End of Year Media Statement by President Jacob Zuma
December 18 2011
We have reached the end of a very industrious year. We are pleased with the progress we have made this year, in which we scored through working with various sectors.
A lot was achieved in the government's programme of action locally and internationally.
We will mention just a few highlights.
CREATING DECENT WORK
We started 2011 by declaring it as the Year of Job Creation. We are implementing our plans in a difficult economic climate, but even so, the effort to create jobs has continued within the public and private sectors.
These include large-scale developments such as electricity plants, rail and road upgrades and water management that will sustain between 50 000 and 100 000 jobs in construction up to 2015.
Other initiatives that we put in place this year include:
- A R9 billion Jobs Fund to encourage new initiatives both inside and outside of government.
- The establishment of more than 300 cooperatives under the Comprehensive Rural Development Programme.
- Employment for an additional 34 000 people under the Expanded Public Works Programme, providing opportunities and income for a total of 280 000 persons, and
- Job opportunities for more than 80 000 people under the Community Work Programme.
This was also a year in which we gave effect as a nation to the ethos of Working Together with a number of ground-breaking accords that now commit government and various sectors to taking the country forward jointly.
We have deepened social dialogue and partnership within the ambit of the National Economic Development and Labour Council or NEDLAC.
A historic Skills Accord was finalised, committing business and the State to enroll at least 30 000 artisan trainees over the next 12 months in training programmes.
A Green Economy Accord was concluded between government and economic sectors, paving the way for new economic activity and jobs linked to our efforts to make our country more responsive to the effects of climate change.
We also launched a Basic Education Accord in terms of which government, business and labour will work together to improve learning and teaching in our country.
A Local Procurement Accord was also concluded, committing the social partners to work together to increase local procurement.
The procurement regulations giving effect to this Accord came into effect on 7 December 2011.
The regulations empowered the dti to designate specific industries, of critical and/or strategic importance, where tenders should prescribe that only locally manufactured products will be considered, or that only locally manufactured products with a prescribed minimum threshold for local content will be considered.
IMPROVING THE PERFORMANCE OF THE STATE
This fourth administration introduced performance monitoring and evaluation as an integral part of government work.
The President undertook focused hands on monitoring visits to three provinces. We visited the Eastern Cape twice, first in June to assess education and later in September to assess the performance of the automotive sector which is the economic engine of the province.
We also visited King Sabata Dalindyebo municipality in Mthatha to assess the delivery of basic services including water, electricity and roads.
We visited Limpopo to assess the performance of the health sector. We found success stories and also areas that need serious work. We will continue with the hands-on visits as the President cannot rely on written reports only from departments.
We will monitor progress in all these areas.
In addition we sent teams from our Performance Monitoring and Evaluation department in the Presidency to various areas such as Balfour, Bekkersdal, Umzimkhulu and others to assess and promote service delivery.
Furthermore, the Presidency and the Offices of the Premier are jointly implementing a programme of monitoring front-line service delivery, in other words, the experience of citizens when obtaining services from government.
The results of this monitoring will also be regularly presented to Cabinet and the Office of the Premier with the aim of putting in place focused improvement initiatives.
All these measures are designed to improve the performance of the State and to encourage a culture of excellence amongst public servants.
This has also been a year in which we undertook a 10-year Census designed to help us understand better how we have developed over the last decade and where we need to do better in the delivery of public services.
We also continued to improve the National Population Register. A credible and accurate National Population Register not only ensures that government knows exactly who in the country is a South African citizen and who is a foreign national, but enables government to plan timeously to meet the needs of the country's citizens, since it would have accurate data at its disposal.
In the quarter April - July 2011, the total number of births registered was 133,262, which is 12% of estimated births of 1,1million projected by the Department in the financial year 2011/12.
We also prioritised the finalisation of applications for work, business and corporate permits. To this end, a total of 7 054 permits were issued in the quarter April - June 2011.
This is part of attracting scarce skills into the country and boosting the economy, which will help with job creation.
