Let me start at the point I was interrupted. I was saying that the year 2015 marks 60 years of a historic moment in our history, when South Africans from all walks of life adopted the Freedom Charter in 1955, in Kliptown, Soweto.
They declared, amongst other things, that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white, and that no government can justly claim authority unless it is based on the will of all the people. [Applause.] That was a powerful, visionary and reconciliatory statement which set the tone for the nonracial democracy we have established.
This week we also mark 25 years since the release of President Nelson Mandela from prison, and since the unbanning of the liberation movements.
The release of Madiba marked a giant leap forward in the long walk to freedom for the people of South Africa as a whole and dealt a fatal blow to apartheid colonialism. We continue to be inspired by Madiba and draw lessons from his legacy as we build our country.
The year 2015 is the Year of the Freedom Charter and Unity in Action to Advance Economic Freedom. It is the year of going the extra mile in building an united, democratic, nonracial, nonsexist and prosperous South Africa. It is also the year of rededicating ourselves to eradicate racism and all related intolerances in our country. It is also the year of investing more in our future by educating our children and the youth about the rich heritage of this country. We are already inculcating a new national identity through promoting national symbols such as the national flag, the national anthem and the preamble of the Constitution in every school. From this year, schools must also practise the African Union anthem in preparation for the celebration of Africa Month in May, as we implement the African Union decision in this regard.
Hon members, distinguished guests, our youth is our future and their success fills us with immense pride. I would like you to join me in congratulating my special guest, our ace Olympic swimmer, Chad le Clos. [Applause.] Chad received swimming's highest honour in December after, amongst many other outstanding achievements, he was crowned the world's best swimmer for 2014 by the International Swimming Federation. [Applause.]
I am also hosting three special girls from Moletsane High School in Soweto. [Applause.] They are Ofentse Mahasha, Hlengiwe Moletsane and Tiisetso Mashiloane. [Applause.] Ofentse and Hlengiwe attended the last G20 summit in Australia and performed exceptionally well, making us truly proud. [Applause.] I must tell you that, during the tea I had with them yesterday, one of them said that if one decides to do something, one must work had and put one's eyes on the goal. And she said that she wants to become the President of South Africa. [Laughter.] [Applause.]
Allow me, Madam Speaker and Chairperson of the NCOP, to congratulate in absentia, another star performer who has brought glory to our country - Miss World, Ms Rolene Strauss. [Applause.]
I would also like to introduce another special guest, the country's Sports Star of the Year and Banyana Banyana striker, Miss Portia Modise. [Applause.] Congratulations, Portia.
Hon members, distinguished guests, I would like to thank all who took the time to contribute to the 2015 state of the nation address. In terms of the inputs, our people are concerned about, amongst others, crime, roads, access to education, youth internship schemes, water, electricity and support for small businesses.
Contributions requiring feedback are being referred to government departments for action. These contributions, as you know, emerge because I asked the country to make suggestions about what the President must say. These are the contributions that came in response to that request.
Hon members and distinguished guests, we meet yet again during a difficult economic climate. This week the IMF revised the GDP growth forecasts for global economic growth in 2015 down to 3,5%. Our ambition of achieving a growth target of 5% by 2019 is at risk because of the slow global growth as well as domestic constraints in energy, skills, transport and logistics amongst others. However, the situation is more promising on the jobs front. Two days ago, Statistics SA released the employment figures for the last quarter of 2014. The report shows that there are now 15,3 million people who are employed in South Africa. Jobs grew by 203 000.
Our investment in youth employment is also paying off. The Employment Tax Incentive, which was introduced last year and directed mainly at the youth, is progressing very well. [Applause.] Two billion rand has been claimed to date by some 29 000 employers, who have claimed for at least 270 000 young people.
I announced a target of 6 million work opportunities over five years last year for the programme. Thus far we have created more than 850 000 work opportunities. This means that we are poised to meet the annual target of one million job opportunities. [Applause.] In addition, our environmental programmes such as Working on Waste, Working for Wetlands, Working for Water and Working on Fire have created more than 30 000 work opportunities and aim to create more than 60 000 during the next financial year.
