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Speaking notes for Minister Mildred Oliphant at BBC meeting

by Lloyd Ramutloa last modified 2012-03-03 08:48

1 March 2012

President of the BBC Ndaba Ntsele

Outgoing president Mr Patrice Motsepe

Vice-president – Lawrence Mavundla (president of Nafcoc),

Vice-president – Tembakazi Mnyaka (deputy president of BMF),

Chairman – Tryphosa Ramano (president of ABSIP),

Treasurer – Andile Khumalo (president of Abasa),

Secretary – Sandile Zungu,

Head of portfolios – Mxolisi Zwane (president of Fabcos).


It is a great pleasure to be here today to address your esteemed selves. Perhaps the best way to start this conversation today is to quote one of your own, Patrice Motsepe when he said last year:

“It is in the interest of business to work with the government, labour, churches, women and youth groups as well as other stakeholders to ensure that all South Africans, in particular historically disadvantaged persons and their communities, participate and benefit from the development and growth of our economy. ”

I am here discharging of that responsibility. But it is more than just a responsibility. It is a commitment made by this party of government which is celebrating 100 years whose motto was to free our people from all forms of oppression.

Politically, we have done very well. Economically, we have a mountain to climb.

Just as an example, we have not done well at all in the area of land restitution.

The president highlighted how much of a challenge we still have during the state of the nation address when he pointed out that “we have only distributed 8% percent of the 30% target of land redistribution for 2014. The process is slow and tedious and there is general agreement that the willing buyer- willing seller option has not been the best way to address this question,” he said.

But it is not only about the issue of land. It is about a number of issues where we promise as government to do things and because of our processes, everything seems to take forever.

There are those who have been saying that our promise of amending labour legislation has taken forever. I agree it has been a long process but we also need to take into account that negotiation is an art of patience.

It is easy to forget where we come from. It is easy to forget that in 1993 we have had to deal and consolidate 53 pieces of legislation from different provinces, homelands and the like and now we have the 9

We need to take into account the views of the different parties – which is really the true meaning of social dialogue. It cannot be dialogue on our terms but it must be as inclusive as possible.

As the opening quote attests, we need to talk to each other. The private sector remains an engine of growth and economic development.  Business should thus articulate and advocate its interest in all countries.

Equally, labour has an important constituency that talk on behalf of and it is our duty to ensure that all these sectors talk to each other.

As for government, we are in partnership with everyone who wants to see progress and development in our country. Our duty is to create a conducive environment for business to thrive so that a lot more people can be employed.

This will go a long way to restoring the honour and integrity of all our people while at the same time dealing with other social ills like crime. We all have a role to play in addressing the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

Our partnership is conditional though: We seek partners that obey our labour laws and take into account the role that the department seeks to play in regulating the labour market. 

We seek partnerships that create decent jobs: jobs that acknowledge freedom of association, jobs that acknowledge and comply with rights of workers and freedoms that were fought for in blood, sweat and tears.

I must take this opportunity and congratulate the BBC for reconstituting and the elections that have led to the new leadership. I would also like to congratulate the fact that there is imbokodo in your leadership.

While it may not be enough, this is a start and I would like to see a different picture next time around.

In closing I would like to quote Nikolai Ostrovsky whose ringing call for sacrifice in liberating humankind has yet to be bettered.

“Man's dearest possession is life. It is given to him but once, and he must live it so as to feel no torturing regrets for wasted years, never know the burning shame of a mean and petty past; so live that, dying, he might say: all my life, all my strength were given to the finest cause in all the world──the fight for the Liberation of Mankind”
Nikolai Ostrovsky

I thank you

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