Inaugural Address by Mpumalanga Province Premier, DD Mabuza, KaNyamazane Stadium, Nelspruit

11 May 2009


Honoured Justice Mojapelo

Honoured Speaker, Mr Jackson Mthembu

Honoured Members of the Legislature

Honoured mayors and councilors

Ubukhosi obukhona lapha phakathi kwethu

Business and labour representatives present here today

The Alliance partners

Religious leaders

Distinguished guests

Compatriots, comrades and friends


On Saturday, while celebrating the occasion of the inauguration of the new President of South Africa, comrade Jacob Zuma, we received shocking news that one of our own, comrade Nomvula Khelina Shoba, is no more. We learned with sadness that she met her untimely death while attending the inauguration ceremony of the President.


As we are all aware, comrade Nomvula was recently elected as one of our provincial representatives at the National Assembly.


On behalf of government and the people of Mpumalanga, I wish to extend our deepest condolences to the family, friends and the mass democratic movement for the loss of their beloved one. Their loss is our loss. We will place the family in our prayers during this trying time.


Indeed, we have definitely lost a dedicated and committed cadre who has emerged from the ranks of Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), a leader who understood the plight of our people.


One of the greatest stalwarts that this motherland has ever produced in history, Comrade Reginald Oliver Tambo, once said when addressing the 60th Anniversary of the South African Communist Party (SACP) in 1981 in London:

“For the revolutionary movement, anniversaries cannot only celebrate the past. We must recall and acclaim our history, but more importantly, we must use the past to arm ourselves for the future: to learn lessons and to strengthen our resolve and commitment.

The founders of the African National Congress (ANC) vested in the organisation the historic responsibility of uniting the South African nation across the boundaries of colour, race and creed. That task has devolved upon each of our members and cadres.


The ANC's capacity to unite our people and to lead a unified liberation struggle is one of our most formidable weapons and it is consequently a prime target of the enemy.

It is only as a united force that we can move forward. It is as a united people that we shall be victorious. We need to work together for the fulfillment of the objectives elaborated in the Freedom Charter.

Like in the past three national elections, on 22 April 2009, the people of South Africa have, once more, clearly demonstrated that it is these wise and inspiring words of OR and other great leaders that continue to resonate in their minds, guiding us in our quest to realise the vision of our forbearers – a vision of creating a united, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic country.


Yes, as a united people, we became victorious.


Let me therefore take this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the people of South Africa, particularly those living in the Province for ensuring that the ANC records another overwhelming victory at the polls. Our special gratitude goes to the youth for coming out in numbers to participate in shaping their own future because they are the leaders of tomorrow.


Furthermore, your response to the clarion call made by President Jacob Zuma of voting the ANC during the recent elections never fell on deaf ears. You demonstrated to South Africa, the African continent and the world that you are a society with a purpose.

You know our historical background very well, understand your current situation and definitely know where you are heading. Indeed the people shall govern.


Let me also thank the African National Congress for electing me as the Premier of this Province. I feel honoured and privileged indeed. We all know that it is a position coming with huge responsibilities, however, with the support of the ANC leadership, members of the legislature, government officials and the people of this province, there is no way one can fail in taking this Province forward.


One hopes that we will all continue to leave up to the wise words of OR as cited earlier in the excerpt that:

“It is only as a united force that we can move forward.

It is as a united people that we shall be victorious”.

We cannot agree more with OR. It is only unity that will sustain our march to the future. If we are not careful, the dark forces might undermine this unity as OR warned us, although the enemy of our time could be different as opposed to the apartheid regime and its allies. The only enemy of the united people today can only be the people themselves motivated by self-serving interests and ambitions, phenomena that are foreign to our movement. This is therefore a call to every member of the mass democratic movement to work to achieve the unity OR put such a high premium on.


Fifteen years of the democratic rule has come and gone. It is a period that has seen many victories scored, particularly for the poor.


·         We put together policies, strategies and programmes that are pro-poor.

·         We placed high on the agenda issues pertaining to basic needs. One refers to areas such as accessibility to housing alongside basic services such water, sanitation, and electricity.

·         We enhanced social security of our senior citizens and vulnerable children at different social categories.

