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Speech by Deputy President David Mabuza on the occasion of The Presidency Budget Vote, National Assembly, Parliament

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Honourable Speaker,
Your Excellency, President of the Republic of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa,
Honourable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Honourable Members of the National Assembly,
Distinguished Guests,
 
This 2022 Budget Vote, takes place at a time of many intersecting challenges facing the world, from health pandemics, sluggish economic growth, and the rising cost of basic necessities.
 
The fractures and discords in our social fabric call for new compacts of peace, compassion, inclusivity, and social solidarity so that we face one direction as we tackle all the challenges facing our nation today.
 
Together, we have the strength to chart a better future for this nation.
 
Domestic socio-economic exclusion largely caused by rising unemployment, poverty, and inequality has the potential to undermine social cohesion and inclusive growth.
 
Together, we must address the contradictions of extreme poverty and wealth and strive to reduce, if not eliminate, social inequalities.
 
Once these inequalities are deep, they can result in severe disunity and social instability.
 
We risk destroying the foundations of our democracy so long as extreme wealth disparities or extreme poverty and unemployment are not addressed.
 
As we face all of these challenges, it is our responsibility as elected officials to work together to address them. South Africans are disinterested in our political disputes, divisions, and slogans.
 
We are at a crossroads of difficult socio-economic challenges that can only be resolved through our collective commitment, shared national interest, and purposeful cohesion.
 
Now is the time for leadership that can rise above petty political differences and schisms in order to pave the way for national progress and inclusive development.
 
Ordinary South Africans want and deserve a government whose chief interest is the development and prosperity of its people.
 
Society craves for a government service that comprehends its developmental responsibility.
 
They have lost patience with officials that out of touch with their plight and expectations of a quality service.
 
As part of our moral regeneration agenda, we as government, must lead the charge against corruption and inefficiency in our society, whether it be in the public sector or in business.
 
We cannot grow the capabilities of our people and generate decent jobs without a cadre of disciplined, committed, professional, and ethical public officials who really are driven by the moral imperative of transformation.
 
Equally, it would be impossible to build an economy that would be conducive to job creation without the provision of dependable electricity supply and generation capacity as important factors to achieving our developmental goals.
 
That is why all of us in the Presidency, are fully behind the efforts of reviving the economy by, among others, improving the ease of doing business and supporting the investment drive by the President.
 
Energy Security
 
As government, we are well aware of the detrimental effect load-shedding has on the economy, as well as the inconvenience and hardship it causes for the country, its citizens, and businesses.
 
Under the stewardship of the Eskom Political Task Team, we have begun implementing solutions to ensure energy security and long-term viability of Eskom. 
 
Government will also continue to support Eskom's implementation of a credible and transparent national maintenance programme, which will ensure that power generation plants operate at optimal levels to reduce the negative impact of electricity supply interruptions.
 
Alternative energy generation measures are also being explored and implemented, to enhance the nation's capacity to provide uninterrupted electricity for economic growth and development.
 
Accelerating Land Reform Programme
 
Honourable Speaker,
 
Linked to the provision of energy supply, is the creation of a predictable environment for investment by ensuring that land reform is accelerated to unlock economic development prospects.
 
This will be accomplished through the redistribution of land for agricultural production to ensure food security for the country, human settlements provision and industrial development.
 
These efforts are also about resolving historic challenges to achieve spatial justice towards the realisation of this right for all people.
 
The implementation of our land reform programme continues along a constitutionally-defined path, hence the unfolding parliamentary process of addressing land inequality, displacement, and dispossession.
As government, we will continue to respond to the imperatives of restorative justice, economic inclusion, and social cohesion.
 
We can report that considerable progress is being made in the implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture to address land injustice. We have since enacted a number of legislative and policy interventions, including but not limited to:
 
- The Land Allocation and Beneficiary Selection Policy;

- The Comprehensive Producer Support Policy;

- The Land Donations Policy;

- The Upgrading of Land Tenure Rights Amendment Bill of 2020; and

- The Expropriation Bill.
 
We have travelled the length and breadth of our nation to promote the programme of accelerating restitution and redistribution, and this year will see the introduction of numerous similar initiatives.
 
Government will release land parcels in the hands of State-Owned Companies and Municipalities for integrated human settlements and socio-economic development.

This work also entails integrating rural areas into global value chains, thereby ensuring that the people drive the economic growth we seek.
 
Leveraging SANAC for Social Mobilisation
 
Honourable Members,
 
A prosperous nation can only be realised through the full and active participation of its people. That is why our successful productive capacity requires a healthy population. In this regard, the Office of the Deputy President continues to spearhead national measures to enhance our country's health outcomes.
 
Working with the South African National Aids Council, we continue to strengthen efforts and campaigns to reduce the negative effects and burden of the HIV and TB epidemics.
 
To this end, efforts are underway to finalise the drafting of the new National Strategic Plan on HIV/AIDS, TB and STIs, which will further direct the nation's response to ending these epidemics as public health threats by 2030.
 
