Bua Briefs 5 of 2012

19 April 2012

Freedom Day, 27 April 2012

Freedom Day annually commemorates the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994. Freedom Day celebrations serve as a reminder of the struggle for a free, just and democratic South Africa. It is an occasion where we reflect deeply on our transition from apartheid to an inclusive democracy, which has been internationally acclaimed. On this day, we recommit ourselves to heal the divisions of the past and firmly establish a society based on democratic values, social justice and respect for fundamental human rights.

The theme for this year's celebrations is: Working Together to Build Unity and Prosperity for All.

This day commemorates the first democratic elections held in South Africa on 27 April 1994 and is celebrated annually as a reminder of the struggle for a free and just South Africa. This day also honours all the heroes and heroines who have lost their lives fighting for democracy.

Freedom Day creates awareness that freedom and human rights are for all human beings, regardless of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status. This day reaffirms our freedom and ensures that the violation of such rights never occurs again.

The celebrations will also give credence to the President's commitment in the State of Nation Address 2012: "As part of promoting social cohesion, this year we will undertake and continue many heritage projects." Plans are underway to rehabilitate the house of the struggle hero Solomon Mahlangu, this site will form part of the Freedom Day celebrations.

This also supports the Department of Arts and Culture's programme of National Icons, which prioritises individuals who have made an enormous contribution to the liberation of our country. Preservation of our history will go a long way in educating generations to come about our history, where we come from and where we are going as a nation. This is part of government's programme to educate the people of South Africa about our national symbols.

The birth of a new non-racial and non-sexist democracy in South Africa necessitated a critical review of the system of National Orders. The previous system consisted of one decoration and four orders whose symbolic aesthetic was representative of the past. The new National Orders have been conceived in the spirit of that rebirth
Government calls on all those who live and work in South Africa and represent it abroad to join in remembering and celebrating struggle heroes and those who continue to contribute to freedom in South Africa through the Freedom Day celebrations, which take place at the Union Buildings, Pretoria, followed by the 16th National Orders Ceremony to take place at the Presidential Guest House.

During the morning of the 27 April 2012, the Department of Arts and Culture, in partnership with the City of Tshwane, will, host the Freedom Walk to the Union Building, which will include participation from diverse communities.

