Remarks by President Jacob Zuma at the meeting with editors, bureau chiefs and political editors, Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House, Pretoria

Ministers, Deputy Ministers

Editors, Political Editors and Bureau Chiefs,

Senior Officials,

 

Good morning and thank you for joining us at this interaction.

We deemed it important for us to get together to chat informally, as our country heads towards celebrating 20 years of freedom.

South Africa is a much better place now that it was before 1994.

The media, both local and foreign, have contributed to the progress that South Africa has made in moving from a pariah state status to a thriving vibrant young democracy.

Before 1994, it seemed impossible that South Africa could make a successful transition to freedom and democracy and lay a firm foundation for national  reconciliation.

The country’s success has come about through the selfless contribution and commitment of thousands of South Africans to make this country work.

Working with many other sectors, we have a responsibility to strengthen and deepen democracy and to make South Africa a prosperous society with improved living standards for all.

We will not always agree on how to get to that prosperous society as government and the media or with other sectors too. But we are closer to consensus, because of the National Development Plan, which is one of the major achievements of the fourth democratic administration.

We may differ as well on the implementation of the National Development Plan and many other things. But that does not constitute a crisis or a problem.

Freedom of expression is one of the key achievements of our young democracy, the freedom to disagree and to be free to express that disagreement.

At the same time, we believe the media has a responsibility as well in a young democracy and a developing country like ours, to promote hope, nation building, development and unity.

We appreciate the role that the media is playing in our country already in this regard.

The Lead SA initiative is one such example. This initiative founded by Primedia Broadcasting and supported by the Independent Group of Newspapers aims to create an active citizenry which is in line with our National Development Plan.

Over the past three years, Lead SA has made a difference and continues to do so.

Earlier this year, I launched the Stop Rape campaign with Lead SA and the Department of Basic Education at a school in Cape Town.

Lead SA’s Drug Watch initiative between the South African Police Service and other partners is also making good inroads.

In Gauteng alone, over 20 000 people have been arrested and almost R12 million worth of drugs have been seized in just over two months. We need to take this initiative to other provinces.

Other media initiatives driven by Lead SAincludes;

  • Saving the Rhino
  • Supporting our national sporting teams
  • Singing Happy Birthday for Madiba
  •  Supporting Mandela Day.

In addition, the Crime Line tip off service is making excellent inroads in the fight against crime.

Lead SA and the Department of Arts and Culture will launch a build up to 20 years of freedom on the 20th of September.

One of the activities to be launched is Freedom Friday- with  the call is on citizens to wear anything that makes them feel South African each Friday.

The SABC also runs a successful nation building programme, Touching Lives, which has changed the lives of many through exposing their plight.

Etv/ENCA run popular programmes such asHeroes which has showcased many hardworking teachers, police officers and many other South Africans who make a difference every day. Another popular programme is the show Against all Odds which promotes individual action to overcome adversity.

These initiatives show the other side of South African society, the caring, nation building side. They are a welcome addition to daily hard news offerings.

There is a lot of good work that is being done by many other sectors to make South Africa better place each day.

On HIV and AIDS we work together as many sectors – business, labour, government, sports, entertainment sectors and non-governmental organisations.

The result has been an impressive roll-out of treatment, an increase in life expectancy and progress that has impressed the United Nations whose UNAIDS programme continues to mention South Africa as a dramatic example of a turnaround in the fight against AIDS.

The media has played an important role in the campaign against AIDS over many years.

We also wish to acknowledge the contribution of the media to the campaign against corruption.

While many corruption cases arise from government investigations, many others came about through the hard work of the media.

We are satisfied that we have enough instruments in the country to help us fight this scourge.

We have the Chapter 9 institutions which are among the successes of our Constitutional democracy, for example the Office of the Public Protector, the Office of the Auditor General and the South African Human Rights Commission to name a few, which work hard to promote clean governance and accountability within the public service.

To promote coordination we have also established the Multi-Agency Working Group to investigate  supply chain management practices and also the Anti- Corruption Task Team within the Justice, Crime and Prevention Security Cluster whose mandate is to fast-track high-priority and high-profile corruption cases.

This team comprises the heads of the National Treasury, the Directorate Priority Crime Investigation or the Hawks, the Special Investigation Unit, the National Director of Public Prosecutions, and representatives of other institutions, such as the Financial Intelligence Centre, the NPA’s Special Commercial Crimes Unit, the Asset Forfeiture Unit and the SA Revenue Services.

More importantly, we wish to thank members of the public who contribute to the promotion of clean governance through whistle blowing to the National Anti-Corruption Hotline, run by the Public Service Commission.

A total of 17 110 cases of alleged corruption have been generated between September 2004 and last Saturday, 31 August 2013 through the Hotline, and there is a gradual increase in the recovery of money and the number of disciplinary sanctions taken against the perpetrators.

We are pleased that the successful investigation of cases has resulted in the recovery of 330 million rand from perpetrators since the inception of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline.

A total of 2 638 officials were found guilty of misconduct related to corrupt activities between 01 September 2004 and 31 August 2013.

At the provincial level, a total of 1 728 officials were found guilty of misconduct related to corrupt activities whilst 910 officials were found guilty of misconduct for corrupt activities at national departments. A total of 491 officials were suspended and 1 600 were dismissed from the Public Service.

In other figures, 256 officials were fined a three months salary, 31 officials were demoted, 541   officials were given final written warning and 210   officials were prosecuted.

We sincerely thank the public for this contribution to promoting clean governance.

Ladies and gentlemen

I will this afternoon travel to Russia to attend the G20 forum meeting.

It is envisaged that the Summit will focus on a set of measures aimed at boosting sustainable, inclusive and balanced global growth, including the creation of decent jobs.