Another achievement was the finalisation of the draft National Development Plan which the National Planning Commission in the Presidency has released for public comment.
Cooperation with provincial administrations improved considerably due to the regular meetings of the President, Premiers and local government representatives in the President's Coordinating Council, PCC.
We are also working closely together to strengthen the performance of certain departments in the provincial administrations.
We are working closely and cooperatively with the government of the Eastern Cape to revitalise education in that province.
In Gauteng, we are working with the provincial government to improve the administration of health, while in the Free State we have turned our focus to the governance of roads and transport in that region.
We are also working with Limpopo to drastically improve the running of a number of departments including the provincial treasury.
Working together with the provincial governments, we will ensure that we create and maintain a better life for South Africans in all corners of the country.
THE FIGHT AGAINST CRIME AND CORRUPTION
Official figures show that the most serious violent crimes are on the decline but the figures also tell us that we cannot let down our guard.
The following achievements have also been attained:
- A 5.75% reduction was achieved for serious crimes in 2011/2012 when compared in the same period of 2010/2011 (from 450 619 reported crimes to 430 497). There were 149 659 arrests.
- A 9.65% reduction was achieved for contact crimes in 2011/2012 when compared in the same period of 2010/2011(from 151 187 reported crimes to 138 507). There were 54 919 arrests.
- A 1.30% reduction was achieved for trio crimes during the 2011/2012 when compared to the same period of 2010/2011(from 10 743 reported crimes to 10 604 reported). There were 2 998 arrests.
- Although the detection rate remained the same (55.18%) for 2010/11 and 2011/12 financial years, the number of cases detected increased from 37 303 (2010/11) to 39 339 (2011/12).
- The detection rate for crimes against children (under 18 years) increased by 23.26% from 44.49% to 67.85% during 2010/11 and during 2011/12.
We continue to roll out the Victim Support Rooms (VSRs) in an effort to show empathy to victims of violent crime, especially in cases of sexual offences, child abuse and domestic violence.
For the period under review, we have increased the number of VSRs from 806 to 900 across the country. These facilities compliment the Thuthuzela Care Centres and are meant for interviews, statement-taking and other consultations. There are currently 27 fully operational Thuthuzela Care Centres in the country and 9 more are being established this
In 2011 we also demonstrated that government is serious about the fight against corruption and to ensure clean governance.
To date, 22 proclamations have been issued authorising the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to conduct investigations.
Most of these focus on procurement related irregularities as it is a major priority for government to deal with corruption in procurement, and to ensure better value for money.
For the first time, these investigations included two of the Metropolitan Municipalities (Tshwane and Ekurhuleni) as well as the SABC.
Some of the other key investigations include:
- The procurement of accommodation by the national Department of Public Works,
- A number of municipalities in the Western Cape.
- The procurement department of SAPS, the National Department of Rural Development and Land Reform,
- The broadening of the investigation into contracts for building low-cost housing
- The on-going investigations into the irregularities in the social grant system.
We established a Commission of Inquiry into the Strategic Defence Procurement Packages known commonly as the "Arms Deal'", to probe allegations of corruption which have been lingering on for a number of years.
The outcome of the Commission will hopefully bring about closure and put to rest the allegations, rumours and speculation. Work is ongoing to establish the Commission and to organise the administrative aspects so that it can commence its work soon.
We also established a Board of Inquiry in terms of section 9(1) of the South African Police Service Act 68 of 1995, to look into allegations of misconduct by the National Commissioner of the South African Police Service or into his fitness for office or into his capacity for executing his official duties efficiently. The Commission will commence its work soon.
We emphasise that the Board and the Inquiry do not presuppose guilt by any individuals.
We also released the Donen Report into the Iraq Oil for Food Programme, and were able to put to rest speculation and rumours that had been circulating about senior leaders in government about the report.
IMPROVING HEALTH CARE
We made progress in various areas in the health sector.
I would like to single out the fight against HIV and AIDS.
In 2009 we announced ground breaking measures to fight HIV and AIDS, relating to testing, treatment and support. We have made tremendous progress. Last year we launched a national HIV counselling and testing campaign which aimed to test 15 million people by June 2011.
