Speeches & Remarks

Speeches & Remarks

2012 Budget Speech by Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan


Honourable speaker

It is my privilege to introduce the third budget of President Zuma’s administration. Mister President, you have given us a clear and historic challenge to “write a new story about South Africa – the story of how, working together, we drove back unemployment and reduced economic inequality and poverty.”

This budget has been crafted at a challenging but hopeful time. We have to say to our people that economic uncertainty will be with us for some time, yet we have a programme of economic change that can steadily roll back unemployment, poverty and inequality.

We have demonstrated excellent resilience during the post-2008 crisis. We now need to introduce a new dynamism among all South Africans.

It requires an extraordinary national effort from all role-players, committed not just to identifying the barriers to progress, not just to proposing solutions, but also working together, over the long haul.

Our new story, our period of transition, is about building modern infrastructure, a vibrant economy, a decent quality of life for all, reduced poverty, decent employment opportunities. It is a story that must be written by all of us. Not just by government. Not just by business. Not just by unions. By all of us, South Africans from all corners of this country.

The legacy of our past is not only that of difficulty and despair. We can draw pride from the celebration of the ANC’s centenary, and build on this past to get things done today. The idea of unity in action, working together to realise practical goals, must be revived. The idea of an active citizenry, drawn into motion by dedicated activists and inspired by a compelling vision of the future, has to be renewed.

Every one of the last hundred years has seen our nation overcome obstacles that seemed insurmountable. Some may have been beyond our control, the result of changes to the environment to which we were compelled to adjust. Some were the result of our failure to act, even when the solutions were known to us. Others were the unintended consequences of our own successes.

A towering leader of our movement, Walter Sisulu, wrote from his prison cell on Robben Island, “In a certain sense, the story of our struggle is a story of problems arising and problems being overcome. It is understandable that many of the problems should generate much controversy and emotion. However cool and detached we may strive to be in our analysis, the fact remains that we are deeply involved and interested parties and the solutions we adopt are solutions we ourselves have to implement.”

We will not turn away from our challenges. We must confront them boldly, and with hope. In harnessing all the resources at our disposal, we have to do more, with less; we have to work smarter and harder. South Africans must focus on our strengths and opportunities, to identify and activate the levers of economic and social change at our disposal.

Mister President you have given effect to the wisdom of Walter Sisulu; through the work of the Planning Commission this country now has a 20 year vision, through your initiative we now have a massive infrastructure programme also extending over 20 years, which will increase the growth and job creating potential of our economy.

Overview of the 2012 Budget

We remain steadfast in addressing the challenges of creating jobs, reducing poverty, building infrastructure and expanding our economy.

In brief, Mister Speaker, today’s budget advises the following:

  • The global environment remains highly uncertain. While there are signs of a revival in the US economy, much of Europe is in recession, and significant financial risks cloud the global economic outlook.
  • South Africa’s finances are in good health. A budget deficit of 4.6  percent of GDP is projected in 2012/13. We plan to reduce the deficit to 3  percent of GDP in 2014/15, and public debt will stabilise at about 38  percent of GDP.
  • An expansion in infrastructure investment is one of the central priorities of the2012 Budget.
  • Special emphasis is given to improving competitiveness in industry, investment in technology, encouragement of enterprise development and support for agriculture.
  • Total spending will reach R1.1 trillion next year, representing some 32  percent of GDP.
  • Education, health and social assistance will remain the largest categories of expenditure, sustaining and expanding the social wage over the MTEF period ahead. Investment in people is at the centre of our growth and development strategy.
  • The budget continues to support job creation, with a particular focus on unemployed youth.
  • The budget provides for personal income tax relief of R9.5 billion, with further measures to increase tax compliance.
  • Measures are proposed to invigorate household savings.
  • We will strengthen financial management in the public sector, pursue value for money with the greatest possible vigour and ensure that taxpayers’ money is well used.
  • Fraud and corruption will be combatted through changes to procurement policies and practices and tough enforcement of the law.

Giving the budget practical effect cannot be a project of government alone. In Setswana, we say “Mabogo dinku a thebana” meaning “we have to work together to achieve more”. Government has supported the recovery from the 2008 recession, but as we expand infrastructure investment over the period ahead we have to see business investing in our future as well. Government has expanded social assistance to households over the past decade, but employment and economic growth have to be the main future drivers of income growth and poverty reduction. Government is responsible for developing effective municipalities and broadening access to services, but business, civil society and organised labour have to be partners in building cohesive communities and promoting social solidarity.

And so Mister Speaker, in tabling the 2012 Budget we have to say: this is what we undertake to do, not just as government, but as a nation. Our development requires every one of us to ask – what can I do for my country, my people, our future!

22 Feb 2012


To access the speech in full, please check



2012 National Budget



Statement by President Zuma at the announcement of South African Bank notes to bear Madiba's image, South African Reserve Bank, Pretoria, South Africa

11 February 2012


The Minister of Finance, Mr Pravin Gordhan,

The Governor of the Reserve Bank, Ms Gill Marcus,

Ladies and gentlemen of the media,

Today is a very important day in the history of the democratic South Africa.

