The recent release of the Panama Papers confirmed the increasingly globalised nature of corruption and the entrenched international and offshore mechanisms through which the world’s political and financial elite funnel their wealth and often ill-gotten assets. Information covering decades of secret financial transactions are now in the public domain. It unleashed a global 'tsunami' of public reaction against all forms of corruption, including those implicated in the Panana Papers. It also highlighted the flaws and contradictions in the fight against corruption, resulting in tough questions for those who profess they fight corruption.

Quantifying corruption is almost impossible as so much corrupt activities take place unnoticed, undocumented and unpunished. But even before the release of the Panana Papers there was no shortage of evidence about the scale of global corruption. It is estimated that US$400 billion of public funds have been lost to corruption since Nigeria’s independence in 1960. According to a report by the ECA High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, published in 2015, it is estimated that Africa lost in excess of US$1 trillion in illicit financial flows over the past 50 years. This sum is roughly equivalent to all the official development assistance received by Africa during the same period. Currently, Africa is estimated to be losing more than US$50 billion annually to illicit financial flows. The numbers are staggering. 

Why then are we still surprised by the revelations of the Panana Papers and the seemingly endless acts of corruption being discovered daily in different parts of the world?

Pope Francis has called corruption “the gangrene of a people”, while others refer to it as a cancer eroding society’s morals, values and acceptable conduct, with far reaching social, economic and political consequences for future generations. It threatens the progress to be made towards major global milestones such as achieving the Global Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, and undermines efforts aimed at strengthening good governance, peace and security around the world. It reinforces the already vicious poverty cycle in which millions find themselves, while the rich get richer and the poor, poorer.

On 12 May 2016, British Prime Minister, David Cameron, hosted an international anti-corruption summit in London. Although not a direct response to the release of the Panama Papers, no one could ignore the significance of what was discovered in those documents and the link to the issues which were discussed at the event. 

Attended by various world leaders and many key international stakeholders involved in anti-corruption efforts, the event resulted in a number of important commitments aimed at strengthening the fight against corruption. These include the recovery and return of assets stolen through corruption; greater transparency in the awarding of government contracts; the protection of whistleblowers; the sharing of tax information between countries; punishing those who facilitate tax evasion; the increased use of technology and data to crackdown on corruption; and combatting and eliminating corruption from sport. 

These are important commitments, and represent the promise of a new and expanded response to corruption. But given the scale and scope of global corruption, one needs to question why an event of this magnitude was not convened by the United Nations or another entity with the necessary moral authority and global reach. Too many of the delegates at the event represented institutions and countries directly implicated in global corruption. At the same time, many known transgressors were not present or invited.

Any response to corruption which doesn’t include the international community at large will not achieve the desired outcomes. Loopholes will remain, while voluntary commitments are increasingly meaningless. Corruption is like climate change, you either turn a blind eye pretending it doesn't exist, or fear the consequences of any further delays in mobilising a concerted global response to it. Corruption affects everyone, everywhere. The fight against corruption therefore requires a global response, similar to the response against climate change. The Paris Agreement, adopted on 12 December 2015, may have its shortcomings, but represents an all-inclusive response by the international community to the long-term challenges presented by climate change.

Charity starts at home, and the response by President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria to Cameron’s comment before the anti-corruption summit, which described his country as 'fantastically corrupt', was spot on – no need for an apology, just act on the commitments which you made and help us repatriate stolen Nigerian assets stashed away in the United Kingdom (UK).

This response sums up some of the key discrepancies in the fight against corruption. Talk is cheap, and convening summits with lofty ideals and ambitious outcomes which don’t result in meaningful change only add to the problem.

Few will argue that the UK is 'fantastically corrupt', but if its financial institutions facilitate illicit financial transactions, tax havens under its jurisdiction operate without much regulation, the London property market benefits from corrupt activities conducted elsewhere or its government continues relationships with other corrupt governments given strategic national interests, then the difference between good and bad is less evident.

