ZUMA’S R870bn PLAN

Pres­i­dent says blacks must ben­e­fit

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - BALD­WIN NDABA AND LUYOLO MKENTANE

BLACK peo­ple must ben­e­fit from the eco­nomic re­sources of the coun­try, in­clud­ing ac­cess to their land.

This was the mes­sage in the an­nual ANC January 8 state­ment de­liv­ered by Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma dur­ing his party’s 105th birth­day cel­e­bra­tion at Or­lando Sta­dium in Soweto yes­ter­day.

Zuma’s state­ment of­fered a multi-pronged ap­proach to deal with the ills of the coun­try. These in­cluded the in­clu­sion of blacks in run­ning the econ­omy, strate­gies to fight crime and cor­rup­tion, as well as re­turn­ing land to black peo­ple.

Ear­lier, Zuma con­ceded that fac­tion fight­ing within his party was af­fect­ing its for­tunes.

“Our own re­search and in­ter­ac­tions with mem­bers of the ANC demon­strate clearly that the peo­ple ab­hor the ap­par­ent pre­oc­cu­pa­tion with personal gain. Peo­ple are clear: their main pri­or­i­ties are jobs, fight­ing crime and cor­rup­tion.

“Our task there­fore is to grow the econ­omy, cre­ate jobs and rig­or­ously fight crime and cor­rup­tion,” Zuma said.

It ap­pears the out­come of the Au­gust 3 lo­cal gov­ern­ment elec­tions, which saw the ANC los­ing the key Joburg and Tsh­wane met­ros, had forced it to re­view its strate­gies and pri­ori­tise land and jobs.

Zuma said more de­ci­sive steps must and would be taken to pro­mote greater eco­nomic in­clu­sion and to ad­vance own­er­ship of the econ­omy by blacks.

He pre­dicted the econ­omy was set to grow by 2.9 per­cent this year.

“As the govern­ing party, the ANC must use the levers of state power to trans­form the econ­omy and im­prove the lives of our peo­ple. It has a duty to use gov­ern­ment in­cen­tives, pro­cure­ment, in­fra­struc­ture, in­vest­ment and other mea­sures to cre­ate new in­dus­tries and ex­pand ex­ist­ing in­dus­tries.

“Do­ing so will in­crease own­er­ship of the econ­omy by the black ma­jor­ity,” Zuma said.

The ANC gov­ern­ment had to use all mea­sures avail­able to de­velop town­ship and ru­ral economies to cre­ate “jobs for our peo­ple”.

“The man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tor can be a cat­a­lyst for trans­form­ing the econ­omy and cre­at­ing jobs. This is il­lus­trated by the fact that this sec­tor cre­ated more than 7 000 new jobs dur­ing the first six months of 2016.

“We call on South Africans, and in par­tic­u­lar young black and fe­male en­trepreneurs, to take ad­van­tage of all pro­grammes and in­cen­tives to help turn South Africa into a bustling hub of in­dus­tri­al­i­sa­tion and man­u­fac­tur­ing. We must boldly turn our coun­try into a con­struc­tion site,” Zuma said.

He said the gov­ern­ment had bud­geted R870 bil­lion in the next three years for in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment which would help to cre­ate en­trepreneurs and jobs, and sup­port small busi­nesses and co-op­er­a­tives in the con­struc­tion sec­tor through the con­struc­tions of hos­pi­tals, clin­ics, roads, col­leges and schools.

He added the gov­ern­ment was al­ready spend­ing R500bn a year on the pro­cure­ment of goods and ser­vices and ap­pealed to small busi­nesses to take up the op­por­tu­ni­ties.

“New reg­u­la­tions will come into place this year, mak­ing it com­pul­sory for big con­struc­tors to sub­con­tract 30 per­cent of busi­ness to small busi­nesses as pro­posed in the last ANC na­tional gen­eral coun­cil.

This should be used to em­power and de­velop black-owned small busi­nesses.

“Strict en­force­ment of black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment should be un­der­taken to con­trib­ute to the trans­for­ma­tion of the econ­omy,” Zuma em­pha­sised.

He also called upon the na­tion to pro­vide sup­port to state-owned en­ti­ties like Eskom.

“South Africa has ex­pe­ri­enced less load shed­ding since 2015, and we com­mend Eskom for the sta­bil­i­sa­tion of the elec­tric­ity grid. Con­tin­ued sta­bil­i­sa­tion, to­gether with the ad­di­tion of new ca­pac­ity, will have pos­i­tive ef­fects on eco­nomic growth and cre­ate new jobs.”

Zuma urged state-owned en­ti­ties to ac­tively en­cour­age the emer­gence of black-owned small busi­nesses in their pro­cure­ment of goods and ser­vices as part of eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

He em­pha­sised that eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion was pos­si­ble only if the pri­vate sec­tor played its part.

PIC­TURE: MATTHEWS BALOYI

IN STEP: Cyril Ramaphosa, Ja­cob Zuma, Baleka Mbete and Gwede Man­tashe dur­ing the January 8 ad­dress at Or­lando Sta­dium for the 105th an­niver­sary of the ANC.

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