Key messages Supporting statements
Working together we can do more to establish a national identity based on non-racialism, non-sexism and unity to nurture social cohesion and nation-building.
  • Government calls on all South Africans to join in celebrating national Freedom Day at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Friday, 27 April 2012.
  • Join us as we celebrate 18 years of transition from apartheid to an inclusive democracy and reflect on the achievements we have made as a nation.
  • Freedom Day provides an opportunity for all South Africans to re-affirm who we are as a nation and what we stand for.
  • Nation-building requires all South Africans to "Play Your Part" in ensuring that the values and principles enshrined in our Constitution become a lived reality in the development of fully functioning communities.
  • There is a vast improvement in the representation of women in all three tiers of government since 1994.
  • Our national symbols and orders should serve as catalysts that unite us as we work together in establishing South Africa as a country of choice in the global village.
All South Africans are called on to embrace non-racialism and live up to the aspirations of the liberation struggle to have all the people of South Africa live in peace and friendship.
  • Our democracy is based on treating everyone equally, irrespective of race or colour. This is a fundamental objective expressed in the Constitution, to transform our country into a non-racial, non-sexist democratic country.
  • Racial reconciliation must be based on the recognition and appreciation of South Africa as a multiracial and multi-cultural society that is committed to respect the culture of all the peoples of South Africa.
  • Because of the gross atrocities of the past, racial reconciliation requires that all democratic institutions and South Africans themselves must address the inequalities of the past, through the use of various tools such as race-conscious policies which will address the injustices of the past in moving South Africa closer to a non-racial society.
  • Racial reconciliation calls on all South Africans to acknowledge and show understanding for the suffering of victims under colonisation and apartheid and that black people have been victims of these unjust systems.
  • National reconciliation calls on all those who benefited under apartheid to honestly plough back or put in place corrective measures to uplift those who were disadvantaged by colonisation and apartheid.
Each South African must "Play Your Part" in contributing towards the development of a functioning developmental state.
  • Government reaffirms its commitment to consolidate democracy and promote cultural diversity and social cohesion in South Africa.
  • Let us celebrate living in a system that guarantees that never again will our humanity be taken from any South African, irrespective of their race, gender, creed or sexual orientation.
  • We all have a responsibility to ensure that our democracy and freedom is maintained and strengthened for future generations.
  • We commemorate Freedom Day, 27 April, to reinforce our commitment to the Bill of Rights as enshrined in our Constitution. These rights include:
    • equality – everyone is equal before the law and has the right to equal protection and benefit of the law
    • human dignity – everyone has inherent dignity and have their dignity respected and protected
    • freedom of movement and residence – everyone has a right to freedom of movement and to reside anywhere in the countrylanguage and culture – everyone has the right to use the language and to participate in the cultural life of their choice.
    • freedom of movement and residence – everyone has a right to freedom of movement and to reside anywhere in the countrylanguage and culture – everyone has the right to use the language and to participate in the cultural life of their choice.
Investment in infrastructure is government's contribution to job creation and economic growth, which are aimed at fighting poverty and creating a better life for all.
  • The New Growth Path is aimed at enhancing growth, employment creation and equity. The policy's principal target is to create five million jobs over the next 10 years.
  • Government will use its infrastructure plans to build an industrialised economy that tackles the challenges of unemployment and faster economic growth in order to reduce and ultimately eradicate poverty and inequality.
  • Government's planned infrastructure investments provide a considerable opportunity for local construction and manufacturing development, increased skills transfer and job creation.
  • The planned infrastructure investment will allow the South African economy over the longer term to increase in productivity and become more competitive.
  • Government, through the prioritisation of infrastructure development, has already assisted in job creation as it has become one of the biggest employers in the country.
  • Government has identified infrastructure projects to help lay the basis for the National Health Insurance system, including the refurbishment of hospitals and nurses' homes.
  • Access to tertiary education will receive a boost in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape through the allocation of R300 million towards new universities for the provinces.
Investment in infrastructure is government's contribution to job creation and economic growth. Now partners must "Play your Part".
  • Government's large-scale developments such as electricity plants, rail and road upgrades and water management will sustain between 50 000 and 100 000 jobs in the construction sector up to 2015.
  • By the end of the second quarter of this financial year, 549 982 job opportunities had been created against the target of 868 000 through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).
  • Chief among this is the contribution by the Community Works Programme, which created more than 79 000 work opportunities in the same period, benefiting women and the youth, particularly from poor rural families.
  • The Human Settlements Programme created over 50 000 direct jobs, 4 653 indirect jobs and 21 446 induced job opportunities.
