On Thursday 7 February 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the 25th annual State of the Nation Address in democratic South Africa.
Citizens anticipated a few big announcements aligning with the President’s vision for inclusive economic growth. In his address, President Ramaphosa spoke to issues on education, corruption, unemployment and foreign investment, inter alia, and shared implementation plans that government will roll out to meet the urgent needs of South African citizens.
Reflecting on the past year, HE President Ramaphosa shared: “We resolved to cure our country of the corrosive effects of corruption and to restore the integrity of our institutions. We resolved to advance the values of our Constitution and to once again place at the centre of our national agenda the needs of the poor, unemployed, marginalised and dispossessed.
We agreed that, in honour of the centenary of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and Albertina Nontsikelelo Sisulu, we would devote our every action, our every effort, our every utterance to the realisation of their vision of a democratic, just and equitable society.”
The South African government is committed to ensuring that learners thrive in a safe and healthy environment. Currently, 4 000 schools in SA are without appropriate sanitation facilities.
They are also engaging learners on readiness for the Fourth Industrial Revolution from as early as childhood development phase, and has committed to the following in education:
– It will take government 6 years to provide every school, and child, in South Africa with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device.
– 1 150 schools are either in planning, design or construction stages
– More than 700 000 children have had access to early childhood education in the last financial year
– 699 schools have been provided with appropriate sanitation facilities and projects through the SAFE Initiative.
– 90% of textbooks in high enrolment subjects across all grades and all workbooks have been digitised.
President Ramaphosa also announced that early childhood education centres will be migrated from the Department of Social Development to Basic Education.
On the topic of small businesses, the following was noted: “Given the key role that small businesses play in stimulating economic activity and employment – and in advancing broad-based empowerment – we are focusing this year on significantly expanding our small business incubation programme.
The incubation programme provides budding entrepreneurs with physical space, infrastructure and shared services, access to specialised knowledge, market linkages, training in the use of new technologies and access to finance.”
– 14 rapid youth incubators form part of the incubation programme.
– Digital hubs will be established in four provinces as part of the incubation programme
– 51 technology business incubators form part of the incubation programme.
– 10 enterprise supplier development incubators form part of the incubation programme.
Speaking on infrastructure development, President Ramaphosa confirmed that more than R1.3 trillion has been invested to build, among others, hundreds of schools and two new universities. In addition, government committed R100 billion into the Infrastructure Fund over a 10-year period.
He also made mention of the inaugural SA Investment Conference, confirming that “projects to the value of R187 billion are being implemented, and projects worth another R26 billion are in pre-implementation phase.” This reiterates the President’s investment drive to mobilise R1.2 trillion in investment over a period of five years.
President Ramaphosa is confident that South African citizens have what it takes to move the country forward. He said: “All of us, as South Africans, should face up to the challenges and difficulties that lie ahead, said President Ramaphosa. “The task of building a better South Africa is our collective responsibility as a nation, as the people of South Africa.”