As the year 2012 comes to a close, we remember with anguish the bloodshed and the tears that were shed in the aftermath of the Marikana tragedy. We wish to convey our gratitude to church leaders under the auspices of the South African Council of Churches and traditional leaders for playing a significant role in facilitating mediation and supporting the negotiation process that ended in wage settlements and normalising of relations in the mining sector.
The challenges we faced in the past year not only served to make us acutely aware of the urgency with which we need to address unemployment, poverty and inequality but have strengthened our resolve to seek lasting solutions to the challenges facing us.
We wish to assure the people of our province that though we are still faced with challenges in some areas, the strides we have made together and the pace we have set gives us confidence that these are not insurmountable but need us to continue holding hands.
We wish to thank those who supported our effort to intensify the fight against poverty, joblessness, homelessness, illiteracy, crime, greed and corruption and for believing that clean governance is achievable.
Though our resolve to establish and maintain a corrupt free public administration was tested and challenged on all fronts by those who seek to continue plundering resources meant to improve the lives of our people, we intensified our effort and scored major victories in the interest of good governance and protecting the resources and assets of our people.
We owe it to our people to strengthen partnerships we have established with the business sector, churches, traditional leaders, community based organisations, institutions of higher learning, non-government organisations, women and youth organisations and the media to accelerate service delivery, stamp the tide of corruption and to usher a new era of pride in selflessness, integrity and morality.
As we celebrate Christmas and recharge for the tasks that still lie ahead of us in the new year, we call on all of our people to remember that this season of peace, goodwill and sharing also presents us with an opportunity to expand our giving encompassing the lonely and needy. We should celebrate it by giving the light of hope and love to those who need them most, our orphans, widows and our elderly.
More advances lie ahead for us to score and celebrate as part of our legacy, history and rich heritage. Working together we can do more to deepen our democracy and sustain our hard won freedom for the next 100 years.
As a compassionate and caring government that supports the Decade of Action for Road Safety, we appeal to those who will be travelling during this festive season not to drink and drive, to exercise caution and share the road responsibly with other road users.
Let us enjoy the festivities responsibly and support our men and women in dignified blue by reporting suspected criminal activities, women, child abuse and neglect.
As we finalise preparations towards the 2013 African Cup of Nations matches to be hosted by the province at the Royal Bafokeng Stadium, we are confident that working together we can do more to create better, healthier and safer communities.
We wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.