  • The Unemployment Insurance Fund provided relief to 590 000 unemployed people between April 2011 to January 2012 and disbursed up to R4,7 billion.
Government has a responsibility to protect the interest of the poor.
  • The proportion of the population living below a R422 a month poverty line decreased from 50% in 1994 to 34,5% in 2009.
  • Data shows that both the depth and severity of poverty were reduced over a period of 15 years since 1995. These trends are confirmed by other studies conducted by poverty researchers in South Africa – sometimes attributed to the role of government interventions such as the roll-out of social grants.
  • Government, through the Department of Social Development and the South African Social Security Agency, provide income support in the form of social grants to about 15,3 million South Africans, 10,3 million of whom are children.
  • The relatively strong performance of the EPWP helps to mitigate the effects of poverty and low employment levels.
  • To further enhance our efforts of fighting food insecurity, hunger and malnutrition, Cabinet established an Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Food Security, co-led by the Ministers of Social Development; and Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to deliver an integrated, inter-sectoral programme, based on the Brazilian model of "Fome Zero" (Zero Hunger), which is aimed at the fulfilment of citizens' rights to food.
  • The reduction over time of the number of people in the Living Standard Measure 1 – 3 category provides evidence of the reduction of poverty levels in South Africa. These incomes just about doubled for those in LSM 1 and more than doubled for those in LSM 10 – indicative of the high levels of economic inequality in the country.
Government institutions have been strengthened to ensure delivery on our commitments.
  • Overall there has been a slight improvement in the number of national and provincial government departments, municipalities and public entities that received unqualified audit opinions in 2009/10 compared to 2008/09.
  • The most notable improvement concerns the number of provincial departments where there has been a decrease in qualified audit opinions. Despite these positive results, there is a lot of work to be done to improve management in government institutions in order to improve audit outcomes.
  • According to 2010 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), perceptions about corruption in South Africa increased between 2007 and 2010, pushing the ranking of South Africa from 43rd place in 2007 to 54th in 2010.
  • Out of 78 countries included in the index, South Africa was ranked among the top seven that provide extensive budgetary information to citizens, which confirms government's commitment to transparency and openness.
Government's drive over the last 18 years has helped to deliver basic services to the most marginalised.
  • Since 1994, this democratically elected government has strived to ensure that all South Africans, regardless of race or creed, have access to basic services and equal opportunities and respect for basic human rights which are protected by our Constitution.
  • Government has put in place key interventions and mechanisms to ensure that national and provincial departments and municipalities work together in ensuring a better life for all South Africans.
  • Government programmes have ensured that backlogs are addressed and that access to basic service has improved.
    • In 1994, only 62% of households had access to running water; by 2011, 94,5% of households had access to running water.
    • In 1994, only 50% of households had access to decent sanitation; by 2011, 82% of households had access to decent sanitation.
    • In 1994, only 51% of households had access to electricity; by 2011, 75,8% of households had access to electricity.
  • To date, our government has delivered over three million subsidised housing units since 1994. As a result, South Africa is benchmarked against the best in the world in providing free housing to poor citizens.
  • The number of informal settlements was reduced by 250 from 2 700 in 2009 to 2 450 in 2011.
  • Although there has been a decrease in the historical backlog of bucket systems still in use, it should be noted that new bucket systems are being installed as an interim measure in some municipal areas due to rapid increases in household numbers, while town-planning processes are underway.
  • To promote access to home finance, government has introduced a R1- billion guarantee fund through the National Housing Finance Corporation to enable lower-income earners to qualify for a home loan from an accredited bank, with a subsidy of up to R83 000 from provinces.
  • In our quest to improve the foundation phase of education in South Africa, government currently has a total of 19 331 registered Early Childhood Development (ECD) centres in the country.
  • More than 848 000 children receive ECD services at these centres and over 514 000 of them are subsidised by government.
  • Government is on track in meeting its target of having 6 250 hectares of state land released for human settlements development by 2014.
National Orders are the highest awards that a country, through its President, bestows on its citizens and eminent foreign nationals.
  • South Africa has taken many strides away from its past of exclusion and discrimination on the basis of sex, colour and creed.
  • We are steadily moving forward in a direction that reasserts our humanity. In this march towards humanity, a new culture of human rights and a respect for the dignity of the human spirit have become characteristics of South Africa.
  • As an initiative that was implemented at the dawn of the decade of freedom, the National Orders also contribute towards the symbolic building and consolidation of our new democracy.
  • The National Orders enforce social cohesion. Through the orders, the country enables interaction and common identity between different individuals belonging to different societal groupings that would not ordinarily identify or relate to one another.


