Medium Term Budget Policy Statement
Mister President, twenty years ago, our country was truly in crisis, the CODESA negotiations had broken down and rising conflict threatened to overwhelm the prospect for a peaceful transition. In that bleak hour the ANC’s Ready to Govern document provided hope, when it said:
- The achievement of a genuine sense of national unity depends on all of us working together to overcome the inequalities created by apartheid.
- A broad, inclusive approach, free of arrogance or complexes of superiority or inferiority, is fundamental.
- We have to rely on the wisdom, life experiences, talents and know- how of all South Africans, women and men. There can be no "apartheid" in finding solutions to the problems created by apartheid.
In the two decades since those words were written we have made substantial progress in meeting basic needs, in building our economy and in constructing a non-racial democracy. Income per capita has risen by over 30 per cent since 1994, employment has increased by 4 million, access to housing, electricity, water and sanitation has doubled, enrollment in higher education has increased by 400 000. A new and vibrant set of democratic institutions have been established.
But the journey has not been easy and our progress has been uneven. We have been through two economic recessions. Inequality and unemployment are still deeply entrenched. Skills development is not adequately meeting the needs of industry. Service delivery has failed in some communities and local governance has faltered.