Press Releases

Press Releases

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 3 OCTOBER 2022

 
A MILLION WORK AND LIVELIHOOD OPPORTUNITIES, AND COUNTING

Dear Fellow South African,

Less than two years ago, we launched the Presidential Employment Stimulus to create jobs and support livelihoods as part of supporting the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus has just reached the milestone of one million participants reached since its inception.

This achievement is the result of a collaborative effort across government and the wider society, including the private sector, community-based organisations and many others.

The programme is contributing to employment creation while the economy takes time to create recover and create jobs at the scale we need.

As we pursue economic growth to deliver decent and sustainable employment at a much larger scale, we will continue to build on the success of the Presidential Employment Stimulus and expand its reach. It is still very much needed to complement recovery of the job market. It also supports that economic recovery in important ways.

In a context where a lack of work experience is a major barrier to finding work, these programmes are providing high-quality work experiences.

In the largest programme supported by the stimulus, for example, nearly 600,000 young people have been placed as school assistants in over 22,000 schools in every corner of the country. School management, teachers and other stakeholders all agree that the contribution of the school assistants has improved the learning environment in schools.

Many self-employed people found their livelihoods disrupted by the pandemic. The creative sector was particularly badly affected. In this sector, support was provided to people to create jobs for themselves and others. The movies, music and plays produced are now able to generate further income from the sale of rights, tickets and royalties. All of this has been contributing to the growth of the sector.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus has also supported sustainable livelihoods. Over 140,000 subsistence farmers have received production input vouchers to assist them to resume and expand production after the disruptions of COVID-19.

One such beneficiary is 36-year-old Phindile Ngcoya from Richmond in KwaZulu-Natal. She is one of ten members of a family farming cooperative and says the voucher she received helped the new cooperative survive and become profitable.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus is also supporting graduates, with opportunities provided to nurses, science graduates, artisans and others. Twenty six universities are helping to place unemployed graduates in work relevant to their qualifications.

The Department of Science and Innovation has introduced a range of innovative citizen science programmes, such as the Duzi uMngeni Conservation Trust, which employs local youth as Enviro-Champs to empower communities to rehabilitate local water sources. Another programme by the department helps entrepreneurs to develop business proposals in the green economy.

Public employment programmes also have a direct positive impact on communities because they create work for the common good. In the case of the Presidential Employment Stimulus, this includes improving learning in schools, upgrading informal settlements, supporting survivors of gender-based violence, environmental conservation and innovating in waste-recycling.

The Presidential Employment Stimulus was launched in response to the unemployment crisis that was deepened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the pandemic may have abated, unemployment has not.

The incomes earned in Presidential Employment Stimulus programmes have been an economic boost to small enterprises and informal businesses in local economies across the country. School assistants employed in Umgungundlovu are spending their wages in Umgungundlovu. The same in Putsonderwater.

Instead of the ‘trickle down’ effect, money is being put directly into the hands of communities that need it most. That money then circulates locally and ‘trickles up’ into the wider economy.

That is why we call it a stimulus, because the entire economy benefits along with society.

Through the Presidential Employment Stimulus, we have unlocked energy, commitment, creativity, innovation and opportunities. In the process, we are building a society that works.

Over one million people have benefited directly. Many more people, in the families and communities of participants, have felt the impact of the Stimulus.

Our task now is to expand and deepen the impact of this work.

As a result of the Presidential Employment Stimulus, we now have hundreds of thousands of people with valuable work experience. Most of these people are easy to find through the SAYouth.mobi platform.

We call on business to hire these young people with newly-acquired work experience as they leave these programmes.

Once employers see the Presidential Youth Stimulus as a place to find young talent, then we will be able to realise the full potential of this innovative and hugely successful initiative.

With best regards,
 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 26 SEPTEMBER 2022

  

 

NO QUICK FIX FOR LOAD SHEDDING BUT REAL PROGRESS IS BEING MADE

Dear Fellow South African,

For every person living in this country, the past two weeks of load shedding have been extremely frustrating and challenging. The widespread public anger is wholly justified.

With Eskom forced to once more implement load-shedding to protect the national grid, individuals, households and businesses have had to contend with power interruptions for up to four hours at a time.

Loadshedding is beyond an inconvenience. It has dire consequences for nearly every part of our society from education to public safety to the provision of health services. Large and small businesses alike are losing money and the energy crisis is endangering investment and our economic recovery.

