Discursos e Declarações

Discursos e Declarações


President of the General Assembly,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Seventy-five years ago the United Nations was established to introduce a new world order to achieve peace in the world. It was the dawn of a new era of global cooperation, forged in the aftermath of one of the darkest periods in the history of humankind. In 1945 the world was in crisis.
It was counting the devastation wrought by war, devastation and plunder.Today, we are in the throes of another crisis – the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic has cost nearly a million lives. It has deepened human suffering and uprooted communities, destroyed livelihoods and plunged economies into turmoil. But just as the founders of the UN once stood united for the greater good, so too do we stand together to confront this grave threat. In this crisis, people across the world have extended the hand of solidarity to people in other nations.

From the North to the South, humanity has been galvanised into action. We have formed international partnerships to ensure there is equitable access to medical equipment and supplies. Many nations have set up extensive social support systems to protect citizens whose jobs, businesses and livelihoods have been threatened. Our response to the COVID pandemic has demonstrated the heights that can be attained when we work in the spirit of friendship and solidarity. If we are to build a common and inclusive future in the aftermath of COVID-19, it is this solidarity that must endure. In the words of Nelson Mandela: “It is human solidarity, the concern for the other, that must be at the centre of the values by which we all live.” As the African continent, our response to coronavirus has been swift and effective. We have a continental strategy to fight the pandemic being driven by the regional economic communities. The African Union has established a COVID-19 Response Fund and launched a ground-breaking African Medical Supplies Platform to ensure all countries have access to the necessary equipment and supplies. Nonetheless, the pandemic will inevitably set back our developmental aspirations. The resources we have had to redirect to fighting the pandemic has set back our efforts to provide housing, health care, water and sanitation and education to our people.

When the Secretary-General António Guterres delivered the 18th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in July 2020, he called on the nations of the world to forge a New Social Contract and a New Global Deal. He said we must create equal opportunities for all, that we must advance a more inclusive and balanced multilateral trading system, that debt architecture must be reformed, and that there should be greater access to affordable credit for developing countries. It is a call we as South Africa wholly endorse. It is in the spirit of this New Global Deal, that we call on the international community and our international partners to support the rollout of a comprehensive stimulus package for African countries. This will enable African countries to not only mitigate the health impacts of COVID-19 but to aid us in the immense task of rebuilding our shattered economies. To ensure that no country is left behind we reiterate our position as the African Union that economic sanctions against Zimbabwe and Sudan should be lifted to allow their governments to respond adequately to the pandemic. We also call for the suspension of interest payments on Africa’s external and public debt. As the African Union we are encouraged by the collaboration of the G20, the IMF, the World Bank and the UN towards finding solutions to debt sustainability in developing countries.

This pandemic has highlighted the urgency with which we must strive to meet all the Sustainable Development Goals, but more importantly Goal 1 – to end poverty in all its forms everywhere. For until we eradicate global poverty, we will always fall short of realising the vision of the founders of the United Nations. We must expand economic opportunities to all people around the world, but most especially  to the young, to women and to the vulnerable people in the world. We must boldly pursue avenues of redistribution and redress as a means of advancing shared prosperity. We must deal decisively with the rot of corruption that is robbing our people of the opportunities and services that are their right. Together, we must raise our level of ambition to ensure that every man, every woman and every child has an equal chance at a better future. It is a future free of hunger, disease, insecurity and war. It is a world that affirms the dignity and worth of all, regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religious affiliation or social circumstances.

The year 2020 will be remembered for the massive groundswell to push back the frontiers of racism under the umbrella of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. As a country that has known too well the anguish of institutionalised racism, South Africa supports the demands for swift action against racism, whether committed by individuals, companies, officials or a state.

South Africa calls on the United Nations to spare no effort to end prejudice and intolerance in all its forms and wherever it may be found. In the words of Dr Martin Luther King Jnr: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” As we mark the 25th Anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, we must intensify our efforts to empower women and girls.
It is the right of women and girls to be full and equal participants in the workplace, in political life and decision-making, in the economy, in obtaining an education and in society as a whole.

South Africa is proud to be a member of the UN’s Generation Equality campaign and has prioritised the eradication of gender-based violence and femicide. At a continental level, we are working to finalise and adopt an AU Convention on Violence against Women during the course of this year. AU member states are engaging on measures to promote financial inclusion, preferential procurement and preferential trade agreements for women. As African countries we continue with our effort to ‘silence the guns’ once and for all through conflict resolution and peace-building.

Cooperation between the UN Security Council and the AU Peace and Security Council has contributed to improved peace and security in the Darfur region of Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Mali and the Central African Republic. It is imperative that this collaboration is institutionalised and that the financing of AU peacekeeping operations is addressed and resolved. South Africa is currently serving its second year as an elected non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council. We have used our tenure to promote international peace and security by advocating for the peaceful settlement of disputes and inclusive dialogue. The current composition of the Security Council does not reflect the world in which we live. On the 75th anniversary of the UN we repeat our call for greater representation of African countries on the Security Council, and that this be taken up with urgency at the Intergovernmental Negotiations. It is only through a reformed and inclusive UN Security Council that we will be able to collectively resolve some of the world’s most protracted conflicts. As we celebrate the founding of an organisation dedicated to freedom and equality, the people of Palestine and Western Sahara continue to live under occupation. We repeat our call for an end to the illegal occupation of Western Sahara and for the Palestinian people’s right to self-determination. We further call for the lifting of the economic embargo and blockade of Cuba.

