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President Zuma takes diplomats through SA’s vision

International relations

President Zuma takes diplomats through SA’s vision

Chris Bathembu

South Africa will continue to create an environment that encourages investment in the country’s economy, said President Jacob Zuma. He was reaching out diplomats assuring them that in South Africa they have a stable, reliable partner.

Addressing more than 120 ambassadors and high commissioners at the Sefako Makgatho Presidential Guest House in Pretoria, the President said government was taking steps to encourage investment in the country’s economy.

He briefed a gathering on government’s key priority areas of education, the fight against crime, creating decent work, improving healthcare, education, rural development and land reform.

 

Attracting investors

“Departments have been instructed to grant approvals for licences on time. They must pay suppliers on time and generally remove hassles and make it easier for investors to start their business,” said President Zuma. “We are changing regulations to make it easy for the private sector to do business.”

President Zuma noted that South Africa was investing in a massive infrastructure programme which he said would further attract investors to do business in the country.

The National Treasury had allocated more than R77 billion over the next three years to help several infrastructure programmes get off the ground.

 

Learning and teaching

“As we change the landscape of the country, we also intend to create more job opportunities,” Zuma said, adding that economic success depended on the country’s performance in education.

“One of our preoccupations currently is to improve the quality of learning and teaching in schools...the role of teachers is critical and we will continue to invest in producing more teachers who can teach mathematics, science and African languages.”

Government had also realised that the target of producing more than 40 000 teachers by 2014 was not sufficient to meet the future demand for teachers, particularly at foundation phase. To address this, institutions offering foundation teacher education would be increased from 13 to 21 in the next four years, he said. Turning to health, President Zuma said South Africa had managed to decrease the transmission of HIV from mother to child from 3,5 per cent to 2,7 per cent since 2010, effectively saving the lives of more than 100 000 babies. To further improve the general health infrastructure, the National Health Insurance scheme will be phased in over 15 years. It is currently being piloted in 10 districts, said the President.