International commitments such as those made at the anti-corruption summit, or initiatives such as the Open Government Partnership, Africa Peer Review Mechanism and others aimed at improving governance, transparency and accountability, and as a result, also the fight against corruption, provide a framework for the response required, but no guarantees for success.  

These commitments need to be complemented by concrete actions at the country level such as opening up government data in support of more accountable decision-making, introducing new legislation and revamping law enforcement efforts. In addition, increased support for public institutions with an anti-corruption mandate; civil society organisations exposing acts of corruption or promoting open contracting, access to information and budget transparency; and initiatives implementing codes of good practices and governance in the private and public sectors, is critical to this process.

Often a lack of capacity or resources prevent meaningful and sustained action. But more important, those signing agreements are often the ones most implicit in the persistence of corruption in their societies. Instead of providing the necessary political and moral leadership, public commitments to the fight against corruption are contradicted by the blatant disregard for the rule of law, lack of political will, and absence of any accountability for the consequences of these actions.

Fortunately, in the current age of digital information even the best secrets are no longer secret. There will be more leaks such as the Panana Papers, which will add to further public scrutiny of those named and shamed, as well as those who are not acting in line with their mandate and public commitments to the fight against corruption.

It is time for all anti-corruption champions - those who made commitments in London, or endorsed numerous other initiatives in the past with complementary objectives, or are in positions to affect change - to look in the mirror and ask some uncomfortable questions. There is need for serious introspection and brutal honesty about how their actions to date failed in addressing the scourge of corruption, and how these new commitments have to be implemented without fear or favour. It’s time to act. History will judge them harshly for any inaction.

- David Barnard is Vice-President: Africa at TechSoup.

