Local newsNews

The State of the Nation Address in a nutshell

President Jacob Zuma wants local government to work

President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address last night highlighted several issues in the country.
He shared the government’s nine point plan to ignite growth, create jobs and to give the country’s economy a forward thrust.
These are:

  •  Resolving the current energy challenge.
  •  Revitalizing agriculture.
  • Advancing beneficiation or adding value from the mineral wealth.
  •  More effective implementation of a higher impact of the country’s industrial policy action plan.
  • Encouraging private sector investment.
  • Moderating workplace conflict.
  • Unlocking the potential of small medium and macro enterprises (SMMEs), cooperatives, township and rural enterprises.
  • State reform and boosting the role of state owned companies, ICT infrastructure or broadband roll out, water, sanitation and transport infrastructure.
  • Operation Phakisa which is aimed at growing the ocean economy and other sectors.

Zuma said the government’s aim to achieve a growth target of 5% by 2019 is at risk, because of the slow global growth as well as domestic constraints in energy, skills, transport and logistics among others.

Regarding job creation, he says StatsSA’s employment figures for the last quarter of 2014 showed that there are now 15,3 million people who are employed in South Africa.

Jobs grew by 203 000 and the government thus far has created more than 850 000 work opportunities, which means that the government will meet the annual target of one million job opportunities.

About the current energy constraints he says the government has developed both a medium term plan and long term responses to the crisis.

The short and medium term plan involves improved maintenance of the Eskom power stations and the long term plan involves finalising the long term energy security master plan.

He also ensured that the government’s priority is to stabilize Eskom’s finances to enable the utility to manage the current period.

For this the government will give Eskom around R23-billion in the next fiscal year.

Zuma urged the citizens of the country, as well as industries and government departments to save electricity to reduce the need for load shedding.

Because of the high cost of diesel, Eskom has been directed to switch from diesel to gas as a source of energy for the utility’s generators.

He encouraged households to switch from electricity to gas for cooking and heating.

The government is also searching for alternative energy sources and, to date, the government has procured 4 000 megawatts from independent power producers.

He also said the country will introduce tougher measures to deal with copper cable and metal theft.

Other issues Zuma spoke on were:

  •  Bettering the lives of people on the farms. With this he was saying that foreign nationals will not be allowed to own land in South Africa, but will be eligible for long term lease.
  •  The government’s interventions to support the manufacturing sector are bearing fruit, especially in the automotive sector and footwear sector
  • Interventions in stabilising the mining sector brought relative stability and optimism in this sector, which is the backbone of our economy.
  •  “Small business is big business”, he said  and the government will set-aside 30% of appropriate categories of state procurement for purchasing from SMMEs, co-operatives as well as township and rural enterprises.
  • More opportunities for the youth, with the National Youth Development Agency that used R25-million to help 765 youth owned micro enterprises in the last financial year nationally.
  • With the first phase of broadband roll out, it is becoming a reality in the country.
  • Water is a critical resource for economic growth and a better life and Zuma says the government has several projects for providing water for industrial and household use.
  • The infrastructure programme continues to expand transport networks and to improve roads which is good for economic growth and over R6-billion will be spent in 13 cities on planning, building and operating integrated public transport networks during this financial year.
  • The government will continue to deliver houses to the people of the country.
  • Health care is also a priority and this year the government will launch a massive programme to turn the tide against tuberculosis (TB) and in fighting the scourge of HIV and Aids.
  • The government will continue fighting against crime, creating safer communities, combating corruption and getting rid of rhino poaching.
  •  Zuma also said because the local government is everybody’s business, and every one has to make this sphere of government work. The government has launched the back to basics programme to promote good governance and effective administration through cutting wastage, spending public funds prudently, hiring competent staff, and ensure transparency and accountability in municipalities.
  • The government will continue to promote healthy lifestyles and Zuma urged citizens to refrain from smoking and the abuse of alcohol and drugs.

Related Articles

Check Also
Back to top button