Comunidados de Imprensa

Comunidados de Imprensa





Dear Fellow South African,

We have reached the end of Human Rights Month.

It is a time in which we reflect on the sacrifices that were made in the struggle for freedom, but also on the progress we have made in advancing the human rights of all.

The right to social security is explicit in the Bill of Rights. This is an approach that recognises that social security is essential to other rights, including the right to dignity.

It is this right that has underpinned the progressive expansion of South Africa’s social protection system over the past three decades.

In 1999 just over 2.5 million people were receiving social grants. Today that number has increased to over 18 million people.

In addition, more than two million indigent households also receive free basic water, basic electricity and solid waste removal services as part of this government’s commitment to free basic services for the poor.

Expanding the social wage is not simply an indication that more people need grants today than before, as some have tried to suggest.

In the past, many of the poor, including working age adults who are unemployed, simply did not receive any support.

The Social Relief of Distress Grant that was introduced in 2020 in response to the coronavirus pandemic has reached more than 11 million people at its peak, and has lifted millions of people out of food poverty. According to research approximately

50 per cent of the purchases made by SRD grant recipients are groceries.

Social grants also act as a stimulus for the economy as a whole, increase spending in townships and rural areas, and improve employment outcomes.

An interview-based study by the University of Johannesburg of informal traders in the Johannesburg CBD, Orange Farm, Mthatha, Mqanduli and Warwick Junction in Durban, found that the SRD Grant stimulated customer spending, provided capital to purchase stock, and enabled the new businesses to be initiated.

Informal traders and SRD grant recipients in Philippi in the Western Cape also told researchers that it had a positive impact on their businesses.

According to another recent study by researchers at the University of Cape Town the SRD grant also increased the probability of recipients searching for jobs and gaining employment.

Similarly, many participants in the Presidential Employment Stimulus Initiative (PESI) have gone on to find work after they have completed the programme. The school assistants programme has provided opportunities for 750,000 young people to date in over 22,000 schools, reaching every corner of the country.

Over 72 per cent of participants in the PESI said that having gained their first work experience, the programme helped them to gain a foothold in the labour market thereafter.

In all of these ways, South Africa’s world-renowned social protection system provides important benefits for many in our society, not only those who receive social grants.

It supports economic growth from the bottom up, enables business activity, and strengthens social solidarity and stability. It is one of the greatest achievements of our democratic society, and one that we should all be proud of.

The SRD alone represents a significant step in our commitment to provide a minimum level of support below which no South African should fall.

As I said in the State of the Nation Address last month, we are working on options to provide basic income support for the unemployed, within our fiscal constraints, beyond the expiry of the SRD Grant in April next year.

If the focus of our struggle for liberation was to end apartheid and achieve political freedom, the focus of our efforts now must be to address inequality and ensure that every South African enjoys the fruits of democracy.

It is now well recognised that inequality constrains growth, and that growth which takes place in unequal societies tends to reproduce those patterns of inequality.

This is why our economic policy is guided by the need on the one hand to implement structural reforms to stimulate growth and enhance our economic competitiveness, while on the other hand expanding social protection and public employment and supporting the social wage.

We cannot have one without the other, and we are making steady progress on both.

With best regards, 





Dear Fellow South African,

One hundred years ago, in May 1923, the first bill of rights in South Africa’s history was adopted by the African National Congress. It had no legal standing at the time, but it clearly expressed the desire for the equal rights of all people to be recognised and guaranteed.

After many decades of bitter struggle, these freedoms were enshrined in the Bill of Rights of our democratic Constitution. Therefore, as we gather tomorrow to celebrate Human Rights Day, we should recall that the rights we enjoy today are the result of great sacrifices. Many people were imprisoned, many were driven into exile and many lost their lives so that our basic human rights are protected and upheld.

Given our country’s repressive past, some of the most valued of those rights are the rights to freedom of expression and association. Our Constitution guarantees every person “the right, peacefully and unarmed, to assemble, to demonstrate, to picket and to present petitions”.

Particularly as we remember the events of 21 March 1960, when 69 peaceful protestors in Sharpeville were killed by the apartheid police, we need to be resolute in our defence of the right to peaceful protest.

But we should be clear that the right to protest does not give anyone the right to harass, intimidate or threaten anyone else. It does not give anyone the right to damage property or cause harm to any person.

