Comunidados de Imprensa

Comunidados de Imprensa

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 10 JUNE 2024

 

We need to stay the course to grow the economy and create jobs

Dear Fellow South African, 

With the 2024 elections behind us and discussions between political parties around the formation of a government ongoing, there is broad support for the continuation of economic reforms.

At this important moment in the life of our nation, eradicating poverty and inequality and reducing unemployment must remain our overriding collective priorities. We cannot address these challenges and improve the lives of our people without attracting more investment in our economy and accelerating growth.

Economic growth, transformation and job creation has been at the centre of the programme of the Sixth Administration. Since 2019, we have implemented a range of growth-enhancing structural reforms to remove the constraints which have held back growth, to attract higher levels of investment, and to make our economy more efficient and competitive. 

In 2020 we established Operation Vulindlela, a government-wide initiative to accelerate the implementation of these reforms and support economic recovery.

Because well-functioning network industries are vital to economic growth, we have undertaken far-reaching reforms in energy, logistics, the water sector and telecommunications.

These reforms include an overhaul of the energy sector to enable efficiency, stability and greater investment in electricity generation and to introduce a more competitive electricity market. We have introduced private sector participation in the operation of port terminals, enabled open access to the freight rail network and completed the auction of high-demand broadband spectrum. While we recognise the value of public-private partnerships, we have stressed that the state must continue to play a strategic role in the development and ownership of public infrastructure in the interest of the people.

To attract critical skills needed to boost the economy and to grow the tourism sector, we have also implemented reforms to overhaul the visa regime.

The progressive implementation of these structural reforms has helped to improve investor confidence. This has in turn enabled us, despite an extended period of load shedding, to attract investment into the economy across a range of industries.

The structural reform process has produced tangible results and laid the groundwork for sustainable growth into the future.

Regardless of the form or composition of the incoming administration, it is important that the momentum of reform be retained and sustained. While we have come a long way in the reform journey, there is much work that still needs to be done to reignite growth in our economy. A change in direction would derail the positive progress that has been made and take us back to the starting blocks. 

This sentiment was echoed in a recent study by the Bureau for Economic Research (BER), an independent research institute, on South Africa’s economic trajectory following the recent general elections. Pointing to existing structural reforms, the BER commented that there is no need ‘to reinvent the wheel’, and that sustained implementation of the existing reforms had far greater currency than ‘miracles or fairy tales for a better outcome.’ 

We have said that it will take time for the impact of many of these reforms to be fully felt. At the same time, the process of recovery and rebuilding is well underway.

The electricity sector is one such example. The implementation of the Energy Action Plan that we announced in 2022 has seen accelerated procurement of new generation capacity, a growing number of new energy projects being connected to the grid, and a surge in rooftop solar energy. These developments, together with Eskom’s ongoing work to improve the maintenance of its power stations, have helped to reduce the severity of load-shedding.

These reforms must continue alongside measures to advance economic inclusion, such as skills development, addressing spatial inequality and investing in skills development and public employment programmes.

To realise higher economic growth and create more jobs, we need a combination of structural reforms, increased investment and sound macroeconomic management. As the Minister of Finance noted in this year’s Budget Speech, successful efforts to improve the fiscal position, complete structural reforms and bolster the capacity of the state will in combination reduce borrowing costs, raise confidence, increase investment and employment, and accelerate economic growth.

Modelling by the National Treasury showed that the successful implementation of key reforms could raise GDP growth to over 3% a year, add an additional R600 billion to revenue and create a substantial number of additional jobs over ten years.

This approach is supported by the BER study, which shows that continuing the path of reform could increase growth. This would start to make a meaningful dent in our unemployment rate and usher in a new era of growing prosperity for all.

By deepening our partnership as government, business and labour, by accelerating structural reform, by continuing the work to strengthen state capacity and improve the operation of state-owned enterprises, we are firmly on course for realising greater economic growth and creating more jobs.

As the country prepares for a new democratic administration, all parties need to work together to sustain the momentum of reform, growth and transformation. A stable and effective government committed to economic reform will enable us to build an inclusive and growing economy that benefits all South Africans.

With best regards,
 

Signature

 

Africa Day Event in Lisbon

The annual Africa Day event took place on Wednesday, 29 May 2024, at the Marriot Hotel in Lisbon. The theme chosen by the African Union for Africa Day was, “Educate an African fit for the 21st Century: Building resilient education systems for increased access to inclusive, lifelong, quality, and relevant learning in Africa”. The Africa Day commemoration is a moment for the continent to pause, reflect, and celebrate the unique African identity and cultural expression.

The South African Embassy was one of the fifteen African Embassies in Portugal, that participated on the day with a special exhibition of arts and crafts, and a dining experience of the various food and drink from the continent. Following speeches from the representatives of the Mayor of Lisbon and the Portuguese Foreign Ministry, as well as the Dean of the African diplomatic corps, the special guests were entertained by some light music and dancing. Pictures reflect the celebration of Africa Day as well as the South African Embassy’s art and craft table.

 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 3 JUNE 2024

Voters prove that our democracy is strong and robust

Dear Fellow South African, 

We have just held a successful general election. Last week, over 16 million citizens cast their votes at more than 23,000 voting stations across the country.

This was the most competitive election we have held since attaining democracy in 1994, with a record number of political parties on the ballot and independent candidates standing for the first time. 

This election has been declared free and fair. It took place peacefully and without serious incidents of intimidation or violence. This is a credit to the Independent Electoral Commission, to the political parties and their leadership, and above all to the South African people. 

