Govt to continue carrying out '94 mandate

Friday, February 6, 2009

Parliament - Government activities over the next few months will be based on the need to complete the mandate it had set in 1994, when the country reached democracy, as well as ensure the new administration receives a ready platform to implement its programmes without undue delays.

President Kgalema Motlanthe on Friday delivered his first State of the Nation Address to a Joint Sitting of Parliament, broadcast live to the nation.

His address, which traditionally informs governments Programme of Action for the year, comes as his short tenure is expected to end within the next few months.

"Informing our endeavours are two basic principles: the need for us to complete the mandate accorded this government in 2004; and the imperative to ensure that the government that comes in after the elections finds a ready platform to implement its programmes without undue delays," said President Motlanthe.

He said in the few months left of his Presidency, pending the national and provincial elections, government would endeavour to complete its 1994 mandate.

"As part of the many detailed projects contained in the government's Programme of Action, we will pay particular attention to creating the capacity necessary for improved service delivery and better integration within and across the spheres of government, including national strategic planning."

He said government would continue with its War on Poverty programme and finalise the draft of the Comprehensive Anti-poverty Strategy through the public consultations which were currently underway.

Government will also continue implementing the comprehensive programme put in place to eliminate the incidence of cholera in various parts of the country which has infected many people in the country so far.

The research and consultations on the Comprehensive Social Security System will be finalized too. The construction of a comprehensive social-security system will result in substantial changes to the existing social-insurance funds, the enhancement of administrative arrangements, a new tax structure, and adjustments to employee benefits across the economy.

The campaign to save energy will be intensified over the next few months, so as to manage the current difficulties and change the behaviour of South Africans, while at the same time speeding up the projects to build new capacity and utilise alternative energy sources.

The President said this would be done while recognising that in addition to the consequences of climate change, resources such as fossil fuels and water are declining in the same measure as demand is increasing.

He said government was integrating into the work of the relevant Clusters the findings of research on Second Economy interventions such as the community works programme, support for small and micro-enterprises and rural development initiatives.

Referring to crime as a major source of insecurity for South Africans, the President said efforts to revamp the criminal justice system, including better forensic capacity, rapid increase in the number of detectives, optimal utilisation of information and communications technology, and better management of the courts would also be intensified.

President Montlanthe said his administration would also focus on "facilitating the processes aimed at strengthening the machineries dealing with matters of gender equality such as 50/50 representation in decision-making structures, youth development, the rights of people with disability and children's rights."

This includes completing consultations on the National Youth Policy, preparing for the implementation of the African Youth Charter once it has been processed by Parliament, and for the setting up of the National Youth Development Agency; submitting the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development to Parliament; strengthening advocacy on the rights of people with disability; and extending the number of municipalities that have set up Children's Rights Focal Points beyond the current 60 percent.

"These and other programmes, including the Apex Priorities identified in the State of the Nation Address last February, form the bedrock of our efforts to conclude the popular mandate and lay the foundation for the future," said the President.

He added that these efforts would be inspired by the enthusiasm, the hope and the resilience of the South African people in pursuit of that which is good for all of us.