Your Excellencies, We have no choice but to work together to address the climate change crisis. As we rebuild in the aftermath of this pandemic we have an opportunity to place the global economy on a low-carbon, climate resilient developmental path. We must advance the principles of the green and circular economies, not just for the sake of environmental sustainability but because of the opportunities for job creation and economic growth. The global recovery effort must place climate change adaptation, mitigation and support at its centre – in line with the Paris Agreement and other multilateral environmental commitments. As the founders of the UN stood at a crossroads in 1945, so do we 75 years later. They answered history’s call to craft a new order for a world in crisis. Today we battle the fires of a deadly pandemic, of racism and prejudice, of violence, war and extremism and, above all, of poverty and inequality. The order we seek to build must be rooted in solidarity, equality and unity of purpose. The coronavirus pandemic has presented us with a choice. It is a choice between the global cooperation envisaged in the UN Charter or the pursuit of narrow self-interest and unilateralism. It is a choice between tolerance or prejudice. It is also a choice between economic justice or growing inequality. The path we choose now will determine our collective destiny. Though we face the most daunting of prospects, we have at our disposal the most potent force. It is the solidarity and friendship upon which the United Nations was founded.

When history faithfully records the global response to the worst health emergency of this century, let it be said that we stood and acted as one, that we provided leadership, and that we gave the peoples of all nations hope and courage. The best, and most fitting, legacy of this 75th Session will be that through our actions we gave true meaning to the term ‘United Nations’. South Africa reaffirms its commitment to the ideals and the spirit of the UN Charter, and to sparing no effort to bring about a more just, peaceful and equitable world. May our cooperation deepen and may our solidarity endure. Let us make sure that all our efforts leave no woman, no child and no man behind, and that no nation is left behind.

I thank you.


Remarks by Minister Naledi Pandor on the occasion of the Media Briefing on South Africa's participation in the 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York from 24 – 30 September 2019

16 September 2019

Members of the media – Good Afternoon

In our last media briefing, ahead of the SADC Summit in Tanzania, we promised to regularly brief you on our international relations and cooperation work. This media briefing serves to fulfil that purpose.

The briefing focuses on South Africa’s participation in the upcoming 74th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), which will take place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York from 24 – 30 September 2019.

You are already aware that President Cyril Ramaphosa has delegated the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation to lead South Africa’s delegation to UNGA as the President wishes to concentrate on critical issues needing his attention in South Africa.


THE United Nation General Assembly’s theme for this year is “Galvanizing multilateral efforts for poverty eradication, quality education, climate action and inclusion," and was announced by the President-elect of the General Assembly (PGA), Mr. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande (Permanent Representative of Nigeria to the UN).

The theme of the PGA is timely and resonates with South Africa's seven priorities as outlined by President Ramaphosa during the State of the Nation Address on 20 June 2019. These are:

  • economic transformation and job creation;
  • education, skills and health;
  • consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services;
  • spatial integration, human settlements and local government;
  • social cohesion and safe communities;
  • building a capable, ethical and developmental State; and
  • a better Africa and the world.

The UN General Assembly General Debate affords Member States of the UN the opportunity to address issues of national, regional and international importance.  We will also utilise the opportunity to speak of the unfortunately tragic events of the past two weeks and to repeat our belief in African unity, peace and friendship. 

Our participation in UNGA will provide us with an opportunity to interact with our counterparts across the globe and to articulate South Africa’s perspective on the general assembly theme.

The delegation is made up of the Minister of Health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms. Barbara Creecy and the Minister in the Presidency, Mr. Jackson Mthembu.

The President has appointed a delegation that is consistent with our resolve to use resources maximally and curtail costs.


We plan to use the upcoming UNGA74 to restate and affirm our commitment to multilateralism and the central role of the UN in the system of global governance. Our overarching strategic approach is predicated on the notion of an equitable, just and fair world order buttressed by a multilateral system that includes respect for international law.


This year's General Debate will provide South Africa with an opportunity to provide an assessment of the current global and continental peace, security and development challenges, as well as to lay out our vision for the African Continent and the world; to articulate South Africa's objectives as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council from 2019 to 2020 our commitment to reform of them and to building on the late President Nelson Mandela's legacy of working towards a peaceful, just and prosperous world.

One of South Africa's strategic focus in international engagement is to defend and promote the primacy of institutions of global governance as the vehicles through which current challenges facing the international community including in the areas of peace and security, sustainable development, human rights and the reform of global governance could be resolved.

We will also highlight South Africa's role in the implementation of the African Union's (AU) Agenda 2063 and the UN's 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Furthermore, South Africa will argue for stronger and enhanced coordination between the AU and the UN especially in the resolution of conflicts in Africa.

UNGA74 coincides with the inaugural year of the Nelson Mandela Decade for Peace 2019-2028, which was adopted at the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit in September 2018 as a contribution to the strengthening of multilateralism and a means of advancing the values and principles of Nelson Mandela, as well as those of the Charter of the United Nations.

South Africa will encourage all Member States and the international community to be guided by the Nelson Mandela Decade for Peace in their efforts to preserve multilateralism and to achieve peace, cooperation and respect for the principles and objectives of the Charter of the UN.


On the margins of the General Debate, other UN-related High-level events have been scheduled and there will also be opportunities for bilateral meetings and side events in which the South African Ministerial delegation have been invited to participate. The following High-Level events have been confirmed:

  • 23 September 2019, High-Level Meeting on Universal Health Coverage;
  • 23 September 2019, Secretary-General's Climate Action Summit
  • 24 and 25 September 2019, High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development
  • 26 September 2019, High-Level Dialogue on Financing for Development
  • 26 September 2019, High-Level Meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons;
  • 27 September 2019, High-Level Meeting to review progress made in addressing the priorities of Small Island Developing States through the implementation of the SAMOA Pathway.


Thank you.


OR Tambo Building
460 Soutpansberg Road

Keynote Address on Worlds Aids Day

Keynote Address by Deputy President David Mabuza on the occasion to Commemorate World Aids Day Dobsonville Stadium, Soweto, Gauteng Province

1 December 2018

Programme Director;

Minister of Health, Dr Aaron Motsoaledi;

Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MECs;

UNAIDS representatives and Goodwill Ambassadors;

Special Guests from multilateral institutions and Global partners against HIV;

Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Civil Society Formations;

Distinguished Guests;

Fellow South Africans:

Thank you for joining us on this World AIDS Day.

The World AIDS Day is a day of commemoration in as much as it is a day of action.

