Fellow South Africans,

We have come to the end of an eventful, successful and also very challenging year.

We made a lot of progress in 2012 as we continued with our mission of building a united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

In 2014, we will mark 20 years of freedom and democracy.

Leading towards that milestone, we have to hasten our drive towards attaining socio-economic freedom.

We have a good basis to build on. The Census 2011 results indicated an increase in income levels, an improvement in the roll out of basic services and amenities as well as rising education levels.

At the same time, the Census indicated deep income disparities. For example, it revealed that the income of a white household is six times that of an African household.

In addition, while many more people now have water, electricity, sanitation or housing, there are many more that are still waiting.

We have a long road to travel to prosperity. And we have a plan to get us to that destination - the comprehensive National Development Plan.

The plan outlines the type of society we should be in 2030, where all will have water, electricity, good health, libraries, good schools, roads, good hospitals and clinics, safety and security, recreational facilities, a growing economy and jobs.

Government alone cannot build that type of society, but will need to work with people from all walks of life to find solutions.

We also have to build a society in the short term, where problems can be anticipated and resolved peacefully without a tragic outbreak of violence as it happened in Marikana.

We must build a society in which women and children feel free and safe, with no fear of abuse, rape or any form of violence, and a society in which our animals, especially the rhino, are safe from ruthless poachers. It is possible to achieve that type of society by working together.

Compatriots, let me also take this opportunity to thank you for your support and prayers while our founding President Nelson Mandela was in hospital.

He remains an important symbol of our struggle for liberation and of the successful transition from apartheid colonialism to a non-racial and democratic society. We should continue to keep the Mandela family in our thoughts and prayers until Tata has fully recovered.

Compatriots and friends,

January will be an exciting month as we host the Africa Cup of Nations tournament.

Let us receive Africa with warm hearts and open arms as always! In March we will host our friends and allies, the BRICS group of nations in Durban and take forward our partnership for reconstruction and progress.

I wish all South Africans as well as the foreign nationals who live in our country or who are visiting us to enjoy our wonderful summer – a joyous and safe festive season and a prosperous new year!

I thank you.

Mac Maharaj
Cell: 079 879 3203

Issued by: The Presidency
31 Dec 2012