Zuma promises a hands-on, accessible executive

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Parliament - President-elect Jacob Zuma has committed that the new government under his leadership would be more hands on, accessible and deliver on its commitments.

"As the Executive we will do our best to be more hands-on, more accessible and to deliver on our commitments," he said, delivering his acceptance speech after being elected as President of the Republic by an outright majority in the National Assembly.

Mr Zuma said in the next five years, South Africans would be able to depend on public representatives to serve them with dignity and respect and to maintain the decorum of Parliament, which is the face of democracy.

He said his administration would work with opposition parties on issues that are of national interest.

Opposition parties have welcomed the election of Mr Zuma, saying it its an exciting time for the country and its people.

Mr Zuma, who will officially be inaugurated on Saturday at the Union Buildings, said the new government would have five set priorities, including education, health, land reform and rural development, the fight against crime as well as creating "decent work".

This focus would ensure effective implementation. "We are determined to leave an indelible mark in these five areas."

However, the immediate priority would be to respond decisively to the challenges posed by the global economic downturn.

"We must move quickly to implement the framework agreed by government, business and labour to protect jobs and boost the economy," he said.

He thanked the outgoing Cabinet for their good service and also thanked outgoing President Kgalema Motlanthe. Mr Motlanthe's tenure will officially end on Saturday, when Mr Zuma is inaugurated as President.

While not divulging who would take up seats in his Cabinet, Mr Zuma said he had gained from the wisdom of the top five ANC officials whom he had consulted on the matter. "I should be able to produce a team that will work very hard, and with necessary speed."

He said he intended to have Cabinet assume office by 11 May so that "we can get down to business".

"We mean business when we talk about faster change," said the President-elect.