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Honourable Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly 

His Excellency, the Honourable President of the Republic of South Africa

The Honourable Deputy President

Ministers and Deputy Ministers present

Honourable Members

Director General in the Presidency and other Directors General Present

Members of Staff

Ladies and gentlemen

1.    Introduction: Paying Homage to Oliver Reginald Tambo
This year, our country, Africa and indeed the world celebrate the birth of Oliver Tambo. The President in the State of the Nation Address dedicated this year in honour of this visionary and revolutionary leader of our people.
To honour this icon of our liberation struggle, we owe it to our people to work together to achieve the vision of our Constitution to “transform South Africa into a more equitable, integrated and just society”.
Oliver Tambo dedicated his life to the liberation of the black majority from Apartheid colonialism, inspired by the values of democracy, non-racialism and equality. Tambo advocated a vision of a South Africa in which all people live and “work together as equals in conditions of peace and prosperity”.
To remember Oliver Tambo is to remind ourselves that until the black majority fully enjoy the fruits of freedom – both political and economic freedom – the vision and mission of O.R will not have been fulfilled.
2.    Our Achievements
Honourable Speaker and Members,
We are on course towards realising Tambo’s vision – a vision that is inscribed in our Constitution, which O.R inspired so much. South Africa is a stable and peaceful country today. Our democracy is thriving; our Constitution protects the rights and freedoms of citizens.
Our economy is functional and continues to attract global investor interest, because it has unlimited opportunities and huge potential to grow faster, and to be inclusive of all South Africans. Our programmes for socio-economic development are in motion, including our infrastructure capital investment programme.
We have expanded access to basic services, to health, education and social protection, and through this we are containing extreme poverty.
3.    Our Challenges
Honourable Speaker and Members,
The progressive changes we are working to bring about are long-term; and despite our achievements, we are confronted by many challenges and our progress is uneven. The humility and honesty to acknowledge our shortcomings is a key trademark of the leadership Oliver Tambo gave us throughout the challenging years he was at the helm of our liberation movement, and as we embarked on reconstruction and nation-building. This is also the injunction of his fellow African revolutionary, Amilcar Cabral who said “Tell no lies, and claim no easy victories”.
In this year’s State of the Nation Address in February, the President said:
“Twenty-two years into our freedom and democracy, the majority of black people are still economically disempowered. They are dissatisfied with the economic gains from liberation.
White households earn at least five times more than black households, according to Statistics SA.
The situation with regards to the ownership of the economy also mirrors that of household incomes.
The pace of transformation in the workplace, the implementation of affirmative action policies as required by the Employment Equity Act (of) 1998 also remains very slow.
The skewed nature of ownership and leadership patterns needs to be corrected. There can be no sustainability in any economy if the majority is excluded in this manner.”
4.    The National Development Plan: Vision 2030 and Radical Socio-Economic Transformation
Honourable Members,
We have adopted the National Development Plan: Vision 2030 precisely to help us focus our efforts in tackling the core challenges and obstacles to attaining a just and prosperous society. The Plan provides us a more coordinated and consistent steer to our programmes and interventions, based on measurable evidence.
Socio-economic development requires far-sighted leadership. This is what inspired the NDP, which was produced by the National Planning Commission as an independent body of experts appointed by President Zuma, with the task to consult society and key stakeholders in the process. We commend our parliament and all political parties who in August 2012 adopted the NDP in consensus, on behalf of the people of South Africa.
To remind us of the bold goals we have set for ourselves as a nation, the NDP commits us by 2030 to eradicate absolute poverty by uplifting the 39% of our people who live below the poverty line; to reduce the unemployment rate to 6% by creating 11 million more jobs, and to significantly reduce inequality from 0.69 to 0.60 Gini coefficient through a range of policy interventions.
Government has to play a leading role in the implementation of the NDP, and in this regard Cabinet wasted no time in ensuring that the goals and targets of the Plan are integrated into government’s Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for the electoral period 2014-2019, as the first five-year implementation programme for the NDP.
The MTSF is a transparent presentation to South African citizens of the work of government, of the actions being undertaken and the outcomes we seek, and what is being measured, towards realising the goals and vision of the NDP.
The Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) has the task to ensure that the strategies and annual plans of national and provincial departments are aligned to, and advance, the long-term goals and priorities of the NDP. On this basis, the Department monitors the implementation of the NDP and reports quarterly to Cabinet, and to the public through our website, as well as through a branding and communication campaign that we are stepping up.
All of this is part of institutionalising proper, evidence-based planning across the whole of government, and to lay the basis for effective implementation and accountability, as individual departments and as government collectively.
5.    Implementing the NDP – The Mid-Term Score-Card
Our mid-term review of implementation of the NDP shows that, while we continue to make progress on a number of fronts, in particular on the provision of basic services to millions of people who were previously denied them, and on education, health, and security, to name a few – our performance and delivery can be enhanced; we can prioritize better, and we can utilise our limited resources more efficiently and more effectively.
Let me share with you some of the numbers that Statistics South Africa confirms:
On Quality Basic Education
·         Almost universal access to basic education: 98.8% of 7 to 15 year olds are attending education institutions (GHS 2015)
·         Mathematics in the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) scores have improved the most from 285 in 2003 to 372 in 2015. The international midpoint is 400.
·         Southern and Eastern African Consortium for Monitoring Educational Quality (SACMEQ) scores have improved from 494.8 in 2010 to 587.2 in 2015.
On Health
·         Total Life expectancy at birth has increased from 57, 1 years in 2009 to 63, 3 years in 2015. Stats SA estimates for 2017 place our overall Life Expectancy at 67 years.
·         Child health has improved, with Under-5 mortality decreasing from 56 deaths per 1000 live births in 2009 to 37 deaths per 1000 live births in 2015
·         Maternal Mortality Ratio has improved from 302 deaths per 100,000 live-births in 2008 to 132 deaths per 100 000 live births in 2014
On Higher Education and Training
·         The number of qualifying TVET students obtaining financial assistance annually has increased from 188 182 in 2012 to 235 988 in 2015
·         The number of students enrolled in public higher education studies at universities has increased from 950 000 in 2012 to 985 212 in 2015
On Human Settlements
From 2014 to 2016, access to Housing has improved:
·         Housing delivered by the state has increased by 295 179 additional units
·         226 459 households in informal settlements have been upgraded
·         176 423 title deeds have been transferred to homeowners, thereby reducing the previous backlog of 820 000
·         219 249 loans have been issued into the gap market by the DFIs and the Banks (40% of target at a 4:1 ratio)
On Delivery of Basic Services
Since 2014:
·         724 430 additional house-holds (HHs) have been connected to electricity grid
·         52 778 additional HHs are connected to non-grid
·         401 794 additional HHs had access to refuse removal
·         305 100 additional HHs have received access to water
·         425 000 additional HHs have been given access to sanitation
On Social Protection
16 853 828 million beneficiaries have access to social grants, which is 91% of eligible beneficiaries
On the Economy
Indeed, our greatest challenge is in the performance of the economy, which continues to be stuck in low-growth, and which remains largely untransformed – this in the face of growing unemployment, particularly among the youth, and in the face of continuing black economic disempowerment.
Honourable Speaker and Members
The emphasis on radical socio-economic transformation must be understood against this background. Radical socio-economic transformation must be reflected in the intent, content, faster pace of implementation of government policies and programmes, guided by NDP: Vision 2030.
As the President said in this year’s SoNA, this requires that government exploits to the maximum the strategic levers at the disposal of the state. Government is tasked by our citizens to legislate and regulate for the economy and society to progress and transform in accordance with the vision of our Constitution, and to ensure that the national budget (which currently averages R1.6 trillion per annum over the medium-term), as well as state-owned companies are accordingly aligned for this purpose, among other levers.
In this regard, at its August 2016 Lekgotla, Cabinet decided that DPME must work with National Treasury to review government expenditure and plans prior to the start of the formal budget process, to ensure that the budget receives stronger political guidance and supports government priorities. This exercise will culminate in a Budget Mandate Paper that DPME will produce annually, prior to the allocation of the budget by National Treasury. This will ensure that the national budget strongly supports the National Development Plan, as well as more effectively serving as a stimulus for private sector investment and broader transformation.
6.    Enhancing the Capacity of the State
It is also crucial that we continue to pay attention to enhancing the capacity of our developmental state to implement NDP and advance radical socio-economic transformation. To this end we need to:
·         Accelerate the professionalisation of the public service;
·         Strengthen planning, delivery and accountability mechanisms across departments and spheres, and consolidate legislation for this purpose
