7 May 2009
Education, healthcare, rural development, the fight against crime, and creating decent jobs will be the priorities of South Africa’s new government, says President-elect Jacob Zuma, who aims to have his new Cabinet in office in a matter of days so “we can get down to business”.
Delivering his acceptance speech after being elected as President of the Republic by an outright majority in Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday, Zuma said the focus would be on effective implementation.
“We are determined to leave an indelible mark in these five areas.”
However, the government’s immediate priority would be to respond decisively to the challenges posed by the global economic downturn. “We must move quickly to implement the framework agreed by government, business and labour to protect jobs and boost the economy,” he said.
Zuma will be inaugurated as President at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Saturday, and is expected to announce his new Cabinet on Sunday. He said he intended to have the Cabinet assume office by Monday.
While not divulging who his ministers and deputy ministers would be, Zuma said he had gained from the wisdom of five top African National Congress (ANC) officials who he had consulted on the matter. “I should be able to produce a team that will work very hard, and with necessary speed,” Zuma said.
“We mean business when we talk about faster change.”
Zuma told Parliament that the country’s new government under his leadership would be “more hands-on, more accessible”, and do its best to deliver on its commitments.
“As the Executive we will do our best to be more hands-on, more accessible and to deliver on our commitments.”
Zuma said that over the next five years, South Africans would be able to depend on their public representatives to serve them with dignity and respect and to maintain the decorum of Parliament, which is the face of democracy.
He said his administration would work with the country’s opposition parties on issues that are of national interest.
He thanked the outgoing Cabinet and outgoing President Kgalema Motlanthe for their good service. Motlanthe’s tenure will end with Zuma’s inauguration on Saturday.