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

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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.
 
Compatriots,
 
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.
 
Compatriots,
 
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.
 
Compatriots,
 
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.
 
Compatriots,
 
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.
 
Compatriots,
 
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,
 
Compatriots,
 
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 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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President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma appoints commission of inquiry into the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages

President Jacob Zuma has decided, in terms of section 84 (2) (f) of the Constitution, to appoint a commission of inquiry to investigate allegations of wrongdoing in the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages, generally known as the “arms deal”.

In 2009, legal proceedings were instituted in the Western Cape High Court asking the Court to direct the President to appoint an independent judicial commission of inquiry into allegations of wrongdoing or to require him to reconsider his refusal to do so.  It later transpired that the Western Cape High Court was the wrong forum to hear the matter. An application was then brought in the Constitutional Court. The matter is set down for hearing on 17 November 2011.

President Zuma assumed office when the matter was already pending in the courts of law. He had previously taken a view that since the matter was the subject of litigation in a court of law, he should allow the legal process to take its course.

However, he has since taken into account the various developments around this matter and also the fact that closure on this subject will be in the public interest.

The President will soon announce the terms of reference and the composition of the commission including the time frames.

The President has requested the Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development to take the necessary steps to implement this decision.

Issued by: The Presidency
Pretoria

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‘You’ve got to find what you love,’ Jobs says

This is a prepared text of the Commencement address delivered by Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, on June 12, 2005.

I am honored to be with you today at your commencement from one of the finest universities in the world. I never graduated from college. Truth be told, this is the closest I’ve ever gotten to a college graduation. Today I want to tell you three stories from my life. That’s it. No big deal. Just three stories.

The first story is about connecting the dots.

I dropped out of Reed College after the first 6 months, but then stayed around as a drop-in for another 18 months or so before I really quit. So why did I drop out?

It started before I was born. My biological mother was a young, unwed college graduate student, and she decided to put me up for adoption. She felt very strongly that I should be adopted by college graduates, so everything was all set for me to be adopted at birth by a lawyer and his wife. Except that when I popped out they decided at the last minute that they really wanted a girl. So my parents, who were on a waiting list, got a call in the middle of the night asking: “We have an unexpected baby boy; do you want him?” They said: “Of course.” My biological mother later found out that my mother had never graduated from college and that my father had never graduated from high school. She refused to sign the final adoption papers. She only relented a few months later when my parents promised that I would someday go to college.

And 17 years later I did go to college. But I naively chose a college that was almost as expensive as Stanford, and all of my working-class parents’ savings were being spent on my college tuition. After six months, I couldn’t see the value in it. I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life and no idea how college was going to help me figure it out. And here I was spending all of the money my parents had saved their entire life. So I decided to drop out and trust that it would all work out OK. It was pretty scary at the time, but looking back it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The minute I dropped out I could stop taking the required classes that didn’t interest me, and begin dropping in on the ones that looked interesting.

It wasn’t all romantic. I didn’t have a dorm room, so I slept on the floor in friends’ rooms, I returned coke bottles for the 5¢ deposits to buy food with, and I would walk the 7 miles across town every Sunday night to get one good meal a week at the Hare Krishna temple. I loved it. And much of what I stumbled into by following my curiosity and intuition turned out to be priceless later on. Let me give you one example:

Reed College at that time offered perhaps the best calligraphy instruction in the country. Throughout the campus every poster, every label on every drawer, was beautifully hand calligraphed. Because I had dropped out and didn’t have to take the normal classes, I decided to take a calligraphy class to learn how to do this. I learned about serif and san serif typefaces, about varying the amount of space between different letter combinations, about what makes great typography great. It was beautiful, historical, artistically subtle in a way that science can’t capture, and I found it fascinating.

None of this had even a hope of any practical application in my life. But ten years later, when we were designing the first Macintosh computer, it all came back to me. And we designed it all into the Mac. It was the first computer with beautiful typography. If I had never dropped in on that single course in college, the Mac would have never had multiple typefaces or proportionally spaced fonts. And since Windows just copied the Mac, it’s likely that no personal computer would have them. If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do. Of course it was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college. But it was very, very clear looking backwards ten years later.

Again, you can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.

My second story is about love and loss.

