State of the nation: 15 things worth knowing
Not quite sure what to make of President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address? Carien du Plessis does the work for you.
1. President Jacob Zuma endorsed the National Development Plan as something that can put South Africa’s economy on better footing, but failed to give details on implementation.
2. Government has so far spent R860 billion on infrastructure programmes, some of which are on track and some of which need to be speeded up.
3. Youth unemployment will be tackled by a Job Fund, youth employment incentives, the National Rural Youth Services Corps, rural youth hubs and state owned companies will increase apprenticeships and learnerships and the private sector should do same.
4. The nationalisation of mines is dead.
5. Government will review tax policies to see if it collects enough money to look after the welfare of people.
6. Education is an essential service, but teachers will still be allowed to strike. There will be a national task team to improve performance in maths, science and technology.
7. The Presidential Remuneration Commission will look at pay of state employees, especially teachers and doctors.
8. Diseases of lifestyle are on an alarming increase. We have to combat and lower the levels of smoking, harmful effects of alcohol, poor diets and obesity.
9. National Health Insurance will be accelerated in the pilot districts, and from April, 600 private medical doctors will be contracted to provide services at 533 clinics within villages and townships.
10. Land redistribution needs to be speeded up, restitution claims will be re-opened, incentives will be offered to commercial farmers willing and able to mentor smallhold farmers.
11. Brutal gang rapes and violence against women are unacceptable and family violence, child protection and sexual offences units will be beefed up, while the Protection from Harassment Bill will be introduced, which will also deal with harassment by means of electronic communications.
12. Government’s war on corruption continues and it is pleased about the Competition Commission investigation into a construction cartel.
13. Violent protests are unacceptable and government will put measures in place with immediate effect to ensure that any incidence of violence are acted upon, investigated and prosecuted. Courts will deal with these on a prioritised roll.
14. South Africa will continue to work for a stronger and more effective organisation of the African Union.
15. Our peace and security operations in Mali will continue and government urges the leadership in the Central African Republic, Guinea Bissau and Somalia to continue their march towards lasting peace. Government remains firmly opposed to unconstitutional change of government.