On 20 June 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the first State of the Nation Address of the sixth Parliament of South Africa under the theme ‘Let’s grow South Africa together as we celebrate 25 years of freedom’. This is an excerpt from the address.

“We adopted the National Development Plan (NDP) in 2012 to guide our national effort to defeat poverty, unemployment and inequality.

However, with 10 years to go before we reach the year 2030, we have not made nearly enough progress in meeting the NDP targets. Unless we take extraordinary measures, we will not realise Vision 2030. This means that we need to prioritise. We need to focus on those actions that will have the greatest impact; actions that will catalyse faster movement forward, both in the immediate term and over the next 10 years.

It is worth noting that the Medium-Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) for the last five years had more than 1 100 indicators by which we were to measure progress in the implementation of the NDP. Now is the time to focus on implementation. It is time to make choices. Some of these choices may be difficult and some may not please everyone.

In an economy that is not growing, at a time when public finances are limited, we will not be able to do everything at one time. As we enter this new administration, we will focus on the following priorities: economic transformation and job creation; education, skills and health; consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services; spatial integration, human settlements and local government; social cohesion and safe communities; a capable, ethical President Cyril Ramaphosa | Image: GCIS and developmental state; and a better Africa and world.

All our programmes and policies across all departments and agencies will be directed in pursuit of these overarching tasks. At the same time, we must restore the NDP to its place at the centre of our national effort, to make it alive, to make it part of the lived experience of the South African people.

As South Africa enters the next 25 years of democracy, and in pursuit of the objectives of the NDP, let us proclaim a bold and ambitious goal, a unifying purpose, to which we dedicate all our resources and energies. As we enter the last decade of Vision 2030, let us even more clearly define the South Africa we want and agree on the concrete actions we need to achieve them.

To ensure that our efforts are directed, I am suggesting that, within the priorities of this administration, we agree on five fundamental goals for the next decade. Let us agree, as a nation and as a people united in our aspirations, that within the next 10 years we will have made progress in tackling poverty, inequality and unemployment, where no person in South Africa will go hungry, our economy will grow at a much faster rate than our population, two million more young people will be in employment, our schools will have better educational outcomes and every 10-year-old will be able to read for meaning, and violent crime will be halved.

Let us make these commitments now – to ourselves and to one another – knowing that they will stretch our resources and capabilities, but understanding that if we achieve these five goals, we will have fundamentally transformed our society. Working together there is nothing we cannot be, nothing we cannot do, and nothing we cannot achieve.

“As we enter this new era, let us take to heart the words of Ben Okri, when he says:

‘Will you be at the harvest, Among the gatherers of new fruits?

Then you must begin today to remake

Your mental and spiritual world,

And join the warriors and celebrants

Of freedom, realisers of great dreams.

You can’t remake the world

Without remaking yourself.

Each new era begins within.

It is an inward event,

With unsuspected possibilities

For inner liberation.

We could use it to turn on

Our inward lights.

We could use it to use even the dark

And negative things positively.

We could use the new era

To clean our eyes,

To see the world differently,

To see ourselves more clearly.

Only free people can make a free world.

Infect the world with your light.

Help fulfill the golden prophecies.

Press forward the human genius.

Our future is greater than our past.’ ”

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