President Jacob Zuma has wished all South Africans a happy, successful, productive and prosperous New Year, 2017.

He said South Africa has come to the conclusion of a fruitful and productive 2016

We moved a step further this year in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment, as we continued working hard together, to reverse the legacy of apartheid colonialism, he said.

He said further progress was made in extending services to people including housing, water, electricity, accessible education, health care, roads, transport, social grants and in fighting hunger through public employment schemes and other programmes.

Most of these services are included in the Constitution as the socio-economic rights that South Africans are entitled to.

2017 a decisive year for SA

President Zuma said the year 2017 must be a decisive one for the country as government takes the reconstruction and development programme forward.

Jobs remain high on the list of priorities of our people. In this regard, we must continue to promote unity in action to reignite economic growth.

The collaboration between business, labour and government to support the economy, which is one of the key achievements of the year 2016, must continue in the New Year.

Economic transformation

Importantly, together we must take the economic transformation programme forward. We need to change the commanding heights of the economy, and increase the participation of black people as owners and managers.

He said progress made on the achievement of this goal will greatly enhance the national reconciliation programme.

Business, government and society, the President said, must work together on this national imperative.

We also need to make meaningful progress on the land reform and restitution programme in 2017, in in line with the Constitution.

As we continue to invest in the future, access to education and training as well as the provision of youth employment and economic opportunities must remain key priorities for all decision makers in the country.

Nation building, social cohesion

Nation building and promoting social cohesion will need to elevate in 2017. One of the key tasks in this regard, should be a heightened fight against racism, the President said.

All institutions and businesses must promote inclusion and non-racialism. Nobody must be excluded on the basis of colour or race, through subtle and unconstitutional means.

Two important centenaries in 2017

We will celebrate the centenary of His Excellency Oliver Reginald Tambo, the late President of the ANC and national hero who worked tirelessly so that all South Africans can live in peace, freedom and democracy.

Secondly, we will mark the centenary of the sinking of the ship, the Mendi, in which scores of black soldiers died on 21 February 1917.

He said the two centenaries must be used to unite all people in appreciation of what the country has achieved against all odds, in building a new society from the ashes of apartheid colonialism.

Work together to build the SA of our dreams

We are one people. Regardless of the challenges we face, we must continue to work together, to build the South Africa of our dreams.

We congratulate Christians including religious leaders, as well as all in the country, for a successful and joyous Christmas.


We also extend our heartfelt condolences to all who lost their loved ones during the festive season. May their souls rest in peace, the President said.

Law enforcement, health care, public sector workers

The President further thanked all law enforcement agencies, especially the police and traffic authorities, for ensuring order and peace during the holidays.

He also acknowledged health care professionals and other public sector workers, retail and hospitality sector staff, the media, and all others who are on duty during the holidays.

We reiterate our call to all road users to obey the rules of the road. Irresponsible behaviour costs lives, President Zuma said.