There is a sense of despair that the situation does not seem to be improving and that there appears to be no end in sight to this crisis.

Yet, even in the darkness of load shedding there is and must be an end in sight to our electricity crisis. We are making progress in the implementation of the additional actions I announced in July, even though the effects may not be immediately felt.

Given the unpredictable performance of Eskom’s fleet of coal-fired power stations, we will not be able to eliminate loadshedding in the short term. This is the unfortunate reality of our situation, which has had a long history.

Our goal in the immediate term however is to reduce the frequency and severity of load shedding by addressing power station breakdowns.

This is a significant challenge given the average age of power stations, and that in the past critical maintenance was not undertaken at the necessary intervals.

Eskom is urgently implementing measures to improve plant performance, which is a priority until new generation power projects are brought online.

It is addressing the critical issue of coal supply, including working with Transnet on the transportation of coal and monitoring the consistency of the supply from collieries to stations. Eskom is also addressing the poor quality of coal, which often leads to plant breakdowns. People with experience in running power stations are being brought back to help with plant operation, management and mentorship.

To ensure that critical maintenance is undertaken without delays, discussions are underway to ease local content requirements for spare parts and to use the equipment manufacturers to undertake maintenance.

To address the immediate energy shortfall, Eskom has since July worked on procuring emergency power, and in the last week launched power purchase programmes for 1,000 megawatts of emergency capacity from companies with existing generation capacity and to secure imports from neighbouring countries.

Government is giving close attention to the skills, experience and capabilities of the Eskom leadership to ensure that the company has the best people at all levels of the organisation.

These interventions will help to reduce the severity and frequency of load shedding as we are bringing new power onto the grid over the medium term to increase energy supply.  

Last week, government signed power purchase agreements for 420 MW with the first three preferred bidders under Bid Window 5 of the renewable energy programme. The three projects are expected to connect to the grid in October 2024, and preparations are underway to sign with the remaining 22 preferred bidders.

The amount of generation capacity to be procured from Bid Window 6 will increase 2,600 MW to 4,200 MW.

The National Electricity Crisis Committee I appointed in July is attending to the legislative and policy reforms that will establish a more efficient, competitive electricity sector.

We have published for public comment the amendment that removes the licensing threshold for private generation projects. This will pave the way for investment in larger, utility-scale projects that will rapidly add new generation capacity to the grid.

The need for environmental authorisations has been waived for transmission infrastructure in strategic corridors where risk to the environment is low.

The timeframes for energy projects receiving land use authorisations and grid connection approvals has been substantially reduced, as has the National Energy Regulator’s registration process for generation facilities.

While we work to increase the supply of electricity, we must increase efforts to reduce demand, particularly at peak times.

We must come together as citizens to alleviate the pressure on the national grid. This means using electricity sparingly, reporting illegal connections and paying for the electricity we use. Businesses, households and government departments that owe Eskom must pay up so that Eskom is better able to undertake the critical maintenance that is needed to keep the lights.

As we continue to experience load shedding, there is a great tempation to give up hope that we will ever solve this problem.

Yet, if we look just beyond the most immediate crisis, there are real signs of progress and good reasons to be optimistic.

As we work with greater urgency to fix the immediate problem of an unreliable power system, we are also busy laying the groundwork for a sustainable, lasting solution to the country’s electricity woes.

With best regards, 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 20 SEPTEMBER 2022

  

 

SOLVING THE ELECTRICITY CHALLENGE IS VITAL FOR SOUTH AFRICA’S INVESTMENT DRIVE

Dear Fellow South African,

A few days ago, I met with US President Joe Biden in Washington to discuss several issues of concern to both our countries, including peace and security, climate change and food security.

Most importantly, we discussed ways to deepen trade and investment between our two countries.

Behind China and the European Union, the United States is South Africa’s third largest trading partner and is the second largest destination of our country’s exports.

There are around 600 US companies in South Africa. And over the years an increasing number of South African companies in sectors as diverse as mining, energy, chemicals, banking, health and wellness, and luxury goods have expanded their footprint into the US.

We agreed with President Biden that we must do more to increase business between our two countries and have set up a joint task force on trade and investment to provide focus and direction to our efforts.

While in Washington, we also spoke to several US business leaders who expressed a keen interest in investing in South Africa.

