Human Rights Day address by President Jacob Zuma,Victoria Sportsground, King William’s Town, Eastern Cape.

Human Rights Day address by His Excellency, President Jacob Zuma,Victoria Sportsground, King William’s Town, Eastern Cape.

21 March 2017
Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa,

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Mr Nathi Mthethwa and all Ministers present,

Premier Phumulo Masualle and your executive council,

The Members of the Provincial Legislature,
The Executive Mayor of the Buffalo City Metro, Mr Xola Pakati and all Mayors and councillors present,

Representatives of labour, business and religious sectors,

The family of Mr Steve Biko,

UMphakathi waseQonce neMpuma Koloni yonke,

Fellow South Africans,

Molweni, sanibonani,

We greet you all on this important occasion of the 2017 Human Rights Day commemoration in the beautiful Eastern Cape Province.

On Human Rights Day we celebrate and re-affirm our commitment to the hard-won human rights that are enshrined in the Constitution of our country.

The marking of this day was born out of the huge sacrifices made by brave men and women who fought for freedom in the face of extreme brutality by the apartheid regime.

On 21 March 1960, sixty nine people were brutally killed by the apartheid police and scores were injured, when they were shot at during a peaceful anti-pass protest march to Sharpeville police station.

The ruthless incident shocked the whole world. Many were also brutally killed in Langa in Cape Town on the same day. They were marching to declare their right to freedom of movement in the land of their birth.

In another tragic incident 28 people were killed in Langa, Uitenhage in March 1985, during the 25thanniversary commemoration of Sharpeville.

We pay tribute to all of them for their selfless contribution. We shall never forget their sacrifices for freedom, equality and justice.

Our country now enjoys a stable constitutional democracy where everyone is entitled to equal human rights because of the sacrifices of the people of Sharpeville, Langa, Soweto, KwaMashu, Tzaneen, Zeerust, Giyani and many other parts of our country.

The theme of Human Rights Day this year is The year of OR Tambo: Unity in Action in Advancing Human Rights.

Mr Oliver Reginald Tambo would have turned 100 years old this year had he lived.

We are celebrating the life of a liberator, teacher, intellectual, internationalist and unifier who kept the liberation movement together and in focus during the most difficult moments in our struggle.

He strove for unity at all times and this should inspire us to work together to achieve our dream of a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

The year 2017 is also the 40thanniversary of the brutal murder of black consciousness leader and liberation struggle icon, Mr Bantu Steve Biko.

This sports ground is the historic venue where his emotionally charged funeral was held. We honour him today on Human Rights Day, because the gruesome and painful manner in which he was treated and his eventual merciless murder by the apartheid state was a gross human rights violation.

We joined Mrs Nontsikelelo Biko and family earlier this morning to unveil and hand over the Biko monument to the family. The handover marks the launch of the commemoration of the 40thanniversary of the death of Mr Biko.

In September, the month of his tragic death, we will join the family, AZAPO and the Black Consciousness Movement in commemorating his life and contribution.

Indeed, this is the year of deepening unity.

We must come together to celebrate our national heroes and ensure that our youth and future generations know and understand their contribution and what they stood for.

In the memory of Steve Biko, let us promote the emancipation of the mind.

He wanted black people to understand that they are equals with other racial groups, and that they were equally deserving of dignity, respect, equality and a better life.

He believed that only when black people understood that they were not inferior, and the white people understood and accepted that they are not superior, would true liberation be achieved in our country.

Our country indeed needs liberated minds in order to achieve radical economic transformation.

Sivuye kakhulu ukudibana nomndeni wakwa-Biko namhlanje, sikhumbula ighorqha lakowethu, uMnuz uSteve Biko owabulawa kabuhlungu abamhlophe ngo- 1977.

Ngenyanga yokuhamba kwakhe emhlabeni uSeptember, sizophinde sidibane sisebenze kunye nomndeni neqembu le-AZAPO ne Black Consciousness Movement, sikhumbule igalelo lalelighorha lomzabalazo wenkululeko yabantu abamnyama.


We mark Human Rights Day each year for important reasons.