Workers' Day

In pre-1994 South Africa, the demand for the annual observance of Workers' Day as a public holiday became a rallying point for workers and their trade unions and was one of a number of significant annual days to symbolise and mobilise resistance to the apartheid government and its racial policies. 1 May only became an officially recognised public holiday after the democratic elections of 1994.

It is important to highlight that racial reconciliation is premised on a deliberate approach to put in place corrective measures which address the injustices of the past, particular towards addressing the exclusion directed against black people and women at the top end of the economy.

Workers' Day (May Day) has its origins internationally within the historical struggles of workers and their trade unions for solidarity between working people, and in their struggles to achieve fair employment standards. This included the need to establish a culture of human and worker rights which are enshrined in international law and the national law of those countries aligned to the International Labour Organisation, of which South Africa is a mem

Key messages Supporting statements

In fulfilling the mandate entrusted by citizens, government remains committed to ensure the welfare and conditions of service for workers.



  • Since the democratisation of South Africa after April 1994, the country's labour law was among the first areas of law to be reformed.
  • The Constitution of South Africa, 1996 contains a Bill of Rights; Chapter Two, which enshrines the rights of all South Africans, more specifically Section 23: Labour Relations; Section 18: Freedom of Association; and Section 27: Healthcare, Food, Water and Social Security.
  • Government has put in place progressive labour legislation and key programmes in accordance with the Constitution, which requires laws to be enacted to prevent discrimination, including workplace discrimination.
  • In many cases, legislation is supported by codes of practice, which may be statutory codes of practice drawn up by the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) or non-statutory codes of practice issued by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
  • Amendments to the Labour Relations Act (LRA), 1995 (Act 66 of 1995); Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (Act 75 of 1997); and Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act 55 of 1998); and a new piece of proposed legislation, the Public Employment Services Bill, have been introduced and are undergoing the necessary processes to become enforceable.
  • These amendments to labour legislation aims to deal with the increase in labour brokering and, in particular, with the abuses associated with the practice and the way in which it deprives many workers of basic protection under labour law.
  • This challenge involves expanding the scope of protection beyond those who are engaged in formal employment relationships and requires shifting power to ensure that workers are better able to access opportunities for work in conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity.

Government has put in place employment-protection legislation which is currently being amended to address dynamics in the labour market. .