Honourable Deputy President,
Honourable Speaker of the National Assembly,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Honourable Members of Parliament,
The Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,
All Excellencies Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Captains of industry,
Fellow Africans and friends,
We are delighted to share this 2016 celebration of Africa Day with all of you.
Today marks 53 years since the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU).
The OAU was transformed into our present day African Union (AU) in 2002 in Durban.
We are celebrating the day under the theme ‘Building a Better Africa and a Better World’, which is the goal of our government and our nation, to contribute in whatever small way we can, to improving our continent and to building a better world.
The leaders of our continent came together in 1963 because they saw the need for Africans to unite and fight for their freedom, independence, dignity, development and prosperity together.
The African leaders realised that without unity, Africa would not move far in achieving her goals.
On Africa Day we celebrate the triumph of the African peoples against slavery, colonialism, apartheid and other political ills and forms of subjugation. We are also celebrating the progress we are making in building a better Africa working together within the ambit of the African Union.
On Africa Day, we pay homage to the great African men and women who fought tirelessly to ensure that Africa is freed from bondage, and to ensure the return of African dignity.
These were selfless leaders who wanted to see only the best for the African continent, and wanted to see freedom reign in every corner of Africa.
Kwame Nkrumah proclaimed on the day that Ghana gained independence: “Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa.” It is this selflessness that we must remember and cherish always in their memory.
Africa has partners in all the regions of the world – Asia, North America, South America, the middle East, New Zealand and Australia and indeed all over. Together with our partners in these regions, we seek to build a better, and more just world, and to build a prosperous Africa, free of poverty, unemployment, disease and underdevelopment.
We want an Africa with modern infrastructure, where one can fly from one country to another within the continent, without having to go via Europe.
We want an Africa where people are able to drive or ride by rail from one country to another with greater ease.
It is for this reason that we are working, under the auspices of the African Union, to build infrastructure that will boost economic development in our continent.
We are also working to achieve regional integration and to promote trade among ourselves as Africans, as intra-trade remains very low, standing at a mere eleven percent.
In this regard, we envisage concluding the negotiations for a Continental Free Trade Area next year.
In doing so, we are fulfilling the wishes of our forebears. Kwame Nkrumah outlined the vision of a prosperous Africa.
Kwame Nkrumah said at the founding of the OAU in 1963:
“We shall accumulate machinery and establish steel works, iron foundries and factories; we shall link the various states of our continent with communications by land, sea, and air.
“We shall cable from one place to another, phone from one place to the other and astound the world with our hydro-electric power, we shall drain marshes and swamps, clear infested areas, feed the undernourished, and rid our people of parasites and disease.”
It is up to us now to work harder than ever, to achieve this vision that was outlined by the founding fathers of our continent.
The African Union socio-economic blueprint, Agenda 2063 perfectly captures the vision of where we want to take Africa and to build the Africa we want.
There is synergy between Agenda 2063 and the Sustainable Development Goals that we adopted as member states of the United Nations in September last year.
Most importantly, their sterling work has put continental self-reliance at the centre of our collective endeavours.
Your Excellencies,
Ladies and gentlemen,
We cannot continue to be producers and exporters of raw materials. We need to strengthen the manufacturing capacities of our national economies through industrialisation.
More importantly, the beneficiation of our raw materials remains of paramount importance. The mineral wealth of Africa must help eradicate poverty in the African continent. And we do have the mineral wealth in abundance.
Kwame Nkrumah pointed out in 1963 and this remains relevant today:
“It is said, of course, that we have no capital, no industrial skill, no communications, and no internal markets, and that we cannot even agree among ourselves how best to utilise our resources for our own social needs. Yet all stock exchanges in the world are preoccupied with Africa’s gold, diamonds, uranium, platinum, copper and iron ore.”
Africa cannot be left behind in the age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The sustainable development we seek will come about through the use of modern technology, and also through improving education in the continent.
We must take advantage of the global digital revolution so as to create employment and better the lives of our people. The situation which we find ourselves in can be changed.
We are a very youthful continent and investment in education and skills development will take Africa closer to the goals of sustainable development and an end to hunger, disease and deprivation.
Furthermore, our energy needs in the continent have increased. According to the International Energy Agency, sub-Sahara Africa witnessed a 45 percent rise in energy needs since the year 2000.
The electrification of the continent thus remains a key priority, and one of the most important infrastructure goals.
Remarkable advances have already been made in solar and wind energy, among others. These efforts will not only enable us to satisfy our energy needs in the foreseeable future but will also assist us to reduce carbon emissions. 
We can achieve all these goals. We need to draw inspiration from the word of our iconic leader nelson Mandela who said:
“It always seems impossible until it's done.”
Your excellencies,
We can confidently say that Africa led the way with practical actions towards the realisation of the December 2015 Paris Climate Agreement, long before the said agreement was signed in April 2016.
We are proud of the contribution of the COP17 Climate Change conference in Durban, as the Durban Platform of Action led the way towards the signing of the agreement in Paris. This was significant progress by the African continent.
We also need to diversify our economies in order to be globally competitive.
I do believe that unlocking the full potential of Africa’s ocean economy is overdue. South Africa is already investing in the ocean economy in a big way. We have already unlocked R17 billion worth of investments in the ports and other aspects of the oceans economy.
Agenda 2063 is very clear about the importance of our ocean economies and states that Africa’s Blue economy, which is three times the size of its landmass, shall be a major contributor to continental transformation and growth.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Pockets of conflicts in the continent have potential to limit the realisation of our socio-economic development goals. It is for this reason that the AU has prioritised peace and security.
We have taken a resolution that the guns must be silenced in the continent by 2020. We want an Africa that is at peace with itself. An Africa where women and children live without fear of attacks.
An Africa where there are no displaced people and refugees. The continent is doing something to end the conflicts. What has been of concern is the ability of the continent to respond with speed when conflict breaks out in order to protect lives.
The African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises which was established in November 2013 to fulfil this goal will remain in place.
This mechanism will be replaced by the African Standby Force at a time to be decided by the continent’s leadership.
Your Excellencies,
While we work hard to address challenges faced by the continent, we cannot turn a blind eye to challenges faced by humanity in other parts of the world.
We are thus troubled by the tragic migration crisis in Europe which is being exploited by criminal elements to commit various crimes.
The European Union (EU) Commission has recently released a report which links increased human trafficking to the current migration challenges in the region.
The seriousness of this matter requires our urgent collective action.
I am certain that we all have realised that there is a need to resolve the challenges in countries where migrants come from. We will be shortsighted to believe that migration crisis can only be managed, whereas it can actually be prevented.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As Africans we have the responsibility to move Africa closer to the goal of prosperity. We are making steady progress towards that goal, with the support of development partners from all over the world.
Let me wish you an enjoyable evening and a most wonderful Africa Day celebration.
I thank you!
For more about The Presidency, refer to