On 27 April 1994, South Africans from all walks of life came together and voted for the first time to bring about a free and democratic South Africa.

Dr Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, an icon of our struggle, was elected as the first President of this new democracy, and began leading government and the people of South Africa towards a free, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous society.

It was a difficult period. It was an era of uncertainty for all South Africans. At the same time it was a period of great expectations. They wanted to see all their problems of centuries disappearing overnight.

They wanted to see their political freedom translating to tangible socio-economic freedom without delay.

Madiba and the first democratic government brought the nation together, managing the expectations and fears to build one nation.

It needed a president like Madiba to lead a bruised nation like ours on a journey of forgiveness and reconciliation, and he acquitted himself exceptionally well, as he has always done, in every aspect of his life.

Our country has done extremely well in building this young democracy and ensuring stability, because of the foundation that was laid by President Mandela.

Before 1994, President Mandela had led his organisation the African National Congress, which has just celebrated a centenary, in a selfless, committed, dedicated struggle, to free all the people of our country.

This outstanding leader and patriot represents a group of exceptional men and women in our country who demonstrated their unfailing love for this country and its people, even in the face of repression and possible death.

Today, on behalf of Government and the people of South Africa, it is my honour and pleasure, to announce that new South African bank notes will bear the image of President Mandela, the first President of a free, democratic South Africa.

We are happy to make this announcement on the anniversary date of his release from prison, which marked the beginning of a new era of hope for our country and the world.

The South African Reserve Bank is in the process of producing the new bank notes.

It is a befitting tribute to a man who became a symbol of this country’s struggle for freedom, human rights and democracy.

With this humble gesture, we are expressing our deep gratitude as the South African people, to a life spent in service of the people of this country and in the cause of humanity worldwide.

The banknotes will make us remember and appreciate our achievements in order to continue the journey towards a more prosperous society.

The Mandela family is today burying the sister of Madiba, makhulu Nokuthamba Mandela in Mqanduli in the Eastern Cape. We extend our deepest condolences on this loss, and wish the family strength.

As we mark this historic day, let us remember Madiba’s words in his inauguration address in 1994: “We understand it still, that there is no easy road to freedom. We know it well, that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world’’.

We thank Madiba for his love, guidance and leadership at all times.

I thank you.


Enquiries: Mac Maharaj on 0798793203.

Issued by: The Presidency


Speech by Ambassador Matthews on the Launch of Mandela Monday in Portugal


1 June 2011


The Secretary of State for Sport and Youth, Mr Laurentino Dias

The Hon Mayor of Lisbon and President of the City Council, Mr Antonio Costa, represented by Deputy Mayor Manuel Brito

Your Excellencies Ambassadors accredited to the Republic of Portugal

Consuls- General

Members of the Diplomatic Corps

Members of the Armed Forces

Members of the Emergency Services

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and Gentlemen

Members of Non-Governmental Organisations

Children and Youth


I would like to thank the government of the Republic of Portugal through the Secretary of State Mr Laurentino Dias and in particular the Mayor of Lisbon Mr Antonio Costa for being so kind as to extend to us the people of South Africa and the Nelson Mandela Foundation the privilege of using the lovely city of Lisbon in a truly superb setting at the Terreiro do Paço overlooking the Tagus River, to launch the first International Mandela Monday.


It is also important that I mention the tremendous effort of Mr Nuno Delgado whose initiative, using the power of sport, is the basis for the launch here in Portugal today. There are 7000 people in this square who have responded to the call in support of Mandela Monday. May I commend him for the work he has done in organising such a powerful event to highlight Mandela Monday.


As you all know, the former President of the Republic of South Africa Mr Nelson Mandela, was born on the 18th July, almost 93 years ago. To mark his birthday on this special day every year, Mr Mandela asks for one gift only: that each one of us spends 67 minutes doing something good, loving and kind for someone less fortunate than we are. Many of us have heeded this call; but in truth, 67 minutes of our time once a year is not nearly enough.


So, this year 2011 the Nelson Mandela Foundation has a special request on behalf of Mr Mandela – volunteer for a good cause at least once a week preferably on a Monday for the rest of your life. That is why we are here, to take part in the launch of the first Mandela Monday to begin on 6th June 2011 and today´s celebration marks the kick-off of Mandela Day Monday led by Nuno Delgado who will show the world his unique way of doing something for others for no reward. His love for others and his passion for the youth, motivates him to pass on his skill to the young in order to inspire them to achieve, receive and give back to society.


Go on, help a child at school struggling with maths or who cannot read well, visit a lonely elderly person for a chat, give a mum who has to care for a sick child day in and day out a break, offer to go shopping with a disabled person to relieve his or her carer. We can do so much just once a week for a short time, to change someone´s life for the better. Start today, help someone in need, show your love and change your own life. Mandela Monday 6th June 2011.