I was lucky — I found what I loved to do early in life. Woz and I started Apple in my parents garage when I was 20. We worked hard, and in 10 years Apple had grown from just the two of us in a garage into a $2 billion company with over 4000 employees. We had just released our finest creation — the Macintosh — a year earlier, and I had just turned 30. And then I got fired. How can you get fired from a company you started? Well, as Apple grew we hired someone who I thought was very talented to run the company with me, and for the first year or so things went well. But then our visions of the future began to diverge and eventually we had a falling out. When we did, our Board of Directors sided with him. So at 30 I was out. And very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.

I really didn’t know what to do for a few months. I felt that I had let the previous generation of entrepreneurs down – that I had dropped the baton as it was being passed to me. I met with David Packard and Bob Noyce and tried to apologize for screwing up so badly. I was a very public failure, and I even thought about running away from the valley. But something slowly began to dawn on me — I still loved what I did. The turn of events at Apple had not changed that one bit. I had been rejected, but I was still in love. And so I decided to start over.

I didn’t see it then, but it turned out that getting fired from Apple was the best thing that could have ever happened to me. The heaviness of being successful was replaced by the lightness of being a beginner again, less sure about everything. It freed me to enter one of the most creative periods of my life.

During the next five years, I started a company named NeXT, another company named Pixar, and fell in love with an amazing woman who would become my wife. Pixar went on to create the worlds first computer animated feature film, Toy Story, and is now the most successful animation studio in the world. In a remarkable turn of events, Apple bought NeXT, I returned to Apple, and the technology we developed at NeXT is at the heart of Apple’s current renaissance. And Laurene and I have a wonderful family together.

I’m pretty sure none of this would have happened if I hadn’t been fired from Apple. It was awful tasting medicine, but I guess the patient needed it. Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.

My third story is about death.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I had a scan at 7:30 in the morning, and it clearly showed a tumor on my pancreas. I didn’t even know what a pancreas was. The doctors told me this was almost certainly a type of cancer that is incurable, and that I should expect to live no longer than three to six months. My doctor advised me to go home and get my affairs in order, which is doctor’s code for prepare to die. It means to try to tell your kids everything you thought you’d have the next 10 years to tell them in just a few months. It means to make sure everything is buttoned up so that it will be as easy as possible for your family. It means to say your goodbyes.

I lived with that diagnosis all day. Later that evening I had a biopsy, where they stuck an endoscope down my throat, through my stomach and into my intestines, put a needle into my pancreas and got a few cells from the tumor. I was sedated, but my wife, who was there, told me that when they viewed the cells under a microscope the doctors started crying because it turned out to be a very rare form of pancreatic cancer that is curable with surgery. I had the surgery and I’m fine now.

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog, which was one of the bibles of my generation. It was created by a fellow named Stewart Brand not far from here in Menlo Park, and he brought it to life with his poetic touch. This was in the late 1960’s, before personal computers and desktop publishing, so it was all made with typewriters, scissors, and polaroid cameras. It was sort of like Google in paperback form, 35 years before Google came along: it was idealistic, and overflowing with neat tools and great notions.

Stewart and his team put out several issues of The Whole Earth Catalog, and then when it had run its course, they put out a final issue. It was the mid-1970s, and I was your age. On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, the kind you might find yourself hitchhiking on if you were so adventurous. Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

Thank you all very much.

http://news.stanford.edu/news/2005/june15/jobs-061505.html

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State of the Nation Address by His Excellency Jacob Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa, 10 February 2011

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,

Former Deputy President FW De Klerk,

Former Deputy President Baleka Mbete,

Honourable Chief Justice of the Republic of South Africa, and all

Esteemed members of the Judiciary;

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; Gill Marcus

The Heads of our security institutions,

Leadership of all sectors – labour, business, sports, and religious leaders,

Members of the diplomatic corps;

South African and foreign media;

Fellow South Africans,

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

Thank you Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly and the Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP, for this opportunity to share with fellow South Africans and international guests our review and programme of action for this year.

I called this Joint Sitting in the evening again so that all, including students and workers, can have an opportunity at first hand to listen to their government speak on issues affecting their lives.

We thank the Presiding Officers for allowing us this opportunity.

Let me also, on behalf of government, welcome the Members of Parliament back to this beautiful mother city of Cape Town.

We would like to thank all South Africans who contributed to this State of the Nation Address through mainstream media, social media such as Facebook and Twitter, as well as direct contact.

The inputs have been very helpful.

