Saturday, February 17, 2018

Tears, Exuberance as 'Black Panther' Opens Across Africa
By CARA ANNA
ASSOCIATED PRESS
JOHANNESBURG
Feb 17, 2018, 4:30 PM ET

 The cast of “Black Panther” arrive at the South Africa premiere on Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, in Johannesburg. (AP Photo/Cara Anna)The Associated Press

"Black Panther" has burst onto the screen in Africa, handing a powerful response to the unfortunate remarks about the continent by President Donald Trump.

As the red carpet in South Africa swirled with stunning outfits and exclamations in the local isiXhosa language used in the film's Wakanda kingdom, cast member John Kani laughed at the U.S. president's views, which several African nations have openly scorned. (Oscar-winning actress Lupita Nyong'o said simply: "No comment.")

The South African actor Kani, like many at Friday night's Johannesburg premiere, expressed pride at seeing an Afrofuturistic society that celebrates traditional cultures and dreams of what the world's second most populous continent can be.

"This time the sun now is shining on Africa," he said. "This movie came at the right time. We're struggling to find leaders that are exemplary and role models ... so when you see the Black Panther as a young boy and he takes off that mask you think, 'Oh my God, he looks like me. He is African and I am African. Now we can look up to some person who is African.'"

Added actress Danai Gurira, who grew up mostly in Zimbabwe: "To bring this film home is everything."

The film has opened in other top economic powers across Africa, where a growing middle class flocked to IMAX showings and shared vibrant opening-night images on social media.

"The African culture highlighted in the movie is so rich that it makes me feel proud of being black. I totally love it," said Liz Muthoni after a screening in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. "I can watch it again and again."

"Black Panther" screened a few days ago in Kenya's western city of Kisumu, where Nyong'o's father, Anyang, is the local governor.

"Sometimes we think that we have two choices to make in Africa," he wrote this month in The Star newspaper. "Choice one: We maintain our traditions and cultures and stay backward forever. Choice two: We modernize by becoming westernized and forgetting our cultural traditions which, by their very nature so we think, are stuck in the past. The experience of the Wakanda people teaches us otherwise."

In Ethiopia's capital, Addis Ababa, "Black Panther" has been selling out its five-times-a-day screenings at the only theater showing the film.

"Moviegoers are enjoying the African heritage part of the film. This is also unique for us because Ethiopia is often mentioned alongside the black power and black movements as the only nation not colonized by Western powers," said Elias Abraha, the cinema's operations chief. "There are people who changed their flight plans just to watch the movie."

Some Ethiopian fans quickly changed their Facebook profile pictures and expressed their adoration.

"Tears stream down my face as I write this," said one Facebook user who goes by LadyRock Maranatha. "Black Panther was basically an enormous . roller coaster of emotions, adventure and most of all the affirmation of what I had felt since I left my country for Cambridge and came back. I cried for my people and felt immense pride in being Ethiopian and most importantly AFRICAN. We are truly resilient and beautiful."

As the audience poured out of the Johannesburg screening, spirits were high.

"Totally blown away. I got emotional," said reality TV star Blue Mbombo, who admitted that going into the film she thought the expectations had been "hype." But she praised its use of cultural touches like Basotho blankets and called the use of the isiXhosa language "very humbling."

Others considered the American side of the story. "An African-American coming back to Africa, it's a nice reminder of their heritage as well," said Ayanda Sidzatane. She called the film awesome. "We knew it would be cool but not like this."

Some anticipated a flood of interest from African-Americans, even cheekily. "Now I know Black Panther makes Africa look cool ... But please don't come to Lagos ... It's overcrowded," Nigerian artist Arinze Stanley tweeted of the continent's most populous city.

As Ghanaian celebrity blogger Ameyaw Debrah put it on social media: "What will #BlackPanther make the world think of Africa now?"
———

Associated Press writers Elias Meseret in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Tom Odula in Nairobi, Kenya and videographer Graham Walsh in Johannesburg contributed.
‘Black Panther’ Premières in South Africa
17 FEB, 2018 - 00:02
 
Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER..L to R: Okoye (Danai Gurira), Nakia (Lupita Nyong'o) and Ayo (Florence Kasumba)..Photo: Matt Kennedy..©Marvel Studios 2018

Robert Mukondiwa in SANDTON, South Africa

Starring Zimbabwean movie and silver screen sensation Danai Gurira, who made the trip from California for the event alongside Lupita Nyong’o, the event was the key kick-off screening on African soil meant to bring home the Xhosa speaking heroes of the flick.

The Saturday Herald joined an elite select team of international artistes, media executives, Hollywood royalty and continental bloggers in the launch of the epic superhero movie “Black Panther” in the African movie Premiere in South Africa.

The movie is the first of its kind with a black leading superhero.

Gurira expressed keen excitement that she was travelling to the mother continent to bring what Hollywood has always been starving film-goers of; a movie sensation and hero of black origin.

Next Saturday we bring you in-depth coverage of the epic event. In the meantime here are fascinating facts about what promises to be the biggest cinematic experience of the year and perhaps even beyond.

However, there are tonnes of fun facts around this movie, drawn out of a Marvel Comic run that has finally had the movie-making gods of Hollywood breathe life into its lungs and bring it to life.
Here are some of them! Many of them will appeal to the cinematic moviehead!

Fun Facts

Marvel’s Black Panther character made his debut in the comic book world in “Fantastic Four Volume 1” Issue 52, published in 1966.

An important part of the Black Panther lore incorporated into the film is the Dora Milaje, the cadre of strong fierce women who serve as the personal security force to the king and royal family. These tall, statuesque, bald-headed warrior women, who move as one, command attention wherever they go.

Led by Danai Gurira’s character, Okoye, the Dora Milaje security force features an international contingent of women from all over the world, including Florence Kasumba who returns to play Ayo, a character that first appeared in Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War”. The Dora Milaje were cast from a pool of actresses, stunt women and Broadway dancers so that each individual Dora could have specialised skills that they brought to the table.

It was decided early on that Xhosa, one of the official languages of South Africa, would be the language of Wakanda. A precedent had been set in Marvel Studios’ “Captain America: Civil War,” when celebrated South African actor John Kani, who portrayed King T’Chaka, used his native accent. Chadwick Boseman, who plays T’Challa/Black Panther, picked it up from him as well.

The cast and stunt team practiced with African drums played by musician Jabari Exum so that their movements would have a musical quality found in many African-based martial arts.

Actor Daniel Kaluuya learned how to ride a horse as practice to simulate riding W’Kabi’s armoured rhino in the film.

Young Zuri is played by Denzel Whitaker. While he shares the same last name with Forest Whitaker, who plays the older Zuri, they are not related. However, they did play father and son in Denzel Washington’s “The Great Debaters”.

South African actor Atandwa Kani plays the character of Young T’Chaka to his father and celebrated South African actor John Kani’s King T’Chaka.

The cast did the bulk of the fight work that will be seen on film. Chadwick Boseman, whose skill set includes a comprehensive martial arts background, knew what he was in for when he and all the other actors had to attend a “boot camp” to prepare them for the physical aspects of their roles.

Michael B Jordan, who plays Erik Killmonger, spent about two and a half hours in the special effects makeup chair every day, while makeup designer Joel Harlow and three other makeup artists applied close to 90 individually sculpted silicone moulds to his upper body. This “scarification” application process entails transferring each mould and then blending and painting them to match Jordan’s skin tone. Each of Killmonger’s scars represents a “notch” of his kills over the years.

The majority of the Wakanda sets were constructed on sound stages at Pinewood Studios in Atlanta, including the Tribal Council; the Wakandan Design Group, Shuri’s hive of research and development of the vibranium rich country; the ancient subterranean Hall of Kings; and most notably Warrior Falls, the ceremonial heart of Wakanda’s revered traditions.

The Warrior Falls set was 120’ x 75’ in size. The set was 36’ tall, with the pool being six feet above ground level. That made the cliff faces 30’ tall. Construction took about four months from start to finish.

The entire cliff wall of the Warrior Falls, including the CG and practically built set, is 100 feet high.

Over 25 000 cubic feet of foam was used in the Warrior Falls set, which was sculpted to match the rocks in Oribi Gorge in South Africa.

The bottom of the Warrior Falls’ Challenge Pool was padded for the stunt team, but still looked like rock. The production crew also had to formulate a surface that was rough enough to not be too slippery in bare feet, but not so rough that it hurt to land on it.

On the Warrior Falls set, the stunt team had to rig all of the cliff faces with mountain climbing gear to safely secure all of the extras on the cliff faces.