It is a call to all our people to know their status, to care for their well-being, and to take responsibility for their own health and that of others.

The fight against HIV and AIDS can never be won without considerable effort, hard-work and dedication.

It cannot be won without human agency, change in behaviour and in managing the expression of our sexual identity.

It is a day that demands of all of us to pause, to think and reflect to ensure that no matter our station in life, no matter our age, no matter our class or gender, we all take responsibility by testing for HIV, TB, Cancer and other ailments. It calls on us to take preventive measures as a first stance in tackling this pandemic.

Equally, today we are entering a new era, an era of empowerment in knowing our status.

For today, we call on us to a campaign of knowing our status, of getting tested and of making the necessary change to sustain our health.  Checka Impilo!

Today marks 30 years since the first World Aids Day was held in London in 1988.

Since then we have come a long way in testing, treating and managing the spread of HIV. Today we are able to manage and frustrate its ultimate end of deteriorating into acquired immune deficiency.

Our fight against HIV and AIDS throughout the years has had many ebbs, challenges and flows.

We have had times of wisdom and times of vice; times of science, sense and ignorance. We have had times of arrogance and stigma; times of care and times of reckless abandon. Yet we have emerged from these afflictions with the resilience of a nation renowned for the best HIV response in the world.

This has been a long and arduous journey.

Though we stand proud, tall and on a pedestal, with our achievements so profound - the road ahead remains long but not difficult.

It is still winding and challenging; with its pitfalls, potholes and rough edges in abundance.

Yet we are determined to walk this last mile of the way of a seemingly distant future, a future of infinite possibility, a future of an HIV-free world.

Even though that day is elusive, we keep walking, for it is within reach.

We keep walking because we are determined. As South Africans, we are a nation known for its resilience against any adversity.

We keep walking because we are committed to:

Zero new infections of HIV and TB;

Zero discrimination and stigma against those afflicted by HIV;

Zero AIDS-related deaths, and;

Zero new vertical transmissions.

This is a journey we will not alone, for we have always had caring friends across the globe.

We are all too aware that together, standing hand-in-hand, with all shoulders to the wheel, with our partners in the Global Fund on HIV, in the US President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and other civil-society organisations; we have a global force of change to be reckoned with.

With these long-lasting friends, with each of our brother’s keeper - our sister’s keeper, we will ultimately rid the world of HIV and AIDS.

We are all fellow travellers that are evermore committed to walking this long and imperilled road together.

From the ultimate milestone of an HIV-free world, we shall not hesitate, detour, give-up nor look back.

For we know what unity and struggle mean. It means in so far as HIV is concerned, we are neither giving in nor turning.

We will stand and fight the HIV pandemic together. We understand the lessons from our stigmatised past. We are all too conscious of the pain and sorrow we have suffered to arrive at the point of comprehensive HIV response.

It was by no small feat that we today have the largest treatment campaign in the world.

To date, our country has initiated 4.3 million South Africans on anti-retroviral treatment in the public sector, with an additional 235 000 in the private sector.

This is not a solo achievement by the state. It is rather a collective achievement from the courageous struggles of great men and women around the world.

It is the fruit of those who refused to be silent when people lost their lives and were denied life-saving treatment by cost alone.

It is a sign of their courage and conviction not to cower from confronting this pandemic with science, sensibility and comprehensive research.

They remain today, as they were yesterday, as it will be tomorrow, the lode stars that will enflame our commitment to fight HIV for generations to come.

In their memory, and commitment to their legacy, we will leave no stone unturned to create an HIV-free world.

In their innumerate struggles, they have created caring governments, active and well-heeled civil society.

They have united a people determined to put an end to the national despair, and support people bulking under the yolk of disease.

Today we count these victories as they are - for HIV is not just a virus that afflicts the health of individuals; it destroys families and communities; it handicaps nations and holds out socio-economic potential of a people to ransom.

Most importantly, it is a parasite that targets the poor and the vulnerable. It thrives in conditions where women cannot negotiate condom use from a position of power. It depends on superstition, ignorance and stigma to kill hope, to kill people and to kill aspirations.

It is merciless in its targeting of innocent children and young girls. It devalues the sanctity of human life and affronts the right to health and subjugates those without resources to fight its cowardly afflictions.

Understanding its license to kill, we are determined to fight back by ensuring that our healthcare system is an accessible public-good that is well supported.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As a government we are too well-aware that our responsibility is to provide leadership, vision and policy solutions to take us forward.

We are also aware that the needs of a society always determine its values, just as its leadership must show foresight and vision.

For when governments fail, the people fail.

Where governance collapses, services suffer.

Where healthcare is dysfunctional, people die. Families are decimated by preventable and manageable diseases. National development is curtailed.

This imposes on us a national imperative to ensure that healthcare is affordable, is efficient, is not overburdened and is of the best quality possible.

No more must people be deprived of treatment, respect and lifesaving care because of their race, social standing and other accidents of birth.

No more must what is best, be considered better by the stretch of one’s Rand or the depth of their pockets.

We are committed to rooting out inefficiency, laxity and dysfunction from our health system.

We are determined to be efficient, effective and to use the little resources we have as best we can.

In the last year alone, we have managed to test 11 million people and initiated 567 293 people on ART. We are targeting HIV together with its fraternal sibling - Tuberculosis.

We are determined to find those that are missing our national reach, those who have little knowledge and are vulnerable to multi-drug resistant TB.

We seek to screen and test 14 million people for HIV and TB, and 7 million for high blood pressure and diabetes. This will help us to add an additional 2 million HIV infected persons to the existing 4.3 million already receiving ARVs by December 2020.

Going forward, our focus should be on young people and men. It is young people, especially those between 15 and 24 years of age and men that are not testing for HIV, not being initiated on ARVs and not reaching viral suppression.

But all these efforts will come to naught, if we are not of a single mind and share a common purpose. A major factor in successfully implementing the National Strategic Plan, is the functionality of the AIDS Councils at all levels of our country, from national all the way to the ward level.

