Inaugural Address by the Mpumalanga Premier, Mr DD Mabuza
29 May 2014
Honoured Justice A.Ledwaba,
Honoured Speaker of the Provincial Legislature,
Members of the National Assembly
Members of the Legislature,
Mayors and Councillors,
Ubukhosi obukhona phakathi kwethu,
Business and Labour Representatives present here today,
Distinguished guests, compatriots and friends
I stand before you today a humble representative of our ruling party, the African National Congress, which has once again succeeded in securing the overwhelming support of our nation to take our country forward towards the realization of a better life for all.
On the 7th May, the people of South Africa once again came out in their millions to make their marks for a future that was conceived by the founding leaders of our African National Congress (ANC) more than 100 years ago. It is a future characterised by our relentless pursuit of a transformed society anchored on democratic values and respect for human rights and human dignity.
Let me take this opportunity to thank the people of this country, and especially of this Province, for once more putting your trust in the ANC – the victory that we recorded at the polls is both an affirmation of our successes to date and an invitation to demonstrate that we can, indeed, do more.
Our interactions with the people of our country in the run up to the elections created open platforms for us to engage with our citizens and to reflect candidly on both our achievements and our shortcomings.
We have succeeded in taking democracy to our people, we have listened to the praise and the admonitions of our fellow citizens and we have set a course that seeks to build on our strengths and improve in those areas where we have fallen short.
We took time and listened to the voices of young people who want us to create more opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship. We listened to older persons and the poor encouraging us to do more to create jobs and provide houses alongside basic services such as water and sanitation.
While celebrating our successes over the last five years, we listened to the voices of discontent directing us take care of our roads infrastructure. We listened because we understood that the people of this country and this Province know that the African National Congress is the only proven political platform to carry their aspirations forward.
The ANC-led government is poised to build on its past successes and continue to respond proactively to the needs of our people, and through our dedication to the collective vision for South Africa in 2030, indeed, the people shall govern.
I would also like to thank the ANC for once more entrusting me with the responsibility of leading this Province. For me, reprising the role of Premier is an enormous honour and an equally great opportunity to ensure that we continue to grow the “good stories” of this Province well into the future.
We are humbled to ascend the pedestal laid by the giants of the liberation struggle, not for us to trumpet and bask in the glory of our own short term successes but to understand the historic mission to change the living conditions of the poor and transform society for the better. Such is humility with which we must accept leadership responsibilities entrusted upon all of us to work for the people of this Province.
Our generation of leaders is emboldened by the knowledge that the light of great ANC stalwarts such as Inkosi Albert Luthuli, Nelson Mandela, Oliver Tambo, Solomon Mahlangu and many others continues to shine on the path of a new society founded on the values espoused in the Freedom Charter. In the Province of the 'Rising Sun', the people have affirmed that the sun shall never set on the work of such a glorious Movement, the African National Congress
The ANC leads. The ANC is the future.
On this special day we have gathered as people of Mpumalanga to continue a long journey together, to count every mile, cross every bridge, brave every storm and climb every mountain to reach the pinnacle of our collective destiny. Our collective destiny is embodied in a tapestry of dreams, hopes and endless possibilities for the future society that we want for ourselves and our children.
We all share a vision of Mpumalanga:
• where no baby must weep because of hunger,
• where no mother must die in our hospitals,
• where no child must be denied access to quality education irrespective of social status
• where no rural child must cross overflowing rivers and forests in search of education
• where no family must share water with animals from the pond;
• where no family is hungry because there are no opportunities to earn a living,
• where all children, mothers and grandmothers can walk freely and sleep peacefully because no criminal looms in the shadows to rape and maim them
It is a vision within our reach. It may be a long path strewn with obstacles and pitfalls, but there is no reason to fear the long road ahead because our collective power and belief to make Mpumalanga better is stronger than any hurdle in our way to prosperity and success.
Our collective and shared destiny is in our hands.
Etched in our hearts and minds is the knowledge that ours is to uphold and deepen the legacy of great leaders whose spirited leadership and selfless sacrifice began to re-build this united, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous nation from the ashes of apartheid conflict and racial subjugation.
