President announces seven priorities to take SA forward
In a speech delivered at a time of great economic difficulty, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced seven priorities that will fast track South Africa’s path to prosperity.
Delivering his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament on Thursday evening, the President said the time for idle talk was now over — everything comes down to implementation if the country is to realise the vision of the National Development Plan (NDP).
“Unless we take extraordinary measures, we will not realise Vision 2030. This means that we need to prioritise. We need to focus on those actions that will have the greatest impact, actions that will catalyse faster movement forward, both in the immediate term and over the next 10 years.
“Now is the time to focus on implementation. It is time to make choices. Some of these choices may be difficult and some may not please everyone,” he said.
The President said that in an economy that is not growing and at a time when public finances are limited, government will not be able to do everything in one go.
Announcing the seven bold priorities, he said the focus will be on:
– Economic transformation and job creation;
– Education, skills and health;
– Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services;
– Spatial integration, human settlements and local government;
– Social cohesion and safe communities;
– A capable, ethical and developmental state and
– A better Africa and World.
The President said all the country’s programmes and policies across all departments and agencies will be directed in pursuit of these overarching tasks.
“At the same time, we must restore the National Development Plan to its place at the centre of our national effort, to make it alive, to make it part of the lived experience of the South African people,” he said.
The South Africa we want
The President said as the country enters the next 25 years of democracy, there was a need to proclaim a bold and ambitious goal – a unifying purpose – to which everyone dedicates their resources and energies.
“As we enter the last decade of Vision 2030, let us even more clearly define the South Africa we want and agree on the concrete actions we need to achieve them.
“To ensure that our efforts are directed, I am suggesting that within the priorities of this administration, we agree on five fundamental goals for the next decade,” he said.
The President said some of the goals — aimed at tackling poverty, inequality and unemployment, the pillars of the National Development Plan – will mean that:
– No person in South Africa will go hungry.
– The economy will grow at a much faster rate than the population.
– Two million more young people will be in employment.
– Schools will have better educational outcomes and every 10-year-old will be able to read for meaning.
– Violent crime will be halved.
“Let us make these commitments now – to ourselves and to each other – knowing that they will stretch our resources and capabilities, but understanding that if we achieve these five goals, we will have fundamentally transformed our society.
“We set these ambitious goals not despite the severe difficulties of the present, but because of them.
“We set these goals so that the decisions we take now are bolder and we act with greater urgency,” he said.
Government to revitalize and expand productive sectors
The President said, meanwhile, that in order to meet desirable growth targets, government will rebuild the foundations of the economy by revitalising and expanding the productive sectors.
He said this requires the country to reimagine its industrial strategy to unleash private investment and energise the State to boost economic inclusion.
“We will give priority attention to the economic sectors that have the greatest potential for growth.
“Drawing on our successes in the automotive sector, we will implement master plans developed with business and labour in industries like clothing and textiles, gas, chemicals and plastics, renewables, and steel and metals fabrication sectors,” he said.
The President said government will also pursue key interventions, including a plan to expand the agriculture and agro-processing sector, by supporting key value chains and products, developing new markets and reducing our reliance on agricultural imports.
“We will bolster the mining industry by developing markets for South African minerals through targeted beneficiation, reduced costs of inputs, and increased research and development.
“Through spatial interventions like special economic zones, reviving local industrial parks, business centres, digital hubs and township and village enterprises, we will bring economic development to local areas. We will also focus on small medium enterprises in our cities, townships and rural areas and create market places where they trade their products,” he said.
Achieving the SA we want
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening outlined his vision for government for the next five years, emphasising that a strong social compact was needed “if we are to achieve the South Africa we want”.
“We need to forge durable partnerships between government, business, labour, communities and civil society,” said the President, as he delivered the first State of the Nation Address of the sixth Parliament in Cape Town.
President Ramaphosa reminded the nation that to build a South Africa we want, placed a responsibility “on each of us and all of us.”
“Working together there is nothing we cannot be, nothing we cannot do, and nothing we cannot achieve,” the President said as he offered hope to the nation.
The President said while Government’s task was to create an enabling environment, use public resources wisely and invest in developing the country’s human potential, business on the other hand should consider the country’s national strategic objectives and social considerations in their decisions and actions.
“We agree that labour should advance the interests of workers while, at the same time, promoting the sustainability of businesses and the creation of jobs.
“Civil society needs to continue to play its role in holding government to account but must also join us in practical actions to attain our common goals.