We come from a history where there was a scant regard for fundamental human rights. It is most fitting that we pause annually, and remember the past so as to learn from it and never repeat its wrongs.

We also use this day to take stock of progress in the promotion of human rights. Today we also recommit ourselves to advance fundamental human rights and the restoration of human dignity to the black people in particular, who were brutalised and dehumanised by the twin systems of colonialism and apartheid.

We are pleased with the progress we have made thus far in advancing human rights. Our country’s Constitution enshrines socio-economic rights such as health education, food, water and social security. We have made progress in these areas.

Our children have a right to be taught in decent schools.

Government created the Accelerated Schools Infrastructure delivery Initiative to replace mud schools and other inappropriate structures and to provide basic services of sanitation, water and electricity.

The question is no longer why there are mud schools in the country, but how far government has gone in eradicating them.

Through the programme, we have completed one hundred and seventy schools. To restore the dignity of our learners, government has provided water to six hundred and fifteen schools, decent sanitation to four hundred and twenty five schools and electricity to three hundred and seven schools.

We also care about the wellbeing of children in our schools.

Nine million children receive meals through the National School Nutrition Programme and also do not pay school fees. The feeding scheme also provides an income for mothers who cook the meals daily at schools, while government buys vegetables from women-owned cooperatives in most communities. This programme thus fights hunger and contributes to community development.

Another key achievement of government that we are proud of, is the growth of the Early Childhood Development Programme. We are investing in these ECD centres of crèches as they are commonly known, to ensure that even children of the poor and the working class have a good start in education.

Government has remarkably grown the programme from supporting three hundred thousand children to 1.4 million children. Government pays a subsidy of fifteen rand per child per day and also pays a subsidy to each approved Centre.

We also extend the access to education to higher education.

More money is allocated to the National Student Financial Aid Scheme each year to support youth from poor and working class backgrounds. This year the budget is 15.2 billion rand, which is higher than ever before.

We know that there are some more young people that we have not yet reached.

I appointed the Heher Judicial Commission of Inquiry to look at funding models and look forward to the report of the Commission in June this year.


We are proud of the progress we have made in extending social security assistance to our people in line with the Constitution.

Government pays social grants to almost 17 million social grants recipients which is a huge achievement in fighting poverty.

The child support grant and older persons grant are the two largest social grant programmes with 12 million  children and 3.2 million older persons’ benefitting from the social grants.

To provide further assistance, Government is seeking to amend the Social Assistance Act to amongst other things, enable government to provide funeral benefits to the elderly and savings vehicles for caregivers of children.

Let me take this opportunity to once again assure all who receive social grants that they will receive their money at the end of the month.

Bonke abadala, ogogo nomkhulu abafumana inkamkamu, izimpesheni, nabathola izibonelelo zezingane nabakhubazekile, sicela bangoyiki neze. Bazakuyifumana imali yabo ekupheleni kwenyanga.

Izinkinga ebezikhona, sesixaxuliwe.


The Constitution also refers to food security.

Government, through the South African Social Security Agency supports with food parcels, families facing extreme hunger or disasters such as fires and destitution.

In the past year, government approved more than one hundred and fifty thousand applications from citizens and households faced with destitution, undue hardship and disasters.

The Expanded Public Works Programme also provides job opportunities to many families to put hunger at bay. For long term assistance, government continues to support households with food production measures through the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

To meet the right to housing, since 1994 government has provided housing opportunities for about 4.3 million households. However, there is about 2.1 million households who seek assistance or an opportunity to be provided with a home.

We will work with households and the private sector to address the housing backlogs, taking into account the limited resources and competing priorities facing government.


In 1994, we undertook to build a non-racial society in which racism would be a thing of the past.

Sadly, the ideology of racism remains firmly entrenched among some in our population, and it represents one of the most despicable human rights violations.

We are however, encouraged at the level of outrage that these incidents usually draw. It proves that South Africans are generally not tolerant of racism.

In this fight against racism, government, through the Department of Justice is finalising the National Action Plan against Racism and Related Intolerances.

This Plan will give further clarity and guidance to government and to the broader South African society on the fight against racism and related intolerances.

We have also recently published thePrevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.

