President Cyril Ramaphosa has set the acceleration of South Africa’s economic growth and improvement of the education system as among the urgent tasks for his government for the year ahead.
The president said this during his State of the Nation Address (SONA) delivered in the National Assembly in Cape Town on Thursday night, 7 February 2019.
He said the five steps, which will underpin all that government does in the year ahead, will include “accelerating inclusive economic growth and creating jobs; improving the education system and developing the skills” needed to carry out this ambitious agenda.
The other steps involve “improving the conditions of life for all South Africans, especially the poor; and intensifying the fight against corruption and state capture; and the need to strengthen the capacity of the state to address the needs of the people”.
He added that “while there is a broad range of critical work being done across government, this evening I want to address these five most urgent tasks at this moment in our history. These are the tasks that will underpin everything that we do this year.
“Over the past year, we have focused our efforts on accelerating inclusive growth, significantly increasing levels of investment and putting in place measures to create more jobs”.
Ramaphosa said this after the economy was faced by headwinds last year, with Statistics South Africa announcing a technical recession.
In response, the resident announced an economic stimulus and recovery plan that re-directed public funding to areas with the greatest potential for growth and job creation.
“Our approach was not to spend our way out of our economic troubles, but to set the economy on a path of recovery.
“We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made in restoring policy certainty on mining regulation and the visa regime, crafting the path towards mobile spectrum allocation, and reviewing port, rail and electricity prices”, he said.
Ramaphosa said to stimulate growth in the economy and to build more businesses and employ more people, there is a need for South Africa to find new and larger markets for its goods and services.
“We will therefore be focusing greater attention on expanding exports. In line with the jobs summit (held late last year) commitments, we will focus on the export of manufactured goods and trade in services such as business process outsourcing and the remote delivery of medical services.
“We will also be looking at establishing special economic zones that are dedicated to producing specific types of products, such as clothing and textiles, for example”, he said.