The visits we undertake to various countries, be they working visits, state visits or trade missions, are crucial for promoting investment and trade. They bring in investment and they create jobs. They also improve our relations with the countries we visit thus creating great opportunities for our country.

Building strong partnership with other countries is important, but it is not enough.

That is why we are working to make our economy more competitive, more efficient and more attractive to both international and local companies.

First and foremost, we have to overcome the electricity crisis.

Since late last week, Eskom has been forced to implement load shedding due to breakdowns at a number of power stations. The situation has been made worse by the depletion of emergency generation reserves such as pumped storage and diesel turbines and the need for these to be replenished.

The severe load shedding of the last few days has reminded us how unstable our ageing power stations are. It has given greater urgency to the measures we announced two months ago to stabilise our electricity supply.

On Sunday, I held an urgent virtual meeting with Ministers and officials on the reasons for the current load shedding and the steps being taken to reduce the severity and frequency of load shedding in the coming days and weeks. Eskom has already announced some of the measures it is taking and we will remain seized with this issue until the situation is resolved.

Solving the electricity crisis is necessary if we are to realise the potential of our economy. In 2018, we launched an ambitious investment drive to raise R1.2 trillion in new investments over five years. To date, and with still a year to go, we have raised more than 90% of that amount in commitments from both domestic and foreign investors. Of these commitments around R330 billion has already flowed into the economy, opening new factories, expanding production lines and creating new jobs.

Last week, I was at the launch of the Hesto Harnesses automotive component manufacturing site in KwaDukuza in KwaZulu-Natal. The facility will create more than 4,000 jobs, nearly doubling the existing workforce.

The company will supply components to the Ford Motor Company, which made a commitment at the South Africa Investment Conference in March to invest around R16 billion to expand the local production of the Next-Gen Ford Ranger.

Ford is one of the biggest investors in the local automotive industry and is the anchor tenant at the Tshwane Automotive Special Economic Zone that I opened in 2019.

Also last week, I attended the launch of the Sappi Saiccor expansion project in Ethekwini valued at R7.7 billion. The project will support the creation of jobs and business opportunities for smallholder farmers.

Since this year’s South Africa Investment Conference, a total of 10 projects have been completed or launched to the value of R15.3 billion.

The recent launches of new investments and expansion projects by Ford, Anglo American, Metair Investments, Corobrik, Consol Glass, Isuzu, Sappi, Google, Netflix, Sandvik and others show that both domestic and foreign investors see South Africa as a favourable place to invest and to do business.

These companies recognise the progress we are making in several areas of reform, such as telecommunications, energy, water provision, freight rail and ports. The Presidency is working with several departments and other partners on cutting red tape in critical regulatory processes. Through the master plans that have been concluded in several industries and through mechanisms like the Employment Tax Incentive and the bounce-back loan scheme, we are encouraging small businesses to grow and employ more people.

Despite the many challenges our country faces, the recent inflow of foreign direct investment from the US, Sweden, Japan, United Kingdom, Ireland, Germany, China and others is a vote of confidence in our economy.

Together, these investments make a clear statement that there is a great future for companies that do business in South Africa and that the case for investment is growing ever more compelling.

With best regards,
  

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 12 SEPTEMBER 2022

  

 

THE STRUGGLE TO GIVE SOUTH AFRICA A MORE HUMAN FACE

Dear Fellow South African,

On this day 45 years ago, Stephen Bantu Biko died in police custody in Pretoria Central Prison.

Human dignity, the principle at the heart of his black consciousness activism, was denied him. In the words of the family lawyer Sir Sydney Kentridge, his was “a miserable and lonely death on a mat on a stone floor in a prison cell”.

It remains a source of great sorrow all these years later to recall that Steve Biko was just 30 years old when he died. He was cut down in his prime by those who feared the power and resonance of his ideas of self-liberation and his efforts to infuse black men and women with pride and dignity.

He never got to see in his lifetime what he called ‘the glittering prize’, the realisation of a true humanity. Writing about this ideal, he famously said: “In time we shall be in a position to bestow upon South Africa the greatest gift possible – a more human face.”

When we won our freedom in 1994, we understood that the right to vote was just one part of our struggle for human dignity.

Twenty-eight years into our democracy, we are confronted with many challenges, such as poverty, unemployment and inequality. As a result, we often lose sight of how far we have come in giving effect to the principles on which our Constitution is founded and that anchored Steve Biko’s thought and teachings.