The production team engineered a fully functional flowing waterfall and pool at the ledge of the cliff with six large submersible pumps feeding over 125 000 gallons of temperature-controlled water piping up through the set at a rate of 30 000 gallons per minute before recirculating through the system.

The high-speed car action for the Casino sequence was filmed on location in the bustling coastal city of Busan, South Korea. For almost two weeks, “Black Panther’s” action unit descended upon the coastal city nestled against the foothills of Geumjeong Mountain to film the thrilling, mind-blowing chase sequence through such iconic sites as Gwangalli Beach and the Haeundae District.

Director Ryan Coogler wanted the South Korea action sequence to be seamless, so he had an editor on set cutting footage in real time. This is not often done during production, but Coogler felt it was the best way to capture all the action, stunts and special effects in frame on time.

Friday, February 16, 2018

China President Xi Congratulates New South Africa President
17 FEB, 2018 - 00:02 

BEIJING. – Chinese President Xi Jinping yesterday extended congratulations to Cyril Ramaphosa on the latter’s election as South African president. In his congratulatory message, Xi called Ramaphosa an old friend of the Chinese people who has made important contributions to the development of bilateral relations.

“I attach great importance to developing the China-South Africa relationship,” Xi said, adding that he stands ready to work with Ramaphosa to lift their countries’ comprehensive strategic partnership to higher levels.

The Chinese leader also suggested that the two sides support each other in hosting later this year the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Johannesburg Summit of the emerging-market bloc of BRICS, which also groups Brazil, Russia and India.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of China-South Africa diplomatic relations.
The two countries upgraded their ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2010.
Ramaphosa took office as the fifth president of South Africa on Thursday, replacing Jacob Zuma, who announced his immediate resignation late Wednesday.

– Xinhua.
Zimbabwe President Congratulates Ramaphosa
17 FEB, 2018 - 00:02 

Bulawayo Bureau
Zimbabwe Herald

President Mnangagwa has congratulated newly-elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, saying Zimbabwe was looking forward to strengthening the existing good relations between the two neighbouring countries. In a message posted on micro-blogging site Twitter, President Mnangagwa wished Mr Ramaphosa well, saying his excellence and persistence earned him the leadership of his people.

“My very warmest congratulations to President Cyril Ramaphosa,” he said. “His excellence and persistence have now earned him the leadership of his people. Zimbabwe sends its very best wishes to him and his administration. We look forward to strengthening more our ties. Congratulations!”

Mr Ramaphosa (66) was elected after former President Jacob Zuma (76) officially resigned on Wednesday night during a special broadcast that was beamed live on television.

The embattled Mr Zuma bowed to pressure from his ANC party and opposition parties who wanted him to step down. Mr Zuma was due to complete his term of office next year. Former South African President Thabo Mbeki also congratulated Mr Ramaphosa, describing Mr Jacob Zuma’s resignation as a step in the right direction.

“I think (former) President (Jacob) Zuma did the right thing,” he was quoted as saying on SABC. “Once the leadership of the ANC took that position and in the context of what the majority of the population was saying, it was really time that he left office.

“Maybe he ought to have done it earlier so that the ANC was not forced to threaten a vote of no confidence and all that.”

Mr Mbeki, who was in 2008, recalled by the National Executive Committee of the ANC, said Mr Ramaphosa should work towards economic growth to deal decisively with poverty and the high unemployment rate. He said change was needed because corruption had become entrenched in all spheres of government under the leadership of Mr Zuma. The election of Mr Ramaphosa means that he becomes the sadc chairperson, a position that was held by former President Zuma, who had taken over the rotating chairmanship from King Mswati III of Swaziland.
South African Communist Party Congratulates President Ramaphosa
15 February 2018

The South African Communist Party congratulates ANC President Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa for being elected unopposed on Thursday, 15 February 2018 as the new State President of the Republic of South Africa.

The immediate task remains that of radically reducing class, race and gender inequalities and uneven development between urban and rural areas. In particular, this requires increased attention to rural development and resolute policy measures to improve the quality of life of the workers and poor by giving effect to the right to work as enshrined in the Freedom Charter and expanding decent work for all.

These measures will require dismantling the parasitic networks surrounding our state and decisively bringing an end to corporate capture of the state and all other forms of corruption and wrongdoing. This includes demolishing parallel state mechanisms and manoeuvres such as rogue intelligence units and associated operations.

ISSUED BY THE SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNIST PARTY | SACP

FOR GENERAL ENQUIRIES ON SACP STATEMENTS CONTACT:

Alex Mohubetswane Mashilo:
Head of Communications & National Spokesperson
Mobile: +27 76 316 9816
Skype: MashiloAM

CIRCULATION & MEDIA LIAISON SERVICES

Hlengiwe Nkonyane:
Communications Officer - Media Liaison Services, Digital and Social Media Co-ordinator
Mobile: +27 79 384 6550

OFFICE, WEBSITE, TWITTER, FACEBOOK, USTREAM TV CHANNEL

Office: +2711 339 3621/2
Twitter: SACP1921
Website: www.sacp.org.za
Facebook Page: South African Communist Party
SACP Ustream TV Channel: http://www.ustream.tv/channel/sacp-tv
COSATU State of the Nation Expectations
The federation expects today's SONA to flesh out in detail work plans, time frames and targets on the following matters of critical importance to workers and their families:

A Jobs Plan

We want an urgent convening of the long promised Presidential Jobs Summit with a path towards building a growing economy that creates a million decent jobs per anum.

An end to labour broking, outsourcing and privatisation, especially in the state as well as the retail sector.

Re-industrialisation of the manufacturing sector.

Boost our exports, especially to Africa.

Re-skilling of the workers.

Work with all social partners to stem the tide of retrenchments

National Minimum Wage

A clear assurance that it will be passed by Parliament and come into law on 1 May without delays.

Crime and Corruption

A clear commitment to end the culture of looting and state capture.

Heads must roll at NPA, Hawks and SAPS. The leadership that has allowed state capture to thrive needs to go.

Wasteful Expenditure

Government needs to curb wasteful expenditure and must hold people accountable.

The bloated cabinet must be reduced by half and the captured fired ministers fired immediately.

Bling lifestyles of the political elite at the expense of the tax payer must be stopped.

Water

We call for a national plan that will address as a matter of the highest urgency the water crises threatening the W. Cape, E. Cape, N. Cape and parts of the F. State and KZN and Gauteng. These must be based on sustainable paths that include recycling, desalination and conservation. This is an opportunity to protect health and the environment and also create jobs.

State Owned Enterprises

South needs a clear plan to clean up Eskom, SAA, SABC, Denel and SASSA. This must include comprehensive forensic audits and the arrest, prosecution and the seizure of assets of all those implicated in corruption.

An improvement of governance and management systems in the SOE's that will help put them on a sustainable financial footing. This must definitely not include privatisation.

National Health Insurance and Comprehensive Social Security

COSATU wants clear commitments and timeframes to fast track the roll out of both the NHI and Comprehensive Social Security. We need to ensure that they serve the working and middle classes and not simply dominant monopoly industries.

Education

We need clear sustainable funding models to ensure free and affordable tertiary education for the working and middle classes.

We also need clear plans to address the infrastructure, quality and overcrowding crisis at schools.
Energy

The government needs to clarify once and for all government's plans to expand nuclear energy.

We need a clear plan and commitment to ensure that no jobs will be lost, whilst the renewable energy sector expands. Government must have a plan with industry and labour that provides for the re-skilling and absorption of any worker, whose job will be threatened by the changes in the energy sector.

SASSA

COSATU wants the end of the capture of SASSA by CPS.

The Presidency and National Treasury needs to take over the process of transferring social grant payments to the Post Bank.

Land Reform and Agriculture

We expect a logical and clear plan to speed up land reform and restitution.

We also demand a clear plan to protect and grow the agricultural sector, the largest employer after the public sector.

The SONA should also present a plan to protect the rights of farm workers and ensure they have security of tenure.

Transport

Cde Cyril Ramaphosa needs to resolve the issue of E Tolls.

We also want a commitment to address the collapse of Metro Rail and a commitment and a plan to expand safe and accessible public transport.

Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
SADTU Congratulates Cde Cyril Ramaphosa on His Election as President of South Africa
15 February 2018

The South African Democratic Teachers' Union (SADTU) joins millions of patriotic and peace loving South Africans in congratulating Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa on his election as president of the country.

Cde Ramaphosa's appointment marks the dawn of a new era for South Africa; an era we hope will bring about unity, firm and decisive leadership in dealing with corruption, economic growth and lead the country towards a prosperous trajectory.