One person’s right to protest should in no way infringe on any other person’s right to life and dignity. It should not impede their freedom of movement and association, or their right to engage in their trade or profession without hindrance.

The Constitution is clear that the state must “respect, protect, promote and fulfil” all the freedoms contained in the Bill of Rights. Therefore, just as the state has a duty to uphold the right to peaceful protest, it has a responsibility to prevent any attempt to violate any of the other rights in the Constitution.

It is well within the right of any person or organisation to call on fellow South Africans to freely join in acts of protest. But no-one should be forced, threatened or intimidated into joining that protest.

In fulfilment of its constitutional responsibility to protect the rights of all people, government will always have measures in place to ensure that everyone who wants to go to work, travel for leisure and conduct business can do so in a safe and secure environment. These measures include the deployment of our security personnel across the country to ensure that law is observed.

The rights that are enshrined in our Constitution cannot be taken for granted. Too many lives have been lost and too many people have suffered so that we may all be protected by a Bill of Rights that applies to all laws and that is the cornerstone of our democracy.

A century after the first bill of rights was adopted in this country, every person in South Africa can now enjoy these freedoms. As this government, we will not allow anyone or any group to take these freedoms away from them.

With best regards, 





Dear Fellow South African,

Since I announced changes to Cabinet last week, there has been much discussion about the size of the executive. This is an important discussion and I welcome it. But much of the commentary misses the point.

The discussion has unfortunately been reduced to a head counting exercise. It is argued by some that any decrease in the number of Ministers is good and any increase is bad.

At the start of this administration in 2019, we reduced the number of ministries from 34 to 28. There was therefore much criticism when, last week, we increased the number of ministries for the remainder of this administration to 30. Yet there has been little analysis of why we made these changes and whether they were necessary.

The new ministries I announced last week respond to our current specific needs. As I explained in the State of the Nation Address, we need a Minister to coordinate and drive our response to the electricity crisis. This is a temporary position and the Minister will remain in office only for as long as it is necessary to resolve the crisis. The second new ministry, for Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation, arises from an appreciation that we need a dedicated focus on ensuring that government effectively implements the programmes that underpin our priorities and is able to fix problems as they arise.

In considering the size of the executive, the question we should be asking is how best should government be organised to meet the country’s needs.

At this moment in our country’s history, when we have vast urgent and pressing developmental needs, when we have to undo the devastating and enduring legacy of apartheid, we need an active and capable, developmental state. It needs to have the resources and ability to tackle challenges like poverty, joblessness, homelessness, illiteracy, lack of social infrastructure and a significant burden of disease.

Countries with developed economies that do not face these problems may well not need such an active state. The size and design of their governments may be very different to ours.

When it comes to building a capable and developmental state, the foremost consideration is how to organise every part of government, including the executive, to effectively implement the electoral mandate.

The country’s needs will change over time and we will learn from our lived experience. Therefore, government has to adapt and be responsive.

By way of example, at the start of this administration we combined the ministry of human settlements with the ministry of water and sanitation. This made sense. The provision of water is closely tied to developing human settlements.

However, as the burden on the country’s scarce water resources continued to increase, with competing demands from a growing population, agriculture, industry and other economic sectors, we decided in 2021 to once again separate the ministries. This is because water is a service and commodity that cuts across all sectors of our economy and goes beyond only human settlements.

While this increased the number of ministries, it has had a beneficial effect on the work of both departments. There has been improved policy alignment and focused implementation. What would have been described as a bad thing by those who count the number of ministries has been good for the provision of vital services.

While the state needs to be configured to meet the country’s needs, account needs to be taken of available resources. Where it is possible to rationalise ministries, departments and other state entities without affecting outcomes, we should do so.

In 2019, we combined a number of ministries. For example, we combined Trade and Industry with Economic Development, Higher Education and Training with Science and Technology, Environmental Affairs with Forestry and Fisheries, Agriculture with Land Reform and Rural Development, among others.

Now we want to go further, to take a deeper look into where there are opportunities to rationalise, merge or separate government departments, entities and programmes. In the State of the Nation Address, I announced that the Presidency and National Treasury would work with other departments to develop a proposal that could be implemented over the next three years.

The Presidential State-Owned Enterprises Council is undertaking a similar exercise. It is conducting an in-depth review of all key SOEs. The Council is guided by the needs of the country and the efficient use of available resources.