By discharging this important civic duty, South Africans have done more than exercise their right to vote. They have shown that they continue to hold our democratic order and our Constitution in high regard. 

This successful poll shows that our democracy is strong, that it is robust and that it endures. 

This constitutional order is anchored in the rule of law, supported by institutions for advancing democracy, such as the Independent Electoral Commission, and upheld by an independent judiciary. 

Since 1994 we have strived together to build a country that is democratic, prosperous and free, and this remains the defining mission of our nation. With us now having entered a new phase in our democratic journey, political parties will have to strive in earnest to find common ground as we work to rebuild our country. 

Although every political party carries a mandate based on the commitments they made to the electorate, all parties share an over-arching mandate to build a country that is inclusive, united and prosperous. 

This moment in our country calls for responsible leadership and constructive engagement. There can be no place for threats of violence or instability.

South Africans must stand firm against any attempts to undermine the constitutional order we have worked so hard to build, and for which so many struggled and sacrificed. 

Whatever challenges we may face as political events unfold, they should be dealt with in a spirit of cooperation and in accordance with the prescripts of our Constitution and the rule of law. 

Despite the mammoth logistical undertaking, and despite a number of challenges it faced, the Independent Electoral Commission once more acquitted itself with excellence, professionalism and integrity. 

According to the results of the Election Satisfaction Survey conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC), the majority of voters surveyed expressed confidence in the IEC. Furthermore, the majority were also generally satisfied with the voting procedures, felt safe to cast their ballots in secrecy, and were confident that the election was free and fair. 

Having achieved yet another milestone on our democratic journey, we should all take pride in our own contribution towards giving meaning to the values and principles of our constitutional democracy. 

As we work as political parties to find each other across the divide in the coming weeks and months, let us demonstrate both in our actions and our utterances that we hold the Constitution and the rule of law to be paramount. 

Let us remember that whatever authority, whatever power, we are entrusted with must be exercised to advance the interests of the South African people. 

Now more than ever, we need to put our differences aside and work together for the common good.

With best regards,
 

Signature

 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 27 MAY 2024

Let us unite for a free, fair and peaceful election

Dear Fellow South African,

On Wednesday, we will be holding a general election for the seventh time since we attained democracy. More than 27 million registered voters will have an opportunity to choose the party or candidate of their choice.

South African voters will join approximately 1.5 billion people – more than half the world’s population – who will be casting their votes this year in elections in more than 80 countries around the world.

South Africa’s elections have taken place without major incident for the past 30 years. Once again, we have every confidence that this election will take place under conditions of peace, safety and tolerance, and that it will be free and fair.

The integrity of our elections is testament to the high regard in which South Africans hold their hard-won right to vote. It is an affirmation that no matter what our political differences are, when it comes to safeguarding our democracy, we are prepared to put these differences aside for the common good.

Our past is a stark reminder of how much we should cherish this achievement. On the eve of the first democratic election in 1994 the country was on the brink. State-sponsored violence and the threat of a right-wing insurrection contributed to a sense of fear and uncertainty.

One newspaper carried a story at the time titled “South Africa hoarding as fear rises”. It described long supermarket queues of people stocking up on tinned foods, a rush to attend emigration seminars, panicked currency exchanges, and fearful callers to radio stations about sabotage of power plants and water supplies.

None of these fears materialised. On 27 April 1994, more than 19 million South Africans of all races took part in a peaceful election. The political violence that had been relentless in the years and months leading up to the poll dramatically declined.

We recall the courage of the political leadership at the time and their efforts to quell tensions. We recall the role of the leadership of the Inkatha Freedom Party, the African National Congress and the National Party in signing a memorandum of agreement for reconciliation and peace just three days before the election.

We recall these events to remind ourselves of what is required of us all as we head to the polls on Wednesday. We are required to continue to honour the sacrifices of our forebears by exercising their right to vote and to do so peacefully. We are required to respect the rights of others regardless of who they are voting for, and regardless of whether they are voting or not.

In 1994, there were some who tried to strike fear into voters about majority rule, to sway people into voting along ethnic lines, and even to keep people away from voting stations on election day.

As South Africans we have rejected the politics of fear time and again, and we will continue to do so. For the past thirty years we have chosen the path of peace over violence, of reconciliation over hate, and of unity over divisions of race, ethnicity or tribe. The stability and integrity of our electoral system bears witness to this.

Holding free, fair and peaceful elections are a barometer of the good health of our democracy.

As we cast our votes on Wednesday, let us, in the words of our Constitution, “honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land, respect those who have worked to build and develop our country, and believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.”

Let us hold another election that is peaceful, that is free, that is fair and that is a credit to all the elections we have held since 1994. Let it be that the ultimate winner of this election is South Africa, our democracy, and you, the South African people.

With best regards,

Signature

 

AFRICA DAY 2024

 

In South Africa, the celebrations coincide with the commemoration of 30 Years of Freedom, celebrated under the theme, “Celebrating 30 Years of Freedom: Building a Better Africa and a Better World’’.

In South Africa an Africa Day event will be held on Sunday, 26 May 2024, at Vilakazi Street Soweto, Gauteng.     

The Africa Day commemoration is a moment for the continent to pause, reflect, and celebrate the unique African identity and cultural expression. The day is also an opportunity to promote African unity, deeper regional integration, and recommitting Africa to a common destiny. The African Union (AU) dedicated the 2024 Africa Day towards accelerating the implementation of the Africa Continental Free Trade Area, and promoting programmes that support the International Decade of Indigenous Languages as declared by UNESCO.