Once it becomes law, it will criminalise several forms of discrimination including on the basis of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion and nationality. This Bill is a perfect illustration of the seriousness with which we view hate crimes in our country.


Our programme of radical economic transformation is also linked to ensuring access to the socio-economic rights guaranteed under the constitution.

This will require that corporate South Africa joins government in ensuring that there is equal pay for equal work.

Workers must also receive a living wage to fight poverty. The National Minimum Wage is a positive start in this regard. Together we must also promote work and business opportunities for the youth.

Women’s rights are human rights. In this regard, the employment equity policy and broad based black economic empowerment has ensured that women gain access to critical areas which hitherto, had been exclusive preserve of men.

This transformation work must continue in both the private and public sectors.

Most importantly, compatriots, the economy must be unbundled so that we can loosen white monopoly control and allow the entry of black people into the mainstream of the South African economy.

Government will continue to work with business and labour to achieve these objectives.

Fellow South Africans,

Land is mentioned specifically in the Constitution especially the need for restitution. As part of our commitment to the restoration of human dignity of our people, we will be taking practical and reasonable measures to return the land to the people.

We will use all available instruments necessary in expediting land restitution and respond to land hunger.

Indeed, government has done a lot to promote human rights for all in our country.

We know that many of our people are still waiting for some of the basic services such as water or electricity.

Work continues to ensure that these services are extended to the people on a continuous basis.


The Constitution says we all have a right to security. We are thus very concerned about the high levels of crime in some communities.

We must accept that we have a problem and work together to fight crime in our country. I visited Nyanga in Cape Town, Soshanguve in Tshwane and KwaMhlabuyalingana in KwaZulu-Natal in the past three weeks.

Communities indicated that they are tired of crime and being abused and bullied by gangs of criminals.

Indeed, our people should not co-exist with crime.

I have also been alerted to the problem of high crime rates in areas such as Lusikisiki and also Mthatha where taxi violence has tragically claimed a few lives.

Police and relevant government departments are attending to these incidents. Crime in rural areas does not obtain the high profile as that in urban cities but it is equally traumatic for residents.

We call upon the police to act decisively against criminals who terrorise our people. We also urge communities to work with the police to create safer communities.

We are following up on issues raised in the communities that we have visited so that people can see a difference in their lives.

The anti-crime road show continues. We will be visiting more communities to provide support and also ascertain what else can be done to eliminate thuggery, gangsterism and bullying by criminals in our country.

Our people have a right to security and comfort as declared in the Constitution and the Freedom Charter.


We live in a country that enshrines human rights and dignity. These gains came at a great price. People lost their lives. We should never forget the sacrifices that were made for our freedom and democracy.

In the memory of those who laid down their lives for this country, we must continue to build a South Africa that will enshrine the human rights of all, regardless of their class, gender or geographical location.

I wish you all a meaningful and happy Human Rights Day!

I thank you.

Issued by The Presidency



Statement delivered by Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi during the media launch of the 2016 National Book Week at the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg

DMI am delighted to stand here before you as we launch yet another instalment of National Book Week. This year’s programme organised under the theme: Buy a Book; Read a Book, is promising to be yet another very exciting and fulfilling experience.

The government of South Africa is committed to the development of a vibrant reading culture in South Africa. This is one of the reasons why education is number one priority in the National Development Plan.

As we enter into the seventh consecutive year of hosting National Book Week, I am confident that this programme is one of the vehicles that will carry our nation to our ideal society in 2030 as envisaged in the NDP.

It is with immense pride that this year we welcome the Department of Correctional Services as one of our partners. Their Reading for Redemption Programme affirms our conviction that reading changes lives. We believe that reading promotion should reach all sectors of our society.

Over the past couple of years we worked with them in the Funda Mzantsi Reading Championship, which is run in association with the Centre for the Book, an outreach unit of the National Library of South Africa.

It is quite significant that this year’s National Book Week programme is launched on the 1st day of September, the beginning of Heritage Month in South Africa. This is no accident as books play a pivotal role in chronicling a people’s history and serve as purveyors of information, which is passed from generation to generation.