The World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul is fast approaching, and we’re preparing to participate in what could be the most important conversation about humanitarian funding yet. But there’s still a high risk that the summit will fail to address key drivers for change laid out in the High Level Panel on Humanitarian Financing report, ‘Too Important to Fail: Addressing the Humanitarian Financing Gap’.

Despite its innovative format, it is possible that the summit will fail to produce concrete enough outcomes, and that the accountability and follow-up around implementation will be too weak.

As explained in our last blog post, MANGO has made significant strides in the creation of internationally recognised NPO financial management standards, which will be a key enabler in building the confidence of donors to direct more money to national non-governmental organisations (NGOs). In January, we partnered with the African Academy of Sciences to help them develop the first ever pan-African standard in Good Financial Grant Practice (GFGP), to be piloted in 2016/17. We are also a member of the ICVA humanitarian financing steering group that is feeding into high-level discussions with the UN ahead of the Summit.

MANGO has been calling for greater local and national participation for years, and we fully support the aid localisation target carved out by Charter4Change, seeking commitment from the International NGOs (INGOs) to channelling 20 percent of funding to local partners by 2020. This movement could pave the way for even higher levels of local funding - but only if donors, INGOs, local NGOs and global standards institutions work together to address the key drivers behind making that a reality.

Unless key strands of the Grand Bargain are properly addressed, we won’t see an increase in the proportion of humanitarian funding channelled to local NGOs.

We are particularly concerned about the lack of clarity and consensus there has been on the following points:

Targets for funding levels for national and local responders, both for donors and aid organisations.

There has been a fierce debate about whether the Grand Bargain will set an ambitious measurable target for both INGOs and donors to increase the proportion of LNGO funding from the meagre two percent or less that it has been up to 2015.  We now believe there will be a firm target of 25 percent, but until the key donors sign up to this and confirm how it will be measured then NGOs will need to continue to watch this very closely.

Targets (or something more concrete) about the ambition to increase cash programming. The high level report underscored that ‘only six of all humanitarian aid is currently provided through cash or vouchers’ despite recognising that ‘cash consistently emerges as more efficient than in-kind aid’ and can cost 25-30 percent less to implement than the latter. It is deeply concerning that, in stark contrast with the clarity of the high level report, pre-Summit communication from the United Nations (UN) on this issue is so vague. This looks like it will be a massive missed opportunity at the summit, which will reduce value for money and more importantly restrict the flexibility of implementers to help affected populations help themselves.

  • What ensuring transparent cost structures means in practice

Does the emerging commitment around transparent cost structures signal a shift towards standardising cost recovery? If so, how will that work? MANGO and Bond recently published the results of Phase 1 of a joint cost benchmarking survey of the United Kingdom and European NGOs, which revealed that the UN currently awards the lowest rate of cost recovery compared with other donors. It also confirmed that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, and that better understanding of costs coupled with improved dialogue with donors will be key to improving efficiency. We therefore, welcome wider and deeper engagement on this issue. It must not be used to squeeze implementing agencies even harder when they need indirect costs to deliver quality programmes and cover essential support activities, like ensuring the safety and security of their courageous staff.

  • Will the Grand Bargain endorse/mandate IATI or not?

This is still unclear. A clear commitment to a common global transparency standard, based on IATI, is essential. As long as there remain large gaps in the transparency in the funding chain, transparency will be of limited use to either the original donor or affected populations. Wider adoption would also create the conditions needed for advancement of real-time reporting using digital and mobile technology to increase speed and agility.

  • Finally what might be said concretely about donor harmonising, possibly of financial reporting and pre award assessments?