Cde Ramaphosa's election as president did not come on a silver platter. We can fully attest to the fact that he earned it. An activist in his student days, Ramaphosa progressed to become the leader of one of South Africa's most powerful union, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM). He played a pivotal role in shaping and driving our country into our new democracy as the key negotiator during CODESA negotiations and in the drafting of our constitution that is touted as the best in the world.

His tenure will not be a walk in the park as he takes over the reins in a country facing high unemployment rate, joblessness, corruption and moral decay in the midst of a tough economic climate.

However, in the midst of such conditions, we have no doubt that Cde Ramaphosa will take this country to greater heights. As SADTU we give President Ramaphosa and the ANC our unconditional support in ensuring that they work towards making South Africa a better country for all.

The 54th Conference of the ANC heeded our call since 2015 COSATU Congress that unity and cohesion of the ANC can be achieved if Comrade Ramaphosa as the deputy then was elected as the ANC president based on its traditions and practices. We are convinced that President Ramaphosa will work hard to unite the Alliance and the people of our country. That he will not allow darkness to kill the democracy that we fought for. That under his leadership the ANC leagues and associations will focus their energy towards working for the people of South Africa.

Issued by: SADTU Secretariat

CONTACT:

General Secretary, Mugwena Maluleke; 082 783 2968
Deputy General Secretary, Nkosana Dolopi; 082 709 5651
Media Officer, Nomusa Cembi; 082 719 5157
COSATU Congratulates President Cyril Ramaphosa on His Election and We Remind Him That There is No Honeymoon Period for Him
15 February 2018

The Congress of South African Trade Unions congratulates Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa on his well deserved and long overdue election as President of the Republic of South Africa. We are proud of this product of the National Union of Mineworkers and our federation COSATU. He has an outstanding resume as a student activists and a leader of the trade union movement. He led NUM to become the largest union in the country and led the largest strike at the height of apartheid. He was one of the lead negotiators representing the ANC during the CODESA and the constitutional processes in Parliament.

Whilst we are happy that he has now been elected President of the Republic of South Africa and that now we can move on from the political nightmares that have bedeviled us for a long time, we are not writing government a blank cheque. We will give him all the necessary support as our president, but there will be no honeymoon period.

President Cyril Ramaphosa needs to be engaging but decisive. There is no time for handling crooks with kid gloves. There is no time for laziness when addressing the jobs blood bath and unemployment. We demand an activist, capacitated developmental state that we have long fought for.

We expect the new incoming president to restore confidence in the ANC and its government by giving its government a facelift. He needs to deal with mediocrity and bureaucratic arrogance that has paralysed government over the last few years. Some ministers and government leaders need to be removed and replaced in order for our economy to grow and the people centred development to thrive.

COSATU expects government to wake up to the economic crisis that is drowning workers and their families in poverty and the rising unemployment. We expect government to crack down on the rampant levels of corruption and wasteful expenditure threatening the very survival of the state and nation. Lastly we caution and advise him to ensure that government acts with humility, decency and integrity. We must leave behind the days of political and bureaucratic arrogance and put the people
first.

COSATU shall be convening its CEC meeting in two weeks time and we expect an Alliance meeting to be convened soon to discuss the matters that relate to the Alliance.

SONA expectations

The federation expect tomorrow's SONA to flesh out in detail work plans, timeframes and targets on the following matters of critical importance to workers and their families:

A Jobs Plan

We want an urgent convening of the long promised Presidential Jobs Summit with a path towards building a growing economy that creates a million decent jobs per annum.

An end to labour broking, outsourcing and privatisation, especially in the state as well as the retail sector.

Re-industrialisation of the manufacturing sector.

Boost our exports, especially to Africa.

Reskilling of the workers.

Work with all social partners to stem the tide of retrenchments

National Minimum Wage

A clear assurance that it will be passed by Parliament and come into law on 1 May without delays.

Crime and Corruption

A clear commitment to end the culture of looting and state capture.

Heads must roll at NPA, Hawks and SAPS. The leadership that has allowed state capture to thrive needs to go.

Wasteful Expenditure

Government needs to curb wasteful expenditure and must hold people accountable.

The bloated cabinet must be reduced by half and the captured fired ministers fired immediately.

Bling lifestyles of the political elite at the expense of the tax payer must be stopped.

Water

We call for a national plan that will address as a matter of the highest urgency the water crises threatening the W. Cape, E. Cape, N. Cape and parts of the F. State and KZN and Gauteng. These must be based on sustainable paths that include recycling, desalination and conservation. This is an opportunity to protect health and the environment and also create jobs.

State Owned Enterprises

South needs a clear plan to clean up Eskom, SAA, SABC, Denel and SASSA. This must include comprehensive forensic audits and the arrest, prosecution and the seizure of assets of all those implicated in corruption.

An improvement of governance and management systems in the SOE's that will help put them on a sustainable financial footing. This must definitely not include privatisation.

National Health Insurance and Comprehensive Social Security

COSATU wants clear commitments and timeframes to fast track the roll out of both the NHI and Comprehensive Social Security. We need to ensure that they serve the working and middle classes and not simply dominant monopoly industries.

Education

We need clear sustainable funding models to ensure free and affordable tertiary education for the working and middle classes.

We also need clear plans to address the infrastructure, quality and overcrowding crisis at schools.

Energy

The government needs to clarify once and for all government's plans to expand nuclear energy.

We need a clear plan and commitment to ensure that no jobs will be lost, whilst the renewable energy sector expands. Government must have a plan with industry and labour that provides for the re-skilling and absorption of any worker, whose job will be threatened by the changes in the energy sector.

SASSA

COSATU wants the end of the capture of SASSA by CPS.

The Presidency and National Treasury needs to take over the process of transferring social grant payments to the Post Bank.

Land Reform and Agriculture

We expect a logical and clear plan to speed up land reform and restitution.

We also demand a clear plan to protect and grow the agricultural sector, the largest employer after the public sector.

The SONA should also present a plan to protect the rights of farm workers and ensure they have security of tenure.

Transport

Cde Cyril Ramaphosa needs to resolve the issue of E Tolls.
We also want a commitment to address the collapse of Metro Rail and a commitment and a plan to expand safe and accessible public transport.
Issued by COSATU

Sizwe Pamla (Cosatu National Spokesperson)

Tel: 011 339 4911
Fax: 011 339 5080
Cell: 060 975 6794
NUM Congratulates Comrade Cyril Ramaphosa for Being Elected President of South Africa
15 February 2018

The National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) congratulates its founding General Secretary comrade Cyril Ramaphosa for being elected unopposed as the new president of South Africa in the National Assembly today.

The working class could not go wrong when they resolved through Cosatu and the NUM that comrade Ramaphosa should succeed the former president Jacob Zuma. It is our belief that he carries appropriate skills to revive the economy, create jobs, stabilise the relations in the tripartite alliance. Most importantly fight corruption and ensure that the African National Congress (ANC) wins the elections overwhelmingly in 2019.

The ANC collective under his stewardship should bring hope to the people of South Africa black and white, to discharge political responsibility in terms of effective service delivery, radical economic transformation, and unity in the country.

For more detailed information, please contact:

David Sipunzi: NUM General Secretary: 082 883 7293
Livhuwani Mammburu: NUM National Spokesperson: 083 809 3257

Address:
7 Rissik Street.
Cnr Frederick,
Johannesburg 2001
Tel: 011 377 2111
Web: www.num.org.za
Twitter: @Num Media NUM
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/NUM/100860023402167
PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA'S STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the State of the Nation Address at the Parliament on 16 February 2018. Picture: AFP.

Eyewitness News

State of the Nation Address by the President of the Republic of South Africa, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, 16 February 2018, Parliament

Speaker of the National Assembly, Ms Baleka Mbete,

Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces, Ms Thandi Modise,

Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP,

Former President Thabo Mbeki,

Former Deputy President FW de Klerk,

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and all esteemed members of the judiciary,

Ministers and Deputy Ministers,

Premiers and Speakers of Provincial Legislatures,

Chairperson of SALGA and all Executive Mayors present,

The Heads of Chapter 9 Institutions,

Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders,

Leaders of faith based organisations,

Former Speaker Dr Frene Ginwala,

Former Speaker Mr Max Sisulu,

Invited Guests

Veterans of the struggle for liberation,

Members of the Diplomatic Corps,

Honourable members,

Fellow South Africans,

It is a great honour and privilege to deliver this State of the Nation Address.

