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South Africa must retain its vibrant optimism

by Janine du Plessis
on 21 May 2008
BuaNews Online
BuaNews Online

Sometimes the realities are a bit harsh in South Africa, but the Minister in the Presidency, Essop Pahad, has assured that South Africans will cope with them and retain their vibrant optimism.

"I have no doubt that we will cope with the things that are sent to try us all. It is important for us to look closely at the changing forces that are now shaping our environment, to analyse them and to come up with answers that will adequately meet the new situation."

The minister was speaking at the two-day International Media Forum South Africa (IMFSA) currently underway in Johannesburg.

He said there was much to be optimistic about and the local and international media attending the conference should bare this in mind.

Referring to the attacks on foreign nationals that have erupted in Gauteng, Mr Pahad said government recently established an inter-governmental task team to investigate the root causes of these attacks.

"With respect to the electricity emergency we faced over the past few months an energy summit of all the key stakeholders and all the role players including Eskom, business, labour, political parties and government converged this pass weekend to discuss the issue and to present a report to the National Energy Regulator of South Africa [Nersa].

"The report will be tabled within the next few days. I am confident that we will rise to the challenge and respond to our current short-term woes to long term success."

He said one of the great global devices was poverty.

"There is a great deal of talk about improving the socio-economic condition of the bottom billion.

"A 2005 United Nations development programme report pointed to the obscenity of the unimaginable wealth concentrated in a very few hands. The world's richest people earned more than the 416 million poorest people.

"At a country, a level we were attempting to reach was through a pro-poor sustainable growth and development strategy and it has paid off," said Mr Pahad.

Turning to the world cup in 2010, he said: "Despite some media reports to the contrary we are on track with our world cup preparations. We are going to host the most spectacular and successful world cup ever."

He also highlighted that South Africa had managed a peaceful change in ruling party leadership which was comparable to anywhere in the world.

"Despite intense discussions and debate going on over various issues, there will be seamless change giving our country credit," he said, referring to next year's elections.

He urged the international media attending the forum to travel around the country and experience it for themselves.

"Talk with our people and you will come to understand why we have much to be proud of, including our expertise in banking, electronics, mining, tax collection, academics, business and tourism."- BuaNews


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