Tomorrow will be 21 years since the release of our beloved President Nelson Mandela from prison.

It was a historic and very special moment for our country, which demonstrated the victory of our people over tyranny and apartheid oppression.

The events of that day prepared the ground for the implementation of our vision of a free, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic, united and prosperous South Africa.

We have entered the 17th year of freedom, ready to continue the drive to make South Africa a successful and prosperous country, building on the foundation that was laid by President Mandela.

As we mark this milestone, we extend the nation’s good wishes to Tata Madiba and his family, and wish him a speedy recovery.

Compatriots,

We need to accept the reality that President Mandela, who is loved by all of us, young and old, men and women, black and white, is not young anymore.

He will, from time to time, visit medical facilities for checkups, which is normal for a person of his age.

We should allow him to do so with dignity, and give the family and the medical team the space to look after him, on our behalf, in privacy.

We owe him that much given his love of this country and its people, and the contribution he has made to South Africa, Africa and the world.

We thank the family, the Nelson Mandela Foundation and the medical team for the sterling work that they are doing, in caring for a global icon, that we are so proud to call our own.

We want to assure the nation that Madiba is receiving very good medical care, and is comfortable.

TOGETHER WE HAVE ACHIEVED MUCH

Compatriots,

We continue to make steady progress as we work towards a more prosperous society. The political foundation is solid.

We have built a vibrant, fully functional Constitutional democracy.

We have well-established institutions that support democracy and protect the rights of our citizens, such as the Office of the Public Protector, the South African Human Rights Commission, the Office of the Auditor General, the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities and the Gender Commission.

Without fail, national general elections are held every five years to enable South Africans to choose a government of their choice, run by our efficient Independent Electoral Commission.

We have a Parliament that is vibrant and holds the executive accountable.

We have an independent judiciary which is a trusted final arbiter in all disputes in our society. We have a media whose freedom is enshrined in the Constitution.

On basic services, we are also making progress. More than 400 000 additional people were served with basic water supply last year. About 81% of the country is electrified as compared to 63% in the year 2000.

The crime statistics show a decrease in most crimes, particularly armed robberies, housebreakings and business robberies as well as contact crimes, for example, the murder rate declined by 8, 6 percent in the past year.

We are making a difference in education, as evidenced by the significant increase in the matric pass rate last year, and the interest displayed by the youth in education around the country.

Honourable Members,

Close to 15 million South Africans obtain social grants from the State. We will phase in the extension of the Child Support Grant to cover eligible children under the age of 18 years.

Since we are building a developmental and not a welfare state, the social grants will be linked to economic activity and community development, to enable short-term beneficiaries to become self-supporting in the long run.

Honourable Members,

We are pleased with the performance of our financial sector.

It has proven to be remarkably resilient in the face of the recent financial crisis and the global economic meltdown.

The Budget deficit is set to decline from the current 6.7% to between 3 and 4% by 2013.

Concerns about the exchange rate have been taken to heart.

Exchange control reforms that were announced in the Medium Term Budget Policy statement last year are being implemented. Further information will be provided by the Minister of Finance in the Budget Speech.

The 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup was undoubtedly the most exciting project in 2010.

On the international front, we are greatly honoured to join the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa forum. It is an important bloc of emerging economies. We look forward to the inaugural meeting of BRICS in April in China.

We have taken up our non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council, which we will use to promote the African agenda as well as peace and security in Africa and the world.

We have come a long way. We have achieved a lot, but challenges still remain.

Working together we will achieve much more.

BUILDING A MORE PROSPEROUS SOCIETY

Compatriots,

While many South Africans celebrate the delivery of houses, electricity or water, there are yet many others who are still waiting.

The legacy of decades of apartheid underdevelopment and colonial oppression cannot be undone in only 17 years.

But we are forging ahead, determined to achieve our mission of building a better life for all.

And we are doing so with the help of our people. We appreciate the feedback they continue to give us.

Bongokuhle Miya wrote on the Presidency Facebook page that his hometown Umzimkhulu is in an appalling condition, with burst sewerage pipes everywhere, no drainage system and domestic animals that are roaming around town.

He writes: “If the Government, which is doing very well, could just pay much more attention, with a bit of urgency to such areas”.

Indeed, we agree service delivery should move faster.

Our interactive government also obtains information from direct contact with our people.