This should not be seen as the sole responsibility of those working in the sector, but a responsibility of all of us to build healthy communities that are free from the pandemics of AIDS and TB.

It is therefore incumbent on all of us to cultivate a culture of active-citizenship where we work, socialise and club together for the progress of our nation.

In any event, active-citizenship is a civic duty to keeping government focused, accountable and responsive.

We are looking to our young people to play a leading role in this struggle as capable and dynamic agents of change.

We look to them and to their energy to be revolutionary ambassadors across society; ambassadors that advance awareness about how to prevent TB and stop TB and AIDS related deaths.

We are looking towards civil society, business and traditional leadership to actively take part in the fight against HIV and TB.

If there was any time where the voice and weight of our traditional leaders is required to champion this course in human development - it is now.

By taking responsibility, through your activism, by bringing your voice to bear on these and other challenges, we can end the pitfalls of ignorance, discrimination and stigma associated with HIV.

It is all in your hands. It all begins with you, with me, and with everybody.

Let us all test for HIV, for TB and cancer to take charge of this gift called life.

On this World AIDS Day, let us commend and celebrate those who have taken the first-step.

They are our untold heroes and heroines. They have carried the burden on their shoulders to protect themselves, their loved ones and all others.

In their honour, one preventable death is one death too many.

For their courage and valour untold, we would all do well to emulate their example.

Just as we fight the HIV pandemic, we should, with equal measure fight to end the culture of gender-based violence.

It is a blight on our democracy that we fought so hard to attain. Gender-based violence does not represent the values of ubuntu and those of human rights that we stand for and have pronounced in our Constitution.

As it is written by poet Laurette, Professor Keorapetse Kgosietsile “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow - time is always now!”

The time is always now when far too many hear the knock at death’s door without access to life-saving treatment.

The time is always now when parents die and children become orphans to lead child-headed households.

The time is always now when women continue to live under the yolk of oppression, subjugation and the tyranny of patriarchy.

The time is always now when stigma and ignorance prevent people from adhering to treatment.

The time is always now to have courage, to test and to live a responsible and productive life, whether one is negative or living with HIV.

It is my sincere belief that the end of HIV is within reach, and a better tomorrow is upon us.

I hope today you will join us and you all will make your small contribution in taking us closer to an HIV-free world by testing and knowing your status.

I believe it will happen in my lifetime, if not, in my children’s lifetime. On countless occasions, we have proven to the world our capacity as a nation to overcome any adversity.

Checka Impilo!

I thank you.

Opening Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the South Africa Investment Conference, Sandton Convention Centre, Johannesburg


26 October 2018


Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am pleased to welcome you all to this inaugural investment conference.

We are pleased and humbled that you have responded to the call by the government and the people of South Africa to participate in this conference and thus be part of a new dawn in our country.

As representatives of the domestic and international investment community, as representatives of business organisations and international financial institutions, by your presence here, you have chosen to walk with us along the path of growth, employment and shared prosperity.

Like us, you believe that South Africa is a land of opportunity – a land where the soil is rich and the oceans teem with life, where the beautiful vistas of our country are spectacular and its diverse people are vibrant and resilient.

For you know that its people are its great wealth.

Like us, you believe that there is vast potential in South Africa; and that it has enormous potential that has been constrained for decades by narrow prejudice and debilitating human neglect.

Together with us, you celebrated the miracle of our peaceful transition to democracy.

You were there when we began to rebuild our economy and fundamentally change the fortunes of our people.

You witnessed both our achievements and our missteps.

You supported us and wanted us to succeed as you wished us well.

And when we stumbled, you looked on with concern and disillusionment when it seemed that we may squander the remarkable inheritance of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

Yet, throughout these difficulties, you have retained an abiding interest as both domestic and international business in the fortunes of this country.

We know that, like the people of South Africa, you have harboured a profound hope that we will prevail.

This inaugural South Africa Investment Conference is therefore an expression of a shared hope and a renewed confidence.

It is a bold and unequivocal statement that we are determined to put behind us the period of uncertainty and discord and embrace a future of cooperation and partnership.

We are here to declare that we are determined to build a country that is driven by enterprise and innovation, to develop an economy that is diverse and resilient and prosperous, and to create companies that achieve sustained returns not only for their shareholders, but also for the workers that drive them and the communities that support them.

We are country that is rich in ways that we often do not appreciate.

There are few places in the world that have the abundance of minerals that lie beneath the ground on which we now stand, that have the soil to sustain such a diversity of plants, crops, livestock and game, where the sun shines nearly all year around and where the golden beaches stretch on forever.

We have an incredible natural inheritance, whose economic and social value we have not yet even begun to effectively explore.

Our political and social inheritance, by contrast, is deeply contradictory.

Through decades of deliberate underdevelopment, the majority of South Africans were dispossessed of their land, assets and livelihoods, and denied the education and the skills that make meaningful participation in the economic life of the country possible.

The devastating effects of this manifest injustice still define our society and severely constrain our economic development.

The continued exclusion of millions of South Africans – particularly as it relates to skills and to ownership of assets – is the single greatest impediment to the growth of our economy and the development of our society.

It explains the persistence of poverty, unemployment and inequality nearly 25 years into our democracy.

It is for this reason that we have placed economic growth and job creation at the centre of our national agenda.

It is for this reason too that we have prioritised the education of our children and the skilling of our workforce, and it is for this reason that we are accelerating the provision of land and other assets to the poor and marginalised.

And it is for this reason that in April this year we launched an ambitious and, in the history of our country, unprecedented, drive to raise at least $100 billion in new investment over five years.

We did so understanding that no meaningful growth and no significant job creation would be possible without a massive surge in productive investment in the economy.

Over the last half year, as we have prepared for this Investment Conference, our four Presidential investment envoys – Phumzile Langeni, Jacko Maree, Mcebisi Jonas and Trevor Manuel – have travelled across the country and around the globe to meet potential investors.