The importance of books as sources of knowledge and information makes reading a vital ingredient in the development of a progressive society.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of Sol Plaatje’s seminal book, Native Life in South Africa, which was published in 1916. We are planning an extensive programme to celebrate this icon on 8 September, which coincidentally is also International Literacy Day.

I am looking forward to talking more about this programme in Kimberley next week. In the meantime, I challenge you to read this book so that you can understand what it is all about and what moved Plaatje to write it!

National Book Week is a clarion call to each one of us to buy a book and read as part of our contribution towards the creation of a reading nation. The promotion of a culture of reading and writing is paramount in our strategic intervention as reading is central to our development as a nation.

A widespread culture of reading would create a more knowledgeable society, contribute to the acquisition of skills and advance the economic contribution of the book sector.

This programme is one of the most significant interventions in our efforts to mainstream the book sector as an important contributor to job creation, poverty alleviation and skills development.

This is in line with the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE) strategy, which among other things, intends to mainstream the book sector as a significant contributor to job creation, poverty reduction and skills development. National Book Week has become one of the priority projects in the MGE strategy because of its continued record of adding a positive contribution to the development of our society.

It is exciting to note that today’s discussions include the business aspect of the book sector. I trust that the discussions that take place as part of this programme will enlighten young people to consider the book sector as a career option.

I would like to see more publishing houses that specialise with the publication of indigenous languages. We must never forget that South Arica has got eleven official languages and we have an obligation to ensure equitable development of all these languages.

In the same vein, I trust that we will work together to find solutions to some of the challenges that confront the book sector. The question of the cost of books, for instance, is one of the prohibiting factors in our efforts to develop a reading society.

Many of our people in the townships and rural areas cannot afford to buy books; have to travel long distances to find bookshops; and have very limited access to libraries. I envision a society where every child in South Africa owns a book by the age of four.

We as the Department of Arts and Culture have always been conscious of the imbalances that exist in the knowledge economy.

It is against this backdrop that education and access to books are some of the priorities of our government today. In the current MTSF, covering the years from 2014 – 2017, the Department of Arts and Culture is investing a further R3 billion for library infrastructure through the Conditional Grants programme. Over the past two years we managed to open several new and refurbished libraries across the country through the assistance of this programme.

We will continue building libraries to ensure that the communities that did not have access to these facilities previously are able to benefit from this programme. We encourage communities to embrace these facilities as their own.

We build them so that they can make use of them and ensure that our children have a brighter future than us. We must always remember that access to education is not a privilege, it is a right that we all have. Our future is hidden in books and we must discover it.

The seventh edition of the National Book Week presents us with an opportunity to further deepen our commitment to the creation of a reading nation. We must work together and develop strategies for establishing alternative modes of publishing, promotion of our diverse languages, establishing new distribution channels for local books and engendering new audiences.

Let us renew our commitment to making reading an integral part of our lifestyle. As part of celebrating National Book Week, I encourage everyone present here to buy a book for someone who cannot afford to buy for themselves. Books should become the natural choice for gifts among friends, families and colleagues.

We can change the world – one book at a time.

I thank you

Speech by Minister Nathi Mthethwa at the Edinburgh International Culture Summit, Scotland.

Mthethwa on SABCI want to start my contribution on this occasion by expressing the appreciation of the South African government and her citizens for the role the Scottish people have played in the anti-Apartheid struggle. Your  contribution to liberate our country and our people have brought us to where we are today.

We further appreciate the continued support of the Scottish people and your initiatives to deepen the transformation within our country and we urge you to continue to make the world a better place for humanity through an organisation like Action for Southern Africa.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have been directed to speak on the Topic: “Culture and Economics” but with the permission of the programme director I want to cover the creative industry as a whole within the limited time I have.

Global crisis

As we all know , the current financial crisis that originated in 2007, is the worst the world has seen since the Great Depression that started late in 1929 and continued well into the 1930’s.  Up until today the world is still feeling the pinch of this economic crisis from which many countries, especially in the developed world have not as yet fully recovered.

Developing countries on the other hand, over the last few years have seen some recovery, especially in Africa.

However, the real growth potential lies in the creative industries across the globe. This industry is the future because amongst other attributes it consist of young people who are innovators by their very nature. Economists agree  that the creative industries form a remarkably healthy branch of the global economy. When the crisis hit in 2007, world exports of creative goods and services continued to grow.

