SPEECHES

Remarks by Ms LN Sisulu, Minister for public service and administration at the May day celebrations

Date: 1 May 2013

Long live COSATU,

Viva ANC,

Viva Women's League,

Long live the Military Veterans of our Struggle

On the 4th of May, eleven years ago, we gathered here in Bisho with you to bury a Son of this Soil, Steve Tshwete, UThangana, UKrila. An outstanding hero of our people, whose origins like all of us here are the working class. Cde Steve lived his life in total commitment to the struggle to ensure that you and I can enjoy the benefit of living in a free democratic country, free of oppression, free of crimes, free of poverty. He lived the dream that our founding policy, the Freedom Charter should become a reality:

Because he believed like all of us that The Freedom Charter holds all our dreams

"that South Africa belongs to all who live and work in it,

that our country will never be prosperous or free until all our people live in brotherhood, enjoying equal rights and opportunities;

that only a democratic state, based on the will of all the people, can secure to all their birthright;

And therefore, we, the people of South Africa, together as equals: countrymen and brothers

pledge ourselves to strive together, sparing neither strength nor courage, until the democratic changes here set out have been won.

Further, as the Freedom Charter so clearly expresses we believe that there shall be work and security for all. That

"All who work shall be free to form trade unions, to elect their officers and to make wage agreements with their employers;

The state shall recognise the right and duty of all to work, and to draw full unemployment benefits;

Men and women of all races shall receive equal pay for equal work;

There shall be a forty-hour working week, a national minimum wage, paid annual leave, and sick leave for all workers, and maternity leave on full pay for all working mothers;

Miners, domestic workers, farm workers and civil servants shall have the same rights as all others who work"

This we declared for all of us in 1955. These are the founding principles of our struggle.

Today, the Worker's Day 2013, represents a solemn identification and celebration of the many struggles of workers the world over and here at home. On this day, we remind ourselves of the sacrifice of worker's struggle for freedom and justice and are called upon, without ignoring the gains and victories we enjoy today, to take stock of the many challenges still to be confronted.

The ANC's 53rd National Conference's theme, Unity in Action towards Socio-Economic Freedom, set a clear framework within which South Africa is to proceed towards realizing a national democratic society. It enjoins us to act together, as one people, in confronting the social and economic ills that continue to plague our country even after our political freedom.

If we are to genuinely say that South Africa belongs to all who live in it; then all our people must be able to share in the benefits of a free society. Our people are currently enjoying full political freedom, but we are yet to achieve full socio-economic freedom.

The National Development Plan is our blueprint, our vision, to bring this about. The triple manifestations of the apartheid legacy, i.e. poverty, inequality and unemployment, reaffirm our belief that political freedom must be accompanied by economic freedom for our people to truly participate in the national democratic society.

The second phase of our transition from apartheid colonialism to the truly national democratic society means that our main focus should be the radical transformation of the economy. The economic wealth of the country must bring about fundamental change in the lives of the youth, the poor and the working class. We must also ensure that our government takes even more decisive actions in transforming the economy so as to enable more participation and ownership by the formerly oppressed majority, Africans in particular and Blacks in general.

The African National Congress (ANC) and the Alliance Partners are the leader of this society. They are the most capable institution to ensure this transformation. This imposes grave responsibility on the movement and on its relationship to our country and its people. For the ANC to bring about the transformation it envisages it must, at all times, act together with the people.

In this regard, the 53rd National Conference in Mangaung endorsed the National Development Plan (NDP), recognising that

  • It is an appropriate and meaningful way of bringing together all South Africans closer to our forebears' vision and mission of a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa
  • It is an appropriate and meaningful way of bringing together all South Africans to act in unity to eradicate poverty, reduce inequality and create full unemployment.
  • In seeking to work with South Africans across race, class, gender and ideological persuasions the plan is consistent with the ANC's own ethos and values
  • It is a purposefully clear framework that enables us to engage with broader society on capacitating and addressing the challenges facing the state

Priorities for Implementation

The National Development Plan identifies three key priorities that must be addressed urgently and with much vigor. These are:

The First is,

  • Raising employment: The plan proposes numerous ways to get more people into work, and ultimately get close to full employment by 2030. This means creating 11 million jobs.

The second is,

  • Improving the quality of education: Many children are now attending school but the quality of education in these schools needs to be improved, and this requires that we take steps to improve the performance of teachers and principals, and address societal factors that impact upon children's performance in school - starting with early childhood development with regard to both nutrition and pre-school education.