·         We stepped up the health care system.

·         We also pursued government’s Expanded Public Work’s Programme to create opportunities for skills development and employment.

·         Initiatives to grow the economy that creates jobs were also introduced.


However, while some strides have been made in those areas of work, the challenges of poverty, unemployment, inequalities and low economic growth are still with us.


In 2004 we set ourselves a target of halving poverty and unemployment by 2014. Coupled to this was the issue of the reduction of inequalities, especially with regard to access to land and other means of production. Included in that package was also the issue of increasing the skills base of our human capital. All these challenges are supposed to be addressed within the context of a growing economy.


The recent global economic melt-down has compounded the situation of some of the challenges that continue to confront us as a country.


As part of our national response to the devastating impact of the global economic downturn, it is critical that, collectively as government, business and labour, we engage and agree on innovative and workable solutions to prevent job losses and also mitigate the negative impact of this unfavourable situation.


During our preparations for the national elections, we consulted with different stakeholders and the society at large with the view of assessing the progress made by the ruling party over the past fifteen years and also identifying issues of priority from now going forward.


The ANC 2009 Manifesto captures those issues that you succinctly raised during our consultation period.


On 22 April, you mandated the African National Congress for the next five years to pay undivided attention to five priority areas. These are:


·         creation of decent work and sustainable livelihood

·         education

·         health

·         rural development, food security and land reform

·         the fight against crime and corruption


Over and above of highlighting these priorities, you also renewed the social contract which you entered with the government in 2004. You committed that you are going to work together with government so that together we can do more.


It is our conviction as the ANC that, indeed, if we work together,

·         We will be able to push the frontiers of poverty even far much back than before.

·         We will create jobs at a faster rate and create more economic opportunities that can allow more people to participate in the mainstream economy.

·         We will be able to enhance access to education and health care for millions more.

·         We will root out crime and corruption within our society.


Clearly to realise these priorities, a well-oiled state machinery will be required. However, our analysis has shown that the snail-pace of service delivery to our people, particularly to the poor people, is not due to lack of policies but rather the absence of urgency to implement those policies. The bulk of those bottlenecks lie in the administration.


Among other things, there is duplication of functions, bloating of the bureaucracy, excessive wastage of government resources, poor accountability and poor implementation of Batho Pele principles.


Undoubtedly, a serious revamp of the delivery machinery will also be part of the priorities of this government. Coupled to this, would be the acceleration of human capital development within the public sector.


Pivotal to our efforts to improve service delivery, will be our targeted focus on strengthening performance management systems within provincial departments, parastatals and municipalities. This should ensure that individuals are held accountable for their actions. Equally, we will implement effective monitoring and evaluation systems to ensure that we are able to continuously evaluate government performance on key service delivery and development targets.


One of the weaknesses that we have observed over time, is the weakening of public participation in governance and service delivery matters. 


Therefore, central to the theme of working together to do more would be our ability to strengthen the institutions that foster public participation so that communities shape their own destiny towards a better life for all. For instance, one refers institutions such as ward committees, community development workers, hospital boards, school governing bodies and community policing, to cite but a few. 


Another important institution in rallying behind this theme of working together to do more is the institution of traditional leadership. We will continue to strengthen partnerships between government and the institution of traditional leadership to focus on rural development and fighting poverty.


The words of OR again:

It is only as a united force that we can move forward. It is as a united people that we shall be victorious.

As I conclude, let me take this opportunity to thank my predecessors for laying a strong foundation of government from which one could build on moving forward. One refers to Dr Mathew Phosa, Honourable Ndaweni Mahlangu and Honourable Thabang Makwetla. Fortunately, I had the pleasure of working with all of them and one has learnt a lot from each of them.


Once more, I would like to thank the ANC for believing in me and with their support I won’t falter.


Most importantly, I wish to extend my gratitude to the people of this province. For the past fifteen years, your support for the ANC has never changed. We are proud to say we are a stronghold of the ANC. Therefore, with you behind me, how could I ever go wrong?


Let us work together to build a better life for all people in the Province.


I thank you

Issued by the Office of the Premier, Mpumalanga Provincial Government.

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