We are forging ahead with the process we embarked upon at the start of this administration to build a capable state with entities that add value to government’s programme of action.

In all this work, we are informed by evidence, experience and the availability of resources. We agree that we need an efficient and lean government, but if we become fixated by head counts, we may lose sight of the point of having a capable state in the first place.

With best regards, 





Dear Fellow South African,

Later this week, on 8 March, we will join the rest of the world in celebrating International Women’s Day. This is a day to celebrate achievement and progress, but it is also a day to focus on what must still be done to achieve equal rights and opportunities for women.

At the centre of this effort is the economic empowerment of women. We must tackle the many challenges that stand in the way of women’s full participation in economic activity.

From the beginning, we must ensure that girls and young women have equal access to education and an equal chance to succeed. They need to be able to pursue studies of their choice, especially in areas that have traditionally been the preserve of men. One of the achievements of the democratic South Africa dispensation is that girls and boys are equally represented in primary and secondary education. It is significant that last year, more females passed the matric exams and got more distinctions than their male counterparts. There are currently more female students enrolled at institutions of higher learning than males.

This is great progress. But it has yet to translate into the economy, where women are more likely to be unemployed than men. Around half of all women in South Africa are unemployed, including those who have given up looking for work. Moreover, on average, women still earn far less than men.

We must overcome the idea that a woman’s place is in the home. Even women who have jobs are often expected to do housework and childcare, making it more difficult for them to find employment, earn a decent wage, be promoted or start a business.

This is the situation we are determined to change in South Africa and advocate for change across the world.

The economic empowerment of women is an important pillar of our struggle to end gender-based violence and femicide. We have recognised that unequal access to resources and economic opportunity makes it more difficult for women to escape situations of abuse and violence. On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we call on men and women across society to strengthen the fight against gender-based violence.

Globally, South Africa is actively involved in the UN Women’s Generation Equality campaign, which is mobilising countries and people worldwide to achieve gender equality in this generation. South Africa is co-chairing the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights as part of this initiative. Through this we are working for economic transformation that empowers and benefits women. Practically, this means improving access for women to financial services, business opportunities, land and technology.

On the African continent, we are supporting the adoption of a Protocol on Women in Trade to promote the participation of women in the African Continental Free Trade Area. This is a huge opportunity to enable women-owned businesses to benefit from the rapid growth in trade between African countries over the next few years.

South Africa needs to be ready to make use of the opportunities that arise on the continent. As a country, we must shift economic power into the hands of women through, among other things, earmarking 40% of all public procurement for women-owned businesses. To achieve this, government has been providing training to women entrepreneurs so that they can tender for government work and successfully provide the goods and services that government needs. To date, we have trained more than 6,000 women-owned enterprises.

But that is only start. Our ambition is to open up opportunities for women businesses in the broader economy. We held the Women Economic Assembly for the first time in 2021, bringing women-owned businesses and established businesses together to explore partnerships and make deals. The second Women Economic Assembly was held last year.

From these events, opportunities for women-owned businesses are being created in several industries. These include agreements for women farmers to provide large retailers with produce ranging from dried chillies to chicken. A new black women-owned textile manufacturing plant began production in October last year with support from the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC). As part of the commitment of the motor industry to gender transformation, four new car dealerships owned by black women were also launched last year.

As I reported in the State of the Nation Address, the IDC has earmarked approximately R9 billion to invest in women-led businesses. Other entities including the Public Investment Corporation and the National Empowerment Fund have also committed to establish special purpose vehicles to support women-owned businesses.

At the same time as we develop business opportunities, we need to ensure that women and men receive equal pay for work of equal value. Across the economy, women are paid on average less than their male counterparts doing similar work. Ending the gender wage gap must therefore be a priority of all social partners, especially government, business and labour, if we are to achieve an equal and just society.

There are other areas where government is working with partners to improve the economic position of women. The Presidential Employment Stimulus, for example, has provided work and employment opportunities to more than a million people since it was launched in 2020. Of these more than 60% were women. Similarly, of the 140,000 small-scale farmers to whom government provided vouchers to buy seeds, fertiliser and equipment, 68% were women.

These initiatives are making a real difference in women’s lives. They are giving meaning to the commitments we’ve made through Generation Equality and other international and continental campaigns.

On this International Women’s Day, we should celebrate these achievements. But we must also recognise that the gap between the economic position of men and women is still huge. We must use this day to reaffirm our shared commitment to work even harder to narrow that gap and to, within a generation, get rid of it.