In the interim, catch-up plans have been refined to expedite service delivery and achievement of national and global targets of 90-90-90, where 90 percent of all people living with HIV will know their HIV status, 90 percent of all people with diagnosed HIV infection will receive sustained antiretroviral therapy, and 90 percent of all people receiving antiretroviral therapy will have viral suppression, wherever delays have occurred as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
 
The strategy serves as a framework for our national effort to mitigate the impact of HIV, TB, and Sexually Transmitted Infections.
 
While it is indisputable that the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic brought misery, frustration, and loss of livelihood to many, it has bestowed on us a unique opportunity to do things better, differently, and with much less.
 
That is why, we seized the opportunity to leverage SANAC as a platform for consensus building and strengthening of social compacts in the national response to epidemics, non-communicable diseases, and social ills including Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.
 
Part of this work includes engagements with various social partners such as Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders, Inter-faith Leaders and Traditional Health Practitioners, to mobilise them to partner with government in this fight. These social partners have committed to sustainable strategic partnerships with government by signing commitment pledges, in line with the 2020 Partnerships Strategy.
 
Equally, in the forthcoming year, the SANAC Private Sector Forum will also be setting up provincial structures to support the work of provincial and district AIDS Councils.
 
All of us have a role to play in combating HIV and TB co-infections in order to have a productive population that contributes towards building an inclusive economy for the benefit of all, especially the youth, women, people with disabilities, and military veterans.
 
Giving Dignity to Military Veterans
 
Our country remains a shining example of how a divided past can inspire a people to forge a new collective identity.
 
Even in the context of a history marked by intense conflict and fighting, our nation owes the veterans sincere gratitude for choosing peace over war. Veterans are the pillar of our nation because they sacrificed themselves for our country.

In the same spirit of trying to maximise their contribution to our democracy, the Presidential Task Team on Military Veterans has overseen the finalisation of the pension policy for military veterans.
 
To fully implement this policy, a process is currently underway to conclude the beneficiary verification thereby allowing for a quicker turnaround time and aiding government in managing military veterans’ records.
 
We have observed that the lack of profiling of military veterans hinders the implementation of programmes designed to improve their living conditions.
 
To this end, we will work together with provincial governments to expedite the profiling of Ex-Combatants in order to ensure the improvement of their welfare in accordance with the law.
 
We appreciate the veterans' willingness to collaborate with government in addressing these issues, so as to contribute to social cohesion and stability in our country.
 
On the capacity of local government to deliver services
 
Honourable Speaker,

Our progress in building stable and cohesive communities, requires the existence of a strong, efficient and effective local government system with requisite capabilities to lead development and service delivery.
 
Our municipalities must be able to perform in line with their legislative mandates, and ensure that communities have uninterrupted access to basic services such as water and sanitation, waste removal, electricity and roads.
 
We are concerned that some of our municipalities are struggling to maintain existing key infrastructure for water and sanitation services, resulting in sewer spillages and interrupted water supply to communities.
 
In some cases, some of our municipalities have limited capacity to develop new infrastructure, and expand access to services to cater for growing human settlements and demand for services.
 
As part enhancing the capacity of local government, the Presidency will continue to work closely with COGTA and National Treasury to provide targeted support to municipalities to build necessary capacities. Among others, this support includes:
 
- strengthening governance systems, internal controls, contract management, and revenue collection

- improving audit outcomes and systems of accountability

- development and maintenance of key water and sanitation infrastructure

- supporting local economic development initiatives to promote entrepreneurship and employment opportunities,
 
Within the context of the District Development Model, the Presidency will continue to lead and support better coordination and integration of government programmes to maximise delivery impact on the ground.
 
Where challenges have been identified, we will continue leading coordinated interventions to respond to issues raised by communities.
 
Notwithstanding objective weaknesses and gaps in infrastructure delivery, we are concerned about acts of criminality targeting strategic economic and social infrastructure in our communities.
 
Theft and vandalism of our core network infrastructure, threatens to roll back whatever progress the country has made over the last few years. This cannot be allowed to continue.
 
We call upon communities to work with local authorities and the police in guarding and protecting economic and public infrastructure from theft and destruction. 
 
Strengthening Partnerships with Traditional Leaders
 
As we address development and service delivery challenges, we are cognisant of the critical role of traditional leaders in our local governance systems.
 
Our governance framework make provision for the meaningful participation of traditional leaders in advancing socio-economic development in traditional communities.
 
Our partnership with the institution of traditional leadership creates an effective platform for joined-up efforts to advance the goals of rural development to benefit traditional communities under the jurisdiction of traditional leaders.
 
Targeted infrastructure investments in rural areas should be geared to unlock economic development and employment opportunities, while ensuring that access to schools, hospitals and basic services is significantly enhanced.
 
Honourable Speaker,
 
As The Presidency, we remain committed to the direction that the President has given on reviving the economy. This includes the implementation of the commitments that emanate from this year’s State of the Nation Address.
 
We recommit to these priorities as they are the key to creating a better South Africa.
 
Collectively, let us seize this opportunity to fight for and safeguard our cherished vision of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, just, and prosperous South Africa.
 
Thank you.