“We look to the parties in this Parliament to be a vital part of this partnership, lending support, insights and effort to promoting the national interest,” the President said.
Not mincing his words, the President said the country was at an extremely difficult time; with the economy not growing and not enough jobs being created – yet there was still hope.
President Ramaphosa emphasised the importance of meeting the targets of the National Development Plan (NDP) which was adopted in 2012. The NDP aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.
He bemoaned that with ten years to go before 2030, South Africa has not made adequate progress in meeting NDP targets.
He said that unless extraordinary measures are taken, the country will not realise Vision 2030.The President said therefore it was a time to make serious choices, and while these choices may not please everyone, they were necessary.
Defining the sixth administration, government will focus on the following seven priorities and all its programmes and policies across the departments and agencies will be directed in pursuit of these overarching tasks:
– Economic transformation and job creation
– Education, skills and health
– Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services
– Spatial integration, human settlements and local government
– Social cohesion and safe communities
– A capable, ethical and developmental state
– A better Africa and World
The President outlined his dream for achieving the South Africa we want.
“We want a South Africa wherein all enjoy comfort and prosperity,” he said, which was the starting point.
He said in this South Africa, rail networks would be prioritized, producing high-speed trains connecting megacities and the remotest areas of the country.
“We should imagine a country where bullet trains pass through Johannesburg as they travel from here to Musina, and they stop in Buffalo City on their way from Ethekwini back here.
“We want a South Africa with a high-tech economy where advances in e-health, robotics and remote medicine are applied as we roll out the National Health Insurance.”
He said the ideal South Africa would also not just simply export its raw materials but was one that was a manufacturing hub for key components used in electronics, in automobiles and in computers.
“I dream of a South Africa where the first entirely new city built in the democratic era rises, with skyscrapers, schools, universities, hospitals and factories,” the President said, adding that this vision was fuelled by conversations he had had with
Ministers Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma and Naledi Pandor, as well as with Jessie Duarte and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
He added that the latter’s account of how China was building a new Beijing had helped to consolidate his own dream.
President Ramaphosa invited the nation to begin imaging this prospect, in the hope of creating “the South Africa we want”.
South Africa intensifies investment drive
As part of building “a South Africa we want”, President Cyril Ramaphosa says government will intensify its already successful investment drive.
This will build on the R300 billion worth of investments announced during the 2018 inaugural Investment Conference. Of these, just over R250 billion worth of projects have entered implementation phase.
“We continue to build a pipeline of investments, which will be showcased at the second South African Investment Conference to be held on 5 to 7 November,” said the President.
The President made the announcement at the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday evening to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament.
President Ramaphosa had appointed investment envoys to search for investors with deep pockets last year. The President’s Special Envoys on Investment include finance heavyweights such as former Finance Minister Trevor Manuel, former Finance Deputy Minister Mcebisi Jonas, the executive chairperson of Afropulse Group, Phumzile Langeni and chairman of Liberty Group and former CEO of Standard Bank Jacko Maree.
“At a time of uncertainty, the work of the investment envoys has built important bridges between government and the business community. From their feedback, it is clear that much more still needs to be done to improve the investment climate,” said the President.
This, he said, includes reviewing the way government coordinates work to resolve challenges faced by investors and reforming investment promotion policy and architecture.
In line with this, the President said good progress has been made through the Public-Private Growth Initiative, which is being championed by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Roelf Meyer and Johan van Zyl.
The private sector has committed to invest R840 billion in 43 projects over 19 sectors and to creating 155 000 jobs in the next five years.
In discussions with business, government has committed to removing the policy impediments and accelerate implementation of these projects.
‘We are urgently working on a set of priority reforms to improve the ease of doing business by consolidating and streamlining regulatory processes, automating permit and other applications, and reducing the cost of compliance,” said the President.
In a bid to increase investment, government will prioritise infrastructure with its first step being the institutionalisation of the Infrastructure fund.
“We are working to institutionalise the fund, which will be managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa, with the newly configured Department of Public Works and Infrastructure playing an oversight role,” said the President.
The fund was announced in the previous SONA, followed up with government setting aside R100 billion to seed the Infrastructure Fund.
The Fund includes a special package of financial and institutional measures to boost construction and prioritise water infrastructure, roads and student accommodation through a more efficient use of budgeted money.
The President also expressed that government’s new approach to infrastructure development will be based on stronger partnerships between the public and private sectors, and with local communities.
President Ramaphosa said reforms on infrastructure will ensure better planning of infrastructure projects.
