|STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS
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: www.SAnews.gov.za