We have come to the end of a special year, in which we celebrated 20 years of freedom and progress we have made in building a united, democratic, non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous South Africa.
We told the good story that South Africa is a much better place to live in today than it was before 1994. The lives of millions of our people have improved since the dawn of freedom and democracy.
We held successful and vibrant national general elections in May this year. These reaffirmed South Africa as a stable democracy, with a firmly entrenched human rights culture.
Work continues to further improve the quality of life and to expand access to basic services and economic opportunities, especially for the poor and the black majority that had been excluded before the dawn of freedom.
We have already scored some achievements within just a few months of the new administration.
To mention just a few, more modern schools were completed to provide a decent learning environment for our children and educators in the past six months.
We made further progress in the improvement of health and education, the expansion of social development services and the fight against violence and abuse of women and children and other priority crimes.
We moved further in improving science, technology and innovation, promoting investments in the economy and in expanding our political and economic relations with the world.
More communities received access to water, sanitation, housing and other services.
In particular, we celebrated the milestone of 11 million connections to electricity since 1994.
This successful programme has brought into sharp focus the need to speed up the upgrading and expansion of the energy infrastructure, which had been designed to serve just a few and a smaller economy before 1994.
This is accompanied by on-going work to expand and upgrade water infrastructure which had also been designed to serve just a few before the dawn of freedom.
We have also taken measures to assist and revitalise state owned enterprises that are facing difficulties so that they can play their important role in economic transformation.
We have achieved a lot in a short space of time. We thank all of you for your contribution to moving South Africa forward.
The journey continues towards the South Africa in which there will be an improved quality of life for all – a South Africa without poverty, inequality and unemployment.
The year 2015 marks the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter, the fundamental policy document of the governing party, the ANC.
The preamble of the Constitution, like that of the Freedom Charter, reminds us that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white.
In that spirit, let us make 2015 the year of unity and cooperation amongst all South Africans, as we continue to transform our beautiful country into the prosperous one described in the Constitution, the Freedom Charter and the National Development Plan.
Our hearts go out to all families that lost their loved ones in 2014.
May you be comforted by the good memories of the lives you shared.
I wish you all a happy, productive and prosperous 2015!
I thank you.
*Issued by the Presidency