Fresh in: State of the Nation Highlights

by Amanda Roothman on 23 June 2019

“Working together there is nothing we cannot be, nothing we cannot do, and nothing we cannot achieve.” – President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Highlights of the presidents’ state of the nation address on 20 June 2019: 

  • Eskom: 
    A special appropriation bill is to be tabled to allocate a significant portion of the R230 bn that Eskom needs to pay its creditors and keep the lights on. 
    This is on top of the R69bn that Finance Minister Mboweni allocated to Eskom in the budget speech in February this year. 
    Ramaphosa said: “This we must do because Eskom is too vital to our economy to be allowed to fail.”
    Government will soon be announcing a new Eskom CEO following the resignation of Hadebe. The appointment of Eskom’s restructuring officer, who will lead the unbundling of Eskom into three separate entities, and restructure its revenue and debt management, was also nearing completion. 
  • Reserve Bank: 
    Ramaphosa reaffirmed the constitutional mandate of the Reserve Bank “to protect the value of our currency in the interest of balanced and sustainable growth”
    “The South African Reserve Bank is a critical institution of our democracy, enjoying wide credibility and standing within the country and internationally.”
    Inflation undermines the competitiveness of our exports and our import-competing firms, putting industries and jobs at risk. 
  • Recoupment of money lost due to state capture: 
    Around R14.7bn in civil claims arising from Special Tribunal Unit investigations, will be fast tracked and returned, and used to deliver services and much needed basic infrastructure. 
    “There will be no place for corrupt and immoral leaders in government,” Ramaphosa said. 
    “We want a corps of skilled and professional public servants of the highest moral standards, dedicated to the good of the public.” 
  • Implementation of a comprehension plan, driven by presidency, to create two million jobs for young people over the next 10 years. 
    The private sector has committed to invest R840 bn in 43 projects over 19 sectors and creating 155 000 jobs in the next 5 years.
    The national youth service will be expanded to take on 50 000 young people per year. 
    “We will expand our programmes to enable young people to gain paid workplace experience through initiatives like the Youth Employment Service (“YES initiative), and also facilitating work-based internships for graduates of technical and vocational programmes."
  • Double international tourist arrivals to 21 million by 2030, by introducing a “world class visa regime” and focusing on tourists from China, India and Africa.
  • Reading-campaign
    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 workplace. 
    It is through initiatives like the “National Reading Coalition” that we will be able to coordinate this national effort. 
    Foundation – and intermediate phase teachers are to be trained to teach reading in English and African languages, and to deploy experienced coaches to provide on-site support to teachers. 
  • Policing:
    “The South Africa we want, is a country where all people are safe.” 
    Police visibility will be increased. Currently, over 5000 students are registered for basic training in our police training colleges and we envisage that this number will be increased to 7000 per cycle for the next 2 intakes. 
  • Land:
    In the immediate term, government will accelerate efforts to identify and release public land that is suitable for smart, urban settlements, and for farming. 
    Funding for emerging farmers will be prioritized. 
    In the medium-term budget period, R3.9bn has been allocated to the Land Bank to support black commercial farmers.  

The president concluded his address by asking South Africans, to take to heart the words of Ben Okri, when he says: 

“You can’t remake the world, without remaking yourself. Each new era begins within.” 

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