Distinguished Cabinet Colleagues
The Governor and Deputy Governor of the S A Reserve Bank
Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Our dear friends in the gallery and wherever you may be sharing with us
Fellow South Africans
Ladies and gentlemen
In the introduction to his book on China and globalisation, Will Hutton reminds us that, "The foundation of human association is the idea that human life has equal worth and human beings are equally entitled to political, economic and social rights which allow them to choose a life they have reason to live"1.
Human life has equal worth…
Motho ke motho - ga ana bosehlana (a human being is a human being, there is no lesser human being)
The idea, that human life has equal worth, and that this is the core value that unites us, invites us to ask whether we have done enough to give practical effect in South Africa today to our shared humanity. Have we acted in a manner that shows that human life has equal worth? Or do we still live in a society where the shadow of history dominates over the opportunities of an open society.
As our young nation enters its thirteenth year, we have much to be proud of. We are building a society founded on principles of equality, non-racialism and non-sexism. We have built institutions of democracy, creating an open society founded on the rule of law. After stabilising the economy and the public finances, we have created the conditions for rapid economic growth, job creation and the broadening of opportunities.
Sound management of public finances and the improved tax compliance culture on which it rests provides us with the resources to invest in our public services, renew our infrastructure, reshape our residential areas, and provide water, electricity, housing, sanitation, schooling, health care and access roads to millions who were previously denied these elementary building blocks of modern society. The social grant system has expanded, hunger is in retreat and vulnerable families are being lifted out of poverty.
Yet the idea that human life has equal worth demands more of us. President Mbeki's speech at the 4th Nelson Mandela lecture reminds us that…
…to achieve the social cohesion and human solidarity we seek, we must vigorously confront the legacy of poverty, racism and sexism.
The 2007 Budget strives to accelerate economic growth and work opportunities, modernise our public services and infrastructure and fight poverty and inequality, because we have a shared pledge to work together in action. We do this, consciously, as a choice of this government because without a powerful countervailing force, the shadow of history will dictate opportunities, entitlements and outcomes.
Izimpilo zabantu zinesisindo ngoku fanayo (people's lives hold equal value)
The economic gains of the last 10 years enable us to begin to fulfil other key elements of our economic and social modernisation. Chief among these are the systems we create to plan and prepare for the long-term, to set in place the policies and institutions that will help us to achieve prosperity for all and social solidarity for future generations. As our economy adapts to an ever-changing global environment, and as we recognize over time new policy challenges and priorities, our public services must support transition and transformation by providing rising income security and protection to individuals, families, and communities.
Will Hutton, The writing on the wall, 2007. p. 204.