Police open fire in third
day of S. Africa protest.
CAPE TOWN — South African
President Jacob Zuma Thursday
urged impoverished communities not
to resort to violence in protests over
living standards and pledged an
improvement in the delivery of basic
Riot police spent three days this
week battling demonstrations in a
destitute township in the east of the
country which is blighted by a high
rate of unemployment and a lack of
"Whatever the grievances are, they
can only be resolved through
engagement with the authorities and
not through violence. The police will
continue to act against those who
break the law," Zuma told parliament.
The three-day protest in Wesselton,
a township around 200 kilometres
(124 miles) east of Johannesburg,
had quietened on Thursday ahead of
a community meeting on Monday, the
Sapa news agency reported.
A local leader said people were
unhappy about service delivery,
unemployment and the selection of
candidates for the forthcoming
municipal elections which are
expected by end May.
Pledging that services would be
improved ahead of the polls, Zuma
said officials had signed performance
and service delivery agreements and
a strategy was also being put in
place to tackle backlogs and
"As we head for local government
elections, we are confident that the
measures we are putting in place will
improve the functioning of local
government, as all players know what
is expected of them," he said.
South Africa faces sporadic violent
service protests over massive
housing backlogs, lack of water and
sanitation and joblessness that
affects more than one in three
Despite being the continent's
economic powerhouse, the country
has battled to improve living
standards for the black majority since
the 1994 fall of the white minority
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|Kgalema Motlanthe is ANC Deputy President.
This is an edited extract from his acceptance speech on
the occasion of his election as President of South Africa,
25 September 2008.
Full acceptance speech by President Motlanthe, 25 September 2008
TASKS OF GOVERNMENT
We should forge ahead with our historic mission
The African National Congress is a movement with a rich political tradition.
While conditions have changed, and tactics have had to be adapted, the
policy orientation of the ANC has remained consistent for over 50 years.
The vision espoused in the Freedom Charter remains at the core of the
work of this movement. It is reflected in the mandate of government since
the attainment of democracy in 1994. As the leading party in
government,the ANC has kept a steady hand on the tiller. Even when
faced with difficulty, and confronted by unanticipated challenges, the ANC
has remained unwavering in its commitment to advance the interests of all
the people of South Africa.
This commitment has been reflected in the policies of three
con-successive ANC governments. It will continue to be reflected in the
final months of the
country's third democratic national government. In 2004, the people of this
country gave a clear and unequivocal mandate to the government to forge
a people's contract to create work and fight poverty. The people placed on
the government the responsibility to use all means at its disposal to
ensure that by 2014 we would be able to reduce poverty and
unemployment by half.
When the government's term ends next year, it will be able to report to the
people that indeed it has done as it was mandated. It will be able to report
on an economy that has sustained a pace of growth unprecedented in
recent South African history, that has created jobs at an accelerated pace,
and that has enabled government to dedicate greater resources to
meeting the basic needs of our people.
The government will be able to report on significant progress in pushing
back the frontiers of poverty. It will be able to report on tangible
advances in the provision of housing, electricity, water, sanitation and
other basic services to millions of our people. And it will be able to
report on major improvements in the access of poor South Africans to
health care, education and social security.
South Africans across the length and breadth of the country will attest to
these and many other achievements. But they know too that much work
still lies ahead. They know the challenges our country faces, and the
hardships that many of our people continue to endure.
To South Africans and to the world at large, we say that we shall not falter
in leading the national effort to build a society in which all South Africans,
regardless of their background, race or gender, have equal access
to an expanding array of opportunity. We say that the government will
continue to as it has done under the leadership of President Thabo Mbeki,
to dedicate every day that it remains in office towards the achievement of
The resolve of the government will not slacken. The pace of
implementation will only quicken, and the fulfilment of its mandate will only
ever draw closer.
We are able to make such pronouncements with neither hesitation nor
doubt, precisely because the policies we are charged to implement are the
policies of the African National Congress. These policies, which
government will continue to implement unchanged, are the product of an
extensive consultation and decision-making process.
These policies are the property of a collective. They do not belong to any
one individual and it is not for any one individual to change them. The
policies of this government are clear. They are based on the 2004
Manifesto of the African National Congress, enhanced by the decisions of
both the ANC's Policy Conference as well as its 52nd National Conference
held in Polokwane in December 2007.
We will not allow that the work of government be interrupted. We will not
allow the stability of our democratic order to be compromised. And we will
not allow the confidence that our people have in the ability of the state to
respond to their needs to be undermined.
In this moment in our history, as we stand poised to make further advances
towards the achievement of a better life, it is as important as ever that we
stand united as a nation. It is as important as ever that we retain our
faith in the resilience of our constitutional order and the vibrancy of our
democracy. Though we may at times experience difficulty, though we may
suffer moments of doubt and uncertainty, we have both the will and the
means to rise above the challenges of the present, and to forge ahead
with our historic mission to liberate all our people from discrimination,
oppression and want.
Therefore, we send out a message that government remains on course to
deliver on its commitments to the poor, who rely on us daily for the
fulfilment of their basic needs and for the provision of important services
like health, education, and social security. We remain on course to halve
unemployment and poverty by 2014. We remain determined to stamp out
crime, violence and abuse, whoever it affects and wherever it=20
manifests itself. We remain committed to building safer communities and
protecting the vulnerable in our society from abuse. But in doing so, we
need all our people to work with, and within, the criminal justice system so
that together we stamp out crime.
We assure all those on our continent and in the world that we will continue
to meet our international obligations. We will continue to play a positive
role within international institutions and forums. We will continue to
provide whatever assistance we can in the pursuit of peace, security,
democracy and development in Africa. We remain on course to host in
2010 the best FIFA World Cup ever - An African World Cup. We fully
expect to meet every commitment our nation has made to the football
In a turbulent global economy, we will remain true to the policies that have
kept South Africa steady, and that have ensured sustained growth. We will
intensify the all-round effort to accelerate the rate of growth and job
creation, and ensure that all our people equally share the benefits of
In the spirit of building a united democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and
prosperous South Africa, we will continue the regular engagements
between government and the various working groups representing vital
sectors within our society. These, together with initiatives like the nation
wide Izimbizo programme, provide a crucial opportunity for enhancing
popular engagement with the highest levels of government.
We live in challenging times. We see before us many mountains that are
yet to be climbed, and numerous rivers that still need to be crossed. Yet,
for all the challenges that lie ahead, the incontrovertible truth is that never
before has South Africa been closer than it is today towards the
achievement of a better life for all its people. We therefore have a shared
responsibility to build on these results and to strive together - sparing
neither courage for strength - towards the achievement of a better South
Africa, a better Africa and a better world.
** Kgalema Motlanthe is ANC Deputy President. This is an edited extract
from his acceptance speech on the occasion of his election as President
of South Africa, 25 September 2008.
Full acceptance speech by President Motlanthe, 25 September=20 2008
This issue of ANC Today is available from the ANC web site at:
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