If donors cannot agree on some concrete action on harmonisation, this will be a big missed opportunity, given that a primary objective of the Grand Bargain is reduce the massive waste and administrative burden caused by current donor practices. Financial reporting is the lowest hanging fruit, as this could be simplified easily and has most potential to be standardised internationally. This would save millions of hours of time and dollars.
The new GFGP initiative also offers the opportunity to standardise another highly fragmented and costly donor practice which is the multiplicity of donor pre-award assessments and project audits that currently exist. The GFGP is due to be piloted across Africa in 2016/2017, and is being designed to provide assurance to donors that an organisation is fit for funding, thereby removing the need for donors to carry out their own pre-award or due diligence assessments. This would this also save millions of hours and dollars.Even more importantly, it would reduce the barriers to entry to national and local responders and enable donors and INGOs to have more confidence and lower costs in funding them.

MANGO executive director, Tim Boyes-Watson, will attend the summit and we are keen to hear from other NGOs on this topic. Let us know your thoughts on the above by tweeting us at @Tim4Mango @Mango4NGOs, or send us an email.

You can also learn more about our campaign for standards and add your support here.

MANGO is a NGO dedicated to strengthening the financial management and accountability of other NGOs and their partners worldwide. It delivers award-winning financial management training, recruitment and consultancy services across the globe. It offers a wide range of free online tools, as well as a training bursary scheme for national NGOs. MANGO also play a key role in thought leadership and advocacy on sector-wide financial management issues. For more about MANGO, refer to

Storytelling is increasingly relevant to the strategic communication and awareness-raising activities of nonprofit organisations (NPOs) in Africa.
Stories help people to better remember specific experiences. Stories shape our identities. With a great story, you can ensure that donors and supporters understand your work.
But how does your nonprofit tell its story? When you upload a video, a photo, or a blog post about your work, whom are you trying to reach with it? What do you expect the audience to do after they see or read the story?
NPOs are often so caught up in implementing their programmes that they forget the need to communicate the impact to the rest of the world.
That's why TechSoup organises the annual Storymakers digital storytelling campaign to assist NPOs create stories that will generate the necessary public interest and attention.
One of the main events of Storymakers 2016 will be a global tweet-chat which will be held on Wednesday, 4 May 2016.
Unfamiliar with tweet-chats? It's a live Twitter event, moderated and focused around a specific topic, using a shared hashtag – in our case #Storymakers2016 - to filter all the chatter into a single conversation.
Our global tweet-chat on 4 May 2016 will be a 12-hour global conversation - from New Zealand in the East to the United States in the West - consisting of a series of one-hour tweet-chats on the theme of digital storytelling. Each of the chats will be hosted and facilitated, and cover a different topic associated with digital storytelling.
To ensure the success of the tweet-chat, we need your participation and support to keep the conversation relevant and informative, and encourage you to invite your colleagues, partners and other NPOs to do the same. Please use your e-mail lists and social media channels to spread the word about this initiative.
The Africa component of the #Storymakers2016  tweet-chat will cover the following three topics during three one-hour conversations:
# East Africa (2 p.m. Eastern Africa Time / 8 a.m. Coordinated Universal Time)
Topic: Creating an Elevator Pitch - Telling your story in 10 seconds
Convener: @TechSoupKenya & @KCDF
# Southern Africa (2 p.m. South Africa Standard Time / 9 a.m. Coordinated Universal Time)
Topic: How do you make storytelling a part of your organisation's culture?
Convener: @techsoupafrica & @david_barnard
# West Africa (2 p.m. Ghana / 3 p.m. West Africa Time)
Topic: "What sort of stories should nonprofits tell?"
Convener: @penplusbytes & @AfricaJerry
You are welcome to participate in all these chats, but we encourage you to participate specifically in the time zone where you are based. Remember to use #Storymakers2016 in all your tweets, in conjunction with the country where you are based (e.g. #Kenya or #Ghana, etc.).
The global tweet-chat will be summarised in Storify at the end of the day.
We look forward to your participation in this exciting initiative on 4 May 2016.
David Barnard
Vice-President: Africa
For more about TechSoup, refer to

Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa,
His Majesty King Mphephu Ramabulana,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Premier of Limpopo and his provincial executive council,
Members of the national and provincial legislatures,
Members of the National and the Provincial Houses of Traditional Leaders,
Executive Mayor of Mopani District Municipality,
Executive Mayor of the Greater Giyani Local Municipality,
Heads of Chapter 9 institutions,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Fellow South Africans,
We greet you all on this important day in our history.
Today marks exactly 22 years since our people of all national groups went out in their millions to vote for the very first time in free and fair democratic elections.