This Address should have been delivered last week, but was delayed so that we could properly manage issues of political transition.

I wish to thank Honourable Members and the people of South Africa for their patience and forbearance.

I also wish to extend a word of gratitude to former President Jacob Zuma for the manner in which he approached this difficult and sensitive process.

I wish to thank him for his service to the nation during his two terms as President of the Republic, during which the country made significant progress in several areas of development.

Fellow South Africans,

In just over 150 days from now, the peoples of the world will unite in celebrating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela.

It is a day on which we, as South Africans, will remember the life of one of the most remarkable leaders this country and this continent – and indeed, the world – has known.

We will recount Madiba’s long walk to freedom, his wisdom, his unfailing humility, his abiding compassion and his essential integrity.

We have dedicated this year to his memory and we will devote our every action, every effort, every utterance to the realisation of his vision of a democratic, just and equitable society.

Guided by his example, we will use this year to reinforce our commitment to ethical behaviour and ethical leadership.

In celebrating the centenary of Nelson Mandela we are not merely honouring the past, we are building the future.

We are continuing the long walk he began, to build a society in which all may be free, in which all may be equal before the law and in which all may share in the wealth of our land and have a better life.

We are building a country where a person’s prospects are determined by their own initiative and hard work, and not by the colour of their skin, place of birth, gender, language or income of their parents.

This year, we also celebrate the centenary of another giant of our struggle, Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu.

Through her remarkable life and outstanding contribution, she defined what it means to be a freedom fighter, a leader and a diligent and disciplined servant of the people.

Through her leadership, she embodied the fundamental link between national liberation and gender emancipation.

As we mark her centenary, we reaffirm that no liberation can be complete and no nation can be free until its women are free.

We honour this son and this daughter of the African soil in a year of change, in a year of renewal, in a year of hope.

We honour them not only in word, but, more importantly, in direct action towards the achievement of their shared vision of a better society.

We should honour Madiba by putting behind us the era of discord, disunity and disillusionment.

We should put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in leaders.

We should put all the negativity that has dogged our country behind us because a new dawn is upon us.

It is a new dawn that is inspired by our collective memory of Nelson Mandela and the changes that are unfolding.

As we rid our minds of all negativity, we should reaffirm our belief that South Africa belongs to all who live in it.

For though we are a diverse people, we are one nation.

There are 57 million of us, each with different histories, languages, cultures, experiences, views and interests.

Yet we are bound together by a common destiny.

For this, we owe much to our forebearers – people like Pixley ka Seme, Charlotte Maxeke and Chief Albert Luthuli – who understood the necessity of the unity and harmony of all the people of this great land.

We are a nation at one.

We are one people, committed to work together to find jobs for our youth; to build factories and roads, houses and clinics; to prepare our children for a world of change and progress; to build cities and towns where families may be safe, productive and content.

We are determined to build a society defined by decency and integrity, that does not tolerate the plunder of public resources, nor the theft by corporate criminals of the hard-earned savings of ordinary people.

While there are many issues on which we may differ, on these fundamental matters, we are at one.

We know that there is still a lot that divides us.

We remain a highly unequal society, in which poverty and prosperity are still defined by race and gender.

We have been given the responsibility to build a new nation, to confront the injustices of the past and the inequalities of the present.

We are called upon to do so under difficult conditions.

The state we are in as a nation is that while poverty declined significantly following the democratic breakthrough of 1994, we have seen reverses in recent years.

Poverty levels rose in 2015, unemployment has gone up and inequality has persisted.

For several years our economy has not grown at the pace needed to create enough jobs or lift our people out of poverty.

Public finances have been constrained, limiting the ability of government to expand its investment in economic and social development.

Despite these challenging conditions, we have managed – working together – to achieve progress in improving the lives of our people.

Even under conditions of weak growth, our economy has created jobs, but not at the pace required to absorb new entrants into the labour market.

This means that as we pursue higher levels of economic growth and investment, we need to take additional measures to reduce poverty and meet the needs of the unemployed.

Since the start of the current Parliament, our public employment programmes have created more than 3.2 million work opportunities.

In the context of widespread unemployment, they continue to provide much needed income, work experience and training.

We have taken measures to reduce the cost of living, especially for the poor.

Government’s free basic services programme currently supports more than 3.5 million indigent households.

More than 17 million social grants are paid each month, benefiting nearly a third of the population.

We know, however, that if we are to break the cycle of poverty, we need to educate the children of the poor.

We have insisted that this should start in early childhood.

Today we have nearly a million children in early childhood development facilities.

We are seeing improvements in the outcomes of our basic education system.

The matric pass rate increased from 60.6 percent in 2009 to 75.1 percent last year.

There are currently almost a million students enrolled in higher education, up from just over 500,000 in 1994.

As we enter a new era, we are determined to build on these achievements, confront the challenges we face and accelerate progress in building a more prosperous and equitable society.

We have seen a moderate recovery in our economy and a broader, sustained recovery in the global economy.

Commodity prices have improved, the stock market has risen, the rand has strengthened and there are early indications that investor confidence is on the rise.

We have taken decisive measures to address concerns about political instability and are committed to ensure policy certainty and consistency.

There is a greater sense of optimism among our people.

Our people are hopeful about the future.

Business confidence among South African companies has improved and foreign investors are looking anew at opportunities in our country.

Some financial institutions have identified South Africa as one of the hot emerging markets for 2018.

Our task, as South Africans, is to seize this moment of hope and renewal, and to work together to ensure that it makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our people.

This year, we will be initiating measures to set the country on a new path of growth, employment and transformation.

We will do this by getting social partners in our country to collaborate in building a social compact on which we will create drivers of economic recovery.

We have to build further on the collaboration with business and labour to restore confidence and prevent an investment downgrade.

Tough decisions have to be made to close our fiscal gap, stabilise our debt and restore our state-owned enterprises to health.

At the centre of our national agenda in 2018 is the creation of jobs, especially for the youth.

We are going to embark on a number of measures to address the unemployment challenge.

One of the initiatives will be to convene a Jobs Summit within the next few months to align the efforts of every sector and every stakeholder behind the imperative of job creation.

The summit will look at what we need to do to ensure our economy grows and becomes more productive, that companies invest on a far greater scale, that workers are better equipped, and that our economic infrastructure is expanded.

We will expect this summit to come up with practical solutions and initiatives that will be implemented immediately.

We will make a major push this year to encourage significant new investment in our economy.

To this end, we will organise an Investment Conference in the next three months, targeting both domestic and international investors, to market the compelling investment opportunities to be found in our country.

We are going to address the decline over many years of our manufacturing capacity, which has deeply affected employment and exports.

We will seek to re-industrialise on a scale and at a pace that draws millions of job seekers into the economy.

We are going to promote greater investment in key manufacturing sectors through the strategic use of incentives and other measures.

To further stimulate manufacturing, we will forge ahead with the localisation programme, through which products like textile, clothing, furniture, rail rolling stock and water meters are designated for local procurement.

We have already spent more than R57 billion on locally-produced goods that may have been imported from other countries.

Special economic zones remain important instruments we will use to attract strategic foreign and domestic direct investment and build targeted industrial capabilities and establish new industrial hubs.

The process of industrialisation must be underpinned by transformation.

Through measures like preferential procurement and the black industrialists programme, we are developing a new generation of black and women producers that are able to build enterprises of significant scale and capability.

We will improve our capacity to support black professionals, deal decisively with companies that resist transformation, use competition policy to open markets up to new black entrants, and invest in the development of businesses in townships and rural areas.

Radical economic transformation requires that we fundamentally improve the position of black women and communities in the economy, ensuring that they are owners, managers, producers and financiers.

Our most grave and most pressing challenge is youth unemployment.

It is therefore a matter of great urgency that we draw young people in far greater numbers into productive economic activity.

Young South Africans will be moved to the centre of our economic agenda.

They are already forming a greater proportion of the labour force on our infrastructure projects and are the primary beneficiaries of programmes such as the installation of solar water heaters and the war on leaks.

We continue to draw young people in far greater numbers into productive economic activity through programmes such as the Employment Tax Incentive.

Working in partnership with business, organised labour and community representatives, we are creating opportunities for young people to be exposed to the world of work through internships, apprenticeships, mentorship and entrepreneurship.

Next month, we will launch the Youth Employment Service initiative, which will place unemployed youth in paid internships in companies across the economy.

Together with our partners in business, we have agreed to create a million such internships in the next three years.

If we are to respond effectively to the needs of youth, it is essential that young people articulate their views and are able to engage with government at the highest level.