Invest SA, our award-winning investment promotion and facilitation agency, has compiled an investment book of projects that represent great potential.

Today, a number of local and international companies will make announcements on investments to expand existing operations in the country or establish new ones.

In addition to the announcements that will be made at this conference we have received investment pledges from a number of countries.

We have appointed task teams to work with these countries to convert these pledges into investments.

We have emphasised the need for more South African companies to lead the investment charge, demonstrating that they have confidence in this economy and in its ability to deliver decent and reliable returns.

In furtherance of this, I call upon South African companies to engage with our investment envoys on their investment plans, including capital expenditure programmes, so that we can have a better idea as a nation what the future portends for our country on the economic growth landscape.

This conference takes place in the wake of a number of decisive measures we have embarked upon in the last few months to improve the investment environment.

Following thoroughgoing consultations with various role players in our economy, we have been addressing issues of policy uncertainty and regulatory obstacles that have impeded investments in a number of industries.

We have been working with the World Bank to improve the ease of doing business in South Africa and crafting a new FDI strategy for the country.

Invest SA is intensifying its facilitation and aftercare service in terms of international best practice.

Together we are working to fast track investment projects and reduce red tape.

As part of the decisive measures that we have had to take, we have had to confront challenges in some of our largest and most strategic state owned enterprises, which have experienced years of poor governance, a decline in financial and operational performance and corruption.

Given the crucial role of these state owned enterprises in the economy, as providers of critical infrastructure and bulk services, it is essential that they be restored as engines of growth and development.

We have replaced the leadership in several state owned enterprises, ensuring that we have people with experience, integrity and the relevant skills who are now leading the development and implementation of sustainable business models.

As a country, we have also had to confront the bitter reality that several public entities have been severely affected by corruption and the phenomenon of state capture.

One of the urgent measures we have had to take is to end such corruption and hold those responsible to account.

We have established a commission of inquiry into state capture that has begun a thorough and far reaching investigation into these practices.

We have also established commission of inquiry into the South African Revenue Service and the Public Investment Corporation, institutions that are both vital to the effective functioning of our economy.

We are certain that these commissions will not only unearth all instances of malfeasance and governance failures, but will help to restore the integrity, credibility and effectiveness of these entities.

As we put in place the pillars of sustained growth into the future, we are working to address immediate concerns, specifically the effects of two quarters of negative economic growth.

Last month, government announced an economic stimulus and recovery plan that aims to restore growth, save existing jobs and create new ones.

As part of this plan, we are taking immediate steps to finalise reforms in key sectors like mining, oil and gas, tourism and telecommunications – all of which are sectors that have great potential for growth, but which have been constrained by policy uncertainty.

The revised Mining Charter has been finalised.

This is the outcome of extensive and meaningful consultation between government, community, labour and business and represents evidence of our commitment to solving the challenges in the sector collaboratively.

Government has decided to draft separate legislation for the oil and gas industry, settling a long-standing dispute that will provide direction and certainty to an industry with great potential.

Through the publication of a new Integrated Resource Plan for public comment, we have provided detail on the country’s future energy requirements.

Government also signed off a number of outstanding renewal energy supply agreements, bringing significant further investment into a growing sector of our economy.

We have finalised consultations with the telecommunications industry and other stakeholders to ensure allocation of spectrum reduces barriers to entry, promotes competition and reduces costs to consumers.

Our independent communications regulator is now preparing to licence available high demand spectrum.

We have initiated a review of our visa regime to facilitate greater arrivals of tourists, highly skilled individuals, business people and investors.

We are reprioritising our budget – within the existing fiscal framework – to invest more in those activities that will boost growth, including agriculture, township and rural businesses, and infrastructure.

We do so in a severely restricted fiscal environment.

As the Minister of Finance indicated when presenting his medium-term budget policy statement earlier in the week, we are determined to ensure public spending remains within sustainable levels – and that we generate greater revenue by pursuing growth with a single-minded determination.

We see infrastructure investment as a critical enabler of growth and job creation, and are therefore consolidating government infrastructure spending into a single Infrastructure Fund.

We intend to use that Fund to leverage investments from development finance institutions, multilateral development banks, asset managers and commercial banks.

A dedicated team will oversee the implementation of an extensive infrastructure programme covering areas like water, transport, energy, telecommunications and social infrastructure.

Despite the challenges of the present, our economy has several fundamental strengths that makes it a suitable destination for investment.

South Africa has established a diversified manufacturing base that has shown its resilience and potential to compete in the global economy.

Yesterday I had occasion to open the R1 billion Gibela passenger train manufacturing factory in this province.

The investment is a collaboration between Alstom from France and a local consortium made up of black businesses and the community.

The factory employs 800 workers, of which half are women.

We applaud this investment as it confirms South Africa’s manufacturing capability.

Multinationals with a presence in South Africa cite numerous advantages, from excellent financial systems to world-class infrastructure.

South Africa is a regional manufacturing and services hub on the African continent, and, for many companies, serves as a base to export products globally.

We have done much work in recent years to improve investment incentives, establishing, for example, several special economic zones across the country, each having unique offerings for investors.

These include ready infrastructure for business development, reduced costs for key inputs such as land, water and electricity, and reduced corporate tax rates.

We are determined that our economic policy must facilitate inclusive growth.

Given our country’s history of dispossession, and the continued economic exclusion of millions of our people, we have a responsibility to bring all our people into the economic mainstream.

Earlier this month, we convened a Presidential Jobs Summit, which brought together government, business, labour and the community sector to determine a set of practical, achievable interventions that would increase the pace of job creation.

The Jobs Summit agreed on more than 70 focused interventions that will, among other things, boost domestic demand, increase and broaden exports, create pathways for young people into work and develop sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, mining and the waste economy.

In addition, we are intensifying work to build a robust and effective education and skills development system that equips our youth for the workplace of tomorrow.

It is important to note that seven of South Africa’s universities are in top 500 in the world.

There are nearly a million students in higher education, and there has been a marked increase in science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates.

