.

A venture capital incentive is available for junior mining companies. Recognising that assistance to the private sector goes beyond the provision of incentives, government is looking at wider interventions to lower the cost of doing business. Improvements are being made to economic infrastructure such as ports, roads and electricity generation to cater for the needs of business. In addition, operational efficiency in ports and rail has been prioritised. There is a review of the regulatory regime and its effect on businesses in a number of sectors, as well as interventions in some institutions to speed up the issuing of licences and to improve transparency in government processes. Various strategies are also in place to deal directly with sector-specific issues.

Given the current global economic context, there is understandable caution in the business sector about investment and future growth prospects. Many firms have accumulated large cash balances instead of investing them or distributing to shareholders. The time has come to confront uncertainty – from government’s side, we are committed to an environment that will encourage business investment; from the side of business, we seek investment for the long term, enhanced competitiveness and training commitments.

Support for job creation

In respect of job creation, a wide range of government programmes and policies have come under scrutiny over the past year. Expansion of further education and skills development is a key long-term priority, alongside improving the quality of basic education and broadening access to adult education programmes.

At this time last year, funding was allocated to a new Jobs Fund, aimed at supporting innovative public or private sector projects with potential to create sustainable job opportunities. The Fund began operating in June, and received over 2 500 applications in its first call for proposals. Project allocations of over R1 billion have been committed, and a second round of project applications will be announced shortly.

We released a discussion paper proposing a youth employment incentive last year. It is under discussion at Nedlac, where the labour constituency has expressed reservations. In our view these concerns can be addressed in the design and implementation of the incentive. We would all like to see greater urgency in resolving this matter.

There are many ways in which job creation for young people might be accelerated. Last year I asked the Nedbank/Old Mutual budget speech competition winners to participate in a second mini-contest, on the question how we might reduce youth unemployment. Several great ideas emerged. Salma Kagee argued that students should be offered practical internships as part of their curriculum, to narrow the gap between education and the work place. Mpho Mashishi suggested using communities to arrest youth unemployment by revitalising townships through gyms, sporting teams and leagues, tutoring projects and clean-up operations. Ian Mrozek offered an interesting variation on the idea of a youth subsidy – he proposes that it should go to new business start-ups as a tax incentive, which would encourage entrepreneurs and business innovation.

It is right that we should look for many ways of supporting enterprise development, in many different settings and circumstances – in urban and rural areas, in agriculture, manufacturing and service sectors. We have to move beyond debate, and find the policy levers that will make a difference to the pace and dynamics of job creation across the whole of our economy.

Addressing poverty and inequality

Reducing unemployment is the centrepiece of our approach to reducing poverty, Mister Speaker, but it is not the only measure.

Social spending comprises 58 per cent of government expenditure next year, up from 49 per cent a decade ago. The budget provides social grants to almost a third of the population, it pays for largely free services at public health facilities and no-fee schools for 60 per cent of learners, and it pays for housing, water and electricity in poor communities. The average value of the “social wage” for a family of four in 2012/13 is about R3 940 a month. This represents a substantial investment in household living conditions, financed through a broadly progressive tax structure.

Social security reform and the phasing in of national health insurance will improve the effectiveness and coherence of redistribution through the fiscus. But of course, redistribution is not a substitute for economic growth and job creation. And so the quality of the poverty reduction we achieve over the decades ahead will depend on our success in broadening development to include historically disadvantaged sectors and communities, as envisaged in our New Growth Path and draft Development Plan.


Mister President, we have a budget that gives effect to the challenges you have set us – to accelerate growth, expand investment, support economic development and confront poverty and inequality.

My profound appreciation goes to President Zuma and Deputy President Motlanthe for their support and wise counsel in finalising the Budget and throughout the year.

I thank Cabinet colleagues for their backing, even when further haircuts have been proposed. The Budget is our collective statement, and it has benefited from many constructive contributions.

Members of the Ministers’ Committee on the Budget have engaged with the policy choices that had to be made with vigour and wisdom. This has been a great team effort.

Deputy Minister Nene has taken on an expanded set of responsibilities over the past year, and is an indefatigable Deputy!

I am grateful for the efforts and support of the MECs for Finance, who oversee over 40 per cent of our spending. They know they have much to do!

Our thanks also go to:

Governor Gill Marcus and the Deputy Governors of the South African Reserve Bank, for steadily managing the mandate of the Bank.

Commissioner Oupa Magashula and the staff of the South African Revenue Service, for the excellent work they continue to do to sustain our fiscal sovereignty.

Jabu Moleketi, chair of the DBSA, and CEO Paul Baloyi, who have a major contribution to make to the infrastructure programme.

The Financial and Fiscal Commission and its acting chair Bongani Khumalo, for their useful advice.

The leadership of the Public Investment Corporation, the Land Bank, the Financial Services Board, the Financial Intelligence Centre and the Government Pension Administration Agency.

NEDLAC, its Managing Director, Alistair Smith, and representatives of the business, labour and community constituencies on the Public Finance and Monetary Chamber.

The Honourable Thaba Mufamadi and Charel de Beer who chair the Standing and Select Committees on Finance respectively, and the chairs of the Appropriations committees, the Honourable Elliot Sogoni and Tebogo Chaane, who continue to maintain rigorous oversight and encourage very constructive public participation.

Our new Director-General Lungisa Fuzile, of Mnqanduli who has provided refreshing and frank leadership during his first budget!

The National Treasury team, whose hard work makes the high standards of our budget documentation remain our pride.

Staff of the Ministry who work absurd hours with unfailing good cheer. Allow me also to thank my family, whose support is invaluable!

My sincere appreciation also goes to the many South Africans who provide the encouragement, criticism and ideas that keep us alert, and assist in making government work better and differently!

In former President Mandela’s words, “The future of our country is in your hands. It will be what you make of it today. In the competitive international market place to which we are opening our economy, success and even survival of the nation will depend on you”

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