We have come to the end of 2010, a magical and very successful year.
This is the year that marked the 20th anniversary of the release of President Nelson Mandela from prison and the unbanning of liberation movements, which led eventually to a liberated South Africa.
For all South Africans, 2010 is also synonymous with the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup tournament, one of the biggest and most successful international projects we have ever managed or hosted in the country’s 16 years of freedom.
We thank all South Africans, yet again, for ensuring the phenomenal success of this first FIFA world cup soccer tournament on the African continent.
The hard work and cooperation of all our people made the event colourful, enjoyable and memorable.
We need to build on the positive spirit that prevailed, and ensure that the social cohesion, togetherness and patriotism that existed become part of the make-up of our society.
The tournament proved that this is possible.
We will also work hard with your support, to ensure that project management lessons from the World Cup help us to improve the way we work, and the way services are delivered by government.
Fellow South Africans,
We cannot change the way government works without your help and support as citizens.
We therefore thank you for your suggestions, compliments and complaints in 2010.
Many people wrote to us directly, others voiced their opinions daily on radio talk shows and other media platforms, and many others approached us at public events or sent information through the Presidential Hotline and other government hotlines.
Many people have complimented us on the improvements at the Department of Home Affairs.
Others have acknowledged the swift manner in which suspects are arrested for crimes committed, proving the central role of the fight against crime in government’s programme of action.
On social services, we are working hard to make schools function better and for more households to obtain housing, water and electricity.
Persons with disability are now obtaining homes that are user-friendly, indicating a caring and responsive government.
We are working hard towards ensuring that no child goes to bed hungry through the extensive child support grant programme and other social grants.
We appreciate the compliments about the revitalized HIV and AIDS programme especially the expanded access to treatment and prevention measures.
We have also noted the comments about the need to speed up the renovation of hospitals and clinics and to improve our medicine supplies.
Most importantly, we know that the New Year wish of scores of South Africans is to find jobs.
That is the New Year wish of hundreds of our youth who graduate from universities and colleges each year.
It is also the dream of many citizens who lost their jobs during the hard-hitting global economic recession, which cost our country close to a million jobs.
Working together as government, business, labour and other sectors we have to focus on growing the economy to create more jobs.
That is the essence of the New Growth Path, the economic development plan that we unveiled for comment recently.
Working together we will make this happen.
Fellow South Africans,
The country will once again host a number of major international events. Amongst these is the International Olympic Committee General Assembly in July in Durban.
The second one, also in Durban, will be the United Nations 17th climate change conference in December 2011.
Scores of eminent international guests, including heads of state and government, will converge on our country again, proving that we are a popular international destination.
The IOC will help us to further build on our reputation of hosting successful international sporting events.
The climate change conference will enable Africa to direct the focus of the world to the impact of climate change on the developing world, especially Africa, and encourage meaningful action.
Working together we must make these and other important events a great success.
As we prepare to draw the curtain on 2010, let us remember those who lost their loved ones in 2010. We wish them a better and happier 2011.
On behalf of Government, I wish you joy, success and prosperity in 2011.
Working together we will build a great South Africa, and contribute to a better Africa and a just world.
Happy New Year!