Never, and never at any point should it be that our actions and self-interests betray the progressive realization of rights and freedoms that our predecessors fought for.
Our unity of purpose and collective strength must propel us as leaders at all levels to understand the urgency of our task at hand. Across the political spectrum, there can be no room for indulgence in pettiness and self-gratification that divert us from putting the interests of the Province first.
From the ruins of a divided nation, our predecessors pointed us to the future path of unity. Working with all sectors, we will continue to create social platforms and engagements that foster social cohesion and promote nation building.
As the ANC-led government in the Province, we will continue to invite everyone to work with us as we deliver on the manifesto priorities of the ruling party.
As we reflect on the 20 years of democracy, we have to build on the positive stories that define the journey we have traversed to this point.
We must continue to consolidate and deepen progress made in building a new sense of national consciousness and collective identity that define a new sense of nationhood. We must continue with our task of building a stable, peaceful and cohesive society.
Today, I draw inspiration from the ordinary people of this Province whose hard work continues to contribute towards creating a winning Province.
I accept the honour and privilege of this leadership role confident that the people of this Province are behind us as the ANC-led government.
I believe that with the full support of the ANC leadership, members of the legislature, government officials and the people of this Province we can only succeed in moving our “place of the rising sun” to even greater heights.
Taking the reins as Premier once more affords me the opportunity to reflect on these successes with an eye on the future – looking at what has worked well in the past, and what needs to be done to improve as we move ahead.
The ANC 2014 Manifesto clearly maps the issues that require our urgent attention, and on the 7th May you overwhelmingly mandated us to set our sights firmly on the following priority areas:
• Creation of more jobs, decent work and sustainable livelihoods for inclusive growth
• Rural development, land reform and food security
• Fighting crime and corruption
We will continue to expand access to housing and basic services as part of building integrated and sustainable human settlements
As a Province, we are still labouring under the burdens of poverty, unemployment and inequality, and it is my firm belief that we will need a radical approach over the next five years if we are to see the economic transformation required to support our social and developmental objectives.
We believe that the economy is the key that will both unlock our potential and secure our collective futures as citizens of this promising Province. We will pay particular attention to the development of small businesses and cooperatives to drive the provincial economy to a trajectory that fosters inclusive growth and create much-needed employment.
Our infrastructure build programme will be geared towards supporting the development of priority economic sectors and enhancing strategic social infrastructure networks that improve the quality of life of all citizens.
Our partnerships with business will focus on skills development and the absorption of millions of young people into employment.
Building on our successes over the last five years we will continue to focus on:
• Ensuring that our education system pays special attention to Early Childhood Development and deliver improved quality of education and training
• Ensuring that our health system is effective in creating a robust foundation for the implementation of the National Health Insurance
• Delivering adequate infrastructure to facilitate the achievement of priority socio-economic outcomes
• Improving the quality of service delivery through targeted programmes to support our municipalities to perform at the required level in terms of their mandates.
Honoured guests, we are on our marks to move forward with speed and renewed vigour in our service to the millions of people in this Province who mandated the ANC to serve them for another five years. We are your servants ready to toil and sweat to create a better life for all.
For us, Mpumalanga’s future is inextricably linked to the future of our country and we must therefore do our part to realise the vision for 2030 that is detailed in South Africa’s National Development Plan.
This commitment to our collective expectations of a better life asks us to build relationships with our citizens and our social partners so that we can reach our stated socio economic development goals.
As we do this, we re-affirm our undertaking to do all we can to ensure that our provincial government and our service delivery machinery in particular is well-oiled and delivers as mandated. To this end we continue to focus on improving the systems and processes that drive delivery as well as the skills and capacities of our cohort of dedicated public servants.
Our people want government that is people-centred and responsive to the needs and challenges facing communities. We will continue to improve the overall performance the public service and enhance accountability for results.
Once more I would like to thank the ANC for believing in me and I know that with the support of the ANC leadership our success is certain.
Once again, my gratitude extends to the people of this inspirational Province. Your support has kept us on course and I humbly invite you to join me as we continue our journey into the future.
I thank you