It is less than two years before the Jacob Zuma Presidency comes to an end.
Love him or not. The Jacob Zuma administration has been a huge success on many fronts.
For-instance, the social grants system has reached 17 million beneficiaries.
The school nutrition programme provides more than 9 million learners daily with food so that they can learn adequately.
Zuma was speaking to the 27th World Economic Forum on Africa last week on May 4.
The 2017, World Economic Forum on Africa took place on 3-5 May in Durban, South Africa, under the theme Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership, noted the Government Communication and Information Systems (GCIS).
“For us to move forward,” said Zuma, we need that energy, we need that imagination which young people bring.”
However, to meet the challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution will require skills as well as energy, he alerted.
Zuma acknowledged that Africa has many young people who possess qualifications but are not easily employable.
They lack the “scarce” skills needed to deal with rapid technological change.
Given slow global growth, unemployment among young people looms as an enormous issue.
As a result, “education is project number one in our country,” said Zuma, but government needs business, unions and civil society to help create bridges for young people to enter the job market.
Zuma spoke of driving a radical economic transformation to take African economies on the path to inclusive growth.
“As leaders, we have not addressed adequately how we are going to close the gap between the rich and the poor,” admitted the SA president.
Intra-Africa trade and regional integration have been identified as a high priority.
Investing in infrastructure remains top of the agenda, to ease the movement of goods, people and service across Africa.
Work to “soften” borders between countries, often imposed by outsiders looking to divide and rule, will further boost integration.
Africa needs to diversify its economies, as revealed by the recent slump in commodity prices.
The Southern Africa region has identified labour-intensive manufacturing as a key priority. As well as a greater focus on developing agriculture and the “ocean economy”.
To succeed will require mobilizing sufficient financing.
Africa must develop local capital markets and raise domestic resources through more-effective taxation.
More important, however, is “to arrest illicit financial flows,” said Zuma, who added: “Billions are taken out of Africa each year and this is money that should be used to fund our development.”
The president called on global decision-makers to assist Africa in fighting money laundering, tax evasion and other economic crimes.
Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, identified the crisis of leadership as a common theme across the world.
Schwab called on Africa’s older generation of leaders to act as role models for the younger generation.
He quoted the three key values of a leader shared with him by Nelson Mandela, to respect human dignity and diversity, to serve the community you belong to and not your self-interest, and to act as a trustee for future generations.
The 2017, World Economic Forum on Africa is took place on 3-5 May in Durban, South Africa, under the theme Achieving Inclusive Growth through Responsive and Responsible Leadership.
The meeting convened regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society to explore solutions to create economic opportunities for all.
It also provides insight from leading experts on how Africa will be affected by the onset of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
Particularly, in terms of safeguarding the region’s economies from negative disruption and exploiting opportunities for further growth and development
The objective of the Back to Basics programme launched in 2014, is to create well-functioning municipalities that serve their communities better.
It encompasses five pillars;
Putting people first and ensuring effective public participation platforms for them.
Creating conditions for decent living by consistently delivering municipal services to the right quality and standard. This includes planning for and delivery of infrastructure and amenities, maintenance and upkeep.
Thirdly, good governance, efficient administration and accountability.
The fourth is sound financial management and accounting, prudent management of resources and the fifth, sound institutional and administrative capabilities at all levels.
This Summit is now an opportune time, at the beginning of the new term of local government, to deliberate about the priorities for the next five years.
As this is the first time since the last local government elections that we meet formally, let me welcome our newly elected and returning councillors and thank them for availing themselves for national service.
I would like to congratulate all municipalities – councillors and municipal staff – who have made a difference in changing peoples’ lives and living conditions.
But before we consider the challenges going forward, let us reflect on the achievements and progress we have made over the last two decades in changing people’s lives and living conditions.
According to the latest General Household Survey of Statistics South Africa, the progress achieved between 2002 and 2015 includes an increase from seventy-seven percent to eighty five percent in the number of households with access to electricity.
We achieved an increase from eighty five percent to more than ninety percent of households with access to piped water.
Also, the share of households obtaining sanitation services went up from sixty-two percent to eighty percent.
At the time of the survey more seventy eight percent of South African households lived in formal dwellings, followed by fourteen percent who lived in informal dwellings, and seven percent in traditional dwellings.
Fourteen percent of South African households were living in RDP or state-subsidised dwellings. In addition, eighteen percent female-headed households received a government housing subsidy, whilst twelve percent of male-headed households received a government housing subsidy.
It must be mentioned that South Africa’s population during this period, also increased from about forty million in 2001, to about fifty five million in 2015, and our people are living longer thanks to our improved health services among others.
Although we can be proud of the above achievements we still must confront a number of challenges. I will mention just a few.
We have a high number of households without access to piped water. We have bad roads, poor quality in some of our RDPs, a crumbling water infrastructure and poor sewage systems in some areas. We also face poor financial management in some municipalities and insufficient revenue collection.
There is also still poor interaction between Councillors and communities in some municipalities.
We are aware of these challenges and affected municipalities should work harder and faster to correct them, which is why we come together as we are doing this week.
This Summit aims to provide strategic direction for the new term of local government.
What made Nelson Mandela great, was precisely what made him human. We saw in him, what we seek in ourselves.
Even if you apply any kind of lotion and straighten your hair you will never be white.
People are constantly applying double standards. Take the United States, for example. Washington wants the whole world to admire the country for its democracy. Then the government sends out its army, in the name of this democracy, and leaves behind the kind of chaos we see in Iraq.