More than 13 million people were tested for HIV and more than 8 million were screened for TB. This is a remarkable response by South Africans.
The South African National AIDS Council, SANAC, with the Department of Health as the lead department, are continuing to take testing to all corners of the country, including rural areas.
From January 2010 to September 2011, the number of public health facilities initiating patients on antiretroviral treatment has increased from 495 to 2 948.
In addition, while 290 nurses were accredited to initiate and provide treatment a few years ago, we have now increased the number to nearly 10 542 nurses.
Unlike before, all public health facilities in South Africa now offer services to pregnant women, which include HIV testing. Where pregnant women are HIV positive, their CD4 count is checked, to determine whether or not the mother should go onto antiretroviral treatment.
A landmark achievement for our country is the 50% reduction in the transmission of HIV from mothers to children between 2008 and 2010.
The proportion of children whose mothers are HIV positive, who were infected, decreased from 8% in 2008 to 3.5% in 2010.
In another major achievement, between April 2010 and June 2011, more than 300 000 people were placed on preventive treatment to stop the activation of TB. In 2009, only 23 000 people were on TB preventive therapy.
We also launched the new National Strategic Plan to fight HIV, Sexually Transmitted Infections and TB 2012 to 2016.
The new Plan consists of five goals and four strategic objectives.
The five goals are:
- To reduce new HIV infections by at least 50% using combination prevention approaches;
- To initiate at least 80% of eligible patients on antiretroviral treatment with 70% alive and on treatment five years after initiation;
- To reduce the number of new TB infections as well as deaths from TB by 50%;
- To ensure an enabling and accessible legal framework that protects and promotes human rights in order to support implementation of the NSP; and
- To reduce self-reported stigma related to HIV and TB by at least 50%.
The four strategic objectives are the following:
- To address social and structural barriers to HIV, STI and TB prevention, care and impact;
- To prevent new HIV, sexually transmitted infections and TB infections;
- To sustain health and wellness; and
- To increase the protection of human rights and improve access to justice.
RURAL DEVELOPMENT AND LAND REFORM
One of the biggest success stories is the piloting of small rural towns' revitalisation. Two Pilot Projects are underway at the Prince Albert Hamlet (PAH), Witzenburg Municipality; and, in Dysselsdorp, in the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality. Both are in the Western Cape Province. These are two examples of what could be achieved in working together as the three spheres of government and the community.
We launched the National Rural Youth Service Corp (NARYSEC) in Dysselsdorp, in the Greater Oudtshoorn Municipality. A total of 7956 young people from rural communities are participating in the programme.
Training programmes include disaster management, construction and information management. This will contribute to skills development as well as service delivery improvement in rural areas.
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT AND CHILD CARE
The school nutrition scheme now reaches 8.6 million learners.
Social grants remain the cornerstone of the fight against poverty affecting children and older persons. These now reach more than 15 million individuals.
The Child Support Grant was extended to children aged 16 and 17, which increased the number of children benefiting from the grant to more than 10, 5 million.
Age equalisation between male and female recipients of the Grant for Older Persons entered its third and final phase when men aged 60 started accessing the grant, thus increasing the number of elderly people receiving the grant to 2, 7 million.
The number of registered Early Childhood Development sites increased to more than 19 000, and the number of children benefiting from ECD services to more than 790 000.
The target for 2011 had been the subsidisation of 17 000 centres.
Significant progress was made in supporting and strengthening family and community interventions which foster social cohesion.
A particular milestone in this respect was the finalisation of a Green Paper on the Family. The eventual White Paper will provide strategic guidance on providing services to families in an integrated way.
The Informal Settlements Upgrading Programme has exceeded the target by providing services in 52 383 sites against a target of 27 054 sites.
The Housing Development Agency is now fully operational. To date the Agency has acquired 309 land properties.
Provincial departments have acquired an additional 4 944, 5 hectares of land in support of our government's initiatives to provide sustainable human settlements.