We have implemented policies to promote black economic empowerment, to provide black people, women and people with disability with the assets and opportunities they need to participate more meaningfully in economic activity.

Another area that is critical to economic transformation is land reform, which is currently a focus of intense debate across South African society.

There is general agreement among most South Africans that we need to accelerate land reform not only to redress a historical injustice, but also to effectively unlock the economic potential of the country’s land.

We have appointed an Advisory Panel on Land Reform, which comprises people with extensive experience in farming, policy development, academia and law.

The panel will advise government on the implementation of a fair and equitable land reform process that redresses the injustices of the past, increases agricultural output, promotes economic growth and protects food security.

We are committed, as government to pursue a comprehensive approach to land and agrarian reform that ensures transformation, development and stability, while providing certainty to those who own land, to those who need land and to those who are considering investing in the economy.

Our approach reaffirms the constitutional protection of property rights, which, among other things, prohibits the arbitrary deprivation of property.

Together with robust legislation to protect foreign investments, an independent judiciary and the firm rule of law, our Constitution should allay any fears that investors may have of factories being expropriated.

South Africa’s strategic position at the tip of Africa, makes it a key investment location, both for opportunities that lie within its borders and as a gateway to the rest of the region.

Earlier this year, African heads of state agreed to the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area that will provide access to a market of more than 1.2 billion people and a combined GDP of more than $3.4 trillion.

This will fundamentally transform the economies of many African countries and will further enhance the attractiveness of South Africa – with its diverse manufacturing base, advanced infrastructure and sophisticated financial sector – as a compelling investment destination.

Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As South Africa emerges from a period of great difficulty and uncertainty, as it confronts challenges that are immense – but not insurmountable – we can declare with confidence that South Africa is a land of untold opportunity.

It is a land that has known the pain of division and conflict and deprivation.

But, equally, it has experienced the exhilaration of liberation and knows very well the value of partnership and collaboration.

It is therefore our great pleasure to invite you to become our partners in realising the great possibilities that this country has to offer.

We invite you to invest in our mines and factories, farms and game parks, call centres and technology hubs, refineries and solar farms.

We invite you to invest in our people, to harness their energy and unleash their latent capabilities.

We invite you to become valued partners in realising the vision – and sharing the benefits – of a new era of renewal, an era of discovery, an era of prosperity and progress and promise.

I thank you.



Issued by the Presidency


Programme Director, Minister of Labour, Ms Mildred Oliphant,

Nedlac Executive Director, Mr Madoda Vilakazi,

Ministers and Deputy Ministers,

Leaders of labour, business and the community sector,

Members of the diplomatic corps,

Distinguished guests,


Fellow South Africans,


We gather here today to answer the call of the people of South Africa for decent work.

 We have gathered here, as social partners, having agreed on a broad range of measures to create and protect jobs.

 Unemployment is the greatest challenge facing our country at this moment in its history. Unemployment diminishes our ability to eradicate poverty, tackle inequality and improve the lives of the working class and poor.


It has a devastating effect on families and communities, eroding people’s dignity and contributing to social problems like poor health, poor education outcomes, substance abuse and crime. The extreme unemployment in this country is the product of an economy that for several decades has been starved of any meaningful investment in its human capital, where most people have been denied the opportunity to own assets or develop skills. The structure of the economy, which was built on the extraction of minerals, where ownership and control are highly concentrated, remains largely untransformed. As a result, the decline of the mining industry and manufacturing has cost the country millions of jobs and much economic capacity.


Low levels of growth in recent years has undermined our efforts to overcome the economic legacy of apartheid. Policy uncertainty and inconsistency, onerous regulations and declining business and consumer confidence have curtailed investment in the productive sectors of the economy. Significant levels of public investment in infrastructure, which kept the economy afloat following the 2008 global financial crisis, has been tapering off as consumption spending and debt servicing has consumed a greater portion of our budget.


Our economic performance has also been undermined by state capture and corruption in both public institutions and private companies. State capture and corruption has undermined investor confidence and public trust, eroded key institutions of the state and diverted resources intended to support development.


While progress has been made in lifting millions of people out of dire poverty, many of our people still face great hardship. The apartheid spatial landscape makes economic opportunities scarce, increases the cost of living and diminishes quality of life. Many people, especially young people, lack the skills and work experience needed to find a job and participate meaningfully in the economy.


As we speak, rising international oil prices combined with investor concerns about emerging economies are pushing up the price of petrol and other fuels, making life harder and more expensive for all South Africans, but particularly the poor. The jobs that have been created over the past few years have not kept pace with the growth of the population or the expansion of the workforce.


We have therefore gathered here at this Jobs Summit to respond to these economic challenges, which manifest themselves through unemployment, poverty and inequality. In the National Development Plan, we said that if we were to effectively and sustainably tackle this triple challenge, we should aim to reduce unemployment to at least 6% by 2030. We need to acknowledge that we will not be able to reach that target unless we do something extraordinary.


Since the announcement of the Jobs Summit in the State of the Nation Address in February, all social partners have been engaged in intensive discussions to craft an agreement to begin to address this crisis, I wish to commend all social partners for the hard work that has gone into making this Jobs Summit possible and to thank everyone who has contributed to organising this summit. The social partners have agreed that this Presidential Jobs Summit will emerge with a framework agreement that is both ambitious and realisable.


It is the product of intensive engagement among the social partners over several months, in a spirit of cooperation, consensus building to address a problem that affects all of us. Importantly, the framework provides the outline of an emerging social compact to grow an inclusive economy and fundamentally transform our society.


One of the great difficulties we have faced in recent years is that cooperation between communities, labour, business and government has weakened, making it difficult to advance the collective interest. Countries that have succeeded in tackling economic challenges and social problems have had the benefit of getting all social partners to reach agreement on what needs to be done and to work together to ensure that it gets done.


Countries like Ireland, Spain and the Netherlands have been successful in forging social accords in response to economic difficulty. Yet, in South Africa, with low levels of trust, weak confidence and heightened social tensions, we have neglected our greatest strength as a society – our ability to unite and work together.