In the past year we have visited many villages, townships and suburbs. Their message is consistent.

They appreciate progress made, request faster delivery and state their commitment to work with government to achieve more.

Given the work that must still be done, we decided in 2009 to focus on five priorities. These are education, health, rural development and agrarian reform, taking forward the fight against crime and creating decent work.

We have done well on these priorities.

However, we are concerned that unemployment and poverty persist despite the economic growth experienced in the past 10 years.

To address these concerns, we have declared 2011 a year of job creation through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth.

We have introduced a New Growth Path that will guide our work in achieving these goals, working within the premise that the creation of decent work is at the centre of our economic policies.

We urge every sector and every business entity, regardless of size, to focus on job creation. Every contribution counts in this national effort.

I will provide just a broad outline of our programme of action in this address.

Ministers will announce their jobs targets and more specific details per sector, in their forthcoming Budget Vote Speeches.

All government departments will align their programmes with the job creation imperative. The provincial and local government spheres have also been requested to do the same.

The programmes of State Owned Enterprises and development finance institutions should also be more strongly aligned to the job creation agenda.

Honourable Members,

Research has indicated that we can create jobs in six priority areas. These are infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism.

We cannot create these jobs alone. We have to work with business, labour and the community constituencies.

Experience shows that we succeed when we work together.

One key example is the work done by the Presidential Framework Response to the International Economic Crisis team, comprising government, business, labour and community sectors.

Amongst the key achievements of the team, South Africa introduced its first ever training layoff scheme to provide alternatives to retrenchments.

Another intervention included financial support for firms in distress, which saved about seven thousand jobs. We thank the team for their sterling work, and look forward to ongoing collaboration.

While looking to the private sector in particular to help us create most of the jobs, government will certainly play its part.

We are pleased to announce the establishment of a jobs fund of 9 billion rand over the next three years to finance new job-creation initiatives.

In addition, the Industrial Development Corporation has set aside R10 billion over the next five years for investment in such economic activities with a high jobs potential.

It is also my pleasure Honourable Members, to announce R20 billion in tax allowances or tax breaks to promote investments, expansions and upgrades in the manufacturing sector.

For a project to qualify, the minimum investment must be R200 million for new projects, and R30 million for expansion and upgrades.

The programme will provide an allowance of up to R900 million in tax deductible allowances rand for new investors and R550 million for upgrades and expansions.

Compatriots,

The small business sector is a critical component of the job creation drive.

We will continue to provide financial and non-financial support to small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs), small scale agriculture as well as cooperatives.

We need to cut administrative costs, avoid duplication and direct more resources to small business.

We are therefore considering merging the three agencies Khula, the SA Micro-Finance Apex Fund and the IDC’s small business funding into a single unit.

The campaign to pay SMMEs on time, within 30 days, is proceeding well.

The Department of Trade and Industry payment hotline received about 20 000 calls in the last financial year, and the value of payments facilitated was R210 million.

Other departments have launched their own initiatives, for example the Re Ya Patala (We Pay) initiative of the Department of Public Works.

We are continuing with legislative reforms to make it easier to register businesses and also to strengthen the Competition Act to open the market to new participants.

Honourable Members,

The mineral wealth of our country is a national asset and a common heritage that belongs to all South Africans, with the State as the custodian.

South Africa has significant mining assets, currently valued at 2.5 trillion US dollars.

By 2009, the mining industry contributed more than thirty percent to the country’s total export revenue, and employed 2.9% of the country’s economically active population.

Estimates suggest that our mineral resources are expected to be exploitable for over a century to come.

To take advantage of that potential, government has endorsed the African Exploration, Mining and Finance Corporation as the State Owned Mining Company, that will undertake the mining of minerals of strategic significance.

One of government’s priorities this year is also to finalise and adopt the beneficiation strategy as the official policy of government, so that we can start reaping the full benefits of our commodities.

Compatriots,

In communications, we have committed to convert our television and radio signals from the analogue platform to the more advanced digital signal which will enable quality pictures and sound.

Jobs will be created in manufacturing, packaging, distribution and installation during this period.

Honourable Speaker and National Chairperson,

We are pleased with the success of our tourism sector, especially given that sixteen tourists create one job in our country.

More than 7, 3 million tourists arrived in South Africa last year, as compared to about 6.3 million in 2009. For further growth, we will strengthen existing markets while exploring the emerging economies.