In 1977 a heartless regime killed one of our country’s most promising leaders by depriving him of the food, water and medical treatment he urgently needed as a result of brutal beatings by the apartheid police.

Twenty years later, in a 1997 judgment, the Constitutional Court said that fulfilling the fundamental rights of every citizen and striving to achieve their socio-economic rights is the hallmark of a democratic society aiming to salvage lost dignity.

In South Africa today, we continue to work to fulfil the basic rights of every South African so that they may lead quality lives free of disease, hunger and deprivation.

Successive democratic administrations have implemented policies to salvage the lost dignity of this country’s majority by providing education, health care, housing and basic services.

In South Africa today, a decent education is a fundamental right. The state invests in early childhood development, in supporting learning outcomes for our youngest citizens, and provides social relief through school feeding programmes to ensure young learners achieve the best outcomes possible.

Through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme and various other forms of state support, thousands of young South Africans from poor backgrounds have been able to become doctors, lawyers, teachers, scientists, artisans and entrepreneurs.

The government supports poor and vulnerable citizens through an extensive social safety net and provides work opportunities through mass public employment programmes.

In the repressive South Africa in which Steve Biko died, freedom of speech was curtailed and political activism attracted detention or worse.

In South Africa today, young people of the same age as Steve Biko was and even younger are at the forefront of activism for causes closest to them, and they are able to organise free of harassment or banishment. Freedom of speech and association, the right to protest and the right to equality before the law is upheld for all.

As a country, we have come a long way towards the fulfilment of human dignity, the principle that Steve Biko so cherished. Yet, we still have so much further to go.

Without a job, without a house, electricity or running water, without land, without skills or opportunities, millions of South Africans are still deprived of the lives they seek and deserve. That is why government is working with social partners to build an inclusive economy, create employment, enable businesses to thrive and tackle poverty and hunger.

In considering the relevance of Steve Biko’s life and legacy, we recall his powerful call to the people to be architects of their own liberation. This call is as important now as it was back then.

We must be focused on addressing our challenges to achieve a truly free and equal society. We each need to play our part by using the foundational rights in our Constitution to build a South Africa free of poverty and hunger, underdevelopment, crime and violence.

As Steve Biko urged, let us march forth with courage and determination on our common quest for true humanity.

With best regards, 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 5 SEPTEMBER 2022

  

 

JOBS FIGURES SHOW OUR ECONOMY IS ON THE ROAD TO RECOVERY

Dear Fellow South African, 

Over the last few years, South Africans have had to contend with slow growth and rising unemployment. This has been worsened by a devastating pandemic, an attempted insurrection unrest in July last year, and, earlier this year, severe floods in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and North West. 

Amidst all this, the energy crisis has loomed large, causing damage to the economy and hardship for households and businesses.

Yet, even amidst these formidable challenges, our society and economy has proven to be resilient. And indications are that our economy is showing encouraging signs of recovery.

The latest employment figures, in particular, give us grounds for cautious hope.

Statistics South Africa recorded a decline in the unemployment rate for the second quarter of 2021. Significantly, their measurement shows that the actual number of people employed rose from 14.5 million people in the fourth quarter of 2021 to 15.5 million in the second quarter of 2022. This is an encouraging increase of much-needed jobs over the first half of this year.

These jobs were mainly created in sectors such as community and social services, trade, finance and, notably, construction.

Of course, much more needs to be done if we are to make a significant dent in our country’s high unemployment rate. 

At the same time, these figures indicate that the priority areas of the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan – such as mass public employment, economic reform and infrastructure development – are having an impact on job creation.

With infrastructure development and investment being one of the key priorities of our recovery plan, the growth in jobs in the construction area is particularly encouraging.

The February budget outlined a 30% increase in spending on public infrastructure over the next three years to R812 billion, compared to R627 billion over the past three years. 

The Construction Industry Development Board recently noted that there has been an increase in infrastructure projects driven by state-owned enterprises like Transnet and Eskom, but also in the metros and through the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure.

In June, this year we saw our economy return to pre-pandemic growth levels owing to a fairly positive GDP outcome in the first quarter of the year. Naturally the objective is to move significantly off this low base, which is why we are continuing with our focus on structural reforms that drive growth.