The ANC has declared education as the most fundamental and essential service to our people. While we are happy that we have made progress in enrolling more children at school, the downside of this is that the infrastructure at schools has not grown at the same level. We can and must do better, our children cannot learn in conditions that are clearly unacceptable. Let us find a way of assisting in this. Let the ANC branch adopt a school nearest to it and offer whatever help we can. We the ANC are the government and when things need to be done we need to at the forefront of fixing those things. Let us all volunteer our services to our schools a better place for both the children and the teacher

Third is

  1. Building a strong and capable state: The plan argues that South Africa needs a capable state, and that measures need to be taken to achieve this. The state needs to have the capability to deliver on its commitment.

I speak to you today not only as a deployee of the NWC but also as Minister of Public Service, responsible for the broader conditions of employment of all public servants. As we meet today, I want all of us to reflect on whether this group of workers is given enough recognition for the work they do on the one hand, and on the other, whether they give us the public the service we deserve. The newly adopted NDP identifies the Public Service as the engine of the grand plan we need for this country.

In other words, if we get the Public Service right, we will be well on our way to delivering the Plan that will deal with a number of the problems of the country South Africa needs and deserves an efficient public service and this the NDP places upmost as an important enabler for development. Our plans to reform the public service are aimed at ensuring this becomes reality.

THE NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT PLAN IS THE ANC's PLAN IN GOVERNMENT

The NDP is thus a set of proposals, based on the values of the democratic movement and the Constitution, which provides an approach to solving our country's problems. It offers an integrated approach to policy making, combining theory, evidence and practice with an aim of ensuring pragmatism and continuous learning in implementation and governance.

The main reason why the ANC endorsed the NDP is that it is hugely consistent with the ANC's understanding of the National Democratic Revolution, in that it encourages a multi-class alliance to combat unemployment, poverty and inequality in South Africa.

The NDP fits in with the glorious traditions and noble efforts of our movement, such as the Freedom Charter and the Reconstruction and Development Programme (RDP).

In many ways it seeks to extend and realise the objectives contained in them. As stated in the RDP, "no political democracy can survive and flourish if the mass of our people remain in poverty, without land, without tangible prospects for a better life. Attacking poverty and deprivation must therefore be the first priority of a democratic government".

What Does Endorsing the NDP Mean?

The process of developing a plan such as the NDP provides an opportunity for diverse groups and interests to come together to: reflect on what works and what does not; to think collectively about our way forward and what the obstacles are to getting there and how to overcome them.

In endorsing the National Development Plan, the ANC is saying "Here is the Plan we can all get behind to tackle the challenges facing country."

CONCLUSION

It will be noteworthy to briefly remind ourselves about the arduous journey of struggle that has been travelled by workers in our land. This brief historical account is necessary since there is a misplaced appetite, on the part of others, to steal our history to themselves and to try to remove the central role of the progressive formations under the leadership of the ruling party. We must resist and dismiss with utter disdain, the rising desperation of imposters who are mischievously trying to distort the history of our struggle.

The true history of our struggle against the evil apartheid colonist rule that suppressed workers and enslaved multitudes is not a matter of archival records and pictures that can be conveniently pulled out and used for cheap and dishonest political campaigning. Our struggle is etched deep in our hearts, in our living memory. On thousands of graves of martyrs of the struggle. This history continues to be seen in the faces of the children left fatherless and motherless by the evil brutal suppression tactics of the Apartheid colonial regime that we overcame. Thousands were widowed as their loved ones paid the ultimate prize for the liberation of this country. We are living testimony of the struggle history!

On the eve of our third decade of freedom, we must pause and salute the hard- earned workers gains for better working conditions. Accolades are due to the many workers who died in the belly of the mines, in the farms and plantations, in detention and police cells and those who died by torture and those who were maimed.

We must also remember their sterling leaders such as Elijah Barayi, Lucy Mvubelo, Oscar Mpetha and Mosses Mabhida, to name a few, for their sacrifices and devotion to duty and struggle.

Let us also salute the collective role played by many generations of South African Trade Unions in being seedbeds that have produced various leaders for the struggle for liberation, freedom and justice.

For us in the ANC the NDP is the blueprint that sets out how our plans and strategies should be formulated to eradicate these three enemies of our people.

The ANC is therefore calling on every South African: workers and employers, civil society and the religious sector and all individuals from all walks of life to support the NDP and to come together to build a better life for all.

Constitution Preamble

We, the people of South Africa,

Recognise the injustices of our past;

Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land;

Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and

Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity.

We therefore, through our freely elected representatives, adopt this Constitution as the supreme law of the Republic so as to ­

Heal the divisions of the past and establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and fundamental human rights;

Lay the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people and every citizen is equally protected by law;

Improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person; and

Build a united and democratic South Africa able to take its rightful place as a sovereign state in the family of nations.

May God protect our people.

Nkosi Sikelel' iAfrika. Morena boloka setjhaba sa heso.

These freedoms we fought for, these freedoms we must cherish, these freedoms we should ensure reach each one

Amandla!

MPSA

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