Our democratic system of governance vests legislative authority at the national sphere in Parliament. One of the key responsibilities of Parliament is the appropriation of funds used by government departments to implement programmes and provide services aimed at improving the quality of life of all South Africans. Members of Parliament are also enjoined by the Constitution to hold members of the executive branch of government accountable for how the appropriated resources are used.
At the beginning of every year Ministers table the Budget Votes of their departments before Parliament for scrutiny, debate and approval. Last month, May, Ministers representing 34 government departments appeared before the National Assembly to present our government’s plans to make life better for South Africans.
In their Budget Votes Ministers made a pledge to the people of South Africa that our government intends to spend the taxpayers’ rands to provide houses to those who are homeless, make university education affordable to those from less affording families, and provide support to budding entrepreneurs.
A prosperous South Africa
The President, as the executive authority for the Presidency, presented the Presidency’s Budget Vote on 31 May 2017. This was the last Budget Vote to be presented, underscoring as it did its role as the centre for leadership and coordination of government as a whole, and also its role in galvanising the whole South African society towards a common goal of building a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous country.
During the Presidency Budget Vote, we announced our annual plans and programmes that will help realise strategic targets and ensure the Presidency delivers on its mandate.
We will continue to provide strategic leadership and coordination of the work of government as well as supervise and monitor the work of all 34 departments.
Our government’s primary goal is to make South Africa a better and safe place to live in for all and in particular to improve the quality of life of the poor and the working class.
Returning on 1 June, the first day of Youth Month in the South African calendar and in response to the debate on the Budget Vote, we said: “Work continues in our quest to build a South Africa without poverty, inequality, unemployment or crime. We want a South Africa without despair, where each person, young and old, has hope of a better future. Achieving a better life for our people includes ensuring the achievement of the country’s vision with regard to safety and security.”
On 2 June at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guesthouse in Pretoria, we had an opportunity to meet with representatives of the young people of our country during the Presidential Youth Working Group, convened by the President and supported by Deputy Ministers led by Deputy Minister in the Presidency Buti Manamela.
The meeting reviewed progress made in youth development and discussed challenges facing the youth, including the recent incidents of the killing of women and children as well as ways of ensuring meaningful economic participation by the youth in the radical socioeconomic transformation programme of the country.
The Presidential Youth Working Group meeting also signalled the commencement of a number of June Youth Month activities by several government departments, led by the President, which would include the National Youth Day celebration to be held in Tshing township in Ventersdorp, in the North West province, under the theme: “The Year of OR Tambo: Advancing Youth Economic Empowerment”.
For the duration of the whole Youth Month, all Ministers and Deputy Ministers will lead their departments on a number of programmes targeting the youth, focusing among other things on education, skills development, entrepreneurship, small businesses, youth in agriculture, land reform, arts and culture, the environment as well as young people’s participation in the fight against crime, in particular drug abuse, violence and killing of women and children.
The time for developing and preparing our youth for the future is now. We wish you all a productive June Youth Month.