Last week, government published a proposed amendment to remove the licensing threshold for electricity generation facilities and encourage investment in larger, utility scale projects to rapidly add new generation capacity to the grid. This represents a major milestone in our efforts to transform the country’s energy landscape, a critical prerequisite for economic growth and attracting investment. 

Since the national energy plan was announced in July this year, we have been working as government in partnership with various stakeholders on implementation and policy reform.

Since we raised the licensing threshold to 100 megawatts in June 2021, more than 500 MW of private renewable power generation projects have been registered, with a pipeline of over 6,000 MW of projects at various stages of development.

The structural reform process continues to register progress in support of economic growth and attracting investment.

Economic growth cannot be realised and jobs cannot be created without undertaking the difficult but necessary structural reforms that will improve the business and investment climate. This is government’s role. 

However for success to be guaranteed, we will need to forge consensus between business, labour and civil society not only on the reforms that are needed, but on the trade-offs that are necessary to achieve our goals. 

While our economy takes time to recover and our reform programme is implemented, we will continue to pursue a range of complementary interventions to support job creation. Alongside the measures that supports private sector growth, we will expand public employment and ensure social protection for the most vulnerable.

The growth in employment, together with other promising signs of recovery, should encourage us to push ahead with the reforms and implement our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan to unlock investment and growth. It should encourage all social partners to work more closely and with greater urgency and purpose to achieve faster growth and create more jobs.

With best regards, 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 29 AUGUST 2022

 
NEW APPROACH TO FIGHTING CORRUPTION GETS RESULTS

Dear Fellow South African,

The fight against corruption requires both firm political will and independent, capable crime-fighting institutions.

In my first State of the Nation Address, in 2018, I made a commitment to turn the tide against corruption in our public institutions and fight fraud and collusion in the private sector with the same intensity and purpose.

Since then, we have been working hard to strengthen and support our law enforcement and related agencies. We set up the Investigating Directorate in the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) to deal with serious corruption and the Special Tribunal to enable the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to more easily recover stolen funds. We have also provided support and resources to other critical crime-fighting bodies like the Asset Forfeiture Unit, Specialised Commercial Crimes Unit and Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks.

These efforts are producing results.

Through collaboration with key entities in the criminal justice system, the Investigating Directorate has enrolled over 20 corruption cases in the last financial year and 65 accused have been charged. These include several ‘state capture’ and other serious corruption cases.

In the past financial year, the Asset Forfeiture Unit obtained freezing orders to the value of R5.4 billion relating to corruption offences, with R70 million paid into the Criminal Assets Recovery Fund.

Over the past eight years, the SIU has recovered funds and assets to the value of R2.6 billion and set aside contracts to the value of R18 billion. A total of 119 cases worth more than R13 billion have been enrolled by the SIU at the Special Tribunal.

Corruption is an extremely complex crime to prosecute.

Perpetrators go to extraordinary lengths to cover their tracks. They set up shelf companies to hide dodgy transactions, rapidly moving monies between multiple accounts, misrepresenting income to the tax authorities, and, in the case of government employees, using friends and relatives to apply for tenders to mask their involvement.

This means that the response of the authorities has to be just as sophisticated.

In 2020, we established a multidisciplinary Fusion Centre as an operational hub to address priority financial crimes, including corruption. The centre brings together the investigative capabilities of government’s crime prevention and security structures and those of the Financial Intelligence Centre, which develops intelligence for law enforcement agencies to use in their investigations.

Two years since the Fusion Centre was established, its multidisciplinary approach to ‘follow the money’ has yielded significant results.

In the last financial year the work of the Fusion Centre supported 276 fraud and corruption investigations. Approximately R659 million was restored to the state through preservation and recovery of the proceeds of crime. Approximately R613 million in suspected criminal proceeds were frozen.

The Fusion Centre was initially set up to investigate corruption around COVID-related procurement. Its mandate is now being expanded to include money-laundering, fraud, maladministration, terrorist financing and other serious financial crimes.

Last week, the Hawks outlined some of the progress that has been made by the Anti-Corruption Task Team, of which the Fusion Centre forms part. Between the 2019 and 2022 financial years, 554 suspects were arrested for corruption, of which 142 were convicted.

Another vital financial intelligence tool is the lifestyle audits conducted by the South African Revenue Service. Last year, SARS completed 25 lifestyle audits to the value of over R450 million to resolve discrepancies between declared income and an individual’s lifestyle.

