South Africans ju­bi­lant after SoNA

Vuk'uzenzele - - Sona 2018 -

Ex­CItE­mENt hAS

Newly elected Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa’s maiden State of the Na­tion Ad­dress (SoNA), de­liv­ered in Par­lia­ment on 16 Fe­bru­ary, has in­spired cit­i­zens across the coun­try.

This is a year of hope, re­newal and change with gov­ern­ment in­tent on build­ing a so­ci­ety in which every­one is free, equal be­fore the law, shares in the coun­try’s wealth and has a bet­ter life.

En­cour­ag­ing eco­nomic growth and in­clu­siv­ity, job cre­ation, im­prov­ing ac­cess to ed­u­ca­tion, de­vel­op­ing in­fra­struc­ture and ac­cess to de­cent health­care and deal­ing a mean­ing­ful blow to cor­rup­tion were among the SoNA’s main themes.

The Pres­i­dent re­called the val­ues of late Pres­i­dent Nel­son Man­dela and strug­gle hero­ine Al­bertina Sisulu, who would both have turned 100 years old this year. He re­counted Pres­i­dent Man­dela’s in­tegrity

“We will use this year to re­in­force our com­mit­ment to eth­i­cal be­hav­iour and eth­i­cal lead­er­ship” said Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa said lead­ers agreed that the main goal is to build a so­ci­ety de­fined by de­cency and in­tegrity, one that does not tol­er­ate the abuse of pub­lic re­sources or theft by cor­po­ra­tions.

Eco­nomic growth has been in­ad­e­quate and pub­lic fi­nances have been con­strained. This has lim­ited gov­ern­ment’s abil­ity to in­vest more in eco­nomic and so­cial de­vel­op­ment to the ben­e­fit of its 57 mil­lion peo­ple.

Gov­ern­ment has taken ex­tra mea­sures to re­duce poverty and meet the needs of the un­em­ployed. Pub­lic em­ploy­ment pro­grammes have cre­ated over 3.2 mil­lion op­por­tu­ni­ties that pro­vide:

• an in­come, work ex­pe­ri­ence and train­ing; the free ba­sic ser­vices pro­gramme sup­ports over 3.5 mil­lion poor house­holds; over 17 mil­lion so­cial grants are paid monthly.

Ed­u­ca­tion

Gov­ern­ment has al­most one mil­lion chil­dren in early child­hood de­vel­op­ment fa­cil­i­ties and has im­proved the ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem. In ad­di­tion, al­most one mil­lion stu­dents are en­rolled for higher ed­u­ca­tion.

This year gov­ern­ment will start in­tro­duc­ing free higher ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing to first-year stu­dents from house­holds with a gross com­bined an­nual in­come of up to R350 000.

The Funza Lushaka Bur­sary pro­gramme will award 39 500 bur­saries for Ini­tial Teacher Ed­u­ca­tion over the next three years and from 2018 all pub­lic schools of­fer an African lan­guage as part of the cur­ricu­lum.

Youth un­em­ploy­ment

Youth un­em­ploy­ment is an ur­gent and se­ri­ous chal­lenge. “Young South Africans will be moved to the cen­tre of our eco­nomic agenda,” he said.

Young peo­ple can gain ex­po­sure to the world of work through in­tern­ships, ap­pren­tice­ships and men­tor­ship, in part­ner­ship with

Growth, em­ploy­ment and trans­for­ma­tion

Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa said gov­ern­ment, with civil so­ci­ety and the pri­vate sec­tor, will in­tro­duce mea­sures to put South Africa on a new path of growth, em­ploy­ment and trans­for­ma­tion.

The planned ini­tia­tives in­clude a jobs sum­mit, to unify sec­tors and stake­hold­ers to find prac­ti­cal ways of tack­ling youth un­em­ploy­ment; and an in­vest­ment con­fer­ence, to en­cour­age sig­nif­i­cant new in­vest­ment in the econ­omy by lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional play­ers.

The Pres­i­dent said the de­cline in man­u­fac­tur­ing has deeply hurt em­ploy­ment and ex­ports. “Gov­ern­ment will seek to rein­dus­tri­alise on a mas­sive scale; pro­mote

Crime and cor­rup­tion

“This is the year in which we will turn the tide of cor­rup­tion in our pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions,” the Pres­i­dent an­nounced.

A com­mis­sion of in­quiry will seek to iden­tify the ex­tent and na­ture of state cap­ture, re­store con­fi­dence in pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions and iden­tify wrong­do­ers.

“The Com­mis­sion should not dis­place the reg­u­lar work of the coun­try’s law en­force­ment agen­cies in in­ves­ti­gat­ing and pros­e­cut­ing all acts of cor­rup­tion.

We must fight cor­rup­tion, fraud and col­lu­sion in the pri­vate sec­tor with the same pur­pose and in­ten­sity.

We must re­mem­ber that ev­ery time some­one re­ceives a bribe there is some­one who is pre­pared to pay it. We will make sure that we deal with both,” Pres­i­dent Ramaphosa con­firmed.

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