Our economy needs a major push forward. We would like to share with you our nine-point plan to ignite growth and create jobs. These are: Firstly, resolving the energy challenge; secondly, revitalising agriculture and the agro-processing value chain; thirdly, advancing beneficiation or adding value to our mineral wealth; fourthly, more effective implementation of a higher impact Industrial Policy Action Plan, Ipap; fifthly, encouraging private sector investment; sixthly, moderating workplace conflict; seventhly, unlocking the potential of small, medium and micro enterprises, SMMEs, co-operatives, township and rural enterprises; eighthly, state reform of boosting the role of state-owned companies, ICT infrastructure or broadband roll-out, water, sanitation and transport infrastructure; and ninthly, Operation Phakisa, aimed at growing the ocean economy and other sectors.
Compatriots, the country is currently experiencing serious energy constraints which are an impediment to economic growth and is a major inconvenience to everyone in the country. Overcoming the challenge is uppermost in our programme. We are doing everything we can to resolve the energy challenge. Uhulumeni wenza konke okusemandleni akhe ukubhekana nesimo sokuncipha kukagesi ezweni. Siyazi ukuthi lesi isikhathi esinzima, kodwa sizodlula, ngoba sinezindlela eziningi zokusebenza nokubhekana nale nkinga. (Translation of isiZulu paragraph follows.)
[Government is doing everything in its power to deal with the power outages in the country. We know that this is a difficult time, but this shall pass, because we have devised many strategies to deal with this problem.]
We have developed a plan which involves short-, medium- and long-term responses. The short- and medium-term plan involves improved maintenance of Eskom power stations, enhancing the electricity generation capacity, and managing the electricity demand. The long-term plan involves finalising our long-term energy security master plan. As a priority we are going to stabilise Eskom's finances to enable the utility to manage the current period. In this regard, government will honour its commitment to give Eskom around R23 billion in the next fiscal year. [Applause.] The war room established by Cabinet in December is working diligently around the clock with Eskom to stabilise the electricity supply system and contain the load shedding. During this period, we have to work together to find solutions. We urge all individuals, households, industries and government departments to save electricity in order to reduce the need for load shedding. The Department of Public Works has been instructed to ensure that all government-owned buildings are energy efficient. Given the high cost of diesel, Eskom has been directed to switch from diesel to gas as a source of energy for the utility's generators. [Applause.] Households are also being encouraged to switch from electricity to gas for cooking, heating and other uses. The construction of the three new power stations Kusile, Medupi and Ingula, will add 10 000 megawatts of capacity to the national grid. The quest for alternative energy sources is also ongoing. To date, government has procured 4 000 megawatts from independent power producers, using renewable sources. The first three bid windows of the renewable energy procurement process attracted more than R140 billion from private investors. A total of 3 900 megawatts of renewable energy has also been sourced, with 32 projects with a capacity of just over 1 500 megawatts completed and connected to the grid. Eskom itself has completed the construction of the Sere Wind Farm, which is already delivering 100 megawatts to the grid - well ahead of its intended launch in March this year. In December, 2014 government also began procurement of 2 400 megawatts of new coal-fired power generation capacity from independent power producers. The procurement process for 2 400 megawatts of new gas- fired generation will commence in the first quarter of the new financial year. A total of 2 600 megawatts of hydroelectric capacity will be sourced from the SADC region. With regard to the long-term energy master plan, we will pursue gas, petroleum, nuclear, hydropower and other sources as part of the energy mix.
South Africa is surrounded by gas-rich countries, while we have discovered shale gas deposits in our own Karoo region. The Operation Phakisa Ocean Economy initiative, launched last year, also promises to unveil more oil and gas resources, which will be a game changer for our country and the region. Government is also exploring the procurement of the 9 600 megawatts nuclear build programme as approved in the Integrated Resource Plan 2010 to 2030. To date, government has signed intergovernmental agreements and carried out vendor parade workshops in which five countries came to present their proposals on nuclear energy. These include the United States of America, South Korea, Russia, France and China. All of these countries will be engaged in a fair, transparent and competitive procurement process to select a strategic partner or partners to undertake the nuclear build programme. Our target is to connect the first unit to the grid by 2023 - just in time for Eskom to retire part of its aging power plants. With regard to hydro power, the Grand Inga Hydroelectrical Project partnership with the Democratic Republic of Congo will generate over 48 000 megawatts of clean hydroelectricity. South Africa will have access to over 15 000 megawatts. For sustainability, government will establish strategic partnerships for skills development with the countries that will partner us in the Energy Build Programme, while also generating skills locally.