Our country also continues to be a popular destination for international gatherings.

In July, we will host a high level sports gathering in Durban, the 123rd International Olympic Committee General Assembly Session.

We thank the IOC for the opportunity to host this important congress.

We have already secured ninety five meetings and conferences between 2010 and 2016.

To further boost our tourism potential, we will amongst other measures, look into flexible visa requirements, improved landing slots at foreign airports as well as improved tourism infrastructure.

Linked to tourism, we will continue to develop the cultural industries sector, which contributes about R2 billion to the Gross Domestic Product.

We have also seen the value of events such as the Cape Town International Jazz Festival which, contributed more than R475 million to the economy of Cape Town and created 2 000 jobs in 2010.

We also wish to extend a special mention to the popular Cape Minstrels Carnival, which brightens up this city every year on the 2nd of January, celebrating the freeing of slaves.

Honourable Members,

Our infrastructure development programme enables us to expand access to basic services and to improve the quality of life.

This includes projects for the provision of water, electricity and housing.

Energy security is critical for economic development and job creation. To ensure the security of electricity supply for the country, Eskom has invested more than R75 billion, mainly on the new stations Medupi, Kusile and Ingula, as well as the return to service and transmission of other projects.

We must all save energy so that we do not have to resort to load shedding again as a saving measure.

This year we will start procuring power from Renewable Energy Power Producers, which will demonstrate our commitment to renewable energy.

Honourable Members,

The construction industry is a known driver for work opportunities. There are 1.2 million households living in the country’s 2 700 informal settlements.

By the year 2014, 400 000 of the said households should have security of tenure and access to basic services.

We will also improve the delivery of rental accommodation as some people coming to urban areas do not intend to settle permanently.

This should be welcome news to citizens such as Portia Busisiwe Mrwetyana who wrote on our Facebook page about inequalities in Bekkersdal, where an informal settlement which has no services, lies alongside a suburb across the road with all amenities.

She asks: “What I wanna know is why treat us differently, but we give you the same vote, WHY?”.

Government will spend R2,6 billion on water services this year. Among the priority areas are the provinces of Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape where there are still high numbers of people without safe drinking water.

We noted the requests from many contributors to this address, for government to fix potholes.

Our Expanded Public Works Programme aims to create 4, 5 million work opportunities, and more than a million opportunities have been created already since the beginning of Phase 2. Part of the programme focuses on repairing our roads networks.

Abantu abaningi bakithi bathola ukusizakala kakhulu ngaloluhlelo lwamatoho emisebenzi kahulumeni.

Kutholakala amatoho okulungisa imigwaqo, ezemidlalo, ukufundisa abadala ukufunda nokubhala, ukugcina imigqwaqo ihlanzekile.

Uhlelo lokulungisa imigwaqo, olubizwa nge-Zibambele, seluzosatshalaliswa izwe lonke kulonyaka luvule amathuba emisebenzi.

We will develop infrastructure that will boost our agricultural sector, while also helping to create jobs.

Water reservoirs, windmills and irrigation schemes will be rehabilitated. Crops, livestock as well as grazing will be protected with the installation of fences.

These projects will enhance food security and create work opportunities for many, especially women in rural areas.

To enhance our innovation in science and technology and create jobs, we are bidding to host the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope.

The bid has already provided 800 construction job opportunities in the Northern Cape and will create a further 100 jobs this year.

Our job creation drive should also enhance youth development.

The National Youth Development agency is in discussion with state organs and the private sector to mainstream youth development in public sector programmes and to promote youth enterprises and cooperatives.

Compatriots,

We believe that the interventions we have mentioned briefly will take us forward in placing job creation high on the agenda of all decision makers in the country.

Seven Ministers met with our social partners on Tuesday to discuss this partnership and we remain optimistic that we are poised for success.

Honourable Speaker and Honourable Chairperson,

Parallel to the job creation incentives, we will also undertake policy reforms related to improving the lives of our workers.

Government, with its social partners, is reviewing legislation on labour brokers and the policy framework for the provision of public employment services.

This will enable government to maintain a database of job seekers and job opportunities.

The Government Position Paper on Social Security Reform is expected to be released this year for discussion.

Issues to be dealt with include the funding and nature of the National Social Security Fund, how the private sector occupational and retirement funds will fit into the entire system, and the possible regulatory structure.