The growth of the industry in countries like Nigeria, Ghana, Egypt, Senegal and Cameroon demonstrate the ability of the sector to contribute to social cohesion efforts.


In recognition of the potential of the industry, BRICS countries have signed an agreement on culture which states the following amongst other things;

“… being aware of the importance of broadening and deepening the cooperation in the field of culture,

 “being convinced that cultural dialogue contributes to the progress of nations and better mutual understanding of cultures, facilitating rapprochement of peoples,

 “being firmly committed to the BRICS values in the spirit of openness, inclusiveness, equality, respect for cultural diversity, and mutual respect and learning,”

Economics of Culture

A report produced in 2015, conducted by CISAC — the International Confederation of Societies of Authors and Composers, highlighted amongst others the following:

  •  The Creative and cultural industries (CCI) generated an amount of two trillion, two hundred and fifty Billion US Dollars (US$2,250) thus creating more than 29.5 million jobs. The CCI employ 1% of the world’s active population.
  • Creative activities contribute significantly to youth employment and careers in CCI are relatively open to people of all ages and backgrounds. In Europe, CCI sectors typically employed more people aged between 15–29 years than any other sector.
  • Creative industries also tend to favour the participation of women when compared with more traditional industries. Statistics compiled by the UK Government showed that women accounted for more than 50% of people employed in the music industry in 2014 (vs. 47% in the active population overall).
  • Moreover, creation is driven by small businesses or individuals, giving rise to agile and innovative employers. More than half (53%) of Canadian gaming developers say they are independent operators.
  • In the US, artists are 3.5 times more likely to be self-employed than US workers overall.
  • World-class cultural infrastructure is a catalyst for urban development: building a museum often offers opportunities to engage in large urban development projects and to develop a new “city brand” around cultural and creative precincts. Such flagship projects boost a city’s attractiveness for tourists, talent and highly skilled workers. Bilbao, in Spain’s Basque Country, is now an icon of culture-led urban regeneration: construction of the Guggenheim Museum led to the creation of more than 1,000 full-time jobs, and tourist visits have since multiplied eight-fold.
  • Equally important, CCI make cities more liveable, providing the hubs and many of the activities around which citizens develop friendships, build a local identity and find fulfilment.
  • Informal CCI sales in emerging countries were estimated to total an amount of US$33billion in 2013 and provided 1.2 million jobs. Performing arts are the biggest employers in the informal economy, providing unofficial music and theatre performances (street performances, festivals and concerts that do not pay authors’ rights, private performances at marriages and funerals, etc.), which are often free for audiences. In Africa, these performances are sometimes funded by individual sponsors.

Our point of departure

Since the democratic breakthrough of 1994, our government has moved from the point that the creative industries have a powerful role to play in Nation building and that it can greatly contribute to our national economy.

Flowing from this understanding, amongst other things we developed a programme called the Mzansi Golden Economy (MGE). This Programme is focused on strategic investment in all sectors of the industry with the aim of building markets, developing audiences and supporting human capital development.

The basket of interventions that comprise the MGE programme range from the establishment of an Art Bank to catalyse growth in the contemporary visual arts market; to the creation of a Cultural Observatory which will collect and disseminate information; to a series of investment mechanisms in market development platforms locally and internationally.

The investment by government, and the firm policy stance recognising the economic contribution of the creative industries, has been given added impetus by a recent mapping study conducted by the Department of Arts and Culture.

Conducted in 2013, the study found that the creative economy made a significant contribution to that of the country representing 2,9% of Gross Domestic Product and that it created over 560,000 jobs.

Further, given the importance of transforming the nature and profile of the South Africa economy, and improving access for previously disadvantaged South Africans, over 50% of enterprises were black-owned and significantly, over 30% were owned by young people.

From an economic perspective arts and culture are incredibly important for the developing world. They are an untapped and constantly renewable resource that can initiate immense growth, unleash skills and creativity and compete globally as they are expressed in unique and innovative ways. For governments there can be no question as to whether arts and culture should be supported, it is however always a question of how much support it will need to thrive.