Criminality is always the result of poverty. Countries that experience such a fundamental change as we have – we had the apartheid regime and must now develop a multicultural democracy – must necessarily pass through a phase of high crime rates.
The majority in this country have not seen anything wrong with Zuma. I go with the overwhelming feeling of this country. If the majority say, ‘Zuma, do this,’ I will do it.
When I joined the ANC, I never thought I would be anything. In no way, did I say, ‘One day I could be the president. I think I am good material for the presidency.’ Not at all. (Here he is explaining that the ANC deploys its cadres, rather than individuals being better than other cadres).
There is no cloud above my head – there is not even a mist.
Africa suffered under European dominance for centuries.
As a citizen of this country, I’ve got to be honest to the people of South Africa.
We South Africans are also crazy about football, so the World Cup can be nothing but successful.”
In a speech delivered at the UN General Assembly on in 2014, Zuma committed himself to rally the world behind South Africa’s campaign to transform the UNSC and for Africa to have permanent seats in the council.
The UNSC comprises 15 members, five of them – Britain, France, China, the United States and Russia – are permanent, while 10 are non-permanent members that serve for two years on a rotational basis without veto power. South Africa has been calling for this to change.
“Let me reiterate that the 70th anniversary of the UN next year provides an opportunity for us to seriously reflect on the need to reform this august body, moving beyond words to action, Zuma declared.
“Ten years ago, world leaders celebrating the 60th anniversary of the UN agreed on the need for reform of the United Nations Security Council in particular,” President Zuma said to rumbling applause.
In a loud and clear message to the more than 120 leaders, who converged at the UN Headquarters for the UNGA General Debate, President Zuma said the UN can no longer afford to have Africa out of the UNSC on a permanent basis.
“When we converge here next year, on the 70th year of the UN, we should be able to adopt a concrete programme that will guide us towards a strengthened UN and a reformed Security Council.”
President Zuma also noted that some “contentious aspects” of the UN system, such as the veto powers and the exclusion of regions such as Africa in the Security Council, were some of the critical matters that cannot be ignored in the quest for transformation.
The UNSC is the UN’s most powerful body. It helps to shape international law and is the first to respond to crises. This places Africa in a precarious position, considering that most issues the council has to deal with emanate from the continent.
Apart from the call to reform the UN, President Zuma’s remarks, as anticipated, focused on the progress South Africa has made in attaining its Millennium Development Goals (MGDs), whose deadline of September next year looms larger.
President Zuma continued, “South Africa has recorded impressive progress through the expansion of health infrastructure and improved access to health services for all South Africans.”
“On the reduction of child mortality, MDG 4, and the improvement of maternal health, MDG 5, significant progress has been recorded, but more work remains. In fact, more work remains worldwide to fully achieve these goals, especially in the developing world,” he said.
He said Africa had to confront those underlying root causes that continued to make it impossible for its people to have a better life.
Despite the progress that the continent has made, reports continued to show that Africa is lagging behind in terms of the attainment of some of the MDGs.
“It is for this reason that we appreciate the crafting of a post-2015 Global Development Agenda that will carry forward the unfinished business of the MDGs. The eight MDGs were adopted by the UN in 2000 and set clear targets in improving conditions in a wide range of areas, including halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS.
“The General Assembly has proposals to replace the MDGs with what is being referred to as the new Sustainable Development Goals, which outline 17 goals and 169 targets.
IPAP is predicated on the need to bring about significant structural change to the South African economy; and the big one, the National Development Plan (NDP), Vision 2030, the NDP offers a long-term perspective. It defines a desired destination and identifies the role different sectors of society need to play in reaching that goal.
With Zuma as its president, South Africa has become a member of the fastest and biggest growing economies of the world, the BRICS blog; former cabinet minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has just return from heading the African Union Commission as its Chairperson; at least 20 global awards won by cabinet ministers under Zuma’s government; in 2016 Zuma was appointed by UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon to co-chair the United Nations commission on health employment and economic growth alongside his French counterpart, François Hollande.
Coming into office in 2009 President Jacob Zuma spearheaded the mission to have the United Nations declaring Madiba’s birthday on July 18, as the Mandela Day.
For 67 years Nelson Mandela devoted his life to the service of humanity — as a human rights lawyer, a prisoner of conscience, an international peacemaker and the first democratically elected president of a free South Africa.
Honours and awards:
Nelson Mandela Award for Outstanding Leadership from the Medical University of Southern Africa, awarded in Washington, D.C. (1998);
African President of the Year by the African Consciousness Media and the Kenneth Kaunda Foundation in 2009;
During a visit to the United Kingdom in 2010, Jacob Zuma was made an honorary Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath.
Jose Marti Award in 2010, Cuba’s highest award;
In 2011, Rael, spiritual leader of the International Raelian Movement, awarded Zuma the title “Honorary Guide for Humanity;King Hintsa Bravery Award in 2012;
President Jacob Zuma receives King Makhado Bravery Award (2013)
President Jacob Zuma Receives Joint Presentation of Credentials from India, Pakistan, China (2017)
Heads-designate from nine countries presented their credentials to President Jacob Zuma.
They are United Arab Emirates, Republic of Turkey, Republic of Poland, Kingdom of Swaziland, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Republic of Benin, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania and Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.
University of Zululand (2001), Honorary Doctor of Administration
University of Fort Hare (2001), Honorary Doctor of Literature/Letters
Medical University of Southern Africa (2001), Honorary Doctor of Philosophy
University of Zambia (UNZA) Great East Campus (2009), Honorary Doctor of Law
Peking University (2012), Honorary Professor of International Relations