I will therefore be establishing a Youth Working Group that is representative of all young South Africans to ensure that our policies and programmes advance their interests.

Infrastructure investment is key to our efforts to grow the economy, create jobs, empower small businesses and provide services to our people.

We have invested heavily in new roads, power stations, schools and other infrastructure.

As some of our projects are taking time to get off the ground and to enhance our efforts, I will assemble a team to speed up implementation of new projects, particularly water projects, health facilities and road maintenance.

We have learnt some valuable lessons from our experience in building all the new infrastructure, which will inform our way ahead.

We will focus on improvements in our budget and monitoring systems, improve the integration of projects and build a broad compact on infrastructure with business and organised labour.

Mining is another area that has massive unrealised potential for growth and job creation is mining.

We need to see mining as a sunrise industry.

With the revival in commodity prices, we are determined to work with mining companies, unions and communities to grow the sector, attract new investment, create jobs and set the industry on a new path of transformation and sustainability.

This year, we will intensify engagements with all stakeholders on the Mining Charter to ensure that it is truly an effective instrument to sustainably transform the face of mining in South Africa.

By working together, in a genuine partnership, underscored by trust and a shared vision, I am certain we will be able to resolve the current impasse and agree on a Charter that both accelerates transformation and grows this vital sector of our economy.

Processing of the MPRDA Amendment Bill through both houses of parliament is at an advanced stage, with an indication by Parliament that the Bill will reasonably be finalised during the first quarter of 2018.

The Bill, once enacted into law, will entrench existing regulatory certainty, provide for security of tenure and advance the socio-economic interests of all South Africans.

We are extremely concerned about the rise in mining fatalities last year.

We call on mining companies to work together with all stakeholders to ensure that mine accidents are dramatically reduced.

One mining fatality is one too many.

Fellow South Africans,

Ultimately, the growth of our economy will be sustained by small businesses, as is the case in many countries.

It is our shared responsibility to grow this vital sector of the economy.

We will work with our social partners to build a small business support ecosystem that assists, nourishes and promotes entrepreneurs.

Government will honour its undertaking to set aside at least 30 percent of public procurement to SMMEs, cooperatives and township and rural enterprises.

We will continue to invest in small business incubation.

We encourage business to do the same.

The establishment through the CEOs Initiative of a small business fund – which currently stands at R1.5 billion – is an outstanding example of the role that the private sector can play.

Government is finalising a small business and innovation fund targeted at start-ups.

We will reduce the regulatory barriers for small businesses.

We are also working to expand economic opportunities for people with disabilities.

Among other things, the Small Enterprise Finance Agency – SEFA – has launched a scheme to develop and fund entrepreneurs with disabilities called the Amavulandlela Funding Scheme.

Agriculture presents one of the greatest opportunities to significantly grow our economy and create jobs.

Agriculture made the largest contribution, by a significant margin, to the improved growth of our economy in the second and third quarters of 2017.

This year, we will take decisive action to realise the enormous economic potential of agriculture.

We will accelerate our land redistribution programme not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation.

We will pursue a comprehensive approach that makes effective use of all the mechanisms at our disposal.

Guided by the resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the governing party, this approach will include the expropriation of land without compensation.

We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensure that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.

Government will undertake a process of consultation to determine the modalities of the implementation of this resolution.

We make a special call to financial institutions to be our partners in mobilising resources to accelerate the land redistribution programme as increased investment will be needed in this sector.

Tourism is another area which provides our country with incredible opportunities to, quite literally, shine.

Tourism currently sustains 700,000 direct jobs and is performing better than most other growth sectors.

There is no reason why it can’t double in size.

We have the most beautiful country in the world and the most hospitable people.

This year, we will enhance support for destination marketing in key tourism markets and take further measures to reduce regulatory barriers and develop emerging tourism businesses.

We call on all South Africans to open their homes and their hearts to the world.

Our prosperity as a nation depends on our ability to take full advantage rapid technological change.

This means that we urgently need to develop our capabilities in the areas of science, technology and innovation.

We will soon establish a Digital Industrial Revolution Commission, which will include the private sector and civil society, to ensure that our country is in a position to seize the opportunities and manage the challenges of rapid advances in information and communication technology.

The drive towards the digital industrial revolution will be underpinned by the availability of efficient networks.

We will finalise our engagements with the telecommunications industry and other stakeholders to ensure that the allocation of spectrum reduces barriers to entry, promotes competition and reduces the cost to consumers.

South Africa has acceded to the Tripartite Free Trade Area agreement, which brings together SADC, COMESA and the East African Community.

The free trade area will combine markets of 26 countries with a population of nearly 625 million.

It will open market access opportunities for South African export products, contribute to job creation and the growth of South Africa’s industrial sector.

Negotiations towards the Continental Free Trade Agreement are progressing at a brisk pace, and it is expected that the framework agreement could be concluded soon.

South Africa will this year take over the chair of the BRICS group of countries, and will give priority to the promotion of value-added trade and intra-BRICS investment into productive sectors.

Fellow South Africans,

On the 1st of May this year, we will introduce the first national minimum wage in South Africa.

This historic achievement – a realisation of one of the demands of the Freedom Charter – is expected to increase the earnings of more than six million working South Africans and improve the living conditions of households across the country.

The introduction of a national minimum wage was made possible by the determination of all social partners to reduce wage inequality while maintaining economic growth and employment creation.

It stands as another example of what is possible when South Africans engage in meaningful dialogue to resolve differences and confront challenges.

To ensure greater coherence and consistency in the implementation of economic policy – and to ensure that we are better equipped to respond to changing economic circumstances – I will be appointing a Presidential Economic Advisory Council.

It will draw on the expertise and capabilities that reside in labour, business, civil society and academia.

The country remains gripped by one of the most devastating droughts in a century, which has severely impacted our economy, social services and agricultural production.

The drought situation in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape has been elevated to a national state of disaster.

This gives national government the authority to manage and coordinate our response nationally with support from all provinces.

This will ensure that we also heighten integrated measures to support the provinces that are hardest hit.

We are looking at activating the necessary extraordinary measures permitted under the legislation.

I commend the people of Cape Town and the rest of the Western Cape for diligently observing water saving measures.

We call on everyone in the country to use water sparingly as we are a water-scarce country that relies on this vital resource to realise our development aspirations.

Honourable Members,

On 16 December last year, former President Jacob Zuma announced that government would be phasing in fully subsidised free higher education and training for poor and working class South Africans over a five-year period.

Starting this year, free higher education and training will be available to first year students from households with a gross combined annual income of up to R350,000.

The Minister of Higher Education and Training will lead the implementation of this policy, while the Minister of Finance will clarify all aspects of the financing of the scheme during his Budget Speech next week.

In addition to promoting social justice, an investment of this scale in higher education is expected to contribute to greater economic growth, reduce poverty, reduce inequality, enhance earnings and increase the competitiveness of our economy.

Government will continue to invest in expanding access to quality basic education and improving the outcomes of our public schools.

The Funza Lushaka Bursary programme plans to award 39,500 bursaries for Initial Teacher Education over the next three years.

In an historic first, from the beginning of this year, all public schools have begun offering an African language.

Also significant is the implementation of the first National Senior Certificate examination on South African Sign Language, which will be offered to deaf learners at the end of 2018.

The Accelerated Schools Infrastructure Delivery Initiative programme continues to deliver modern facilities to schools in rural and underprivileged urban areas across the country, with at least 187 schools being complete to date.

The programme will complete all outstanding projects by the end of the next financial year.

Social grants remain a vital lifeline for millions of our people living in poverty.

We will urgently take decisive steps to comply with the all directions of the Constitutional Court.

I want to personally allay fears of any disruption to the efficient delivery of this critical service, and will take action to ensure no person in government is undermining implementation deadlines set by the court.

We will finalise work on a permanent public sector-led hybrid model, which will allow a set of public and private sector service providers to offer beneficiaries maximum choice, access and convenience.

This year, we will take the next critical steps to eliminate HIV from our midst.

By scaling up our testing and treating campaign, we will initiate an additional two million people on antiretroviral treatment by December 2020.

We will also need to confront lifestyles diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, cancers and cardiovascular diseases.

In the next three months we will launch a huge cancer campaign similar to the HIV counselling and testing campaign.

This will also involve the private sector as we need to mobilise all resources to fight this disease.

The time has now arrived to finally implement universal health coverage through the National Health Insurance.

The NHI Bill is now ready to be processed through government and will be submitted to Parliament in the next few weeks.