This day, in 1994 not only marked the end of the tyranny of apartheid, it also symbolised the triumph of good over evil.

Today, we are celebrating the heroic struggles waged by gallant men and women who understood that freedom could not be given to them as a gift. They knew that it had to be relentlessly fought for and achieved.

Today, we also pay tribute to our heroes who passed away during this month of April such as former African National Congress (ANC) president, Oliver Tambo, Chris Hani and Solomon Mahlangu. Their lives and untold sacrifices remind us that our freedom was not free and that it came at a great cost, including life itself.

On this day, we also think of all the people of South Africa who suffered in various ways during the apartheid era and before. Many were brutally murdered, imprisoned or tortured.

Millions of our people suffered immense poverty and deprivation through the system of institutionalised racism which rendered black people to be trespassers in the land of their birth, and not worthy of any rights.

Thousands were dehumanised in various ways. It was a painful, cruel system which was correctly described as a crime against humanity by the United Nations.

The victory of our people in 1994, through selfless struggle, assisted by freedom loving peoples across the world, ended the centuries long repression.

It set our nation on a path towards reconciliation, freedom, justice, peace, democracy, equality and indeed an entrenched strong culture of fundamental human rights and liberties.

In 1994, led by President Nelson Mandela, we began building a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa. All policy instruments that have been introduced since 1994, are designed to achieve that vision of a better life for all, especially the poor and the working class.

Work has continued since 1994 to improve the living conditions of the people, to undo the legacy of exclusion and neglect.

Many communities and households were without electricity, water, roads, clinics providing quality health care or state of the art schools. The democratic government has since 1994 spent each year delivering such services.

Millions of our people now have access to these services.
The community of Giyani, our hosts today, know too well the hardship of not having water, like many communities around the country where the democratic government is busy making a difference.

In 2009, we declared the Giyani area a disaster zone, and subsequently adopted it into the Presidential Siyahlola Programme. To redress the critical shortage of water, government, through the Department Water and Sanitation issued an emergency directive in August 2014 to Lepelle Northern Water to regularise water and sanitation provision in the Mopani District.

I am very happy to report today, the completion of a number of projects. These are the completion of groundwater augmentation of 16 priority villages and that of Nkhensani Hospital. Also completed is the building of the Giyani Wastewater Treatment Works and the refurbishment of the Giyani Wastewater Treatment Plant.

Some of the milestones in the project to date include the revitalising of 154 boreholes with package plants to ensure the water becomes fit for human consumption.

Furthermore, there is the construction of a thirty five megalitres’ reservoir that will be completed in June 2017.

Operations and maintenance support has also taken place to repair about 270 kilometres of existing lines, nine pump stations and 14 reservoirs.

At the moment, all 55 villages here in Giyani have access to bulk water supply due to the interventions.

To further promote water supply in Limpopo province, we have the Mogalakwena Bulk Water Supply projects within the Waterberg District Municipality that will be implemented in the current financial year.

The project aims to deliver water to Mokopane Town, and villages to the immediate north of Mokopane Town.

Ninety-four thousand people and mines in the surrounding area will benefit from the project.


As you are aware the country is gripped by the negative effects of the current drought. As government, we continue to look for new sources of water.

With some of our provinces having been declared disaster areas, we have to take extra-ordinary efforts to bring relief to our people.

Water tankering, water restrictions, and finding new sources of water, especially by exploiting underground sources, are some of the efforts employed to reduce communities’ water challenges.

The current low dam levels, with an expected dry winter season, demand of everyone to be part of the national water conservation and demand efforts.