Government must fill all funded vacant posts. The performance monitoring and evaluation department will provide a report within six months.

Honourable Speaker and Honourable Chairperson,

Indeed, we have come a long way since 1994. We have achieved a lot, but much more still needs to be done, and working together as South Africans, we will achieve much more!

Please allow me to now tackle the other four priorities as well as other programmes.

The focus in basic education this year is Triple T: Teachers, Textbooks and Time. We reiterate our call that teachers must be at school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day.

The administration must ensure that every child has a textbook on time, and that we assist our teachers to create the right working environment for quality teaching to take place.

To track progress, this year, we began the annual national assessments in literacy and numeracy that are internationally benchmarked, for grades 3, 6 and 9.

We will continue investing in teacher training, especially in mathematics and science.

We will pay special attention to the training of principals, particularly those in underperforming schools.

The focus of higher education will be to expand access especially for children of the poor.

This includes the conversion of loans into bursaries for qualifying final year students.

Students in Further Education and Training Colleges who qualify for financial aid will be exempted from paying fees.

We urge state owned enterprises to play a key role in skills development and help us provide the technical skills needed by the economy.

Denel, Eskom, SAA and Transnet have supported the training of more than 6 000 learners in technical and engineering-related scarce and critical skills.

Fellow South Africans,

We are continuing to improve the capacity and effectiveness of the police in particular the detective services, forensic analysts and crime intelligence.

We have increased visible policing and patrols in identified hotspots. We are making visible progress in reducing the proliferation of illegal and legal firearms.

Our courts continue to function better, and the backlog reduction programmes at district and regional levels are proceeding well.

We will continue to prioritise crimes against women and children, and to provide support through the Thuthuzela Care Centres.

We will work with communities and other key stakeholders to deal with drug peddling and drug abuse which are tearing some communities apart.

My visit to a drug rehabilitation centre in Mitchells Plain on Tuesday convinced me that we need more energy in the fight against drug abuse and drug peddling in our communities.

I have directed our police force to deal decisively with people who sell drugs to children in Cape Town and other areas. We will also not tolerate tavern owners who sell alcohol to children.

The fight against corruption also continues.

A Special Anti-Corruption Unit has been established in the Department of Public Service and Administration to handle corruption-related disciplinary cases involving public servants.

Progress is being made in many ongoing investigations.

About R44 million has been recovered from public servants who are illegally benefiting from housing subsidies, while the cleaning of the social grants system of fraud is also continuing.

We have directed the Special Investigating Unit to probe alleged maladministration or corruption in various government departments, municipalities and institutions.

While not pre-judging the investigations, they prove our resolve to combat corruption at all levels of Government and the public service.

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

In the health sector, this year we will emphasise the appointment of appropriate and qualified personnel to the right positions.

We need qualified heads of department, chief financial officers, hospital chief executive officers, district health officers and clinic managers.

We plan to revitalise 105 nursing colleges countrywide, to train more nurses.

We are also planning to open a medical faculty at the Limpopo Academic Hospital to train more doctors.

The renovations and refurbishments of hospitals and clinics will continue.

Given our emphasis on women’s health, we will broaden the scope of reproductive health rights and provide services related to amongst others, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancy and sanitary towels for the indigent.

On the fight against HIV and AIDS, we have revitalised our programmes and promote various prevention measures including medical male circumcision, prevention of mother to child transmission and the promotion of HIV testing.

The testing has been popularly taken up around the country. Just over 5 million HIV tests have been done since the launch of the testing campaign in April last year.

Over the past year, work has continued to develop the National Health Insurance policy and implementation plan. Government will soon be releasing the policy document for public engagement.

Honourable Speaker and Honourable Chairperson of the NCOP,

We will continue with the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme directed at reviving land reform projects and irrigation schemes in the former homelands as well as distressed farms owned by individuals.

Government has developed the National Rural Youth Service Corps programme to assist youth in rural areas. To date, more than 7 000 young people have been employed in the programme.

Somlomo nosihlalo abahloniphekileyo,

Uhulumeni useshaye umthetho ovuselela ibhange lasePosini, phecelezi iPostBank, elizosiza abasemakhaya ukonga imali, kanye nokuboleka imali yokwakha amabhizinisi amancane.

Siyabakhuthaza ukuthi balisebenzise kutholakale intuthuko.

