Deputy President takes stock of 2019

Friday, December 27, 2019

Fellow South Africans,

Once again, it is that time of the year in our calendar, where we join in various festivities - our families, our friends, our loved ones and our communities, to mark the end of an often long and busy year. 

To some, it has been a year of success, and coming to life of hope for a better tomorrow. Yet for others, it has been a year of pain and grief for the loss of their loved ones. 

Even in such contrasting circumstances, we are always called upon to join hands as a people, and lend a shoulder to all those around us, for Christmas is a time for giving and a time for cultivating hope of a better tomorrow. 

As a people of this great nation, we have much to celebrate as much as we must reflect on the state of our public affairs.  2019 has been a tough year, as our economy continued to strain leading to job losses. 

We have experienced certain inconveniences visited upon us by less than predicable energy supply, causing power outages in our homes and areas of work. This has led to unfortunate disruption of our daily lives. We commit to change this situation for the better.  

We further experienced severe drought in some provinces that has affected agricultural production and impacting on food security and jobs in the sector. In the similar vein, there are many South Africans who lost their homes and belongings due to floods. 

These contrasting natural disasters, are testament to changing climatic conditions. As Government, we will continue to ensure that the impact of these changes is mitigated. 

In the midst of all these challenges, this has also been a year of major successes that bring a sense of pride and nationhood. 

In May this year, we successfully held our National General Elections marking 25 years of freedom. We went out united to vote in our millions, and peacefully exercised our democratic right to elect parties of our choice that would represent us in Parliament and Provincial Legislatures. Through that act of unity, we once again demonstrated the maturity of our democracy.

Fellow South Africans,

Our comprehensive programme against HIV/AIDS, TB and Sexually Transmitted Infections continued to yield good results. We now have the biggest HIV treatment programme in the world, which we now must compliment with a massive programme on prevention. As we enjoy ourselves during this time, we are particularly called upon to act responsibly and prevent new infections that are mostly affecting young members of our communities.

On socio-cultural front, the Soweto Gospel Choir won the Grammy for the Best World Music Album, Miss Zozibini Tunzi won the Miss Universe title, the 17 year Kealeboga Matsafu, was crowned Miss Teen Queen of Globe for 2019, our Netball team was crowned the 2019 Africa Netball Champions, the Springboks brought home the Webb Ellis Cup, and the Under 23 football team qualified for the 2020 Olympic Games. 

These are but some of the many achievements of South Africans here at home and abroad. Indeed, despite all our challenges, we remain a winning nation. 

Just as we celebrate these human achievements, in the same breath, we are mindful of the blight of racism, tribalism, violence against women, xenophobia and homophobia that continues to befall our nation. 

These social ills are in conflict with our values as South Africans. They are an antithesis of a South Africa and a society that we seek to build, in line with our strategic objective of our National Liberation Movement. 

That is why we must join hands to isolate from society all those who perpetuate these acts of violence and abuse against women, children, older persons and all the vulnerable amongst us.

For us, Christmas should represents a new season of hope for a different tomorrow. Therefore, during this time we must commit to a different path of a South Africa we aspire for ourselves and for future generations. A South Africa, where poverty and unemployment, will not be a defining feature of our nation.

In this regard, Government will continue to prioritise youth and women who are the majority in our society, and who in the main are unemployed. We shall continue to weave our responses differently and ensure that the path we are on, is taking us towards shared growth, shared prosperity, human dignity and development. 

Those of us in leadership positions, whether in government, in parliament, in business, in churches, mosques, temples and  synagogues,  must always appreciate that ours is to join hands and work for the good of our country. 

The positions we hold are not for posturing and point-scoring, but they are about collective responsibility of building a country where all of our people have a place under the sun. 

As we focus on all important things in life, among which is family as a unit and symbol of belonging, let us equally love and care for our neighbours as we love and care for ourselves. We must heed the lessons found in the parable of the Good Samaritan. 

Thus, we are called upon to be brotherly and care for those who are less fortunate, for it is in our nature and our humanity to do so. 

We are calling for peace and coexistence among all the people. Our call for tolerance, is especially to those communities grappling with finding peace and resolution to their conflicts. To them, we extend our hand of friendship. We wish them wisdom and strength to navigate their political challenges that have led them to conflict and displacement of people. 

On behalf of the President and Government, we would like to wish you and your families Merry Christmas and a joyous Festive Season.

We thank you.