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​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​8 May 2024​​

​Dr Kefiloe Masiteng, our Programme Director, Your Excellency, President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, ​President of the Republic of South Africa, Hon. Lechesa Tsenoli, Acting Speaker of the National Assembly, Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers, Honourable Members of Parliament, Your Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, Traditional Leaders present, Directors-General and Senior Officials of Government Departments, Distinguished Guests, Members of the media, Fellow South Africans

Good Morning!​​​

It is an honour to officially launch and hand over the 30-Year Review Report of South Africa's Democracy between 1994-2024 to the President of the Republic of South Africa.

Since the advent of our democracy in 1994, our government has been at the centre of socio-economic transformation by implementing progressive policies and programmes to improve the economy, society, governance, and international relations.​

As we reflect on 30 years of freedom and democracy, we need to appreciate and understand the systems and institutions we have put in place to carry out the developmental agenda. Over the three decades, we have witnessed the democratic government and its systems evolve and develop to meet the needs and aspirations of our people.

Earlier on the 27th April 2024, the world joined our country in celebrating and commemorating 30 years of freedom and democracy. During his address at the Union Buildings, President Cyril Ramaphosa eloquently described the journey of our young democratic nation when he noted that:

“South Africa's democracy is young. Most of the world's most established democracies are over a hundred years old. The progress that has been made in a relatively short period of thirty years is something of which we can and should all be proud.

It is only those who willfully will not see, who shut their eyes to progress, who will deny that South Africa today is an infinitely better place than it was thirty years ago."

In documenting the strides made by our country over the past three decades, the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) led a Government-wide 30-year Review of South Africa's Democracy.

The Review Report builds on the previous 10-year, 15-year, 20-year, and 25-year reviews produced by The Presidency and the DPME.

In this regard, the 30-Year Review Report presents the government's assessment of progress since the transition to democratic governance. It reflects on the extent to which government policies and programmes have succeeded in improving the quality of livelihoods for citizens and delivering on the promise of a better life for all.

This Review Report should be read alongside existing reports and Government publications such as the South African National Census of 2022 and the 10-Year Review of the National Development Plan (NDP).

Your Excellency, Mr President,

South Africa has a good story to tell. Our country's democratic transition continues to inspire hope for many nations worldwide. Over the 30 years, South Africa has maintained a stable democracy which continues to evolve.

The stability of our democracy is due to the government's commitment to eradicating the legacy of apartheid through establishing democratic institutions, enacting laws, and policies, and building a democratic, unitary state, with new values that align with the Constitution.

Equally, the orientation of the public service has shifted from serving the minority to serving all sections of the population. Consequently, by 2022, the number of households with access to electricity, piped water and sanitation was above 80%.

One of the factors indicating the growth of our democracy is the reduction of poverty and deprivation levels in society, with key indicators such as the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) and the Human Development Index improving over time.

This is a combined outcome of various progressive policies and programmes for economic growth, redress, and social wage. South Africa's social wage is one of the most comprehensive in the world and has proven to be an effective anti-poverty tool.

The social wage, covers health care services, free water and electricity for the indigent, fee-free schools, public housing, school nutrition, early childhood development, and expanded financial support for students at universities and TVET Colleges.

Our country is moving towards universal access to education at all levels, improved overall educational outcomes, and skills development opportunities, resulting in improved population-level educational outcomes, such as literacy and levels of educational qualifications per age cohort. These are important pillars for a modern, knowledge-based society.

Access to healthcare has improved significantly as a direct result of government policies and programmes. Among others, the expansion of clinics, hospitals, and other health infrastructure, increased access to Primary Health Care (PHC) services from 68 million in 1998 to 138,8 million in 2022/23, and the Central Chronic Medicines Dispensing and Distribution Programme reached 5,6 million beneficiaries.

These interventions have led to the improved health status of citizens in terms of life expectancy, maternal health, child health, reduced disease burden, and AIDS-related deaths.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

One of the many notable strides of our democracy is South Africa's integration into the global community. Over the three decades, our country's influence and participation in global affairs has increased significantly.

South Africa is taking up its rightful place globally in areas of arts and culture, science, business enterprises, and leadership in international institutions – all of which inspire a great deal of pride among South Africans. Our growing diplomatic relations have also been key in driving economic growth and development. Economic diplomacy has become a key factor in our foreign policy.

Over the past 30 years, the South African economy has grown averaging 2.4% and is expected to be Africa's largest economy in 2024 according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Our labour force has expanded and transformed. Due to progressive labour legislation, the race, gender, age, and skills composition of the labour force and employment have altered considerably promoting more inclusive economic development. 

We continue to build credible legislation and institutional frameworks. Throughout our democracy, our legislative environment has advanced and empowered marginalized groups namely women, youth, persons with disabilities, and the LGBTQI+ community.

Equally, we believe that to leverage the enabling legislative environment, we must focus on appropriate resourcing, better coordination, improved efficiency, and scaling up successful initiatives through government partnerships with non-state actors including civil society organizations, the private sector, and the international community.

Distinguished Guests,

The 30 Year Review Report is also critical in identifying cross-cutting challenges that threaten the ongoing fundamental transformation of our society. These include the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

In spite of these challenges, the Review Report also makes recommendations and identifies opportunities that will inform the next administration as we move towards the 2030 deadline of the NDP, and the broader long-term planning of our country.

Most of these recommendations are grounded in strengthening state capacity and fostering active citizenry and social partnerships to build greater determination toward developing South Africa.

The 30-Year Review Report propels us all to do more, together. We anticipate and encourage civil society organizations, organized labour, the private sector, development partners, and international bodies to engage the Review Report and contribute to the dialogue of reviewing 30 years of democracy and freedom.

As part of leaving no one behind, the DPME will convene, engage, and collaborate with various stakeholders to unpack the critical lessons, progress, challenges, and recommendations highlighted by the report to inform future planning. I wish to thank all the government departments at a national, provincial, and local level, public and private institutions and agencies, and the researchers who contributed to the production of the 30-Year Review.

In conclusion, Friday, 10th May marks exactly 30 years since our founding father Tata Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as the first democratically elected President of the Republic of South Africa.

During his inauguration speech at the Union Buildings, Madiba shared that:

“Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long, must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud.

Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul, and sustain all our hopes for a glorious life for all."

Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my distinct honour to hand over the 30-Year Review Report to His Excellency, President Ramaphosa and invite Your Excellency to deliver Keynote Address.

Your Excellency, Mr President!​

I thank you South Africa!



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