It was by working together that we managed to overcome apartheid, that we brought an end to an intractable conflict that had raged for generations, and were able to write a democratic Constitution that guarantees the equal rights of all. Now this framework agreement gives us the opportunity to once again develop trust and forge cooperation. Through this framework agreement we are demonstrating that we are capable of developing a new social compact for jobs, growth and transformation.


This Presidential Jobs Summit is just the start of a process of engagement and collaboration that will intensify in the coming months. This Jobs Summit is not a once-off event, but the first phase of an extensive process in which all social partners will work closely together to improve growth, protect existing jobs and create new jobs.


The framework agreement makes provision for monitoring mechanisms – including a Presidential Jobs Committee (what I have dubbed the Presidential Jobs Brains Trust) – to ensure effective implementation of the measures to which we have agreed. It acknowledges that there are several areas that require further work and refinement, and social partners have agreed to devote more time for discussion to reach consensus on these.


I will now touch on the key issues that the social partners have agreed should emerge from this Jobs Summit. As a critical starting point, social partners agreed that in the current economic environment the Jobs Summit must focus on both creating new jobs and retaining existing one.  All social partners have committed themselves to concrete steps to avoid retrenchments and support struggling companies.


To address this challenge, we have agreed that the training layoff scheme, which was introduced in response to the 2008 global financial crisis, should be immediately revived and improved. Business and government have agreed to establish rapid response teams of experts to assist businesses in crisis. There is agreement that all possible alternatives and opportunities need to be explored before retrenchment is considered, including executive salary sacrifices and the foregoing of dividends.

 For the economy to grow and for jobs to be created, it is essential that there is a substantial increase in domestic demand. This means that South African companies, government and consumers must buy local. If we do not buy the food that comes out of South African soil, there will be no farms and no farmworkers. If we do not buy the goods made by South African hands, there will be no factories and no workers. The most direct way for South Africans and South African companies to create jobs is to buy only South African products.


This is a message that must reverberate across the country and that must find expression in concrete action. The framework agreement goes into detail on measures to promote local procurement both within the public and private sectors – even to the point of outlining interventions in specific sectors and companies.


Government has undertaken to simplify and speed up the process for the designation of products for local procurement, and organised labour, in partnership with Proudly SA, will proactively identify opportunities for new designations.  As part of this agreement, a number of companies have made specific commitments to local procurement initiatives as part of their operational strategies. These include companies such as Adcock Ingram, Anglogold Ashanti, Clientele, Coca Cola SA, Edcon, First Rand, Lixil, Mondi, Nandos, Nestle, AB InBev, Sappi, Sasol, Standard Bank and Tsogo Sun. They will be the first to be invited to join a ‘Buy SA Circle’, which recognises companies that are leaders in buying local and have demonstrated in practice their commitment to supporting South African enterprise. Companies that sign up to this commitment will, among other things, be celebrated at an annual dinner convened by the President.  While promoting local demand, social partners have also identified the need to more aggressively promote South African exports.


From this Jobs Summit, we will embark on an export drive that prioritises manufactured and processed goods, ensuring that we derive the full employment benefit of our mineral and agricultural resources. We will seize the opportunities presented by regional integration and the establishment of an African Continental Free Trade Area to produce more goods for other African markets. Social partners have agreed to unblock impediments to expanding exports – such as inefficiencies at ports and poor knowledge of potential markets – and to ensure greater support to companies seeking export opportunities. Through this framework agreement, we will be mobilising finance on a far greater scale, ensuring that it is focused on building our manufacturing capacity.


The financial sector, as part of its transformation code, will invest R100 billion over five years in black-owned industrial enterprises.  Government will work with the financial sector to develop facilities for financing at preferential rates and extended repayment terms.


The social partners have agreed on strategic interventions in economic sectors that have great potential for growth and even more potential for employment creation.


The agriculture and agro-processing value chain, as set out in the NDP and the nine-point plan, is one area that has significant potential. It is estimated that global demand for fresh produce could increase South Africa’s horticultural trade from R54 billion to R90 billion by 2030.


Through our programme of accelerated land reform, we will expand the area of land under cultivation, substantially increase the number of people productively working the land and provide rural dwellers with the ownership and tenure rights needed to unlock the economic potential of their land. Specific interventions include the procurement of new hectares under black ownership and redirecting expenditure to black-owned and women-owned farmers, producers and processors.  Blended finance models for effective agricultural support are being finalised. In addition to government initiatives amounting to approximately R600 million, Agbiz and the Banking Association of South Africa have developed a blended finance model designed specifically to make additional funds available to assist potential redistribution beneficiaries to access capital.


In the metals, mining and machinery sector, government has agreed to expeditiously finalise an export tax on scrap metal and ensure better access to incentives like the Downstream Steel Industry Competitiveness Fund. Other value chains that are receiving focused attention include sub sectors of the manufacturing industry in clothing, textiles, leather and footwear, furniture and the automotive industry.


Organised labour, through one of its member unions, plans to open a union-owned clothing factory in the Eastern Cape within the next two years.


This innovative and welcome initiative will create around 100 jobs initially and aims to contribute to the re-industrialisation of a province which suffers from widespread poverty and unemployment. If we are to succeed in creating the number of jobs we need, it is essential that small, medium and micro enterprises like these take their rightful place in the economic life of our nation.


Social partners have agreed to maximise the collaboration between public and private sector hubs and incubators.  Government will continue to advocate, educate, assist and monitor the implementation of the 30% set aside for SMMEs by all spheres of government and their agencies.


One of the country’s greatest potential strengths is our young population, whose capabilities and talents the social partners are committed to develop as a matter of priority. A specific area of focus is the development of the technical skills that are required in the industrial economy.


Mechanisms are being put in place to enable companies to form partnerships with nearby TVET colleges, where the colleges offer the theoretical component of the programme and companies offer the practical and workplace components.