It is clear that the measures we have taken as this administration to restore the capacity, capability and credibility of the institutions involved in the fight against corruption are having a demonstrable impact.

The synchronised work of all the law enforcement agencies is hitting criminals where it hurts most: in their pockets. Public funds that were looted and diverted are being recovered and those responsible for these acts are being prosecuted by our courts.

To further strengthen our efforts to turn the tide against corruption, today I am announcing appointments to the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council.

The Council will bring together stakeholders from across society to oversee the implementation of government’s anti-corruption strategy. The new body will advise government on the critical preventative measures, institutional capabilities and resources needed to prevent a recurrence of state capture and to stamp out fraud and corruption in South Africa.

Our ultimate aim is to build strong and resilient institutions that can end corruption and withstand any future attempts at state capture.

As we continue to build on these successes, we are confident that even if it takes time, those who stole and looted resources meant for the people will face the consequences of their actions.

With best regards,
 
 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 22 AUGUST 2022

  

 

YOUTH EMPLOYMENT PROGRAMME IS CHANGING LIVES

Dear Fellow South African,

I was recently shown an inspiring and deeply touching post on a Facebook group for participants in government’s school assistant programme.

At the end of this month, the second cohort of 245,000 young people will finish their ten-month placement in schools. They will join the ranks of approximately 600,000 young South Africans that have participated in the initiative since its launch in 2020.

To encourage those leaving the programme, a young man from Modimolle in North West wrote in the Facebook post: “Don’t forget what you’ve done for the teachers and the learners. Don’t forget what you did for the school. Don’t forget the lives you have impacted. Don’t forget the tremendous difference you’ve made. But most importantly, don’t forget the skill and the experience you got from the school.”

This young man’s words capture the essence of this outstanding programme. The school assistant programme is part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus, the largest youth employment intervention in our country’s history, which has to date reached close to a million participants.

The school assistants have either supported teachers in the classroom or performed school maintenance, security, food garden production and other upkeep activities.

Updates sent by participants to the Department of Basic Education show the impact the initiative has had on more than 22,000 participating schools around the country. There are images of new libraries and reading corners. There are before-and-after pictures of barren school grounds now bursting with cabbages and of once dilapidated classrooms gleaming with new paint. There are videos of newly-trained sports enrichment coaches running exercise classes and participants at laptops doing school administration.

There are the stories of young South Africans who had been struggling to find work, and now have been able to make modest extensions to their homes, start small businesses or further their studies. One young participant with a mild mental disability said that he had been surviving off a disability grant and never thought he would be considered for the programme.

Of approximately 60,000 teachers and principals surveyed, more than 95% say the programme has greatly improved the learning environment in our schools and want it to continue. They say it has enabled them to focus more of their time on teaching.

Beyond the monthly stipend, the programme has provided young people with work experience and skills. They have received accredited training across several disciplines, ranging from digital literacy to basic bookkeeping, from child and youth care to bricklaying, plastering and plumbing.

As one participant said: “My CV is no longer empty. Before this programme it was blank, now it has five certificates.”

Having provided opportunities to these thousands of young people, we now need to open their path to formal employment, further education or entrepreneurship.

There are already many opportunities for people leaving the programme. The Youth Employment Service aims to place many of these young people in work experience positions in companies and the National Youth Development Agency will help those with business ideas.

Participants get information on scholarships and bursaries for further study and organisations in the wider education sector are looking to absorb participants into literacy and library programmes.

I am calling on all our partners, especially business, to harness the energies, talent, skills and experience of these young people to grow our economy. The quality work experience and training provided by this programme addresses the concerns of many businesses that young applicants lack skills and experience.

We call on businesses to participate in this process by taking advantage of the Employment Tax Incentive to hire more young people and create learnerships. They can use the SAYouth.mobi platform to publicise opportunities that exist in their companies. There are currently 2.9 million young people registered on SAYouth.mobi and many organisations, companies and departments use the platform to provide opportunities to young people.

The platform is part of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention, which brings together several government departments, the National Youth Development Agency, the Harambee Youth Employment Accelerator, Jobs Fund, the Youth Employment Service, National Business Initiative and Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector, among others, to create pathways for young people into earning opportunities.

