Welcome Remarks by Hon Dr Zweli Mkhize, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs and Acting Minister of Public Service and Administration at the launch of the 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance, Southern Sun Hotel, Pretoria
Dr Graça Machel, Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board and other distinguished Members of the Board;
Professor Eddy Maloka, CEO, African Peer Review Mechanism,
Mr. Abdoulie Janneh and Ms Nathalie Delapalme, Executive Directors of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation,
Ambassador M’Poko, the Dean of the Diplomatic Corps,
Adv Thuli Madonsela, Former Public Protector,
Excellencies, Members of the diplomatic corps,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Good morning to you all!
I am honoured and privileged to address the Launch of the 2018 Ibrahim Index of African Governance (IIAG) and to welcome you all.
Good governance is an essential prerequisite to the attainment of a better life for our citizens and to achieve sustainable peace, regional integration and socio-economic transformation for Africa. Your presence here as eminent guests confirms the support of, and the promotion of good governance in our country and our continent.
I am delighted to see that the African Peer Review Mechanism (APRM) is collaborating with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. The APRM is our innovative home-grown governance programme as the African continent. The launch of the APRM in March 2003 under the auspices of the NEPAD Heads of State and Government was one of the key achievements of the AU and the continent. It confirmed the seriousness of Africa with regards to improving governance in our continent.
The partnership with the Mo Ibrahim Foundation provides an opportunity to showcase examples of good governance in the continent and also to provide lessons to be used to improve our governance systems for the good of the people.
As the South African government we are pleased to be associated with this occasion given our commitment to good governance and the building of a united, democratic and prosperous South Africa, built on the foundations of human rights and the quest of a better life for all especially the poor. We have since 1994 worked on building that type of society working with partners in our continent and around the world.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has this year announced that our country has entered a New Dawn.
This means we are on a mission to renew the values that our liberation struggle icons such as Nelson Mandela or Albertina Sisulu whose centenaries we are celebrating this year held dear; ideals of honesty, integrity, loyalty and selfless service to our people.
The promotion of good governance remains central to the achievement of those goals.
It means promoting the type of leadership within government and society that our people can trust and believe in.
It means promoting a public service where people will do good even if nobody is watching, and who will also not hesitate to report any wrongdoing in order to promote clean governance.
The fight against crime and corruption thus remains pivotal as we strengthen our democratic institutions and promote clean governance, hard work, efficiency, and effectiveness. At the end of the day it not about being a full-time public servant but more about people who have dedicated their lives to serving the people. That is what public service should be about.
In this era of seeking to control our public service and its vast resources, we must have a public service cadre that is impenetrable. We appeal to our public servants to focus on their work and not be distracted by business interests and greed which threatens the public service and enables corruption to creep in, and seriously threatens good governance.
We need a stable, efficient, corrupt-free, caring and effective public service because the lives of our people depend on such a service being made available to them by their governments.
As proud members of the AU we remain committed to working with sister nations to attain vital goals such encapsulated in Agenda 2063 such as upholding peace, security, conflict prevention, gender equality, youth empowerment and the uplifting of vulnerable groups as an enabler for sustainable democracy and inclusive economic growth and development.
We remain committed to playing our part in building a prosperous African continent where there is an end to disease and homelessness and the promotion of more democratic governments that put the interests of the people first.
Some positive developments and opportunities have come to the fore in the continent which will enhance the quest for good governance. There are opportunities for better governance through improved ICT networks and social media. Autocratic governments no longer have the monopoly of communicating with the outside world.
Citizens can share with the world anything happening in their country and can also expose wrongdoing through social media.
Access to ICT is also a positive development for economic activity, especially for small businesses and youth entrepreneurship.
Positive developments also include regional integration as a building block to African integration, through the Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) and the common African passport. African countries will soon be able to increase trade amongst each other and boost economic development within the continent. Such improved people to people cooperation will also encourage learning from one another with regards to systems of governance.
With regards to human development, Africa’s most important dividend is the youthfulness of the population. We need to invest in our youth by inculcating the democratic values and principles. They should be the custodians of the values that many African liberation heroes and heroines sacrificed immensely for.
What is important is that every action we take each day must help us to end poverty, inequality and unemployment and enable our people to live better lives. That applies in our country and indeed across the continent, so that we can build the type of Africa that Nelson Mandela, Julius Nyerere, Agostinho Neto, Kenneth Kaunda and other illustrious leaders of our continent sacrificed their lives for.
We congratulate all who have been involved in putting together this Index that is being launched today. It is an important contribution to building the Africa we strive for.
I thank you.
Issued by the Department of Cooperative Governance, 2 November 2018