The last week in South Africa proved the durability of South Africa’s constitutional order and the vibrancy of its democracy, new SA president Kgalema Motlanthe said in an address to the nation on Sunday.

“We have no choice now other than to move forward, to forge ahead undaunted with the tasks we have set ourselves,” he said in a television broadcast.

“As president of South Africa, I undertake this responsibility knowing full well the duties and responsibilities that are attached to this high office, and the expectations that the people of this nation rightly have of the head of state. “I will do everything in my power, during the time that I occupy this position, to serve the nation with dignity, commitment and humility.”

“In everything that this task demands, I have the good fortune to be able to draw on the example set by my immediate predecessor, president Thabo Mbeki,” he said.

Kgaleme pointed out that his government moved quickly to bring stability to the country’s national executive, confirming the positions of ministers and deputy ministers, and filling any vacancies that had arisen. He said government would now work to draw on the collective abilities of all South Africans as it strove to achieve its goals. The focus would remain on, among other things, reducing unemployment and poverty by half within 10 years, providing the skills required by the economy, ensuring all South Africans were fully able to exercise their constitutional rights, and providing compassionate and competent service to the people.

Other aims were reducing cases of TB, diabetes, malnutrition and maternal deaths, and turn the tide against HIV and Aids, effectively reducing the number of serious and priority crimes, with a programme that also addresses the social roots of criminality, and position South Africa strategically as an effective force in global relations.

“We can say now with confidence that this government, working together with the people, has indeed made significant progress in fulfilling this mandate,” Motlanthe said.

However, the country faced many challenges, and the people still endured many hardships. “Yet by working together – by building on what we have achieved, by acknowledging our shortcomings, by learning from experience – we will be able to make even further progress in improving the lives of our people.” “Even under difficult global conditions, we will remain true to the course that we have set, knowing that we have done what is necessary to weather the storm,” he said.