We must continue to save water. We have no choice, the situation is serious and is affecting both households and our farming communities who are supposed to ensure food security in our country.


While services are extended to some communities, many others are still waiting, because the backlog resulting from apartheid exclusion is extensive.

We assure you that we shall not rest as the democratic government, until all households in our country live in dignity and obtain basic services.

We will continue to work with all communities towards this end, together building better communities and improving the functioning of municipalities so that they can better provide these services. Remember that local government is everybody’s business. So we have to work together to bring about a better life for all.


As we celebrate our freedom, we also celebrate the improvement in the health care of our people. We are very happy that the life expectancy of South Africans has improved. People used to die at the average age of 53 years in this country. Now they live up to the average of 62 years of age and beyond.

This means South Africans are now living longer and are much healthier. Those living with HIV and AIDS now receive free medical care, and are living healthier lives.

Improved treatment is also provided for all other common ailments that are troubling our people such as diabetes, tuberculosis or hypertension.

We have identified education as an apex priority as well in addition to health care. Education is a powerful instrument against poverty.

It is for this reason that the democratic ANC government has established three new universities in Mpumalanga, Northern Cape and a medical university in Gauteng.

We are also building 12 new Further Education and Training Colleges and refurbishing others, so that more of our youth can have access to education.

We have appointed a Commission of Inquiry to look into the question of funding for higher education. This follows the cry for help by our students as many want to study but their parents are poor.

We continue to invest in basic education. More than nine million children attend no-fee schools. The circumstances of the parents should not handicap a child’s future.

Nine million children are also provided with free meals at school so that hunger does not impair their concentration in class. For some, this is the only decent meal of the day given the circumstances at home.
Investing in education will help us to build better communities.


For freedom to be complete, the economy of our country must not be skewed along racial lines. We must give practical meaning to the demand of the Freedom Charter that "all shall share in the country's wealth."

Government will continue to implement black economic empowerment programmes as well as affirmative action programmes. We have introduced new programmes such as the promotion of black participation in the manufacturing sector actively as industrialists.

In partnership with the private sector, government will continue to work towards economic transformation so that we can expand our economy and create much needed jobs.

Let me also take this opportunity to welcome the continuing cooperation between government and the private sector.

Consultations with business are ongoing to find ways of igniting economic growth and create jobs, to mitigate the punishing global economic climate.

We also continue to engage labour. Together we recently resolved a critical matter relating to worker pensions, which was of concern to the labour movement, especially Congress of the South African Trade Unions.


Let me reiterate that our freedom was not free.

It was fought for and many lives were lost for its attainment. We therefore have the collective responsibility to defend it as South Africans with the same vigour as when we fought for it. We must unite and not allow anything to threaten the freedom and democracy we fought so hard for.

This means we must stop actions that take undermine our hard won freedom such as engaging in violence.

For example, when people are angry, there is no reason for them to burn factories as it happened in kwaSithebe in KwaZulu-Natal recently. How do we call for job creation and then burn the very factories that are supposed to provide jobs?

Schools, trains, libraries, clinics are all built to provide services and a better life. We must guard and protect these facilities in our communities. It is shocking that some people destroy these facilities so easily.

We should report such destructive elements to the police and work together to build better communities where all guard jealously all facilities that are built to make our lives better.

People should protest peacefully and with dignity, in the democratic South Africa. We should isolate all those who promote violence and anarchy.

We know that some within our communities believe such violence will make them popular and try to use anarchy to build their political careers. Let us not allow this to happen in our name. We worked hard to build this country as millions of South Africans. It must not be destroyed by anarchists who have no interest in our well-being.


Let me also use this opportunity to urge all of us to unite in promoting our country.

While South Africa faces several challenges as a new democracy and a developing country, our country’s positive attributes far outweigh the challenges.

It should be possible for us to identify issues on which we shall unite no matter what, and not allow party political competition to divide the nation.

For example we should unite on celebrating the achievements that South Africa has scored in 23 years socially, economically and politically.

It is a fact that the country is a much better place to live in now than it was before 1994.

Our country is still receiving accolades for the successful transition to democracy and for the solid and well-functioning institutions of governance.