·         Develop a consistent strategy to engage the private sector and other actors in society in implementing the NDP.
7.    Operation Phakisa
We need to establish innovative ways of working together within government and in partnership with other stakeholders, to enhance and accelerate the impact of our efforts.
In this regard, the President is championing the Operation Phakisa methodology, which is borrowed from Malaysia’s Big, Fast Results, to unlock delivery in key areas of priority, in line with the NDP. DPME has custodianship of this methodology, which involves solutions laboratories in which critical role-players in government, the private sector, labour and civil society jointly address key delivery problems in different sectors.
Currently, Operation Phakisa initiatives are underway in the Oceans Economy, in Health, Education, Mining and Agriculture sectors.
Since its launch by President Zuma in July 2014, Operation Phakisa in the Ocean Economy has unlocked R7, 323 billion in both public and private sector investments, and a total of 6 952 jobs have been created.
The Phakisa: ICT in education has also been progressing since its launch in 2016, with the deployment of devices in schools, such as mobile trolley tablets for learners in 2884 schools; 221 special schools and 125 Teacher Resource Centres connected, as well as the development of e-content for 978 schools.
In the health sector, progress is being made to convert primary health centres into Ideal Clinics. Of the targeted 2 823 facilities by 2019, 824 have reached ideal clinic status.
The Operation Phakisa for Agriculture, Rural Development and Land Reform was launched in September 2016, involving, inter alia, the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Rural Development and Land Reform, and key industry stakeholders. Participants agreed to 27 key initiatives pertaining to grains, livestock, horticulture, producer support, rural development, land reform, and labour.
8.    The Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative and the North-South Corridor
Honourable Members
As we drop the curtain on Africa month, we need to reflect on the work that we do in Africa.
By 2050, it is projected that Africa will have the same population as China and India combined today, with rising consumer demand from a growing middle class. African cities will be booming; the number of urban areas with populations of millions of people will rise. If we can harness this obvious potential, Africa’s economic renaissance will be unstoppable. But to achieve this, requires that as a continent we close the annual $50 billion infrastructure financing gap, relying among others on domestic resources,  not least Africa’s Pension Funds which are estimated to reach $ 1.3 trillion by 2025.
Under the auspices of the African Union’s Presidential Infrastructure Championing Initiative (PICI) President Zuma has been tasked with championing the development of the North-South Corridor. This is about building the networks, linkages and infrastructure for the prosperous future envisaged in the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the SADC Master Plan. This work is progressing well, with 35 infrastructure projects under consideration, covering Roads, Rail, Border posts, Bridges, Energy and Ports.
Honourable Speaker and Members,
To advance radical socio-economic transformation we must rededicate ourselves to the NDP and to accelerating its implementation, paying due attention to the role of the private sector, organised labour and other actors in society. In this connection, society as a whole is called upon to actively participate in the quest to craft the future we want for our country.
We must hasten the implementation of programmes to achieve equitable ownership of the economy and redress of spatial segregation inequity through land redistribution.
We must place nation-building and social cohesion at the centre of increased interaction amongst South Africans from different social and racial backgrounds to advance our common humanity.
Together, we need to grow strong leadership across society and mobilise our people to be active and responsible citizens to address the challenges facing our country.
We need to foster the creation of meaningful, sustainable social contracts, which should propel South Africa onto a higher developmental and economic growth trajectory characterised by equity and shared growth.
9.    Conclusion
Honourable Speaker and Members,
There are no simple solutions to the question of economic emancipation in our country. We must fight with everything we have to free ourselves from the bondage of apartheid that manifests in the problems of poverty, unemployment, poor education and health outcomes, landlessness and spatial segregation that we still confront. We must be focused, stay the course, intensifying the implementation of our programmes guided by the NDP, and act in unity and partnership.
I wish to close with a quote from the Reconstruction and Development Programme, the first overaching policy framework we adopted at the democratic government in 1994:
“But an election victory is only a first step. No political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life. Attacking poverty and deprivation must therefore be the first priority of a democratic government”.
That imperative remains true today, as it did then, and is carried through in the NDP: Vision 2030, a programme for radical socio-economic transformation.
Let’s make it happen!!!
The ANC supports Budget Vote 1
I thank you.
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