Building a responsive, accountable, effective and efficient local government system

Honourable Members,

The country will hold the fourth local government elections before the end of May.

There have been lots of complaints over the past few months about local government.

The frustrations in some areas resulted in protests which indicated the problems that existed in this sphere.

We have to make people’s experience of local government a pleasant one, as it touches their homes and their lives directly, every day.

Some municipalities are functioning very well, and some councillors are also performing their duties as well as they should.

We have instituted a turnaround strategy for local government, focusing on, amongst others, the strengthening of basic administrative systems, financial management and customer care.

The preparations for local government elections are on course.

The registration that took place last weekend went well, and we congratulate those who have registered. We urge those without identity documents to apply without delay, so as not to miss the next registration period next month.

Following the launch of the National Population Registration Campaign in Libode, in the Eastern Cape last year, more than 700 000 first time identity documents were issued, indicating great enthusiasm by our people to have this crucial document.

As we prepare for elections, we also note that our country has been struck by devastating floods in recent weeks, and many families have been affected.

We extend heartfelt condolences to the families of those who lost their lives. Our hearts also go out to those who were injured and who lost all their belongings.

Fellow South Africans,

Let me use this opportunity to announce that Government has set aside R800 million for immediate relief to assist communities.

We will also be earmarking funding to deal with post disaster recovery and reconstruction in the years ahead.

We thank relief agencies, non-governmental organisations, private sector, religious organisations and communities for assisting those in need.

Building a better Africa and a better world

The African agenda remains our key policy focus.

South Africa is serving a two year term on the African Union Peace and Security Council.

The country will chair the SADC Organ on Politics, Defence and Security from August.

In this role, we will continue to engage the parties in the implementation of the Global Political Agreement in Zimbabwe and the development of a roadman to elections.

We will also promote the resolution of the Malagasy conflict. We will monitor and assist where possible to ensure that the political and security situation in the DRC is conducive to elections.

We are also honoured to participate in finding solutions to the situation in Cote d’Ivoire, as a member of the African Union High Level Panel chosen to help resolve the challenges in that country.

We applaud the work of the South African National Defence Force, which has on average deployed over 2 000 military personnel in peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Sudan and the Central African Republic.

We will continue to participate in the revitalisation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development with specific focus on the implementation of its infrastructure programme, of which we champion the North-South infrastructure development corridor.

South Africa has taken note of the unfolding developments in Egypt as well as the earlier events in Tunisia.

We continue to monitor the situation closely, including its implications for the Middle East and North Africa.

We firmly believe that the course and the content of the transition as well as the destiny that these sister countries choose, should be authored by them.

In this regard, South Africa lends its support to efforts aimed at introducing and implementing political reforms that will ensure a smooth and peaceful transition in Tunisia and Egypt.

We trust that nothing will derail the realization of the aspirations of the Palestinian people for a secure independent state, existing side by side and in peace with the Israeli state.

South Africa reiterates its call to the international community to encourage the parties to continue the search for a durable solution in the Middle East.

We extend our heartiest congratulations to the people of the Sudan for a successful referendum, and welcome the new state of Southern Sudan.

This is a key African success story. We congratulate the African Union and the United Nations for the skilful handling of this project.

On the broader international front, we look forward to hosting the fifth India-Brazil-South Africa Summit, this year.

At the G20 Forum, we will continue to argue for a more equitable world economic order.

Building a national democratic and cohesive society

Compatriots,

The experience of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup taught us the need to appreciate all that is good about our country.

The South African flag became the most important item for every household.

Government will build on this by ensuring the placing of flags in schools and public institutions to promote our national symbols and identity.

We urge all our people to learn the national anthem and sing it properly, with pride.

We will launch a programme celebrating National Icons and promote a National Heritage Route, to honour individuals who have made an enormous contribution to the liberation of our country.

Honourable Members,

We have seen the power of sport as a unifying and nation building tool in our country.

All of us must support the Proteas who will soon be playing in the 2011 ICC World Cup, and the Springboks who will travel to New Zealand to defend our 2007 Rugby World Cup Title.

We also wish the national netball team well when they compete in the Netball World Cup in July. We will be fully behind them.

Let me take this opportunity to salute one of our finest cricketers, Makhaya Ntini who is our special guest this evening. He has made an enormous contribution to local and international cricket.

