President Zuma speech will set tone for the future

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

President Jacob Zuma will tonight deliver his State of the Nation Address (SoNA) and outline government’s programme of action for the year. His address will largely be informed by decisions from the Cabinet Lekgotla that took place last week at Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria. The Lekgotla brought together ministers, provincial premiers and senior government officials to discuss the Medium Term Strategic Framework and the National Development Plan with the aim of moving South Africa forward.

The Lekgotla was also about prioritising service delivery and ensuring that quality services are brought to the people. Speaking on the side-lines of the meeting, Minister in the Presidency Mr Jeff Radebe stated: “Our president is deeply concerned about the protests that have been happening around the country. We are going to make sure that we go into those areas with concrete responses.”

The SoNA will set a clear tone for the period ahead and is an opportunity for the President to directly share his plans with the nation, and the world. South Africans should familiarise themselves with the content of the address so that they can share and contribute to our future vision.

Our successes over the past 20 years have shown what can be achieved if we all work together and towards a common goal. Ultimately the success or failure of Vision 2030 rest on our collective shoulders and the onus is on all South Africans to unite and make it a reality. Our representative democracy empowers all of us to monitor government and hold it accountable. This is in line with the vision of active citizenry and a capable and developmental state, as envisaged in the National Development Plan.

President Jacob Zuma has appointed skilled and competent men and women to take the country forward. Constitutionally, the President of the Republic is entrusted with the appointment of the deputy president, ministers and their deputies. The team is selected from the members of the National Assembly, and he may in terms of the Constitution select no more than two ministers from outside the Assembly.

His administration will bring together different constituencies and will be one that will ultimately safeguard the interests of all people. South Africans can be rest assured that this is a caring and responsive government, which will serve everyone diligently.

In the words of President Zuma during his recent presidential inauguration: “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.”

In order to succeed the new government is reliant on the help and support of all South Africans. In addition, it will lean heavily on the dedicated men and women in the Public Service. Our dedicated public servants are the frontline of service delivery and are therefore expected to embody Batho Pele (People First), the Public Service’s guiding principles of consultation, service standards, access, courtesy, information, openness and transparency, redress and value for money.

The annual SoNa also holds special significance in the sense that it takes into account the pulse of the nation and needs of the country. This year’s SoNA takes place against the background of the celebrations of 20 Years of Freedom. As a united nation we need to build on the gains we have made over the last twenty years.   

However, during the address it is not always possible for the President to provide extensive details on every announcement and undertaking he makes. It is against this background that more details and specifics on the pronouncements emanating from the SoNA are generally given during post SoNA briefings by relevant Government Clusters Ministers.  In the week following the State of the Nation Address media briefing will be taking place wherein the Cluster Ministers will be unpacking what their respective programmes will entail.

All South Africans are encouraged to show keen interest in this auspicious event and subsequent briefings so as to ensure they are able to play an active part in moving the country forward and assist government in its quest to eliminate the triple challenge of inequality, poverty and unemployment.

Phumla Williams is Acting CEO of the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS)


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