The Value of Cultural Diplomacy

The value of culture and the arts cannot be underestimated, as we struggle to maintain our individual and collective identities and build our respective nations.

Often called “soft diplomacy” learning about each other’s world view, belief systems and way of life is a critical part of creating a better world for all.

Central to cultural diplomacy is the notion of people to people relations with partner countries jointly engaging each other and deepening their understanding of each other.

Today the world faces unprecedented challenges, high and continuously rising levels of youth unemployment and disenfranchisement, a deep economic recession, growing evidence of the impact of climate change and a wave of migration into and across Europe not seen since World War II as people flee terrible conflict in their countries.

Now more than ever we must invest in and support the creative industry as a way for people to retain a sense of self, as a way to build prosperous and innovative nations and most of all, as a means to be themselves, express their views, identities  and feelings in constructive ways.

Thank you.


Address by the Inter-Ministerial Committee led by Minister Jeff Radebe following the media briefing for the 21st international aids conference to be held in Durban


Thank you for joining us at this media briefing on AIDS 2016.

South Africa will for the second time in partnership with the International Aids Society host the Biannual International Aids Conference.

Sixteen years ago, (2000) we were privileged to host the 13th Conference here in Durban. Continue reading

Remarks by Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi at the Ingquza Hill Massacre commemoration


The people of every great country are bonded by their history.Their cultural landscape is enriched by the patina of the buildings, monuments, sites and other places of meaning which reflect the events and layers of experiences and processes throughout the centuries.

Through today’s event we herald our history and are proud of those who have played a pivotal role in our struggle for freedom.

This is one of the milestones that we need to record in the history of our struggle for freedom against colonial occupation and apartheid. Continue reading

Address by Minister Nathi Mthethwa at the South African Music Awards (SAMA22) in Durban


Good evening ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests and nominees at the 22nd SAMA Awards,

The South African Music Awards are a celebration of excellence, creativity, innovation and development. While the Awards do reward individual talent, they are also a celebration of the strength and robustness of the South African music industry as a whole, demonstrating our world class abilities. Continue reading

Address by Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi at the official hand-over of Nkuri Modular Library, Nkuri village Giyani


The official hand-over of the Nkuri Modular Library coincides with the Youth Month commemoration.

The 2016 Youth Month is commemorated under the theme: “Youth Moving South Africa Forward” and commemorates 40 years since the June 16 1976, Soweto uprising when hundreds of young people protested against the apartheid government and their imposition of Afrikaans as a medium of instruction.

It was on that day that hundreds of young people lost their lives in the struggle for the liberation, which started a revolt that spread to other parts of country crafting a South Africa that is democratic, non-racist, non-sexist and belonging to all who live in it.

The Class of 1976 exposed the brutality of the apartheid regime to the world and ignited resistance around the country. Forty years later young people must help to keep their legacy alive by taking advantage of opportunities to build our country and change their lives. Young people must participate in democratic structures and processes like elections. Continue reading

Address by Minister Nathi Mthethwa on the occasion of the launch of the youth month 2016

Theme: Youth Moving South Africa Forward.

`A country, a movement, a people, that does not value its youth, does not deserve its future`. By OR Tambo.

We meet here today to pay tribute to a generation of young men and women of our country who gave it all to set our country on the road to freedom like never before.

A generation that Franz Fanon describes as a generation that discovered its mission and set out to fulfil it.

A generation that brought back firmly the spotlight of the international community on the conditions of the Black South Africans under the system of colonialism and apartheid.  Continue reading

Address by Honourable Minister Nathi Mthethwa: 50 years in memory of 1966 meeting between Sen. Robert F Kennedy & Chief Albert Luthuli Remembered


The commemoration of this anniversary of the meeting between Senator Robert F Kennedy and the Chief provides opportunity to revisit our history as South Africa within context of renewed public discourse efforts aimed at filling all the historical gaps and broadening the scope of interpretation pertaining to our struggle for freedom from apartheid repression.

South Africa’s freedom from apartheid in 1994 was achieved through national and global efforts all merged in the quest and belief in the dignity of humanity; human freedom; and an equitable and just society. Continue reading