South Africa will have its third post-apartheid census in October this year. We thank Mr Makhaya Ntini for agreeing to become an ambassador of this important campaign.

Honourable Speaker and Honourable Chairperson,

We remain committed to building a performance-orientated State.

Our performance monitoring and evaluation department will coordinate and monitor the work of government departments closely, as they mainstream job creation.

We welcome the undertaking by Parliament to also monitor the adherence to the call to prioritise job creation by government.

Compatriots,

Our goal is clear. We want to have a country where millions more South Africans have decent employment opportunities, which has a modern infrastructure and a vibrant economy and where the quality of life is high.

We all have a responsibility to work hard to make this a reality.

Everyone must think of how they can contribute to the jobs campaign through creating opportunities for themselves and others.

In doing so, we should draw inspiration from our beloved President Mandela in his inauguration address in 1994, reminding us of the need to work together.

He said:

“We understand it still, that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well, that none of us acting alone can achieve success.

We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.

Let there be justice for all.

Let there be peace for all.

Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.

Let each know that for each the body, the mind and the soul have been freed to fulfill themselves”.

I thank you.

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Filed under ANC succession scramble, Commentary, community development, Crime, Economics, Education, Health, Load shedding, Politics, SA Roads, South African Government, Technology

Ground breaking “Citizen Journalism using mobile phone” project kicks off

Local Secondary school learners from disadvantaged sectors of the Grahamstown community are getting the opportunity to put cell phones to use in interactive journalism.

These 80 scholars are using their cellular phones to contribute to Grocott’s Mail (a Grahamstown community news paper). The project is three-fold meaning; the learners will provide opinion smses on stories published on Grocott’s Mail, mini-news stories around their communities and Japanese haiku poetry examples at the bottom.

The outreach project commenced on 2 August with workshops for the Rhodes students volunteers who were being sensitized to the project. This was followed with a series of workshops with the school learners that started on 9 August; where they were give basic skills of writing a news story, structuring your opinion and how to write a Japanese Haiku poetry.

This year (phase 1) layed the foundation of the project limiting it to text messages only. Phase 2 of the project next year will have multimedia content i.e. pictures, videos, audio and text and will also be uploaded to http://www.grocotts.co.za. The learners will be in their final year of secondary education (hopefully) and I hope they will go on to study Journalism and Media Studies in the future and become professional journalists.

This project is also a platform for the learners to express their opinions and tell their own stories from their own perspective.

This is not the end; I’m still researching how I can find a kind of Mxit system that will allow everyone to send mini-news stories, opinions etc. at a cheaper rate (so if you’re a guru in tech and got some ideas drop me an email djminicooper@gmail.com.  

 

Some of the smses the learners sent:

Opinion smses:

These opinions were based on a story of a Local (Grahamstown) Municipal Councillor who had crashed a second car in less than 2 months, hired to him by the municipality. 

—  Mancipality is jst wstng muny by rentng carz 4 da cancilor he cud hv jst usd da money 4 da poor 1z.Da cansilor wnt stp crshng bcz he knw hz nt gona pay.

—  UGCINELWENI!I thnk ths conclr mst b rmvd 4rm kla psitn,cz nxt tym it wnt b da cr bt hs own lyf n ada ppls lyf.So it mst b tkn in2 cnsidrtn rly!ITS DANGEROUS!

Mini-news sms stories:

—  In Joza, Maseti str. There was a sewage burts, the owner of the house was nt home,wen she came bck there were people 4rom the Municipality trying 2 cleane!

—  Teachers at Nombulelo high ar complainig, about corruption at school.This include learners who come 2 shool drunk. So the comunity got involved.

Japanese Haiku poetry:

—  Tension, so thick…u can almost cut it with a knife-then da teacher farts

—  LIFE.Life is like clock ;swings on bright golden chain;ticking very sofetly ;battery went off

—  Alwys evil,very protective,hate all guys(my mother-in-law)

—  Silky soft fabric,rip,tear and feel it, what a dirty shirt

The learners had an opportunity to share their experiences, sharing the stage with Dan Gillmor author of the book “We the Media” at Highway Africa Conference (the biggest gathering of journalists from around Africa and abroad. 

This project has been made possible by funding from the United States-based Knight Foundation and Cape Town based Open Society Foundation. Cambridge University Press (Cape Town) also contributed by sponsoring the learners with bags, folders, pens and T-shirts.

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