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State of the Nation Address highlights

Written by SAnews
President Jacob Zuma delivered his seventh State of the Nation Address in Parliament recently, outlining his plans to take the country forward in the next five years.

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

1. The economy will take centre stage

“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 percent by 2019.

2. The mining sector will receive attention

“We will implement the undertaking to build housing and other services to revitalize mining towns, as part of the October 2012 agreement between business, government and labour. The focus is the mining areas of Motlosana, Emalahleni, Sekhukhune, Lephalale, West Rand and Matjhabeng…[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.”

3. Energy will be given prominence

“Work needs to be done at a technical level on all forms of energy especially nuclear energy and shale gas with regards to funding, safety, exploitation and the local manufacture of components.”

4. Infrastructure will be scaled up

“We will continue to implement the successful National Infrastructure Plan… Over the next three years, we will spend 847 billion rand on the 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 National Economic Development and Labour Council (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 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 fi 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 sys- tem 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 [of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs] 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 Work Programme will be expanded to provide a million work opportunities by the end of 2019.”

11. Help 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.”

12. Attracting more tourists to SA

“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 125 billion rand by 2017.”

13. 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.”

14. 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.”

15. 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.”

16. 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.”