16 February 2021

His Excellency, the President of the Republic of the South Africa, Deputy President of the Republic, Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly, Chairperson of the NCOP,
Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP, Honourable Members,

Distinguished Guests on the Virtual Platform, Fellow South Africans

When President Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa stood here on Thursday, he said “this is no ordinary year, and this is no ordinary State of the Nation Address”, and in the same vain, this is no ordinary SONA debate. We stand here today in a hybrid parliamentary session during a global pandemic that has affected us all. We remember those who have departed and those who continue to battle with the Coronavirus. I pay my respects to a colleague- the late Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu and fellow honourable members who lost their lives due to this pandemic. We convey our deepest condolences to their families and all South Africans who lost their loved ones as the world fights the COVID19 pandemic, re re khomotšhehang.

Mr. President, during the State of the Nation Address, you highlighted progress in implementing some of the commitments that you had made in the previous SONAs. The Presidency through the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) is finalizing the Geo-Spatial Referencing Guidelines to ensure location mapping for all the projects under implementation at any given time, and this is critical for effective monitoring and evaluation and gives us the ability to measure our progress towards the development of our country, as set out in our Vision 2030 that is espoused in the National Development Plan. With nine (9) years to go until 2030, you have boldly invited South Africans and everybody interested to measure the performance of your leadership in delivering against stated targets albeit under difficult conditions and an ultra-fluid environment.

The performance agreements that are drawn from the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) that you have not only signed with the Ministers but you also made public demonstrates your confidence in the ability of your team to deliver. For once, our performance will no longer be subject to speculation but objective measurement that relies on facts. For science teaches us that measurement is a process of associating numbers with physical quantities and phenomena. It is a based on quantitative or numeric data. So Hon Steenhuisen, the numbers tell a story but we understand your discomfort with evidencebased decision making. This government is committed evidence based performance monitoring.

To this end, the DPME and the Department of Public Service and Administration are reviewing the integration of the performance management system for members of the executive and Directors-General and/or Heads of Departments to ensure full alignment and synchronisation. This is also part of the work of professionalisation of the public service and in this regard, the Department of Public Service and Administration has published A National Implementation Framework towards the Professionalisation of the Public Service and some of the proposals in this Framework include:

  • The alignment of individual’s to organisational performance;
  • Aligning performance management to professional bodies and industry registration, and
  • Continuing learning and professional development.

So Hon Steenhuisen, the President did not just speak about professionalising the public service, the Executive is on course to deliver on the professional public service.

Honourable Chairperson

Departments already table their quarterly reports to parliament on the implementation of their Annual Performance Plans (APPs) towards the attainment of MTSF targets. The system of tracking the implementation of the MTSF has matured to an extent that the DPME will now supplement these quarterly reports with two (2) biannual consolidated reports on progress with implementation of MTSF targets and the focused areas that were announced by the President. In the review of the MTSF that was necessitated by reprioritisation of the budgets and operating environment due to the pandemic, the National Planning Commission assisted DPME with ensuring that the revised MTSF targets are measurable.

Fellow South Africans, I earlier indicated that we only have nine (9) years remaining to achieve the goals of the NDP. To this effect, the National Planning Commission has completed the Review of the NDP, which is the Plan for all South Africans, and the Commission will soon release the Review to the public. For the first time, the Commission will also release a framework to guide the implementation of the NDP but only for focused areas and strategic priorities.

Mr President,

May I dare say that under your leadership, the path to a capable developmental state is much clearer because you have defined clear goals for this country, thus made our steps bolder and the strides measurable.

We are emboldened to make this assertion because despite the challenges the economy is showing some bold green shots. The agricultural and mining sectors continue to register quarter-on-quarter growth and this is not a result of an accident but deliberate actions of government. Early on in the management of the pandemic, we ensured that the agricultural sector continued to operate and provided food security for our people. When the necessary safety protocols were put in place through a partnership of both government, mining industry and labour, the mining sector was brought back to full production capacity in line with your commitment to save both lives and livelihoods.

I bring this point forward because the resilience of these two sectors have emboldened the implementation of the SMME-focused localisation policy framework. To date, the Department of Small Business Development has introduced over 385 SMMEs and Cooperatives to the value chains of large retailers and wholesalers and the majority of the products are agro-processed goods. In the meantime, the mining sector continues to provide business opportunities for SMMEs in the services sector and we are working with the

Department of Mineral Resources and Energy to support the participation of SMMEs in the mining value chains including primary mining activities.

In the State of the Nation Address, you referred to the 1000 products that have been identified for production by SMMEs within the localisation policy framework. We are pleased to report that we have working arrangements with standards bodies and regulatory authorities to ensure that SMME and cooperative manufacturers are not frustrated by regulatory protocols that are necessary to ensure quality of our products. Through these working relationships, SMMEs and Cooperatives enjoy fastracked process. So Mr  Steenhuisen, we don’t politic about elimination of redtape, we act and the numbers will tell you that but you are not a numbers person.

Honourable Speaker

The pandemic has taught another critical lesson, which is the 4th Industrial Revolution is not coming but it is here. The economy and everything else have gone digital. The connectivity of South Africa and access to affordable fast speed broadband is no longer optional and it has become a basic service like water and electricity. When schooling was disrupted, children of those in urban areas and affluent were able to continue with their education. Our connectivity programme has to be revised from connecting health and schools to connecting homes, therefore the Department of Communications and Digital Technology are already revising the guidelines and our approach for connectivity.

Let us take heed of President Ramaphosa’s wise words, that “People of South Africa, it is your country that calls on you to rise” and intensify our collective efforts to grow South Africa.

An empty vessel makes the loudest noise, that is what we were taught so warra Hon Malema, e bare wa e kgapa o molato, wa e lesa o molato - ke wena kgomo ya moshate. At least South Africans are no longer fooled by your noise. A number of SMMEs and cooperatives are not only producing surgical masks, sanitizers but products such as Nilotiqua, Masodi Organics, cooler boxes, hard suitcases, construction nails are in shelves of large retailers, a young South African manufactures the watch Nkarhi watch, a women owned business Ecogift is on the verge of producing clothing for large clothing chains. These and more under the very leadership of President Ramaphosa.

Honourable Malema, we know that when you start to make noise against the President, in particular the judiciary to an extent of stopping short of calling for an uprising against the judiciary, we wonder what it is that you are afraid of? Oa di tshaba, re tla di emela, musi ni a zwi divha ri Vhatavhatsindi, ri do dzula ra lindelana u swikile mapholisa vha tshi swika ra vhona hezwi zwine na khou shavha ngauri vha ri naho wa iviela bakoni mahunguvhu nnda a do i vhona. Ari nga do tshuwisiwa nga phosho ngauri ri na mushumo wa u fhatulula South Africa.

You say you are not interested in ANC factional battles but you are threatening to remove President Ramaphosa from his presidency of the ANC. We are members of the ANC, we are alive and we will deal with challenges confronting the ANC and we don’t need help from former members. I understand your membership suspension period may have lapsed so you are free to join an ANC branch in compliance with the ANC Constitution.

In any case, we know you - You were once against President Mbeki, you said he was not good enough but when you had your fall out with President Zuma, you became a Mbeki person - you said you were misled; later you could not even stand President Zuma including wanting him arrested, however now you are President Zuma’s chief fan. By the way, President Zuma is a former President of the ANC and former President of this country and we support him but the Rule of Law must apply equally to all without fear or favour, even to you Honourable Malema. We are all equal before the law. O seke wa re tshoshetša, a re go   tshabi.

However, on your proposal about local government elections, we must indeed engage.

I thank you.