South Africans across the country waited in anticipation ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s annual State of the Nation Address. While some expectations were met, many were not. Below we highlight the issues the president touched on:
Although the government’s ambition of achieving a growth target of 5% by 2019 is at risk, the situation is more promising on the jobs front. Two days ago, StatsSA released the employment figures for the last quarter of 2014. The report showed that there are now 15,3 million people who are employed in South Africa. Jobs also grew by 203 000.
The government’s investment in youth employment is also paying off. The Employment Tax Incentive which was introduced last year to support job creation for youth, is progressing very well. To date, R2 billion has been claimed by some 29 000 employers who have claimed for at least 270 000 young people.
Adding to this President Zuma said, “I announced a target of 6 000 000 work opportunities over 5 years last year for the programme. We have thus far created more than 850 000 work opportunities.” Government is confident it’ll meet the annual target of 1 million job opportunities for the youth.
In addition, the government’s programmes including Working on Waste, Working for Wetlands, Working for Water and Working on Fire, have created more than 30 000 work opportunities and aim to create more than 60 000 during the next financial year.
What’s to come
Uppermost in the government’s programme is overcoming the energy challenge faced by Eskom. The government developed a plan which involves both short-, medium- and long term responses. “An amount of R23bn will be directed at Eskom to solve its financial problems in the next fiscal year,” the president said.
While tackling the issue of the energy crisis in the country, President Jacob Zuma stressed the need to fight copper cable and metal theft. Government will introduce tougher measures to deal with this serious crime, he assured.
Government also promised to “set-aside 30% of appropriate categories of State procurement for purchasing from SMMEs, co-operatives as well as township and rural enterprises”. Moreover, it will continue to promote opportunities for the youth. “The National Youth Development Agency has disbursed R25 mil to 765 youth owned micro enterprises in the last financial year nationally” Zuma asserted.
Foreign nationals will no be allowed to own land in South Africa but will be eligible for long term lease. A bill in this regard will be submitted during the year.
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