Certain NHI projects targeting the most vulnerable people in society will commence in April this year.

In improving the quality of life of all South Africans, we must intensify our efforts to tackle crime and build safer communities.

During the course of this year, the Community Policing Strategy will be implemented, with the aim of gaining the trust of the community and to secure their full involvement in the fight against crime.

The introduction of a Youth Crime Prevention Strategy will empower and support young people to be self-sufficient and become involved in crime fighting initiatives.

A key focus this year will be the distribution of resources to police station level.

This will include personnel and other resources, to restore capacity and experience at the level at which crime is most effectively combated.

In recognising the critical role that NGOs and community-based organisation play in tackling poverty, inequality and related social problems, we will convene a Social Sector Summit during the course of this year.

Among other things, this Summit should seek to improve the interface between the state and civil society and address the challenges that NGOs and CBOs face.

Fellow South Africans,

Growth, development and transformation depend on a strong and capable state.

It is critical that the structure and size of the state is optimally suited to meet the needs of the people and ensure the most efficient allocation of public resources.

We will therefore initiate a process to review the configuration, number and size of national government departments.

Many of our state owned enterprises are experiencing severe financial, operation and governance challenges, which has impacted on the performance of the economy and placed pressure on the fiscus.

We will intervene decisively to stabilise and revitalise state owned enterprises.

The recent action we have taken at Eskom to strengthen governance, root out corruption and restore its financial position is just the beginning.

Government will take further measures to ensure that all state owned companies fulfil their economic and developmental mandates.

We will need to confront the reality that the challenges at some of our SOEs are structural – that they do not have a sufficient revenue stream to fund their operational costs.

These SOEs cannot borrow their way out of their financial difficulties, and we will therefore undertake a process of consultation with all stakeholders to review the funding model of SOEs and other measures.

We will change the way that boards are appointed so that only people with expertise, experience and integrity serve in these vital positions.

We will remove board members from any role in procurement and work with the Auditor-General to strengthen external audit processes.

As we address challenges in specific companies, work will continue on the broad architecture of the state owned enterprises sector to achieve better coordination, oversight and sustainability.

This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions.

The criminal justice institutions have been taking initiatives that will enable us to deal effectively with corruption.

The commission of inquiry into state capture headed by the Deputy Chief Justice, Judge Raymond Zondo, is expected to commence its work shortly.

The Commission is critical to ensuring that the extent and nature of state capture is established, that confidence in public institutions is restored and that those responsible for any wrongdoing are identified.

The Commission should not displace the regular work of the country’s law enforcement agencies in investigating and prosecuting any and all acts of corruption.

Amasela aba imali ka Rhilumente mawabanjwe.

We must fight corruption, fraud and collusion in the private sector with the same purpose and intensity.

We must remember that every time someone receives a bribe there is someone who is prepared to pay it.

We will make sure that we deal with both in an effective manner.

We urge professional bodies and regulatory authorities to take action against members who are found to have acted improperly and unethically.

This requires that we strengthen law enforcement institutions and that we shield them from external interference or manipulation.

We will urgently attend to the leadership issues at the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that this critical institution is stabilised and able to perform its mandate unhindered.

We will also take steps to stabilise and strengthen vital institutions like the South African Revenue Service.

We must understand that tax morality is dependent on an implicit contract between taxpayers and government that state spending provides value for money and is free from corruption.

At the request of the Minister of Finance, I will shortly appoint a Commission of Inquiry into Tax Administration and Governance of SARS, to ensure that we restore the credibility of the Service and strengthen its capacity to meet its revenue targets.

Our state employs one million public servants.

The majority of them serve our people with diligence and commitment.

We applaud them for the excellent work they do.

However, we know the challenges that our people face when they interact with the state.

In too many cases, they often get poor service or no service at all.

We want our public servants to adhere to the principle of Batho Pele, of putting our people first.

We are determined that everyone in public service should undertake their responsibilities with efficiency, diligence and integrity.

We want to instil a new discipline, to do things correctly, to do them completely and to do them timeously.

We call on all public servants to become agents for change.

During the course of the next few months, I will visit every national department to engage with the senior leadership to ensure that the work of government is effectively aligned.

I will also find time to meet with provincial and local government leaders to ensure that the state, in its entirety, responds to the pressing needs of our people.

Fellow South Africans,

Our country has entered a period of change.

While change can produce uncertainty, even anxiety, it also offers great opportunities for renewal and revitalisation, and for progress.

Together we are going to make history.

We have done it before and we will do it again – bonded by our common love for our country, resolute in our determination to overcome the challenges that lie ahead and convinced that by working together we will build the fair and just and decent society to which Nelson Mandela dedicated his life.

As I conclude, allow me to recall the words of the late great Bra Hugh Masekela.

In his song, ‘Thuma Mina’, he anticipated a day of renewal, of new beginnings.

He sang:

“I wanna be there when the people start to turn it around

When they triumph over poverty

I wanna be there when the people win the battle against AIDS

I wanna lend a hand

I wanna be there for the alcoholic

I wanna be there for the drug addict

I wanna be there for the victims of violence and abuse

I wanna lend a hand

Send me.”

We are at a moment in the history of our nation when the people, through their determination, have started to turn the country around.

We can envisage the triumph over poverty, we can see the end of the battle against AIDS.

Now is the time to lend a hand.

Now is the time for each of us to say ‘send me’.

Now is the time for all of us to work together, in honour of Nelson Mandela, to build a new, better South Africa for all.

I thank you.
RAMAPHOSA HITS THE RIGHT NOTES IN MAIDEN SONA
Cyril Ramaphosa has delivered his first State of the Nation Address as president of South Africa.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the State of the Nation Address at the Parliament on 16 February 2018. Picture: AFP.

Clement Manyathela

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa has delivered a wide-ranging State of the Nation Address (Sona) concentrating on economic growth, free higher education, unity and making sure there is an end to corruption.

He said the country was seeing a new dawn.

“We should put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence and our country’s public leaders.”

Ramaphosa said there needed to be a focus on job creation with an improvement in education already.

“The country’s matric pass rate increased from 60.6% in 2009 to 75.1% last year. That is phenomenal progress.”

The president then turned his attention to corruption, announcing a number of new measures including a commission of inquiry into the South Africa Revenue Service (Sars).

“At the request of the minister of finance, I will shortly appoint a commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance of Sars to ensure that we restore the credible of the service and strengthen its capacity to meet its revenue target.”

The National Prosecuting Authority will also receive attention.

“We will urgently attend to the leadership issues at the NPA to ensure that this critical institution is stabilised and able to perform its mandate unhindered. Without any fear, favour or prejudice.”

Ramaphosa received applause when talking about the commission of inquiry into state capture, saying corruption would not be tolerated.

“We must fight corruption, fraud and collusion in the private sector with the same purpose and intensity we want to fight it in the public sector.”

He says state-owned entities also need to be given special attention, including Eskom.

“The recent action we have taken at Eskom to strengthen governance, root out corruption and restore the financial position is just the beginning of the processes we’re going to embark on.”

Added to this, funding models need to change, along with how they are governed.

“We will also remove board members in a number of our SOEs. We have found that all members tend to get involved in operational matters up to procurement.”

WARM WELCOME

From the time Ramaphosa entered the National Assembly, there were cheers from the crowd unlike previously when the opposition would shout in protest at former President Jacob Zuma.

“I now call on the honourable president to address the joint sitting,” Speaker Baleka Mbete said.

He then started his address but he was on a charm offensive to the Economic Freedom Fighters, the party that previously proved to be a headache for Zuma and Parliament.

He joked with its leader Julius Malema.

“Speaker of the National Assembly Baleka Mbete, the NCOP Chair Thandi Modise, Deputy Speaker of National Assembly and the Deputy Chair of the NCOP. Honourable Malema…”

Ramaphosa also spoke about Zuma, sending a word of gratitude to him for what he said was the manner in which the former president approached the issue around his removal.

He thanked him for his service to the nation during his two terms, saying the country made significant progress in several areas of development.

(Edited by Winnie Theletsane)
'Tough Decisions' for South Africa to Cut Deficit: Ramaphosa
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - South Africa faces “tough decisions” to reduce the size of its fiscal deficit and stabilize its debt after years of weak growth, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Friday in a State of the Nation address the day after being inaugurated.

Ramaphosa also said his government was committed to “policy certainty and consistency”, in contrast to his predecessor, Jacob Zuma, who resigned this week on the orders of the ruling African National Congress.