“..Rigorous feasibility and preparatory work, improved strategic management, impeccable execution and better governance. This will provide a much-need boost to the construction sector,” he said.
Bill to support Eskom to be tabled soon
Government will soon table a Special Appropriation Bill aimed at allocating financial support to power utility Eskom, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
Delivering the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the sixth administration, President Ramaphosa said Eskom, which is currently experiencing financial challenges, is vital to the South African economy and cannot be allowed to fail.
“We will therefore table a Special Appropriation Bill on an urgent basis to allocate a significant portion of the R230 billion fiscal support that Eskom will require over the next 10 years in the early years,” he told a joint sitting of the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) in Parliament.
Further details on the financial assistance will be provided by the Minister of Finance in due course.
“Eskom is facing serious financial, operational and structural problems. Since the load shedding earlier this year, Eskom has made much progress in implementing its nine-point plan, ensuring better maintenance of its generation fleet, reducing costs and ensuring adequate reserves of coal,” said the President.
In March, Cabinet announced that it is considering further financial support for the power utility.
Meanwhile, in line with the recommendations of both the Eskom Sustainability Task Team and the Technical Review Team, Eskom is deploying its most skilled and experienced personnel to where they are needed most.
Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan appointed the Review Panel on 4 March.
President Ramaphosa highlighted that the utility’s financial position remains “a matter of grave concern”. However, he stressed that with the current committed funding from government, outlined in the 2019 Budget, Eskom has sufficient cash to meet its obligations until the end of October 2019.
Tabling the Budget in February, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said government is setting aside R23 billion a year to financially support Eskom during its reconfiguration.
Mboweni had earlier said that the R69 billion is a “shareholder” move to assist the utility to pay its debt.
The President said that for Eskom – which announced in March that is facing a R420 billion debt burden – to default on its loans will cause a cross-default on its remaining debt and would have a huge impact on the already constrained fiscus.
Appointment of new CEO
Meanwhile, government will soon announce the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) following the stepping down of Phakamani Hadebe.
Hadebe, who was appointed in January last year, announced his resignation last month and will leave the power utility at the end of July.
User pay principle
In addition, government will soon announce the appointment of a Chief Restructuring Officer who will be expected to reposition Eskom financially with careful attention to the mix between revenue, debt and cost structure of the company.
Eskom is working with government and other stakeholders to address its overall debt as well the debt owed by municipalities and individual users.
“As a country, we must assert the principle that those who use electricity must pay for it. Failure to pay endangers our entire electricity supply, our economy and our efforts to create jobs.”
The President spoke out against the boycotting of payment to the utility.
“The days of boycotting payment are over. This is now the time to build, it is the time for all of us to make our own contribution.”
In his previous SONA, President Rampahosa announced government’s plan to split the utility into three divisions. At the time, he said the three entities will operate under a single state-owned holding company with the Eskom board currently developing a sustainable operational plan for each business.
Strengthening State Owned Enterprises
Turning his attention to State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs), President Ramaphosa said it is essential to strengthen SOEs in order to ensure that the state is able to effectively enable economic and social development.
“Through the Presidential SOE Council, government intends to create alignment between all state-owned companies and to better define their respective mandates,” he said.
Government will though the Presidential SOE Council work with the leadership of SOEs to develop a legal and regulatory environment that promotes innovation and agility and enhances their competitiveness.
Government will build further on addressing problems of poor governance, inefficiency and financial sustainability.
“We are committed to building an ethical state in which there is no place for corruption, patronage, rent-seeking and plundering of public money,” said the President.
Meeting NDP targets
President Ramaphosa further emphasised the importance of meeting the targets of the National Development Plan (NDP) which was adopted in 2012. The NDP aims to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030.
He bemoaned that with ten years to go before 2030, South Africa has not made adequate progress in meeting NDP targets.
He said that unless extraordinary measures are taken, the country will not realise Vision 2030.
President sets the record straight on Reserve Bank
President Cyril Ramaphosa has reaffirmed that the Reserve Bank operates under a constitutional mandate, which it must pursue independently, without fear, favour or prejudice.
“Our Constitution mandates the South African Reserve Bank to protect the value of our currency in the interest of balanced and sustainable growth,” said President Ramaphosa on Thursday.
The President’s affirmation comes after weeks of conflicting messages from the governing African National Congress (ANC) regarding the party’s intentions for the central bank.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament – the President said the central bank is a critical institution of the country’s democracy, enjoying wide credibility and standing within the country and internationally.