We receive compliments abroad for the excellent economic and financial institutions which continue to be an attraction for foreign investors.

South Africa is complimented for its social assistance programme which very few developing countries are able to manage, providing support to more than 16 million people especially orphans and vulnerable children.

This support has rescued many families who would otherwise not be able to put food on the table.

We are complimented for our housing support programme for the poor, for free education for children of the poor and for many other pro-poor programmes.

Indeed this country is trying its best to be the best home for all its citizens especially the poor.

We are happy as government that we have the support of the community as we deliver all these programmes. Together we will continue building better communities.

There are those who have decided to make it their full-time job to deny these achievements of our country, and to rubbish our country locally and abroad. We must not allow them to succeed.

South Africa is a great country. It is a beautiful country and it has wonderful, remarkable and hardworking people. We should all celebrate our collective achievements, and work to correct whatever needs to be corrected as we move towards a more prosperous society.

Let us work together to build our country and move South Africa forward, together.


We will be going to local government elections on 3 August. Our message to you is local government is everybody’s business. Let us work together to build our communities.

On the 5th of December 2015 we marked the 15th anniversary of democratic local government.

Government has established the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Elections to ensure a smooth run-up in preparation for the coming local government elections.

Our citizens’ faith in our constitutional democracy has never been stronger.

Over the two voter registration weekends hosted by the Independent Electoral   Commission, over 6.6 million citizens visited voting stations, with 1.3 million of them being new registrations. Almost eighty percent of these were young people under the age of 30.

We congratulate our youth for their interest in participating in how their country is governed.

Local government is everybody’s business. We urge all South Africans to come out in their numbers to vote on the 3rd of August 2016.

While we celebrate our achievements in the local government sphere over the last 15 years, we also have a firm eye on the future.

The United Nations estimates that over 70 percent of the South African population will live in urban areas by 2030, with this figure increasing to almost 80 percent by 2050. The Integrated Urban Development Framework (IUDF), approved by Cabinet yesterday offers a New Deal for South Africa’s towns and cities.

The IUDF espouses the vision of creating ‘liveable, safe, resource-efficient cities and towns that are socially integrated, economically inclusive and globally competitive, where residents actively participate in urban life.’

We cannot afford to have people spending hours each day transporting themselves to and from work.

We cannot afford to have urban areas that are unsafe and hostile to our citizens. We cannot afford to live in urban spaces that are not economically inclusive.

The IUDF has four overall strategic goals aimed at transforming apartheid’s spatial legacy to an urban future, which is “inclusive, resilient and liveable.”

These are:

Spatial integration: To forge new spatial forms in settlement, transport, social and economic areas.

Inclusion and access: To ensure people have access to social and economic services, opportunities and choices.

Growth: To harness urban dynamism for inclusive, sustainable economic growth, and

Governance: To enhance the capacity of the state and its citizens to work together to achieve spatial and social integration.

Since cities are now the engines of economic growth, the IUDF is our blueprint for a better future for all South Africans.


The winter initiation season is upon us.

The Department of Traditional Affairs has mobilised all stakeholders including the South African Police Service, the National Prosecuting Authority, Department of Health, traditional leaders and communities to ensure that we carry out our policy of zero tolerance for initiation deaths.

We congratulate the Limpopo province on their achievement of ensuring no deaths during the initiation season.

We urge all provinces to intensify their efforts in this regard.

Fellow South Africans,

Let me reiterate that South Africa is a great success story. We have our challenges, however, the positive attributes of our country far outweigh those challenges.

Let us point out the challenges so that we can be able to fix them. But in doing so, let us not lose sight of the achievements that we have all scored, working together, under difficult conditions.

Let us not allow those who have decided to ignore the achievements of our beautiful country, to make us think we are a failure as a nation, a country and a people.

We have done well, and we will continue to do well, until we reach our destination, a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, and prosperous South Africa, which is accurately described in the National Development plan.

We wish you all a happy freedom day today.

Let us continue working together, to move South Africa forward.

I thank you.

For more about The Presidency, refer to


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