I have been greatly encouraged by the many online groups formed by former participants of the programme where they share work, training and other opportunities among themselves. Some of these young people would have liked to be on the programme longer. One person writes that she was grateful to have been given the opportunity, but understands that others need to be given the same opportunity in the next intake.

As the young man from Modimolle wrote: “Some of you got better opportunities. Some of you chose to further your studies. Some of you decided to come together to start businesses. Your minds are open right now.”

As we build on the successes of this programme and bring opportunities to more young South Africans, I call on all of society – whether as businesses, community-based organisations or places of learning – to be part of building a new future for our young people.

Let us all do what we can to help these young people build their confidence, find decent work and bring dignity to their lives.

With best regards, 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 15 AUGUST 2022

  

 

SUPPORT THE POLICE TO MAKE SOUTH AFRICA A SAFER PLACE

Dear Fellow South African,

There is growing public frustration and anger at the levels of crime in our country.

Last month’s robbery and gang rape of eight young women in Krugersdorp caused nationwide outrage and led to calls for decisive action against armed illegal mining gangs operating in the area.

The South African Police Service is to be commended for its decisive actions over the past three weeks in response to the gang rape and criminality in the area. However, communities have rightly pointed out that it should not take a high profile crime for action to finally be taken against criminality.

The reality is that there are serious challenges facing policing in South Africa. But we are working hard to overcome them.

Like all government departments, the South African Police Service is feeling the effects of the country’s fiscal crisis, several years of understaffing and state capture. Police members also work in a dangerous environment where they often have to face violence, injury or death.

Crime in South Africa cannot be eradicated without a strong, capable, professional police force. The capacity of the SAPS was one of the issues flagged in the report of the Expert Panel into the July 2021 Unrest, which we are taking steps to address.

Having restored much-needed stability to the leadership of the SAPS, our focus now is on closing capacity gaps that led to our law enforcement authorities being found unprepared to deal with the events of last July.

Understaffing and lack of adequate training has had a particularly dire impact on community and Public Order Policing.

Government has allocated funding for the recruitment of 12,000 new police trainees, and the first cohort is undergoing basic training. The SAPS Public Order Policing Units will receive an additional 4,000 members this financial year, and arrangements are being made for appropriate training for members.

Drawing on the lessons of last July’s unrest, we are working to improve cooperation between law enforcement agencies and the private security industry in the fight against crime.

We need close coordination with all stakeholders, including business, so that resources and crime intelligence are shared to both improve public safety and deal with crimes that disrupt economic activity.

An example is the collaboration between Transnet Freight Rail and the SAPS to combat infrastructure theft and line sabotage. These crimes seriously affect the economy as companies cannot move their products to the ports for export. Another example of cooperation is between mine security, private security and the SAPS to fight precious metals theft.

As a result of these joint efforts, we are seeing progress in areas like Mpumalanga and Limpopo that have been flashpoints of instability as stolen metals were moved to illicit markets abroad.

Through its national intervention units, the SAPS has also been making progress in combating organised crime, including drug syndicates, gangs and illegal mining.

The SAPS is establishing a task team to tackle illegal mining, alongside other task teams dealing with construction site extortion, copper and cable theft, and theft and vandalism of economic infrastructure.

Besides the successes of effective policing in tackling economic crimes, the hard work of the SAPS in dealing with broader crime often goes unacknowledged.

In the last financial year, for example, SAPS Crime Investigations secured 206 life sentences against 209 accused, of which 154 were for murder and rape. The SAPS Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units secured 356 life sentences against 266 accused. Suspect tracing operations resulted in over 13,000 arrests.

Given the high levels of crime in our society, there is clearly much more that must be done. But these figures do show that many criminals are being arrested and successfully prosecuted. They are not being allowed to get away with murder.

The Directorate for Priority Crime Investigation, known as the Hawks, achieved all of its targets for the last financial year, resulting in arrests and convictions, asset seizures, restraint and confiscation orders and forfeiture orders to the value of millions of rands. The arrests and convictions secured by the Hawks included for illegal mining, damage to fuel pipelines, cash in transit heists and for police murders.

The Hawks have started work with the NPA Investigating Directorate on cases emanating from the state capture commission.

The SAPS has been supporting the fight against gender-based violence, establishing more victim-friendly rooms at police stations and procuring nearly half a million evidence collection kits to be distributed to stations.

Policing cannot be successful without the cooperation of communities. For this reason, we are focusing on expanding the network of Community Policing Forums to improve both policing and community relations.