With best regards, 





Dear Fellow South African,

Last week, South Africa was put on a ‘grey list’ by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) for falling short of certain international standards for the combating of money laundering and other serious financial crimes.

The FATF is a global body that aims to tackle global money laundering and terrorist financing. South Africa has been a member of FATF for the last 20 years due to our commitment to fight these criminal activities both at home and across the world.

The listing of South Africa as a ‘jurisdiction under increased monitoring’ – commonly known as grey listing – has caused much concern about the state of our financial institutions, law enforcement agencies and investment environment. The situation is concerning but less dire than some people suggest.

We have gone through a rigorous process of addressing the issues that FATF has raised with us. The fundamentals are in place and we know what we need to do to get off the grey list. We are determined to do this as quickly as possible. This is important not only for our international standing, but also for our own ability to fight these crimes in our country.

Since the dawn of democracy in 1994 we have sought to build credible, independent institutions and implement effective laws to deal with complex financial crimes of this nature.

We have also forged collaborative relationships with transnational entities and global bodies in the financial sector, including the FATF and Interpol. During South Africa’s last regular mutual evaluation of its measures to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism, a number of deficiencies were identified.

The mutual evaluation was conducted in 2019, when the country was emerging from the state capture era, which had a particularly detrimental impact on institutions like the South African Revenue Service (SARS), National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and the Hawks.

Since the results of the mutual evaluation were published in 2021, we have made great progress in addressing the identified shortcomings. Of the 67 recommended actions emanating from the mutual evaluation, we have successfully addressed all but eight strategic deficiencies.

For example, we have addressed significant weaknesses in our legal framework, through the enactment of amendments to laws on anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing.

When it comes to developing world-class expertise, legislative reform and strengthening state institutions to combat complex financial crime, we have come a long way. This is notwithstanding deliberate attempts to erode the state’s ability to detect, investigate and prosecute such crimes during the state capture era.

We have restored credibility to key institutions like SARS and the NPA to enable them to fulfil their respective mandates. We have bolstered the powers of the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) by establishing a Special Tribunal to recover public funds stolen through corruption and fraud, and an Investigative Directorate in the NPA to investigate serious corruption.

Last week, Minister of Finance Enoch Godongwana announced in the Budget that additional funds will be allocated to the police, NPA, SIU and Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) to strengthen the fight against crime and corruption.

One of our most effective tools for combating money laundering and other financial crimes is the multidisciplinary Fusion Centre we established in 2020. The Fusion Centre brings together bodies like the NPA, SIU, SARS, the Hawks, Crime Intelligence, State Security Agency and the FIC. Since its inception the work of the Fusion Centre has led to the preservation and recovery of approximately R1.75 billion in criminal assets.

It is noteworthy that the strategic deficiencies identified by the FATF do not relate directly to the country’s financial sector. This means that financial stability and costs of doing business with South Africa will not be seriously impacted by the grey listing.

Partnerships between government and the financial sector have played a valuable role in efforts to address serious economic crimes. The South Africa Anti-Money Laundering Integrated Task Force was set up in 2019 as a partnership between the banking sector and government regulatory authorities. Between the beginning of 2020 and the end of March 2022 successful interventions by the Task Force led to the preservation of criminal assets worth R86 million.

Like all countries we are dealing with the shifting sands of globalised crime and criminal syndicates. The challenge facing authorities is to anticipate criminal innovation and to respond swiftly and effectively.

As a country we welcome the intensified monitoring by FATF. We have a focused action plan in place to address the remaining deficiencies identified by the FATF. Most of these deficiencies relate to the implementation of our laws. For example, we need to be able to demonstrate, among other things, an increase in the investigation and prosecution of serious and complex money-laundering and terrorism financing, an increase in mutual legal assistance requests to other countries, an increase in the use of financial intelligence by law enforcement agencies, and the effective implementation of targeted financial sanctions.

Our action plan to address these deficiencies is aligned with the work we are doing to implement the recommendations of the State Capture Commission as outlined in our submission to Parliament in October last year.

As a country that both values and enforces the rule of law, the grey listing is an opportunity for us to tighten our controls and improve our response to organised crime.  This will ultimately place us on a stronger footing to effectively fight these damaging and dangerous crimes.

With best regards,