  • The LRA, 1995 (Labour Relations Amendment Bill 2010) supports the primacy of collective agreements and emphasises the need for organised labour and business to regulate its relationship through the entering into of collective agreements.
  • Bargaining councils, as statutory bodies established by the LRA, 1995, may voluntarily and cooperatively be established by registered unions and employer organisations within a specific economic sector. They represent the centerpiece of the bargaining system.
  • The replacement of the Conciliation Board by the CCMA signals a shift from a highly adversarial model of relations to one based on promoting greater cooperation, industrial peace and social justice.
  • South Africa has established specialist labour courts. These courts exist side by side with traditional courts. The labour courts generally exercise exclusive jurisdiction over specialist labour matters. The Labour Court of South Africa has exclusive jurisdiction over all matters reserved for it under the LRA, 1995.
Government has a responsibility to protect the interest of the poor.
  • Government is leading and guiding the South African economy in the interests of national development, higher growth rates and social inclusion.
  • The overwhelming electorate mandate empowers this Administration to protect the interest of the poor from economic downturns, capitalism's propensity towards financial crises and unemployment.
  • Given the history of inequality in South Africa, the State must have the capacity to intervene in the interest of protecting the poor, particularly around unemployment.
  • Our employment challenges stem from the structure of our economy, with sophisticated established businesses on the one hand and the majority of the population unable to access this economy on the other.
Racial reconciliation beckons that we address issues of unemployment, inequalities, ownership of companies and other socio-economic factors that are responsible for antagonism in our communities.
  • Racial inequities we inherited in 1994 are as a result of racial discrimination and segregation that took place under colonisation and apartheid.
  • Racial injustices of the past are still a deciding factor in determining life chances and outcomes.
  • Figures released last year by the Commission of Employment Equity's (CEE) 11th annual report revealed worrying statistics that the private sector was not transforming in top management positions.
  • White people still occupy 73,1% of top management positions even though they make up only 12,1% of the economically active population.
  • Black people, who make up 73,6% of active population, occupy 12,7% of top management positions; coloured people 4,6%; and Indian people 6,8%.
  • White people hold 64% of senior management positions while African people have 17,6%: coloured people 7%; and Indian people 9,1%.
Government is committed to reverse the deliberate policies of exclusion at the top end of the economy that were directed against black people and women.
  • Government calls on social partners, from business, labour and government, to join hands in the war against non-compliance with the labour laws of the country.
  • Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) remains a key policy of government to bring about meaningful changes and restructure the economy to ensure participation by black people at all levels of the economy.
  • BEE is not simply a moral initiative to redress the wrongs of the past but a pragmatic growth strategy that aims to realise the country's full economic potential.
  • Labour laws in South Africa are a product of a robust social dialogue. All parties and stakeholders in the economy must take ownership and account for a lack of implementation.
  • In areas of non-compliance, government plans to amend the Broad-Based BEE Act, 2003 (Act 53 of 2003), to establish a statutory commission that will deal with non-compliance and circumvention. The proposed law will also criminalise fronting and other forms of empowerment misrepresentation.
  • The social partners at Nedlac have discussed South Africa's challenges over a number of years and have used social dialogue as an effective tool to address these challenges.
  • The constituents of organised labour, the business community and government have participated in the governing body of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and have supported the introduction of the decent work country programme as a means of translating ILO values to national realities.
Government seeks to eliminate all forms of abusive practices inherent in labour brokering.
  • To strengthen the protection of vulnerable workers, government is seeking to eliminate all forms of abusive practices that are inherent in labour brokering.
  • Central to the current round of amendments to labour legislation is to deal with the increase in labour brokering, in particular, with the abuses associated with the practice and the way in which it deprives many workers of basic protection under labour law.
  • Dealing with labour brokering requires additions to labour legislation to provide added protection for employees on fixed-term contracts, and part-time and temporary employees. It is not desirable to rely on self-regulation or codes of conduct to deal with the kind of abuses that have occurred.
  • Government reiterates its commitment made over the years to regulate the labour market in keeping with the spirit of the Constitution, which seeks to restore dignity and humaneness balanced with the imperatives of economic growth and prosperity.
Government calls on all South Africans – in all sectors – to participate in the amendment of labour legislation.
  • Cabinet recently approved amendments to labour legislation that give protection to short-term workers and contractors.
  • Public discussions on these amendments have focused largely on the issue of labour brokering.
  • Cabinet's approval of the draft amendments indicates government's posture on these matters but in our democratic system, this approval does not imply finalisation given that Parliament's public consultation process is still to take place.
  • Government is empowered by the Constitution to make legislative proposals that are ultimately subjected to the Parliamentary process. This process will apply to the proposed labour law amendments as it has to other legislation over the past 18 years.
  • Cabinet will continue to act in good faith and in line with the provisions of the law and the Constitution.
  • Government remains committed to an outcome that will advance our economy and the dignity and security of employees.
Processes within government and Nedlac are complementary and will add value to the various stages of the consideration of draft amendments and Bills.
  • In the spirit of Working Together, government remains an active and loyal partner at Nedlac, working alongside business and labour to secure faster growth and decent employment as part of South Africa's broader development goals.
  • Government has engaged and consulted all Nedlac social partners over a protracted period from 2010.
  • It is important to respect the process of social dialogue which is taking place at Nedlac, and government is convinced that a better set of amendments to labour legislation will be achieved once the Nedlac process has been concluded.
  • Government appeals to all stakeholders to allow the discussions on labour brokering at Nedlac to continue its course and calls on all social partners to prioritise its finalisation as a matter of urgency.