We commend the communities that are taking responsibility for keeping their areas safe through street patrols, crime awareness campaigns and other activities.

Using the report of the Expert Panel as a basis for organisational reform, we are re-organising and reprioritising resources, improving capacity and strengthening law enforcement capacity across the board.

Being a policeman or policewoman must be one of the most difficult, pressured and dangerous jobs in our country, and often a thankless task. While public frustration with crime is understandable, it is unfortunate that this should give rise to hostility towards our police, who continue to serve and protect.

As government works to provide the police with the necessary resources, training and budgets to perform their work, I call on all South Africans to join the effort to keep our streets and communities free of crime.

Let us acknowledge the hard work of our police and give them our full support in making South Africa a safer place.

With best regards, 

FROM THE DESK OF THE PRESIDENT - 8 AUGUST 2022

  

 

WE MUST CELEBRATE THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF SOUTH AFRICAN WOMEN

Dear Fellow South African,

Tomorrow we will commemorate the day in 1956 when thousands of women marched on the Union Buildings to protest against apartheid pass laws.

We are all familiar with the iconic image of Rahima Moosa, Lilian Ngoyi, Helen Joseph and Sophie Williams de Bruyn marching defiantly up the stairs of the amphitheatre of the Union Buildings on that historic day.

In their hands were thousands of petitions from women across the country to Prime Minister JG Strijdom. The petition opens with the words: “We are women of every race, we come from the cities and the towns, from the reserves and the villages. We come as women united in our purpose to save the African women from the degradation of passes.”

They spoke about the impact these pass laws would have on black women. Families would be broken up and children left uncared for. They spoke of fear of arrest and humiliation and degradation at the hands of policemen. They spoke of losing the fundamental right to move freely from one place to another. They argued that with their movements restricted, they would be unable to earn a decent living, to take up an occupation or to study.

In the South Africa of today, women enjoy the fundamental rights and freedoms that their grandmothers and great-grandmothers were denied.

Today, women can advance in any occupation, study in a place and field of their choice and own businesses. Thanks to employment equity legislation and other policies of the democratic government, women’s representation in the workplace, in government and all of society continues to grow.

According to South Africa’s most recent review of progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals, we are on an upward trend towards the achievement of gender equality.

There are several areas where the representation of women has been on the rise. In Parliament, 46% of National Assembly members are women. Currently, 62% of the entire public service is female, and 44% of senior management posts are filled by women.

The current administration has accelerated the agenda for advancing women’s representation by appointing the first woman to head the National Prosecuting Authority and the first female Directors-General in the State Security Agency and the Presidency.

Last week we appointed the first female Deputy National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, and last month Justice Mandisa Maya was appointed as South Africa’s first female Deputy Chief Justice. Out of 256 judges on the Bench, 114 are female and nearly half of all magistrates are female.

Representation of women matters a great deal.

We come from a painful past where young black women and girls had limited prospects. Seeing black women occupy the highest echelons of society as ministers, judges, business leaders, engineers and fighter pilots is an inspiration and an encouragement to the many who hope to follow in their footsteps.

Another area of progress is the right to reproductive health care, which is enshrined in our Constitution. Unlike a number of countries, South African women have access to contraception and safe termination of pregnancy in the public health system.

The democratic state has worked to repeal all laws that discriminate against women, and over the years our courts have ruled against policies and practices that unfairly discriminate against women on the grounds of motherhood, sexual orientation or other factors.

We have laws that protect women against harassment in the workplace and that address modern forms of victimisation of women. Women in traditional communities have rights to own land, to enter into contracts and to inherit.

The prevalence of gender-based violence remains one of our biggest obstacles towards achieving full and meaningful gender equality.

Just as the 1956 Women’s March sent a signal that equal rights for women was an important goal of national liberation, ending all forms of violence against women and children is vital to our national progress.

This is not a problem of women, but a problem of men. And it is men who are being called upon to be part of the solution, starting with their own attitudes and conduct.

Even as we work as a collective to rid society of gender-based violence, we should not diminish the progress we have made in building a non-sexist society. We must celebrate the many achievements of women in our country and pay tribute to those who continue to lead the way.  

As we work to achieve gender equality in all areas of live, we must acknowledge that we have come a long way. And that we still have much further to go.

With best regards,