There are still 3,4 million households in the country without electricity. In the state of the nation address of June 2014, I announced that infrastructure support will be given to specific municipalities in the country. Funding has been provided for electrification to the following municipalities in the 2015-16 financial year: Amathole district Municipality, Umzinyathi District Municipality, Alfred Nzo District Municipality, Lukhanji Municipality and O R Tambo District Municipality.
Fellow South Africans, while tackling the energy challenges in our country we also need to fight copper cable and metal theft. [Applause.] Government will introduce tougher measures to deal with this serious crime.
During this year, on the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, land has become one of the most critical factors in achieving redress for the wrongs of the past. Last year, we reopened the second window of opportunity for the lodgement of land claims. More than 36 000 land claims have been lodged nationally and the cut-off date is 2019. We are also exploring the 50/50 policy framework, which proposes relative rights for people who live and work on farms. [Applause.] Fifty farming enterprises will be identified as pilot projects.
In terms of our new proposed laws, a ceiling of land ownership will be set at a maximum of 12 000 hectares. [Applause.] Foreign nationals will not be allowed to own land in South Africa ... [Applause.] ... but will be eligible for long-term lease. In this regard, the Regulation of Land Holdings Bill will be submitted to Parliament this year. Through the Land Reform Programme, more than 90 000 hectares of land have been allocated to smallholder farmers, farm dwellers and labour tenants.
The process of establishing the office of the Valuer-General is under way, which is established in terms of the Property Valuation Act. Once implemented, the law will stop the reliance on the willing-buyer, willing- seller method in respect of land acquisition by the state. [Applause.] Agriculture is a catalyst for growth and food security. We are working with the private sector to develop an agricultural policy action plan which will bring one million hectares of underutilised land into full production over the next three years. Among key interventions this year, we will promote the establishment of agriparks or co-operatives and clusters in each of the 27 poorest district municipalities to transform rural economies. An initial funding of R2 billion has been made available for the agripark initiative. We will further enhance our agro-processing exports which have been growing rapidly, especially to new markets in Africa and China. For example, we have concluded agricultural trade protocols for the export of South African maize and apples to China. The export of apples alone is projected to generate R500 million in foreign exchange over three years.
A good story to tell in agriculture is the success of some of our emerging farmers and smallholders. In the Vhembe District Municipality in Musina the Limpopo government has supported the Nwanedi cluster comprising 300 farmers growing vegetables on just over 1 300 hectares for commercial purposes. The cluster has already created more than 2 500 jobs as vegetable farming is highly labour-intensive. We are happy to have in our midst today, the winner of the 2014 Agriculture Top Female Entrepreneur Award, Ms Nokwanele Mzamo, from Kirkwood in the Eastern Cape. [Applause.]
Our interventions to support the manufacturing sector are bearing fruit. Our Automotive Investment Scheme has unlocked private sector investment of R24,5 billion and generated exports of automotives and components of R103 billion in 2013. We have built a world-class auto sector on the African continent exporting to over 152 countries.
The leather and footwear sector has also grown to 60 million pairs of shoes, and exports grew by 18% with significant benefit to the balance of trade. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development shows that South Africa doubled its foreign direct investment inflows to R88 billion in 2013, while 2014 projections are also positive.
The manufacturing sector was hit hard by the global financial crisis. Government committed more than R2,8 billion to companies in the sector through the Manufacturing Competitiveness Enhancement Programme. We are very pleased with the response of our manufacturers who committed over R12,4 billion in private sector investment. It is a very good story to tell indeed. In addition, to advance transformation, we have introduced a programme to find and develop black industrialists over three years. Given such success in manufacturing we are poised to make progress in our quest to ignite growth.
To attract foreign skills for our growing economy, we will invite dialogue with various stakeholders on the Migration Policy. We will also prioritise the review of visa regulations to strike a balance between national security and growth in tourism. [Applause.]
