Fellow South Africans,
I am honoured to share our government’s message with you during this 2016 festive season.
On the 10th of this month, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the signing of our Constitution.
We continue to draw inspiration from the values and objectives of the Constitution of our country, the birth certificate of our nation.
During this month, we also mark three years of the passing of our global icon, Nelson Mandela the father of our democracy.
As we celebrate the legacy of Madiba, we rededicate ourselves to the ideals of building a non-racial, non-sexist and a democratic society in which all our people, black and white, can live in peace and harmony.
On this occasion, we remind ourselves that the adoption of the Constitution was the culmination of decades of struggles waged by our people at home and abroad.
As we celebrate these achievements, we honour those who made huge sacrifices in the struggle for peace, freedom and democracy.
We also honour those who work to build and develop our country.
As we mark this milestone, we rededicate ourselves to the core values of our Constitution.
We extend our gratitude to the people of our region, Southern Africa, the continent and the world, who provided us with material, moral and political support during the struggle for democracy.
In the two decades since the Constitution was adopted, we have worked together to give effect to the rights and freedoms it proclaims.
Working together, we have lifted millions of people out of poverty and provided houses, electricity, water and sanitation to millions of households.
We have built, equipped and staffed new hospitals, clinics, schools and colleges.
For much of the last 20 years, we have had a growing economy that, together with our transformative policies, has provided many opportunities to our people. As a nation, we are hard at work to develop our people through education and training, to improve their lives through quality health care and social support, and to grow our economy by expanding our productive capacity.
This year, we have sustained our investment in transport, energy, telecommunications and water infrastructure.
Our country has become more attractive as a destination for investment.
This has come about and has been done through the creation of special economic zones in a number of places in our country to assist investors in getting projects going faster, and through targeted incentive programmes.
Through joint efforts of government, business and labour we are hard at work to increase investment opportunities, support medium and small enterprise development, address youth unemployment and maintain South Africa’s investment grade status.
Deliberations among the social partners on the introduction of a national minimum wage are nearing conclusion with most stakeholders supportive of the proposed wage of twenty rand (R20) per hour.
The introduction of a national minimum wage will go a long way in reducing wage inequality and poverty. It is a matter of grave concern to us that more than 50% of our employed South Africans earn below R20 per hour.
We are grateful for the efforts made by leaders of labour, business and communities to develop a common approach to these critical issues facing our country.
All social partners are agreed that R20 per hour is not a living wage. Social partners consider it as a starting point to begin the process of reducing wage inequality.
In 2016, we continued to work to improve the health and well-being of our people by intensifying our efforts to end AIDS and TB.
We have provided anti-retroviral treatment to well over 3.4 million South Africans infected with HIV.
We have significantly reduced mother-to-child transmission of HIV and look forward to zero-transmission in the next few years.
Working together with our social partners, we have embarked on major campaigns to prevent new infections particularly amongst adolescent girls and young women.
Social trends like older men having sex with younger women and directly undermining our prevention efforts as young girls become targets of macho mobile men with money.
We are nevertheless certain that, working together, we can create an AIDS-free generation in our lifetime especially if we empower our girls and young women through education and economic opportunities.
To all the young people of our country, please remember to condomise. Never engage in risky sexual behaviours.
Fellow South Africans,
If we are to succeed in building an inclusive economy, we need to ensure that the youth our of country can access affordable, quality education.
In this regard, government will continue to work with all role players in the education sector to resolve challenges of access and transformation that have been presented to us by the student movement.
Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the class of 2016 as they anticipate your final matric results.
We remain convinced that you will build on the successes of previous classes in making our country proud.
One of our major concerns as a nation remains the high number of fatalities during the holiday season on our roads.
We therefore call on all road users and pedestrians to obey the rules of the road, don’t drink and drive, and please Arrive Alive!
Let us work together with our law enforcement agencies to ensure we are all safe during this festive season.
We wish you all a Merry Christmas as well as and joyous festivities with your family and friends.
Source: Government of South Africa