KwaZulu-Natal hosts economic symposium
The KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Government has reached out to private-sector experts for their input to enhance economic growth in KwaZulu-Natal. The MEC for Finance, Ina Cronje, initiated the KwaZulu-Natal Economic Symposium, which was aimed at discussing the current state of economic growth of the province and to look at creative ways of growing the economy to benefit all sectors of the society and help KwaZulu-Natal become the most economically developed province in the country.

Inclusion of South African bonds in key index "boost for investment"
South Africa's debt may be the first from Africa to be included in Citigroup's world government bond index. Should South Africa's bonds be included in the index, it will help state-owned enterprises to raise billions of rands for the State's infrastructure programme. South Africa's inclusion in the total return index that covers government bonds from 22 countries is expected to fuel demand for the country's bonds from investors who track the global index. Citigroup said the Government bond index met all the requirements for the global index this month, and will be included in the gauge if it meets the requirements next month and in June.

Science and Technology

Germany-South Africa year of science
The Minister of Science and Technology, Naledi Pandor, said a research cooperation initiative between Germany and South Africa had been undertaken to help South Africa develop more local innovations. The German-South African Year of Science is an initiative between the Department of Science and Technology and Germany's Ministry of Education and Research. The Minister said the said Year of Science would offer both countries an opportunity to attract young people to science, technology and innovation.


Gauteng goes big with HIV tests
The Gauteng Department of Health has announced that it will intensify efforts to test more people for HIV infection in line with the implementation of the new National Strategic Plan for HIV and AIDS.
The province will continue with the health counselling and testing campaign that was launched in 2010 and the main focus is to test people for HIV and tuberculosis (TB). The new National Strategic Plan has set a target for Gauteng to enrol 600 000 new patients onto its antiretroviral treatment programme this year.

Red Cross children's hospital gets funding boost

The B2 General Medical Ward at the Red Cross War Memorial Children's Hospital is set to receive a R200 000 cash injection from this year's Kids for Kids Campaign. The ward specialises in the treatment of children with infectious and chronic illnesses, including HIV, AIDS and TB.


Tourist arrivals up 3,3%

The Minister of Tourism, Martinus van Schalkwyk, announced during his presentation of the 2011 tourist arrival figures, that South Africa had capitalised on the awareness generated by the 2010 World Cup, with international tourist arrivals growing by 3,3% last year and with over eight million tourists visiting the country. Minister Van Schalkwyk said 8,339,354 arrivals last year was proof that the tourism industry had not become complacent and had built on the awareness created by the soccer tournament.

Arts and Culture

Government empowers youth through arts and culture
The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Arts and Culture recently undertook a programme to give learners an opportunity to express their talent and potential by channelling their creativity towards constructive and productive social activities. Government took five young people to the Reunion Islands, in the Indian Ocean, as a reward for being finalists in the My School Cultural Adventure Programme. The department uses this programme to address issues of social cohesion and nation-building among the youth and creating a skills base by partnering learners with developed arts and culture practitioners in various activities.

Infrastructure development

Durban dug-out port to boost trade
State-owned entity Transnet has signed a R1,8-billion deal to buy the old Durban International Airport, which will be turned into a dug-out port that will boost the country's competitive edge in creating new jobs. KwaZulu-Natal Premier, Zweli Mkhize, said the new dug-out port would give South Africa and KwaZulu-Natal a major competitive edge, offering the country and the province considerable investment spin-offs and opportunities. It will also provide an effective platform for forging trade links between provinces, with neighbouring states and with the rest of the world, particularly the Asian and South American sub-continents.

Higher Education

Helping hand for ailing Further Education and Training (FET) colleges

The Minister Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande, said he had entered into a deal with the South African Institute of Chartered Accountants to supply them with retired accountants. He also announced that the department would now be involved in hiring senior staff at FET colleges and that retired accountants would from the end of the month start assisting the country's struggling FET colleges. President Jacob Zuma also announced an allocation of R2,5 billion for the refurbishment and building of new campuses.