Though the country has had to wait for over 90 minutes to hear the State of The Nation Address for 2020, eventually we did after the EFF walked out of the parliament session.
“There are times when we have fallen short, there are times when we have made mistakes, but we remain unwavering in our determination to build a society that is free and equal and at peace.
Our history tells us that when we are united in peace and faith, we can conquer all obstacles and turn our country into a place in which we all feel safe and comfortable.
It is in that spirit that we now approach the present moment.” President Cyril Ramaphosa
The State of the Nation Address was introduced through review of the current socio-economic situation of South Africa;
- Our economy has not grown at any meaningful rate for over a decade.
- Even as jobs are being created, the rate of unemployment is deepening.
- The recovery of our economy has stalled as persistent energy shortages have disrupted businesses and people’s lives.
- Several state owned enterprises are in distress, and our public finances are under severe pressure.
At the same time, there are positive realities;
A youthful population that has more access to education than ever before and which is achieving steadily improving outcomes; 2.4 million children in early childhood development and pre-school; 81% of learners who passed matric last year, with an increasing proportion coming from rural and township schools; 720,000 students who received state funding for TVET colleges and universities last year.
Through the Jobs Summit, we brought labour, business, government and communities together to find solutions to the unemployment crisis, and we continue to meet at the beginning of every month to remove blockages and drive interventions that will save and create jobs. Government and civil society, as communities and faith-based groupings, have come together, as to confront the violence that is perpetrated by men against women. Business, labour and government were brought together to craft master plans for those industries that have the greatest potential for growth.
“We have been deliberate in rebuilding institutions and removing impediments to investment. We have acted decisively against state capture and fought back against corruption. We have steadily improved the reach of education, improved the quality of health care and tended to the basic needs of the poor.” Said President Ramaphosa
The Way Forward was, therefore, marked by the following ten-point strategy;
- Youth Unemployment Intervention - has been allocated six priorities over the next five years;
- Energy - Municipalities in good financial standing can produce their own electricity from independent power producers;
- Basic Education – Coding and Robotics shall be introduced, this year, in grades R to 3 for 200 schools with a plan to implement it fully by 2022;
- Climate Crisis – The Presidential Commission of Climate Change will ensure that South Africa move towards a low carbon growth trajectory, and the Climate Change Bill will be finalized;
- Railway – R 1,4 billion shall be invested in the Central Line (Western Cape) and Mabopane (Tshwane) to provide a safe, reliable, and affordable service;
- State Owned Enterprises – A move from the stabilization of SOEs to repurposing these strategic companies to support growth and development;
- Higher Education – Nine TVET college campuses are being built this year;
- State Capture – A national Anti-corruption strategy and implementation plan is about to complete this phase of its work;
- Crime – Anti-gang Units are to be further strengthened, with priority given to Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng, and Free State;
- Gender-Based Violence A law shall be passed to tighten bail and sentencing condition in cases involving gender-based violence. The Domestic Violence Act will be amended in order to protect victims better.
A Section 34 Ministerial Determination will be issued shortly to give effect to the Integrated Resource Plan 2019, enabling the development of additional grid capacity from renewable energy, natural gas, hydro power, battery storage and coal. The procurement of emergency power - will be initiated - from projects that can deliver electricity into the grid within 3 to 12 months from approval. The National Energy Regulator will continue to register small scale distributed generation for own use of under 1 MW, for which no licence is required. The National Energy Regulator will ensure that all applications by commercial and industrial users to produce electricity for own use above 1MW are processed within the prescribed 120 days.