The Reserve Bank is required to achieve and maintain price stability in the interest of balanced and sustainable economic growth in South Africa.
The achievement of price stability is quantified by the setting of an inflation target by government that serves as a yardstick against which price stability is measured.
The achievement of price stability is underpinned by the stability of the financial system and financial markets. For this reason, the Bank is obliged to actively promote financial stability as one of the important determinants of financial system stability.
It is for this reason that the Constitution also requires that there should be regular consultation between the Reserve Bank and the Minister of Finance to promote macroeconomic coordination, all in the interests of employment creation and economic growth.
Price stability is a necessary but not a sufficient condition for economic growth, the President said.
This is because of the rising prices of goods and services erode the purchasing power of all South Africans, but especially the poor.
Inflation further undermines the competitiveness of the country’s exports and import-competing firms, putting industries and jobs at risk.
“For these reasons, our Constitution mandates the South African Reserve Bank to protect the value of our currency in the interest of balanced and sustainable growth,” President Ramaphosa said, as he also committed to prudent borrowing and stringent expenditure management to stabilise public finances and lower the debt trajectory.
Corruption tackling interventions yielding results
Government’s efforts to root out corruption continue to yield results, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday, during the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the sixth administration.
President Ramaphosa said government has taken decisive steps to end State capture and fight corruption. These measures include strengthening the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), Special Investigating Unit (SIU), South African Revenue Service (SARS) and State Security.
Despite this, the President said, much more work needed to be done.
“We are committed to building an ethical State in which there is no place for corruption, patronage, rent-seeking and plundering of public money. We want a corps of skilled and professional public servants of the highest moral standards – and dedicated to the public good.
“We have asked the National Director of Public Prosecutions to develop a plan to significantly increase the capacity and effectiveness of the NPA, including to ensure effective asset forfeiture. We need to ensure that public money stolen is returned and used to deliver services and much needed basic infrastructure to the poorest communities.”
The recently set up SIU Special Tribunal is expected to start its work within the next few months to fast track civil claims arising from SIU investigations, which are currently estimated to be around R14.7 billion.
President Ramaphosa said work to rebuild and address problems of poor governance, inefficiency and financial sustainability has already begun.
Regarding safety and security, the President said government would work towards halving crime in the next 10 years. To achieve this, police visibility would be increased by employing more police officers, and to create a more active role for citizens through effective community policing forums.
“Currently, there are over 5 000 students registered for basic training in our police training colleges and we envisage that this number will be increased to 7 000 per cycle over the next two intakes. We are working to improve success rates in investigating and prosecuting crimes, and to ensure better training and professionalisation throughout the criminal justice system,” he said.
President Ramaphosa said government was working with civil society organisations on strategies to end gender based violence and femicide.
“We are capacitating and equipping the police and court system to support survivors of gender-based violence,” he said.
NHI revising plan at an advanced stage
President Cyril Ramaphosa says the strategy to revise the National Health Insurance (NHI) detailed plan of implementation is at an advanced stage.
President Ramaphosa said the plan includes accelerating quality of care initiatives in public facilities, building human resource capacity, establishment of the NHI Fund structure, and costing the administration of the NHI Fund.
Presenting the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) to a joint sitting of Parliament on Thursday evening, President Ramaphosa said government will attend to the health of the nation to improve the quality of life of South Africans, reduce poverty in all its dimensions, and strengthen the country’s economy.
“We must attend to the capacity of our hospitals and clinics. An 80-year-old grandmother cannot spend an entire day in a queue waiting for her medication. An ill patient cannot be turned away because there is a shortage of doctors and nurses… A woman in labour cannot have her unborn child’s life put in danger because the ambulance has taken too long to come,” President Ramaphosa said.
As part of the work that must be urgently done to improve the quality of the health system, the President announced that government is finalising the Presidential Health Summit Compact, which draws on expert insights, and will mobilise the capabilities of all key stakeholders to address the crisis in the State’s clinics and hospitals.
Meanwhile, President Ramaphosa has raised concerns about increase in HIV infection rates, particularly among young women, and the relatively low numbers of men testing for HIV and starting treatment.
He said government will intensify its work to implement the 90-90-90 strategy to end HIV as a public health threat, which includes increasing the number of people on treatment by at least another two million by December 2020.
District-based approach to be adopted to accelerate service delivery
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that government in the sixth administration will be adopting a district-based approach in an effort to accelerate service delivery.
Addressing the first Joint Sitting of Parliament of the sixth administration on Thursday, President Ramaphosa said the focus would be on the 44 districts and eight metros.