This is part of a series of initiatives supported through the framework agreement to ensure that graduates are absorbed into the economy. Effective skills development on a large scale will not only help to expand the opportunities and capabilities of young people but will also assist in reducing the wage gap between the lowest and highest paid due to skills scarcities.


One of the greatest barriers to investment, growth and job creation is corruption within all spheres of government, state owned enterprises and companies. We are determined as government to intensify the work we have already started to end state capture and root out corruption wherever it occurs and to bring those responsible to book. The social partners have agreed to support the government’s anti-corruption strategy and to develop their own complementary strategies.


Business has committed to implementing a zero-tolerance approach to corruption and will develop several initiatives to develop training to combat corruption. Social partners agreed on the need to introduce financial disclosure for all relevant government employees and the conduct of lifestyle audits.


Fellow South Africans,


Through this Jobs Summit, government, labour, business and the community sector have agreed on concrete interventions to boost employment. We estimate that these interventions will create an additional 275,000 direct jobs a year. This is over and above the jobs that would have been created without these interventions, which was on average about 300,000 a year over the past four years. The Jobs Summit agreement complements other initiatives to create jobs.


In addition to what has been agreed between the social partners under the auspices of Nedlac, several companies are working – either individually or with others in their sector – on plans to expand and create new jobs. They have taken the initiative themselves, understanding that sustainable employment creation is beneficial to their business, to the communities in which they are located and to broader society.


They understand that job creation is part of a virtuous cycle. Greater employment increases demand for goods and services, enabling established companies to expand and new ones to emerge, thereby creating more job opportunities and greater demand.


Stimulus and recovery plan


The framework agreement that will emerge from this Summit provides significant additional impetus to the implementation of the economic stimulus and recovery plan we announced two weeks ago. The plan includes a range of immediate measures to restore the economy to growth, improve investor confidence and establish a platform for greater job creation.


As part of the plan, government will:


-          implement growth enhancing economic reforms,


-          reprioritise public spending to support job creation,


-          establish an Infrastructure Fund,


-          address urgent needs in education and health,


-          invest in municipal social infrastructure improvement.


Our experience is that infrastructure development can draw many unemployed people into economic activity relatively quickly. The Infrastructure Fund we are establishing, which will be supported by a strong technical team in the Presidency, will ensure that infrastructure projects are implemented faster, with less wastage and have a greater impact on employment creation and localisation.


Government’s contribution to the Infrastructure Fund will be in excess of R400 billion over the next three years, which we will use to leverage additional resources from developmental finance institutions, multilateral development banks, and private lenders and investors. Through specific economic reforms, government will unlock opportunities in sectors of the economy that have great potential for growth.


These include mining, oil and gas, tourism and telecommunications. The Jobs Summit framework agreement will support this through reforms in other areas – such as streamlining of water license applications and registration of medicines.


The stimulus and recovery plan will see the reprioritisation of around R50 billion of public funding towards activities that will stimulate job creation in agriculture, township economies and rural areas. By expanding the package of support to black commercial farmers, the plan will boost an underdeveloped part of the agricultural industry and provide jobs to those who most need it.


Government has also prioritised the revitalisation of industrial parks, primarily in townships, which will create job opportunities in areas where many of our people live. This commitment, to take jobs to the people, also informs our plan to establish a township and rural entrepreneurship fund to support South Africans with businesses in townships and rural areas. The plan will also have an impact on the filling of critical medical posts, including nurses and interns. The stimulus and recovery plan recognises that growth alone is not enough – it needs to be accompanied by employment, specifically for young people and women.


We need to achieve growth that is inclusive and redistributive. Everyone has a role to play in forging a social compact to create jobs. Trade unions must continue to act as a check and balance.  They must articulate and advance the interests of workers and must push back against exploitative practices and unsafe environments in the work place.  Unions have taken up the challenge to work with employers to eradicate discrimination in the workplace, to promote labour stability, to reduce income inequality and to reach fair and sustainable wage agreements – understanding that these are necessary conditions for increased levels of investment and employment.


When it comes to business, firms have a specific responsibility to provide goods and services and introduce training and new technologies and production techniques which increase competitiveness and productivity and reduce the negative impact on the environment.  Business leaders have taken up the challenge to better recognise the value of regulatory interventions which seek to root out private sector corruption and which seek to stimulate more inclusive growth through limiting anti-competitive conduct and structures.


An effective social compact requires a capable, developmental state, that has the resources and administrative capacity to offer workers and working class communities credible and effective programmes of service delivery.  The developmental state must be capable of guiding and regulating market activity in such a way that the structure of opportunity is transformed and inclusive.


South Africa needs a new approach to growth and development – one informed by our collective interest and which harnesses the capabilities of all social partners who should see themselves as being irrevocably committed to creating a prosperous society where all our people live a better life in peace and harmony. We are agreed that our country cannot achieve meaningful progress without faster growth and a great deal more jobs. And we cannot achieve this if each of us works alone.


We need to trust each other as social partners, to understand how our shared and individual interests combine, to cooperate and to work together for a common vision – a growing economy in which the benefits are shared by everyone. Through this Presidential Jobs Summit, we are each, as government, labour, business and community, confirming our determination to build a better South Africa for all. I want to conclude by reminding us what we said in the preamble to the National Development Plan:


“We have created a home where everybody feels free yet bound to others: where everyone embraces their full potential.


We are proud to be a community that cares. We have received the mixed legacy of inequalities in opportunity and in where we have lived, but we have agreed to change our narrative of conquest, oppression, resistance (and may I add unemployment, inequality, poverty).


We know:


What we do, and how we do it, is as important as what we want to achieve.

What we are, is because of who we have been and what we want to become.

We are people at work

We work to create plenty

Our work brings us ever closer to our dreams

Work grounds our dreams even the more fantastic they are

The reality of work connects us to our dreams.”


These are the dreams of millions of South Africans. It is their dream to find work that this Job Summit must make a reality.  As we sign and implement the framework agreement, we do so for those millions of South Africans who yearn to work.


I thank you.