Reporting by Wendell Roelf and James Macharia; Editing by Ed Cropley

Thursday, February 15, 2018

KEEPING UP WITH THE RAMAPHOSAS: MEET SA'S NEW FIRST FAMILY
Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as South Africa's new president on Thursday, 15 February, meaning the country has a new first family.

Cyril Ramaphosa, Winnie Madikizela-Mandela, Tshepo Motsepe.

Lungelo Matangira
Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa welcomed a new president on Thursday 15 February in Cyril Ramaphosa and along with him comes a new first family. But, who are Ramaphosa's wife and children?

Unlike the wives and children of former presidents Nelson Mandela and Jacob Zuma, Ramaphosa, like former presidents Thabo Mbeki and Kgalema Motlanthe, has managed to mostly keep his family out of the spotlight.

However, the Ramaphosas have now been thrust into the spotlight and will naturally receive more attention.

Here's the little that we know about them, so far:

MRS RAMAPHOSA

Dr Tshepo Motsepe is a qualified medical doctor with a Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the University of KwaZulu-Natal and a Master of Public Health [MPH] in Maternal Child Health and Aging from the Harvard School of Public Health. She also has a host of other qualifications in business and entrepreneurship.

Motsepe is the older sister of South African business mogul, Patrice Motsepe and has a sister, Bridgette Radebe, who is married to Minister in the Presidency, Jeff Radebe.

Motsepe is Ramaphosa's second wife and they have three children together.

Ramaphosa was previously married to businesswoman, Nomazizi Mtshotshisa, with whom he has one child. The couple divorced.

CHILDREN

Not much is known about the Ramaphosa children. Media reports about them are very scarce and they are seemingly not on social media.

Son - Andile Ramaphosa: There is a Twitter account using the name Andile Ramaphosa, but it's not verified, neither is it very active.

Son - Tumelo Ramaphosa: Just like his father, Tumelo Ramaphosa is a businessman. He is the CEO StudEx Wild Life.

He has a Master of Science qualification from the Hult International Business School and is based in San Francisco.

There are two other Ramaphosa children - two daughters-, however, there is no publicly available information on them. More information could be available during the course of Ramaphosa's Presidency.
NEW PRESIDENT CYRIL RAMAPHOSA VOWS TO SERVE THE PEOPLE OF SA
President-elect Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as president of the Republic of South Africa on Thursday afternoon, 15 February 2018. Picture: Bertram Malgas/EWN

Gaye Davis & Clement Manyathela
Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN – Cyril Ramaphosa gave his maiden speech as president in the National Assembly, where he promised to serve the people of South Africa to the best of his ability.

Ramaphosa has set the tone for his new role as South Africa’s president.

He also spoke of the need to grow the economy, to combat corruption and sort out state-owned companies, promising concrete steps in his State of the Nation Address on Friday night.

“I do believe when one is elected in this type of position, you basically become a servant of the people of South Africa. And I will seek to execute that task with humility, with faithfulness and with dignity as well. That is what I will seek to do.”

Responding to opposition party Members of Parliament, Ramaphosa said he would strive for parties to work together to improve the lives of South Africans, agreeing with the Pan Africanist Congress that “it is not yet Uhuru” after the party’s leader urged him to deal with the land question.

Ramaphosa told Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, who told Ramaphosa he would “see him” at the 2019 elections, to "stop grandstanding", saying he would be seeing him regularly at Parliament.

The first sitting of the National Assembly for the year started with the Economic Freedom Fighters pushing for the dissolution of Parliament and protesting the election of Ramaphosa.

It wasn’t long before the red berets left the house.

“We will not be participating the in the election of the president because it’s an illegal activity. We’ve already instructed our lawyers to try [to] look at the legal implications of what these guys are doing here.”

And then the business of the day started, with Cyril Ramaphosa being elected uncontested.

“It would be wonderful if the level of debate in this house can be raised to a level where we really begin to engage on national issues," Ramaphosa said.

Opposition parties congratulated him but promised to be strict in holding him to account, much like they did with his predecessor.

'PIVOTAL STEP TO REVIVE BUSINESS CONFIDENCE'

Business Unity South Africa (Busa) has described the swearing in of President Ramaphosa as a pivotal step towards reviving business confidence.

Ramaphosa was sworn in as president of the republic in Cape Town on Thursday afternoon following an uncontested election.

Busa's Tanya Kohen says while the business community supports Ramaphosa in this new era, he needs capable ministers around him.

“We think that the forthcoming budget is expected to be extremely challenging and underscores the need for a competent and credible and capable administration that the country really needs.”

She says the organisation welcomes his commitment to being accountable to Parliament.
CYRIL RAMAPHOSA VOTED IN AS SA'S NEW PRESIDENT
Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected as the new president of South Africa.

Cyril Ramaphosa reacts as he hugs National Assembly Speaker Baleka Mbete after being elected by the members of Parliament prior to his swearing in as South Africa's new president. Picture: AFP.

Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - Cyril Ramaphosa has been elected as the new president of South Africa.

He was elected unopposed a short while ago.

After objections and a walkout by the Economic Freedom Fighters, there was ultimately only one nomination for the vacant position as head of state.

Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng put the question to acting President Cyril Ramaphosa.

“Honourable acting president, do you accept the nomination?”

Ramaphosa responded, “Yes I do”.

Then the moment so many had been waiting for.

“The nomination is in order. Accordingly, in terms of item 5 of part A of Schedule 3 to the Constitution, I declare the honourable Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, the duly elected president of the Republic of South Africa.”

Jubilant ANC MPs leapt to their feet, cheering and clapping – and singing in praise of the man who will now lead the country – and their party to next year’s elections.

After declaring Ramaphosa the new president, and some singing in the house, the Chief Justice handed the chair back to Baleka Mbete who presided over statements from political parties on the election of Ramaphosa as the country's new president.

Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says the opposition will continue to hold the African National Congress to account.

“We don’t have a Jacob Zuma problem; we have an ANC problem. And I want to say this; that this is a moment in our country where we must move Section 50 and go back to the people of South Africa and ask them for a fresh mandate.

"So, that we can bring a new beginning to South Africa. So, that the people who are without work can find work, the hungry can find food; those who are without schooling can go to a decent school and ultimately South Africa will belong to all, black and white.”

He says the party will challenge the ANC next year.

“Mr Ramaphosa, I wish you strength but know we will hold you accountable and I will see you in 2019 on the ballot box.”
Ethiopia's PM Offers Resignation to Help Reforms After Mass Unrest
Aaron Maasho

ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said on Thursday he had submitted his resignation as both premier and the chairman of the ruling coalition in an effort to facilitate reforms following years of widespread unrest.

“Unrest and a political crisis have led to the loss of lives and displacement of many,” Hailemariam said in a televised address to the nation.

“I see my resignation as vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy,” he said. The prime minister leads the nation under Ethiopia’s political system.

Hundreds of people have died in violence sparked in 2015 and 2016 in the country’s two most populous regions - Oromiya and Amhara. The unrest began as opposition to an urban development plan for the capital Addis Ababa, but morphed into public demonstrations against political restrictions, land grabbing and human rights abuses.

Some foreign-owned firms were attacked in the violence, which dented investor confidence in East Africa’s largest and fastest growing economy.

Hailemariam said he would stay on as prime minister in a caretaker capacity until the ruling Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) and the country’s parliament accepted his resignation and named a new premier.

The ruling coalition has accepted his resignation, state-affiliated outlets said. It was not immediately clear when a new premier was to be announced.

His resignation follows lingering violence that pressured the government to release more than 6,000 of political prisoners since January.

Most of the released prisoners, which included high level opposition figures and journalists, were detained for alleged involvement in the mass protests.

The prime minister had pushed for even more releases, said a regional analyst familiar with Ethiopian politics. He asked not to be named in order not to jeopardise his relationship with the government.

“He (the Prime Minister) wanted more prisoners released - I think he wanted to empty the jails of all political prisoners. Remember he also ordered the closure of this notorious prison in Addis. This was a PM who wanted some major changes but sadly didn’t get all that he wanted,” the analyst said.

However, the resignation did not necessarily mean reforms would stop, the analyst said.

“It looks like there is a political power struggle and this has been ongoing for a while. I don’t think the resignation is a sign that the hard-liners have won. They will probably continue on the path of reform, albeit not to the scale and speed that people want. They realise that there is no option.”

Additional reporting by Katharine Houreld; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg
Ethiopia PM Hailemariam Desalegn in Surprise Resignation
BBC World Service

The Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Hailemariam Desalegn, has resigned amid deadly anti-government protests, state TV reports.