Earlier this month, President Ramaphosa announced the reconfiguration of a number of government departments to enable them to deliver on their mandates.
“Our decision was premised on efficiency, cost-containment, cooperative governance and strategic alignment,” the President said.
With just 10 years to 2030, President Ramaphosa said the country had not recorded nearly enough progress in meeting the NDP targets.
“Unless we take extraordinary measures, we will not realise Vision 2030,” he said.
He said this is the start of a wider process of arresting the decline in State capacity and restructuring our model of service delivery so it best serves our citizens.
“We will be adopting a district-based approach – focusing on the 44 districts and 8 metros – to speed up service delivery, ensuring that municipalities are properly supported and adequately resourced,” he said.
To ensure that the State is able to effectively enable economic and social development, the President said the strengthening of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) has never been more crucial.
Meanwhile, the President said through the Presidential SOE Council, government intends to create alignment between all SOEs and to better define their respective mandates.
“Through the Council, we will work with the leadership of SOEs to develop a legal and regulatory environment that promotes innovation and agility and enhances their competitiveness. We will build on the work we have already begun to address problems of poor governance, inefficiency and financial sustainability.”
SA to double international tourist arrivals in ten years
Government will double international tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.
“This will be achieved through the renewal of the country’s brand, introducing a world-class visa regime and a significant focus on Chinese and Indian markets and air arrivals from the rest of our continent,” President Ramaphosa said on Thursday night.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address in Parliament, the President said government is determined to ensure that tourists who come to South Africa are safe.
“We want a South Africa wherein all enjoy comfort and prosperity. We want a South Africa that has prioritised its rail networks, and is producing high-speed trains connecting our megacities and the remotest areas of our country.
“I dream of a South Africa where the first entirely new city built in the democratic era rises, with skyscrapers, schools, universities, hospitals and factories.
“We should imagine a country where bullet trains pass through Johannesburg as they travel from here to Musina, and they stop in Buffalo City on their way from eThekwini back here,” President Ramaphosa said.
He said extraordinary measures need to be taken to realise Vision 2030.
“As we enter the last decade of Vision 2030, let us even more clearly define the South Africa we want and agree on the concrete actions we need to achieve them,” the President said.
He said there must be a focus on those actions that will have the greatest impact, actions that will catalyse faster movement forward, both in the immediate term and over the next 10 years.
“We must restore the National Development Plan (NDP) to its place at the centre of our national effort, to make it alive, to make it part of the lived experience of the South African people.
“As South Africa enters the next 25 years of democracy, and in pursuit of the objectives of the NDP, let us proclaim a bold and ambitious goal, a unifying purpose, to which we dedicate all our resources and energies,” President Ramaphosa said.
Accelerated rural, urban land reform key to growth
President Cyril Ramaphosa says accelerated land reform in rural and urban areas and a clear property rights regime is required to ensure faster economic growth.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday, the President said the country cannot turn its fortunes around without a relentless focus on economic growth.
“In the immediate term, government will accelerate efforts to identify and release public land that is suitable for smart, urban settlements and for farming,” he said.
In the stimulus and recovery package announced last year, government promised to prioritise funding for emerging farmers. Over the medium term budget period, R3.9 billion has been allocated to the Land Bank to support black commercial farmers.
The President said he had received the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, which will now be presented to Cabinet for consideration.
“The panel’s recommendations will inform the finalisation of a comprehensive, far-reaching and transformative land reform programme,” he said.
The panel was appointed in September 2018 to support the work of the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) on Land Reform, which is chaired by the Deputy President David Mabuza.
It was set up to advise the IMC on a broad range of policy matters associated with land reform, including restitution, redistribution, tenure security and agricultural support.
To support sound policy making, the panel was mandated to review, research and suggest models for government to implement a fair and equitable land reform process that redresses the injustices of the past, increases agricultural output, promotes economic growth and protects food security.
The panel, which is chaired by Dr Vuyo Mahlathi, was further expected to provide perspectives on land policy in the context of persisting land inequality, unsatisfactory land and agrarian reform and uneven urban land development.
New plans to put youth at work
With the country moving towards implementing Vision 2030, government will place special focus on youth development and employment.
“The fact that the unemployment rate among young South Africans is more than 50% is a national crisis that demands urgent, innovative and coordinated solutions,” President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
Figures from Statistics South Africa are showing that increasingly more young people are out of work despite them being a major human resource for development, key agents for social change, economic expansion and innovation.