In the state of the nation address of June 2014 I spoke about the need to stabilise the mining sector and to promote a stable labour environment. We had been concerned then, about the spate of long and sometimes violent strikes. The implementation of a number of programmes under the Framework Agreement for a Sustainable Mining Industry, has caused relative stability and optimism in the mining sector, which is the backbone of our economy. Mine Crime Combating Forums have been established in the North West, Limpopo, Free State, Mpumalanga, and Gauteng provinces. Government will implement the agreements reached with business and labour, including the consideration of a national minimum wage. We had made a commitment in last year's state of the nation address to revitalise distressed mining towns and a lot of progress has been made. A total of R2,1 billion has been ring- fenced for this purpose with R290 million approved for informal settlement upgrading in Mpumalanga, North West, Gauteng, Northern Cape, Limpopo and the Free State. [Applause.] One hundred and thirty three informal settlements are being assessed or prepared for upgrading through the National Upgrading Support Programme. Thirty two settlements are being upgraded and 87 housing projects are being implemented across the prioritised mining towns. Importantly, government, the mining sector and the Banking Association of South Africa signed a social contract for the development of sustainable human settlements. Government also continues to provide social development support within mining communities. Other support includes technical expertise with regard to integrated development plans, IDPs, and the development of special economic zones. The mining towns are also being assisted with implementing the "Back to Basics" municipal service delivery strategy. Indeed a lot is being done to build our mining towns. [Applause.]
Government is also reviewing the compliance of mining companies with the 2014 Mining Charter targets. I referred the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Act back to Parliament to enable the correction of some constitutional shortcomings and others issues. Responding to business requests, government has synchronised environmental impact assessments, water and mining rights applications and has set a maximum of 300 days for all of these authorisations to be issued. In addition, we will also establish a one-stop interdepartmental clearing house to attend to investor complaints and problems.
The year 2015 will see further improvements in labour legislation to further promote worker rights. The Labour Department will review the sectoral determinations of agriculture, forestry, private security, wholesale and retail sectors. We expect the finalisation of the Employment Services Act of 2014, which formally establishes a public employment service. The legislation also formally regulates the practices of private employment agencies and temporary employment services, to prevent the abuse of unsuspecting work seekers. In addition, the Unemployment Insurance Act of 2001 will be amended to improve benefits to beneficiaries and include public servants in the application of the Act.
Hon members and distinguished guests, small business is big business. [Applause.] Government will set aside 30% of appropriate categories of state procurement for purchasing from SMMEs, co-operatives as well as township and rural enterprises. [Applause.] We will also continue to promote opportunities for the youth. The National Youth Development Agency, NYDA, has disbursed R25 million to 765 youth-owned micro enterprises in the last financial year nationally. [Applause.] The agency has also partnered with the IDC and the Small Enterprise Finance Agency in a 3-way partnership that has resulted in a R2,7 billion fund for young people.
The year 2015 will mark the beginning of the first phase of broadband roll- out. Government will connect offices in eight district municipalities. These are Dr Kenneth Kaunda in North West, Gert Sibande in Mpumalanga, O R Tambo in the Eastern Cape, Pixley ka Seme in the Northern Cape, Thabo Mofutsanyane in the Free State, Umgungundlovu and Umzinyathi in KwaZulu- Natal and Vhembe in Limpopo. [Applause.]
Government has also decided to designate Telkom as the lead agency to assist with broadband roll-out. As part of further igniting growth through supporting state-owned companies, processes are under way to implement a 90- day turnaround strategy aimed at stabilising the finances of South African Airways. Accordingly, some of the loss-making international routes will be phased out. But, we will do this in a manner that does not impact negatively on travel, trade or tourism between South Africa and the world.
The National Infrastructure Development Programme continues to be a key job driver and catalyst for economic growth. Water is a critical resource for economic growth and a better life. Several projects aimed at providing water for industrial and household use are in the implementation or planning phases around the country. Major projects include Umzimvubu Water Project in the Eastern Cape, Jozini Dam in Umkhanyakude in KwaZulu-Natal and projects in Bushbuckridge in Mpumalanga and phase one of the Mokolo and Crocodile Water Augmentation Project in Limpopo. Progress is being made to improve the water supply to areas that had been affected by shortages such as Makana District Municipality in the Eastern Cape, Ngaka Modiri Molema District Municipality in North West and Giyani in Limpopo where we celebrated the delivery of water to 55 villages in October last year.
