Remarks on the occasion of the Progressive Business Forum’s Networking Evening, by Deputy Minister of the dti, Mzwandile Masina, Coastlands Umhlanga Hotel

Programme Director
Leadership of the PBF
Business Leaders and Captains of Industry
Comrades and friends
Good evening


Comrades, thank you very much for inviting me to be amongst you on this important engagement in your calendar of activities. As an organisation of business leaders, it’s important that you find time to gather and reflect on a number of important national issues, which are part of the national question of building a non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.

We meet at a time which the world is gripped by fear, following a number of senseless acts of terror perpetrated by some who use religion to drive their inhumane acts. From Beirut, in Lebanon, to Paris in France and Yola in Nigeria and recently Mali and Cameroon, scores of people have been killed and hundreds injured in the latest terrorist attacks led by ISIS and Boko Haram amongst others.

Indeed we echo the words of condolences sent by our President, His Excellency President Zuma to the leaders of these nations and we equally condemn these acts in the strongest possible terms.

It is for this reason that we must forever be grateful to our forebears, for their visionary leader, 60 years ago, when they met in Kliptown, Johannesburg, to develop the Freedom Charter, our collective vision for the future.

His Excellency President  Zuma reminded us, on the occasion of our country’s 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter that:

“The Freedom Charter is the foundation of our democratic and non-racial value system. It is an inspiring and visionary document that has shaped the development of democracy in South Africa and most importantly laid the foundation for the democratic South African Constitution”

It is this visionary document which asserted that, amongst other things that “There shall be peace and friendship “and that “There shall be security and comfort for all”.

It is these guiding principles that have provided the framework of our Foreign Policy, in terms of which we preach peaceful resolutions to the world’s problems, as opposed to aggression and military interventions.

In the midst of these global security challenges, we shall continue to be guided by these noble principles and we will not be deterred by these challenges.

Global terrorism is one of the leading threats that confront all nations of the world. Recognising the global nature of this phenomenon, it is our firm view that nations of the world must be united in their approach to dealing with terrorism. It is for this reason that when addressing the BRICS meeting at the side-lines of G20 meeting in Turkey earlier this week, President Zuma called for nation states to address the root causes of terrorism as a “critical step to find lasting solutions”. In this regard he also called for collective global action against all forms of terrorism saying this must be done under the auspices of the United Nations.

While our information reveals that there is no discernible threat facing our country, we must remain vigilant and not lower our guard. As government, we will continue to monitor the situation and to share information with our counterparts in the intelligence community to ensure that South Africa remains safe and secure.

Creating a stable and safe business environment

Programme Director, government has a responsibility to ensure that our domestic situation is stable as so that we are able to facilitate conditions for continued trade and investment. Through the Justice Crime Prevention Cluster, government is working hard to deal with various forms of crime, ensure convictions of those arrested and deal with rampant corruption in the private and public sectors, amongst other things.

Just last month, two national departments- DPSA and SSA- were invited by the Provincial Government of KwaZulu Natal to participate in their 2nd Annual Integrity Summit, at which the issue of corruption in the public sector was discussed and action plans formulated. This summit highlighted the need for cooperation between business and government in the fight against corruption, which negatively impacts on our efforts to deliver quality services and increases the cost of doing business.

Programme Director, last month government, through the State Security Agency, held a successful cyber four day security conference where we called for improved cooperation and partnership between government, private sector, academia and civil society on matters of cybersecurity.

As we have noted, cyberspace has revolutionized the world and has brought exciting opportunities in developing our economies, improving our health care, education, agricultural production, military, provision of services etc. These opportunities are endless.

In the same vein, it poses some of the most complex challenges the world has ever faced. Attacks on financial networks, for instance, would potentially have disastrous consequences for individuals and for society.

The conference was attended by experts from the private sector, government departments and state owned entities and teaching institutions. The aim of the conference was to map out progress that has been made with regards to policy development and implementation and to define areas of collaboration and partnerships with the private sector and academia.

As government, we are satisfied with the resolutions of the conference and the outcome thereof and we are confident of the contributions these are to make in our attempt to secure the cyberspace such that business conducts their transactions in a safer platform.

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