In a televised address, he said his resignation was "vital in the bid to carry out reforms that would lead to sustainable peace and democracy".

Mr Hailemariam, who has led the country since 2012, also stepped down as chairman of the ruling coalition.

His departure follows a national state of emergency that ended last year.

Ethiopia's largest regions, Oromia and Amhara, have seen waves of demonstrations in recent months.

In the latest violence, 10 people were killed and dozens more injured following an opposition protest.

The BBC's Emmanuel Igunza, in the capital Addis Ababa, says the government has released thousands of opposition supporters from jail, but the protests have continued.

The country has witnessed repeated violent clashes since 2015, with protesters calling for political and economic reform, and an end to state corruption.

The ongoing disturbances have led to deep divisions in the governing coalition, says Mary Harper, Africa Editor for the BBC World Service.

Some of Ethiopia's powerful elites have come to see the prime minister as weak and lacking in direction, she says.

A weak and turbulent Ethiopia is risky for the entire Horn of Africa, our correspondent adds, as this normally stable state is seen as key to holding the region together.

Mr Hailemariam said he will stay on as a caretaker prime minister until Ethiopia's parliament and ruling coalition accept his resignation and choose a replacement.
President Jacob Zuma Has Resigned as President of South Africa on Wednesday Night
Read Zuma's full statement below:

Statement of the president of the Republic of South Africa, JG Zuma on the decision of the African National Congress to recall him

Members of the Media, present here

Fellow South Africans, I address you after weeks of speculation about my future as President of the Republic of South Africa.

In particular, I make reference to the much publicized and awaited decision of the African National Congress issued on 13 February 2018. It is now public knowledge that the National Executive Committee of the ANC resolved to recall me as the President of the Republic.

I have also learned that, before I respond to the initial decision, a new decision has been made by the ANC, whose effect is that I have now been compelled to resign by way of a motion of no confidence, set down for tomorrow, 15 February 2018.

The ANC is indeed the party on whose nomination I became a candidate for the Presidency of the Republic of South Africa after its victory of the national elections of 2014.

It was on the ANC’s nomination that I was later elected by the majority in the National Assembly as the President of the Republic. I am forever indebted to the ANC, the liberation movement I have served almost all my life.

I respect each member and leader of this glorious movement. I respect its gallant fight against centuries of white minority brutality, whose relics remain today and continue to be entrenched in all manner of sophisticated ways, in order to ensure the continued survival of white privilege.

I do take seriously and am grateful to the ANC that, in the face of its revolutionary mission to ensure a better life for all and the creation of a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic South Africa, it deployed me at the pinnacle of its role in government.

I was also elected in terms of section 86 of the Constitution and from that moment pledged my loyalty to the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. It has indeed been a great learning experience, a mammoth task, the performance of which can never be done without difficulty and learning on the way.

None of us, no matter how perfect, can claim that the building of a new society and the marshalling of a former liberation movement into a modern political party all happen in a straight line.

It has detours, human error and boulders strewn along the path. Because the struggle and politics are human activities, their pursuit is not without the taints of human nature. All my life, I have served and will continue to serve the ANC in its pursuit of the objectives of the National Democratic Revolution.

I serve in my capacity as President of the Republic of South Africa within the prism of our much acclaimed Constitution, whose foundational values I fully subscribe to.

I understand fully that while I serve at the pleasure of my party, the ANC, the door through which I officially came to serve the people of South Africa is the National Assembly, without which no political party can impose its candidate on the electorate, no matter how popular.

This Constitutional line between Party and State is often forgotten in the usual business of party political contestations. As we fight our own battles in the corridors of political power, and sometimes serving the very interests of the oppressors of yesteryear, who joyfully celebrate as we lynch one another, we often forget the citizens on whose behalf we create a better life.

We tend to place the political party above the supreme law of the country, which is the rule book for the country’s political engagement. I do not make this reference because I am above reproach. Nor do I wish to proclaim that in undertaking my political responsibilities I have been the epitome of perfection.

If truth be told, none of us are. However, I respect the prescripts of the Constitution and its consequences on how we enter, stay in and exit political office and Government.

There has been much speculation about how the President of the Republic should exit his or her office. In my case, some have even dared to suggest that one’s perks and post-service benefits should determine how one chooses to vacate public office.

Often these concerns about perks and benefits are raised by the very same people seeking to speak as paragons of virtue and all things constitutional. Some even suggest that the relevant constitutional provisions, sections 89 and 102, in terms of which the President should be removed from office, would constitute an embarrassment or humiliation.

For that reason, various suggestions are made to help leaders avoid this constitutional route of vacating political office without perks.

If we avail ourselves to serve in terms of the Constitution, we should be prepared, if needs be, and if those we serve deem it appropriate, to suffer the hardship that comes with our constitutional obligations. Whether we lose our post-political office benefits, should not determine how we act in the time of our departure.

Nor did I agree to serve because there are no better cadres in the ANC and the country. Most importantly, I did not agree to serve in order to exit with perks and benefits of the Office of the President.

It is my Party that placed me before the representatives of the people in the National Assembly to be elected. It is my Party that availed me to serve on the basis of the Constitution as the supreme law of the land. Make no mistake, No leader should stay beyond the time determined by the people they serve.

Most importantly, no leader should seek an easy way out simply because they could not face life at the end of their term without the perks that come with their political office.

I do not fear exiting political office. However, I have only asked my party to articulate my transgressions and the reason for its immediate instruction that I vacate office.

This was important in view of the discussions I held with the President and Secretary General of the Party that were aimed at uniting our organization, the ANC.

It is indeed true that there was an agreement, that even if the need arises that I should vacate the office before the end of term, there is a need to have a period of transition, during which I would delegate some of the functions to the Deputy President of the Republic.

Of course, I must accept that if my Party and my compatriots wish that I be removed from office, they must exercise that right and do so in the manner prescribed by the Constitution.

I fear no motion of no confidence or impeachment, for they are the lawful mechanisms for the people of this beautiful country to remove their President. I have served the people of South Africa to the best of my abilities.

I am forever grateful that they trusted me with their Highest Office in the land. But when I accepted the deployment, I undertook to subject myself to the supreme law of the land, the Constitution.

Ngithanda ukusho ukuthi kwizinkalo ngezinkalo lapho abantu bakithi bekhona, ngokuzithoba okungenamkhawulo kusemqoka ukunazisa ukuthi angidaze nkani okweselesele.

Kunjalo nje angexwaye kwehla esikhundleni sobuMongameli waleli lengabadi. Angingenanga emzabalazweni ngoba ngigaqele izikhundla. Yinye nje into engiyicelayo kini sizwe sakithi, ukuthi nokho angiphume ngomgudu womthetho sisekelo okuyiwona engabekwa ngawo.

Angikwesabi ukulahlakelwa amalungelo nopoyinandi oza nesikhundla sobuMongameli. Angingenelanga lezozinto kuhulumeni, kunjalo nje azithi shu lapha kimi.

Ngifuna kuphela ubulungiswa nokuhlonishwa komthetho sisekelo kanye namalungelo ami.

Uma kwenzeke njalo, ngiyophuma ngokuzithoba nokuhlonipha. Ngiyakholelwa ukuthi ngiwenzile owami umsebenzi enaningibekele wona.

Uma kukhona la ngingenzanga kahle, bakwethu AKUKHO SOKA ELINGENASICI.

I also thank the citizens of South Africa for the privilege of serving as the President of the Republic since 2009.

It has been an honour that I will cherish as long as I live. I wish to thank members of Cabinet, Deputy Ministers and the whole of government, national, provincial and local, for the positive spirit and cooperative manner in which we all worked.

I also thank the other arms of state for the work we have accomplished. I thank all political parties who are in parliament for their contributions in making our democracy strong.

I thank all stakeholders—business, labour, religious leaders, traditional leaders, youth, women’s groupings, the education sector and all others we have worked with over the years, united by the goal of moving South Africa forward. I thank the international community for the cooperation.

I have also been disturbed by the instances of violence that have occurred because of the different views among members of our organization outside our headquarters, Luthuli House. No life should be lost in my name and also the ANC should never be divided in my name.

I have therefore come to the decision to resign as President of the Republic with immediate effect.

Even though I disagree with the decision of the Leadership of my organization, I have always been a disciplined member of the ANC.

As I leave I will continue to serve the people of South Africa as well as the ANC, the organization I have served all my life.

I will dedicate all of my energy to work towards the attainment of the policies of our organization, in particular the Radical Economic Transformation agenda.

I thank you, ngiyabonga.