Let me urge all in the country to conserve water. Every drop counts. The country loses R7 billion a year to water losses. To mitigate this challenge, government, through the Department of Water and Sanitation, will train 15 000 artisans or plumbers who will fix leaking taps in their local communities. [Applause.] We are happy to have as our special guest the winner of the Women in Water conservation awards, Ms Mapule Phokompe from Mahikeng in North West. She explained to me why Mafikeng is now called Mahikeng. I now know. [Laughter.]
The infrastructure programme continues to expand transport networks and to improve roads, which augurs well for economic growth. The Department of Transport will spend about R9 billion on the Provincial Roads Maintenance Grant or the Sihamba Sonke Programme and R11 billion on upgrading and maintaining roads which are not tolled.
Over 6 billion will be spent in 13 cities on planning, building and operating integrated public transport networks during this financial year. We will also continue to improve the infrastructure in schools and higher education institutions to create an environment conducive for learning and teaching. Through the Accelerated School Infrastructure Delivery Initiative, which is part of the national infrastructure plan, 92 new schools have been completed to date and 108 are under construction. [Applause.] Siyaqhuba. [We are delivering.] About 342 schools have received water for the first time. Three hundred and fifty one schools have received decent sanitation while 288 have been connected to electricity. Siyaqhuba. Siyasebenza. [We are delivering. We are working.]
We are a nation at work.
Ngidabukela abangekho, abangasizwa. [I feel sorry for those who are not here, who are not hearing us.]
Government has identified 16 sites for the construction of 12 new Technical and Vocational Education and Training College campuses and the refurbishment of two existing campuses. [Applause.] Work is also continuing to establish three brand new universities: Sol Plaatje in the Northern Cape; the University of Mpumalanga; and the Sefako Makgatho Allied and Health Sciences University.
Hon members, we continue to deliver houses to our people. By 30 September 2014, a total number of more than 50 000 houses were delivered in the subsidy and affordable housing segments. Government will also provide 5 000 housing opportunities for military veterans. [Applause.] Government ... ngiyi veteran name ... [... I am also a veteran ...] will also work to eradicate the backlog of title deeds for pre- and post-1994 housing stock.
We have in the past year introduced some innovative programmes to implement the National Development Plan, NDP. Last year we launched Operation Phakisa - a results-driven laboratory approach to planning and execution of programmes. Operation Phakisa on the ocean economy is aimed at unlocking opportunities in the shipping, fisheries, aquaculture, mining, oil and gas, bio-technology and tourism sectors. We have committed a R9,2 billion investment in gas and oil exploration in the port of Saldanha as part of the Operation Phakisa initiative. Operation Phakisa on Scaling Up the Ideal Clinic Initiative is aimed at promoting efficiency, effectiveness and professionalism in clinics. We will now explore Operation Phakisa in the mining sector. I have instructed government to partner with the mining sector to develop win-win solutions to beneficiate our mineral resources.
Over the past five years, government has scored significant gains in health care. This year, we are going to launch a massive programme to turn the tide against tuberculosis, with a special focus on three communities: offenders at correctional services facilities; mineworkers; and communities in mining towns. In fighting the scourge of HIV and Aids, the state-owned pharmaceutical company, Ketlaphela, ... ngifunda isiZuthu ... [... I am now reading a combination of isiZulu and Sesotho ...] has been established and will participate in the supply of antiretrovirals to the Department of Health.
We have to continue working harder together to fight crime and to create safer communities. We are making progress in fighting crimes against women and children. The SA Police Service Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Investigation Unit has secured 659 life sentences against perpetrators of crimes against women and children. [Applause.]
We are a democratic state and recognise the community's right to protest. We, however, appeal that these protests should be within the ambit of the law and must be peaceful, as stated in the Constitution. The police successfully brought under control 13 575 recorded public order incidents, comprising 1 907 unrest-related and 11 668 peaceful incidents.
The fight against corruption continues to be taken forward by the Anticorruption Inter-Ministerial Committee. Government has seven anticorruption institutions and 17 pieces of legislation in place which are intended to combat corruption. This demonstrates a concerted effort by government to break the back of this scourge in the country. [Applause.] In the 2013-14 financial year, 52 persons were convicted in cases involving more than R5 million. Thirty one public servants were convicted in the first quarter of 2014-15 and freezing orders to the value of R430 million were obtained. To prevent corruption and promote ethical governance, in December I signed into law the Public Administration and Management Act, which, amongst others, prohibits public servants from doing business with the state. [Applause.]
