President Jacob Zuma's inauguration address

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Union Buildings, Pretoria

24 May 2014

Your Majesties Kings and Queens,

Your Excellencies Heads of State and Government,

Former President Thabo Mbeki and your best half

Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Mrs Motlanthe

All former heads of state and government,

Chairpersons of the African Union and the African Union Commission,

Distinguished representatives of respective countries and of international organisations,
The Presiding Officers of Parliament,

The Chief Justice of the Republic,
Ministers, Premiers, Deputy Ministers, MECs, Mayors,

Members of Parliament,

Leaders of political parties,

Religious and traditional leaders,

Representatives of business, sports, media and the entertainment sector,

Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Veterans of our struggle,
Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

Fellow South Africans,

I greet you all.

I am greatly honoured to stand before you today, to accept the mandate bestowed upon us by millions of our people, to lead this great nation for the next five years.

I accept this responsibility and privilege with great humility, given the history of our country and where we come from as a nation.

Ours is a nation that has produced generations of selfless freedom fighters, who made untold sacrifices, so that we could live in a country that is free of racial discrimination and oppression.

This is a nation that has worked tirelessly to build a new society from the ashes of apartheid,  opting for reconciliation and progress instead of retribution.

This year we mark 20 years of freedom, and 20 years since President Nelson Mandela took the oath of office at this very Amphitheatre.

We began building a new society, based on fundamental human rights, equality, unity in diversity and the promotion of the dignity of all.

The democratic government set out to implement policies and programmes that would change the quality of life of all, especially the poor and workers.

A lot of progress has been made.

Millions of our people now have access to basic social services and an improved quality of life, which they did not enjoy before the dawn of freedom.

Today we wish to acknowledge the contribution of every South African to the process of renewal, reconstruction and development of this country in the past 20 years of freedom. It is through your hard work, that we are able to count so many achievements in only 20 years of freedom.

However, our work is not yet completed.

Last year we conducted a frank formal Review of progress made in the past 20 years of democratic rule.

The Review indicated that South Africa is a much better place to live in now than before 1994, due to the transformative policies of our democratic government.

At the same time, the Review also confirmed that while the lives of millions of people have improved, poverty, inequality and unemployment still persist.

The reversal of the legacy of apartheid colonialism will require more intense efforts from all South Africans.

We have successfully completed the first phase of transformation.

Today marks the beginning of the second phase of our transition from apartheid to a national democratic society.

This second phase will involve the implementation of radical socio-economic transformation policies and programmes over the next five years.

We have already placed before the nation, the National Development Plan, our road map which outlines the type of society we envisage by the year 2030.

Through this programme, we will move South Africa forward to prosperity and success.

At a social level, as outlined in the NDP, our vision is to develop communities where households will have access to housing, water, electricity, sanitation, safe and reliable public transport, health, education, security, recreational facilities, a clean environment and adequate nutrition to count a few.

Economic transformation will take centre-stage during this new term of government as we put the economy on an inclusive growth path.

As the National Development Plan outlines, the structure of the economy will be transformed through industrialisation, broad-based black economic empowerment and through strengthening and expanding the role of the state in the economy.

State owned enterprises and development finance institutions will become engines of development, complementing the State in promoting inclusive economic growth.

We have made some progress in changing the ownership and control of the economy, but much more work must still be done.

In this regard, we will improve the implementation of the employment equity and black economic empowerment laws during this term.

Land restitution and redistribution and other forms of empowerment will also be better executed in the new term of government.

Our economic transformation programme also reaffirms our commitment to promoting local companies, entrepreneurs and cooperatives through local procurement by the state and its agencies.

The National Development Plan also prioritises the national infrastructure development programme.


We will continue to build schools, railways, ports, universities, clinics, colleges, power stations, broadband, roads and more infrastructures around the country.  This programme will continue to be the flagship of government.


The end result of all these transformative economic programmes is a growing inclusive economy which creates jobs and provides opportunities for all, especially the youth.


With regards to safety and security, our vision is to ensure that by 2030, people living in South Africa should feel completely safe at home, at school and at work at any given time.


To enable us to achieve these key objectives, the performance of the state will need to improve. 

Key targets in this regard will be to eradicate corruption and inefficiency in the public service.

We will promote productivity within the public service and ensure much tighter accountability, with firm consequences where there is a failure to deliver services to our people.


We have a lot of work to do.

We will need the backing of a united and cohesive nation behind us as we move South Africa forward.

In this regard, government will promote nation building programmes to rebuild the soul of our nation.

Many South Africans still bear the emotional scars arising from decades of apartheid divisions and hatred.

Therefore, the national healing and reconciliation process has to continue.

We will work together to promote unity, understanding and tolerance across race and colour lines, as we build a South Africa that truly belongs to all.


Our country will also continue to play its role in the continent and abroad. 

Our vision is that of a South Africa that is a key promoter and contributor to sustainable development, democracy, the rule of law, human rights and peace within the continent.

We will continue to champion African growth, development and prosperity through supporting regional integration, intra-Africa trade and the development of infrastructure.

Our participation in various multilateral institutions such as the United Nations, G20 and special forums such as BRICS, will continue, aimed at promoting a fairer and more just world.


Let me again express my deep gratitude as I accept this mandate.

We do not take this confidence bestowed upon us lightly. We are  truly humbled and will do all in our power to build a South Africa in which all citizens will have a sense of belonging and hope for a brighter future.

We invite all our people to work with us as we implement the National Development Plan.

I hereby commit the fifth democratically elected administration to serve our people with humility, commitment and dedication.

We will strive to build a caring society and to be an administration that will serve our people with courtesy, ubuntu and efficiency.

The road ahead is long and demanding. The challenges ahead may seem insurmountable, but we are determined to succeed, as we have always succeeded in our efforts to overcome challenges.

We must succeed in honour of Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Walter Sisulu, Dorothy Nyembe, Solomon Mahlangu, Braam Fischer and indeed all our illustrious leaders who laid the foundation for a non-racial, non-sexist, united and prosperous South Africa.


Bantu bakithi eNingizimu Africa,

Siyanibonga kakhulu ngokusihlonipha okungaka.

Siyathembisa ukuthi uhulumeni omusha uzosebenza ngokuzikhandla, elungisa izimpilo zabo bonke abantu ikakhulukazi abampofu kanye nezimpabanga nabasebenzi.

Masibambisaneni, siqhubele iNingizimu Afrika phambili.

Together, let us move South Africa forward.

Re a leboga

I thank you. 



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