State of the Nation address: highlights

17 June 2014

Far-reaching interventions in mining and energy, six-million job opportunities through public works, massively increased university entrance numbers, a possible national minimum wage … check out some of the highlights of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation address, delivered to Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday evening.

Economy to 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 percent by 2019. To achieve this, we will embark on various measures and interventions to jump-start the economy.”

Interventions for a stable, sustainable mining sector

“[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.”

Energy to be given prominence

“We will also continue the 4th 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.”

Infrastructure to 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.”

Youth employment to 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.”

National minimum wage to be investigated

“We will during this term investigate the possibility of a national minimum wage as one of the key mechanisms to reduce income inequality.”

Govt, business to partner for inclusive growth

“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.”

Small business support to be scaled up

“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.”

Bucket sanitation system to be eradicated

“Work is under way 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.”

Public Works to create six-million job opportunities

“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.”

Local government to be revitalised

“One hundred projects, mainly in water and sanitation, will be started and the objective is to complete them over the next 12 months.”

Smallholder farmers to receive support

“Government will provide comprehensive support to smallholder farmers by speeding up land reform and providing technical, infrastructural and financial support.”

More tourists on the agenda

“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.”

University entrants to 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.”

Women’s empowerment to 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.”

Levels of crime to be brought down further

“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.”

Constitution to 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.”