SAVING TOMORROW TODAY
The objective of a better life for the people of South Africa, the continent of Africa and the world at large was at the heart of our successful hosting of the COP17/CMP7 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Durban recently.
Aware of the fact that Africa is the Continent most affected by the impacts of climate change, we were committed as South Africa to ensure that Durban delivered a fair and balanced outcome that would help secure the future of our planet.
The resulting Durban Platform outcome was a coup for our country and our Continent and we look forward to maintaining the momentum that was initiated in Durban.
I wish to commend all the components of government, the City of Durban and those in the private sector and civil society who worked hard to ensure that the Durban event would showcase South Africa at its best, politically and logistically.
We are also particularly proud of the commendable roles played by our Ministers of International Relations and Cooperation as well as Environmental Affairs in leading the Conference and South Africa's national case respectively.
BUILDING A BETTER AFRICA AND A BETTER WORLD
The African agenda remained the key policy focus, with South Africa currently serving a two-year term on the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council.
Moreover, in August, South Africa assumed the chairpersonship of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Organ on Politics, Defence and Security.
The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) turned ten years old this year. South Africa has played and will continue to play a leading role in developing NEPAD and its various sectoral strategies; programmes and projects; mobilising African and international support for NEPAD, especially domestic resource mobilisation and supporting its structures and processes.
South Africa also has a critical role in NEPAD as chair of the Presidential Infrastructure Championship Initiative (PICI).
South Africa hosted the Second Tripartite Summit of SADC in June 2011, the East African Community and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa. The regional integration will create a market of 26 countries with a combined population of nearly 600 million people and a total GDP of approximately $624 billion.
South Africa hosted the 5th IBSA Summit (involving India, Brazil and South Africa) in October 2011.
The IBSA trilateral development initiative aims to increase trade volumes between the three countries to $25 billion by 2015.
The world witnessed the birth of a brand new state, South Sudan. South Africa will continue to play a role in supporting peace in the two Sudan states and assist the two countries with development, including institution and capacity building.
We are currently involved in various peacekeeping operations and a total of 2304 South African National Defence Force (SANDF) members are at present deployed externally.
- Operation Mistral in the DRC where 1 236 SANDF members are deployed.
- The SANDF contingent is in support of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission (MONUSCO).
- Operation Cordite - Sudan (Darfur) which consists of 809.
- Operation Vimbezela - Central African Republic (CAR) which consists of 72 primary training and engineer personnel building capacity in the CAR by "training the trainers".
We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Mozambique which will see South Africa and Mozambique working together for the promotion of maritime security in SADC's Indian Ocean, with particular emphasis on the Mozambique Channel extending to the broader SADC waters.
The partnership and cooperation include joint training, sharing of information, intelligence, joint patrols and ongoing support in military developments.
A key challenge during the year was the situation around Libya. South Africa was principled and consistent in its efforts to help secure a resolution of the situation in Libya, despite the unfortunate developments around the misuse of the United Nations' Resolution 1973 which was meant to protect civilians.
We will continue to work within the AU towards a solution in Libya and to deal with challenges in the North African region.
On the sporting front, the netball, rugby and cricket teams participated in international tournaments. They flew the rainbow flag with distinction even if we did not capture the ultimate honours.
Government has achieved much more than the few highlights we have mentioned in this statement.
We thank all who contributed to making this a highly effective and focused year with regards to implementing our programme of action and undertakings.
The year 2011 also presented us with a range of challenges that we have been able to meet with fortitude and innovation.
Those that set us back, or challenged us in one way or another, simply redirected us to the drawing board where we often found new ways of doing things that would take our country forward.
Let us use the New Year, 2012, to build on the good record we've established collectively as a nation.
It is a pleasure for me to wish all South Africans and the high number of visitors who are in our country at this time of the year, a safe and enjoyable time with friends and family.
We thank those in essential services for remaining on duty during this time. Let us cooperate with them to ensure a safer festive season.
Let us all use the festive break to renew our commitment to this great country and nation.
I thank you.
Issued by the Presidency, December 18 2011
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