During its tenure as G20 President, Russia has focused its work on three priorities to promote;

·         Growth through quality jobs and investment;

·         Growth through trust and transparency; and

·         Growth through effective regulation.

A BRICS Leaders’ meeting will also be held on the margins of the G20 Leaders Summit.

The meeting will afford BRICS leaders an opportunity to reflect on the progress made with regards to the implementation of the Durban Declaration, especially as it pertains to the New Development Bank and the Currency Reserve Arrangement.

Of course the G20 takes place during a volatile climate economically and also with regards to peace and security because of the situation in Syria and Egypt.

We will continue to promote multilateral solutions to international security challenges and to uphold the supremacy of the United Nations Security Council in dealing with global peace and security issues.

Ladies and gentlemen

Today’s occasion is more for information sharing between ourselves. We trust that you will find the discussions fruitful during the course of the morning.

I thank you.

My take on General Riah Phiyega’s announcement that Lt General Mzwandile Petros was being replaced

706x410q70stephen-petros-subbedM(1)This is my take on General Riah Phiyega’s announcement that Lt General Mzwandile Petros was being replaced as Gauteng police commissioner by Lt General Mondli Zuma:

Firstly, I think replacing Petros is a mistake. I have said it publicly and I repeat it.

Petros is a dedicated and committed police officer. He was committed to fighting crime and corruption. He must be credited for starting sector policing in Gauteng after running a pilot project in the Western Cape. It’s now national.

Petros took no nonsense. He constantly came down hard on his members – and that’s why I am not surprised the unions are happy seeing him go.

I’ve worked closely with Petros especially in my role as head of Crime Line and chairman of the Southern African Federation Against Copyright Theft (SAFACT). Lead SA has also engaged him on initiatives such as Drug Watch.

Petros valued partnerships with civil society and the community at large.

The Gauteng Community Police Board also wanted Petros to stay. It’s chairman, Andy Mashaile, is also on record as saying CPF’s wanted to retain Petros as the provinces number one cop.

Phiyega’s announcement today that Zuma was to replace Petros with immediate effect took many by surprise.

Within an hour, reports starting emerging that Zuma was facing a criminal charge for drinking and driving.

Phiyega said later she was not aware of this.

It has to be asked: How can our country’s top cop not have been aware that one of her trusted officers was awaiting trial?

EWN’s Mandy Weiner tweeted: “@MandyWiener: Lots of noise about new GP Commissioner Mondli Zuma’s role in the Shell House shooting too – NB he was granted amnesty by the TRC.”

I asked the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee in Parliament, Annelize van Wyk, on Twitter, what her take was on Zuma’s appointment.

Her response:
“@annelizevanwyk: It undermines the integrity message.”

Phiyega said earlier Lt Gen Zuma “is the epitome of a professional police officer.”

The DA and others have good reason to question Phiyega’s decision to appoint Zuma, who by the way is reportedly not related to President Jacob Zuma.

Surely, Phiyega needed to have done her homework before appointing Zuma. One has to wonder whether her political bosses ordered her to appoint Zuma, who was in-charge of the police at ORT International
Airport. He holds the rank of Major-General and is now a Lt General.

Phiyega has embarrassed herself and the police service.
It’s decisions like these that take the credibility of the police to even lower levels.

How can the community support Gauteng’s new top cop who has a cloud over his head?

I have reliably learned that some senior Gauteng cops are disillusioned following today’s announcement. The leadership of the Community Safety Board is also unhappy.

It may be argued that Zuma has not been convicted. Yes. But with such controversy, he should not have even been considered for this job.

We expected better from Phiyega and her bosses. You have messed up!

If you want the people of Gauteng to support the police, make the right decisions.

Let’s accept Petros is leaving and wish him well.

But, let his successor be credible, clean, non-controversial and a real crime and corruption fighter – not a controversial figure facing a criminal charge.

-This is my personal view.

Crime Line 6th Birthday

Hlony Radebe receiving an award for the New Beginnings Foundation. — with Yusuf Abramjee at The Maslow Hotel.

Hlony Radebe receiving an award for the New Beginnings Foundation. — with Yusuf Abramjee at The Maslow Hotel.

Receiving SERVAMUS' Print: National award from Gen Phiyega and Yusuf Abramjee during last week's Crime Line ceremony. — with Annalise Kempen, Gen Riah Phiyega and Yusuf Abramjee at The Maslow Hotel.

Receiving SERVAMUS’ Print: National award from Gen Phiyega and Yusuf Abramjee during last week’s Crime Line ceremony. — with Annalise Kempen, Gen Riah Phiyega and Yusuf Abramjee at The Maslow Hotel.

Jean T H Berdou receiving an award on behalf of the Douglasdale CPF. — with Yusuf Abramjee at The Maslow Hotel.

Jean T H Berdou receiving an award on behalf of the Douglasdale CPF. — with Yusuf Abramjee at The Maslow Hotel.

Adv Jean Berdou, Andy Mashaile, Gen Piyega National Police Commissioner, Yusuf Abramjee, Mr Valli, Dr David Mabuna CEO SanParks — with National Police Commissioner General Piyega, Yusuf Abramjee, Dio Mbali Hlabangwane and Dr David Mabuna CEO SanParks.

Adv Jean Berdou, Andy Mashaile, Gen Piyega National Police Commissioner, Yusuf Abramjee, Mr Valli, Dr David Mabuna CEO SanParks — with National Police Commissioner General Piyega, Yusuf Abramjee, Dio Mbali Hlabangwane and Dr David Mabuna CEO SanParks.

Marisa Oosthuizen and Yusuf Abramjee

Marisa Oosthuizen and Yusuf Abramjee