National Youth Service
Announcing mechanisms and interventions to address the immediate needs of the country’s youth – President Ramaphosa said government will expand the National Youth Service (NYS) to take on 50 000 young people a year.
NYS under the NYDA is the single largest service programme for young people in the country. It gets young people involved in activities and provides various services to their communities which contributes positively and adds value to their learning and personal development. These activities are in line with the national development objectives.
The President said it is therefore essential that government proceeds without delay to implement a comprehensive plan which will be driven and coordinated from the Presidency.
He said this will create no fewer than two million new jobs for young people within the next decade.
“This plan will work across government departments and all three tiers of government, in partnership with the private sector.”
The President said they have already started working with the private sector to create pathways into work for young people through scaling up existing pathway management networks.
These networks – he explained – will allow young people who opt in increased visibility, network support and opportunities to signal their availability for jobs and self-employment.
“They make sure that youth from poorer households – and young women in particular – are empowered to take up the new opportunities.”
Expanded Public Works Programme
Government will continue to provide employment through the Expanded Public Works Programme especially in labour intensive areas like maintenance, clearing vegetation, plugging water leaks and constructing roads.
EPWP projects employ workers on a temporary or on-going basis either by government, contractors or other non-governmental organisations.
Another step will be the developing programmes to ensure that economically excluded young people are work ready and absorbed into sectors where ‘jobs demand’ is growing.
These sectors include global business processing services, agricultural value chains, technical installation, repair and maintenance and new opportunities provided through the digital economy and the fourth industrial revolution.
President Ramaphosa said government will also ensure that young people are employed in social economy jobs such as early childhood development and health care.
In rural areas and townships – government will support tech-enabled platforms for self-employed youth.
Youth Employment Service
“We will expand our programmes to enable young people to gain paid workplace experience through initiatives like the Youth Employment Service, and also facilitating work-based internships for graduates of technical and vocational programmes.”
Government will also be rolling out small business incubation centres to provide youth-driven start-ups with financial and technical advice as they begin their journeys.
Youth forefront of innovation
With these youth interventions, President Ramaphosa is confident that the country will develop.
“They are entrepreneurs and community builders, activists and artists. They want to be employed, yes, but they also want to become employers.
“They are brimming with ideas, they are at the forefront of innovation, and they want to do things for themselves.
“We have to support the fire of entrepreneurship, because the fortunes of this country depend on the energies and creative talent of our young people.”
Meanwhile, the President called on South Africans to stimulate local demand and grow South African manufacturing by making sure they ‘Buy Local’.
“We call on all South Africans to deliberately and consistently buy locally-made goods. Let us all buy locally-made goods to drive up demand in our economy,” said President Ramaphosa, who announced that the suit he was wearing was locally made by workers at the House of Monatic in Saltriver Cape Town.
In order to ensure that the ‘Buy Local’ campaign is everywhere, government will conclude agreements with retailers to stock more South African goods on their shelves and to actively promote the great products made by South African hands.
At the same time, government aims to promote South African products more actively to the rest of the African continent and the world.
“These measures are underpinned by our strong commitment to a macroeconomic and fiscal policy framework that will continue to boost confidence and investment.”
Early reading programme to empower SA
Government is implementing an Early Grade Reading Programme, which consists of an integrated package of lesson plans, additional reading materials and professional support to Foundation Phase teachers.
Delivering the State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the programme forms part of the broader efforts to strengthen the basic education system by empowering school leadership teams, improving the capabilities of teachers, and ensuring a more consistent measurement of progress for Grades 3, 6 and 9.
“We also have to prepare our young people for the jobs of the future. This is why we are introducing subjects like coding and data analytics at a primary school level,” President Ramaphosa said.
The President also announced that all foundation and intermediate phase teachers are to be trained to teach reading in English and the African languages, and a cohort of experienced coaches are being trained and deployed to provide high quality on-site support to teachers.
“If we are to ensure that within the next decade, every 10-year-old will be able to read for meaning, we will need to mobilise the entire nation behind a massive reading campaign.
“Early reading is the basic foundation that determines a child’s educational progress, through school, through higher education and into the work place,” the President said.
“All other interventions – from the work being done to improve the quality of basic education to the provision of free higher education for the poor, from our investment in TVET colleges to the expansion of workplace learning – will not produce the results we need unless we first ensure that children can read.
“It is through initiatives like the National Reading Coalition that we will be able to coordinate this national effort,” President Ramaphosa said. – SAnews.gov.za