Cabinet has adopted vigorous and integrated interventions to combat the vicious rhino poaching in the country. The interventions include continuous joint operations with key neighbouring countries, improved intelligence gathering as well as enhancing protection in parks and provincial reserves where rhino are present. Government has also made substantial progress in establishing a Border Management Agency, to manage all ports of entry and improve security. [Applause.]
To further improve access to identity documents, citizens will from this year be able to apply for the new Smart ID Card at their local bank due to partnership between the Department of Home Affairs and some banks in the country. [Applause.]
Building a caring, effective and responsive state will continue to be prioritised. In the 2014 state of the nation address, I said we would continue to advance and improve the lives of people with disabilities. In December last year Cabinet released the draft National Disability Rights Policy for public comment.
Local government is everybody's business. We have to make it work. We launched the Back to Basics programme to promote good governance and effective administration through cutting wastage, spending public funds prudently, hiring competent staff, and ensuring transparency and accountability in municipalities. The Integrated Urban Development Framework, announced in the state of the nation address of last June, has been approved by Cabinet.
Fellow South Africans, to contribute to building a better Africa, South Africa continued to support peace and security and regional economic integration on the continent. A number of key outcomes have resulted. The African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises, ACIRC, of which South Africa is a contributing and founding member, has been operationalised. The South African National Defence Force and SA Police Service continued to participate diligently in conflict prevention and peacekeeping on the continent. Led by the Deputy President, South Africa also continued to support conflict resolution initiatives in Lesotho, Sri Lanka and South Sudan. Economic co-operation with our Brics partners was strengthened when the first two intergovernmental agreements were concluded on the occasion of the sixth Brics Summit - these were the Agreement on the New Development Bank and the Treaty Establishing a Contingent Reserve Arrangement.
Countries of the developed North remain important strategic partners for South Africa through which the country is able to advance its national and foreign policy. We have a valuable partnership with the European Union in, amongst others, the Infrastructure Investment Programme for South Africa, valued at approximately R1,5 billion. The renewal of the African Growth and Opportunity Act beyond September 2015 and a pledge to support African-led peace initiatives on the continent are among the significant outcomes of the United States-Africa leadership Summit held in the US last year. On a multilateral level, 2015 marks the 70th anniversary of the United Nations which brings into sharp focus the need to transform the UN Security Council and other international institutions.
National liberation heroes, Moses Kotane and JB Marks, will be reburied in South Africa in March. [Applause.] These will be reburials. As you know, they were buried in Russia. Now they are coming back home. We thank the government and people of the Russian Federation for looking after the remains of our heroes with dignity for so many years. [Applause.]
In sports, Team South Africa will participate in the All Africa Games in Brazzaville, Congo, in 2015. The Springboks will participate in the IRB World Cup that takes place in England in September 2015. The Proteas are in Australia and New Zealand to participate in the International Cricket Council Cricket World Cup. All South Africans must as usual, rally behind the national teams. [Applause.]
We must also appreciate our Bafana Bafana. [Laughter.] I think you will agree with me that this time around they qualified with flying colours. [Laughter.] [Applause.] They were in a group called "the group of death". But, even then, in most of the games, they scored first. [Laughter.] We must give them support. They made us proud!
We will continue to promote healthy lifestyles and urge citizens to refrain from smoking and the abuse of alcohol and drugs. Uyayekeka ugwayi. [You can quit smoking.] [Applause.] In this regard, on 10 May we will mark the Move for Health Day, an international event promoted by the World Health Organisation. The day also coincides with the anniversary of the inauguration of President Mandela.
A lot has been achieved in the past year. We believe that our nine-point economic intervention plan on the economy will consolidate the achievements and ignite much-needed growth. During this year of the Freedom Charter and Unity in Action to Advance Economic Freedom, we rededicate ourselves to unity and hard work to ensure continuous success in our beautiful country. Together, we move South Africa forward! I thank you. [Applause.]
THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE NCOP: Hon members, we take this opportunity to thank the President for his patience and for delivering his state of the nation address. Debate concluded.