Issue 118 | 18 June 2014
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From transforming the economy to creating decent work and improving conditions in the mining sector, President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SoNA) has been received with vigour by his Cabinet colleagues.

On 17 June, President Jacob Zuma delivered the SoNA in Parliament. This was President Zuma’s first address to the joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces since the establishment of the fifth Parliament.

Here are some of the main points of President Zuma’s address: 

1. The economy will take centre stage

“The economy takes centre stage in this programme. It remains our strong belief that the most effective weapon in the campaign against poverty is the creation of decent work, and that creating work requires faster economic growth.

“We have set a growth target of 5% by 2019. To achieve this, we will embark on various measures and interventions to jump-start the economy.”

2. The mining sector will receive attention

“[mining] companies are expected to convert or upgrade hostels into family units, attain the occupancy rate of one person per room and also facilitate home-ownership options for mine workers.

“An Inter-Ministerial Committee on the Revitalisation of Distressed Mining Communities has been established under the leadership of the Minister in The Presidency responsible for Planning, Performance Monitoring and Evaluation, Mr Jeff Radebe.”

3. Energy will be given prominence

“We will also continue the fourth window of the renewable energy independent power producers programme, to take advantage of wind, solar, biomass and other technologies that increase the opportunity for rural development.

“Nuclear has the possibility of generating well over 9 000 megawatts, while shale gas is recognised as a game changer for our economy. We will pursue the shale gas option within the framework of our good environmental laws.”

4. Infrastructure will be scaled up

“We will continue to implement the successful National Infrastructure Plan. Over the next three years, we will spend R847 billion on infrastructure and several projects are to be started or completed.”

5. Youth employment and empowerment will be prioritised

“Youth empowerment will be prioritised in our economic transformation programme. Government will introduce further measures to speed up the employment of young people, consistent with the Youth Employment Accord.

“We will expand the number of internship positions in the public sector, with every government department and public entity being required to take on interns for experiential training.”

6. Labour relations will be high on the agenda

“… we will during this term investigate the possibility of a national minimum wage as one of the key mechanisms to reduce the income inequality."

“ Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa will convene the social partners’ dialogue, within the ambit of NEDLAC.”

7. Will work with business

“We will continue to engage business in promoting inclusive growth and to build a more prosperous society. In this regard, I will soon convene a meeting of the Presidential Business Working Group.”

“We will also over the next five years promote regional economic development and industrialisation, through the creation of special economic zones around the country.

“We will continue to support through incentives, the competitiveness of the auto, clothing, leather, footwear and textile industries, which are labour-intensive.”

8. Support will be given to small business 

“Over the next five years, we will prioritise support to small business, as well as township and informal sector businesses in particular, thus using the SMME development programme to boost Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment.”

9. Bucket system will be eradicated

“Work is underway to eradicate the bucket system throughout the country. This will also be the priority of the Inter-Ministerial Task Team on Service Delivery that I have established. The team is led by Minister Pravin Gordhan.”

10. EPWP will be a priority

“Government has since 2004 run the successful Expanded Public Works Programme which provides work opportunities and training for the unemployed. The new phase will provide six million work opportunities by 2019.

“In addition, the local government-based Community Works Programme will be expanded to provide a million work opportunities by the end of 2019.”

11. Local government will be supported

“One hundred numerous projects, mainly in water and sanitation, will be started and the objective is to complete them over the next 12 months.”

12. Support will be given to smallholder farmers

“Government will provide comprehensive support to smallholder farmers by speeding up land reform and providing technical, infrastructural and financial support.”

13. Attracting more tourists into South Africa

“We have set a target to increase the number of foreign visitor arrivals to more than 15 million annually by 2017.

“We are also looking at increasing the contribution of tourism to the country’s revenue to more than R125 billion by 2017.”

14. University entrants will be increased

“We will increase the number of Grade 12 learners who can gain entrance to university, moving from 172 000 in 2013 to 250 000 in 2019.”

15. Women’s empowerment will be advanced

“We will take forward the advances we have made in promoting women’s empowerment and development. To further consolidate our democratic gains, we will continue to advance and improve the lives of people with disabilities over the next five years.”

16. Reducing the levels of crime will continue  

“The Special Investigating Unit, the Anti-Corruption Task Team, the Asset Forfeiture Unit and the Hawks have made notable progress in our quest to combat corruption in society broadly and in the public sector. This work will continue in the next five years.”

17. The Constitution will be promoted in schools

“We will also continue to promote the Constitution in schools and ensure that our children grow up with positive values and love for their country and its people.” – Source:

“Over the next five years we will continue to promote the building of a better Africa and a more just world.
“South Africa will continue to support regional and continental processes to respond to and resolve crises, promote peace and security, strengthen regional integration, significantly increase intra-African trade and champion sustainable development in Africa.

“This will entail supporting and executing decisions of the African Union as well as the promotion of the work of its structures.

“We will also continue to promote South-South cooperation by utilising membership and engagements with formations and groupings of the South.

“Similarly, we will continue to promote mutually beneficial relations with countries of the North.

“We will continue to deepen economic development, trade and investment partnerships with the BRICS through the work of the BRICS Contact Group for Economic and Trade Issues.”
  • 5% – economic growth target by 2019.

  • R847 billion – the amount to be spent over the next three years on infrastructure.

  • 60 – MeerKat dishes to be built in the next five years.

  • 100 – Square Kilometre Array dish antennas to be built in the next five years.

  • 75% – goods and services that the State will buy to promote local procurement and increase domestic production.

  • R50 billion – the value of Transnet’s locomotive contracts that will promote local content and boost economic growth.

  • 9,6 million – the record number of tourist arrivals in South Africa in 2013.

  • 15 million – the annual target set for foreign visitor arrivals by 2017.

  • R125 billion – tourism’s contribution to the country’s revenue by 2017.

  • R230 billion – the total assets of development-finance institutions.

  • 133 000 employees have benefited from the employment tax incentive in only five months.

  • 11 000 employers have participated in the employment tax scheme.

  • 6 million work opportunities will be created by the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) by 2019.

  • 4 million work opportunities have been created by the EPWP since 2009.

  • 1 million work opportunities will be created by the Community Works Programme by the end of 2019.

  • 1 million jobs will be created in the agricultural sector by 2030.

  • R32,3 billion was invested in the African continent in 2013, up from R5,5 billion in 2002.

  • 11 municipalities have achieved consistent performance in audits, expenditure on municipal infrastructure grants and service delivery.

  • 100 projects, mainly in water and sanitation, will be started over the next 12 months, mainly in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

  • 63% of South Africans were living in towns and cities by 2011.

  • 250 000 Grade 12 learners will be gaining university entrance in 2019, up from 172 000 in 2013.

  • South Africans are urged to dedicate 67 minutes to good deeds on Mandela Day, 18 July.

  • 1 million people will benefit from infrastructure development in the Mbizana and Ntabankulu municipalities in the Eastern Cape.

    – Source: Government Communications
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