Every South African must think of how they can contribute to the jobs creation campaign, says the president: “we want to have a country where millions more South Africans have decent employment”.
JOBURGERS are likely to benefit from President Zuma’s new R9-billion job fund, which is designed to finance job-creation initiatives in the next three years.
Thousands of jobs are expected to be created with the Thousands of jobs will be created with the introduction of the R9-billion job fundAs part of the fund, private companies will get a R20-billion tax rebate to promote investment, expansion and upgrades in the manufacturing sector, if they create employment. For a company to qualify, the minimum investment must be R200-million for new projects and R30-million for expansion and upgrades.
Zuma was delivering his annual state of the nation speech on Thursday, 10 February in front of a joint sitting of parliament, in the National Assembly in Cape Town. He said the fund would provide up to R900-million in tax deductible allowances for new investors and R550-million for upgrades and expansions.
He affirmed that the government’s main priority was creating jobs, declaring 2011 the “year of job creation” through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth.
Highlighting the government’s New Growth Path (NGP), which aims to create at least five million jobs in the next 10 years, Zuma urged every sector of the economy and every business to focus on job creation.
“Every contribution counts in this national effort.”
educationThe focus on basic education in 2011 is tripple T, says President Jacob ZumaResearch had indicated that through the NGP, jobs could be created in six priority areas, including infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, a green economy and tourism. “We cannot create these jobs alone. We have to work with business, labour and the community constituencies,” he emphasised.
Giving an update on his government’s key priorities, Zuma said the focus on basic education this year was triple T: teachers, textbooks and time. The government would continue investing in teacher training, especially in mathematics and science, and the training of principals, particularly in underperforming schools.
“We reiterate our call that teachers must be at school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day,” he said.
The focus on higher education would be on expanding access “especially for children of the poor”. This included the conversion of National Student Financial Aid Scheme loans into bursaries for qualifying final-year students. Students at further education and training colleges who qualified for financial aid would be exempted from paying fees.
On the fight against crime, Zuma said the government was dedicated to improving the capacity and effectiveness of the police, particularly in detective services, forensic analysis and crime intelligence.
There was a high incidence of drug peddling in most cities, including Joburg. “I have directed our police force to deal decisively with people who sell drugs to children … we will also not tolerate tavern owners who sell alcohol to children.”
healthMore nurses will be trainedIn a bid to stop corruption, a special anti-corruption unit had been established in the Department of Public Service and Administration to handle cases involving public servants. To date, almost R44-million had been recovered from public servants who were illegally benefiting from housing subsidies; the cleaning of the social grants system of fraud was also continuing.
Turning to health, the president said the government would emphasise the appointment of appropriate and qualified personnel to the right positions. “We need qualified heads of department, chief financial officers, hospital chief executive officers, district health officers and clinic managers.”
The plan was to revitalise 105 nursing colleges countrywide, to train more nurses. The renovations and refurbishments of hospitals and clinics would continue.
The government would also broaden the scope of reproductive health rights and provide free essential health care services, including contraception, for sexually transmitted infections, for teenage pregnancy and sanitary towels for indigent women.
The fight against HIV and Aids was ongoing. Zuma said the government would promote a variety of prevention methods, comprising medical male circumcision, prevention of mother to child transmission and the promotion of HIV testing.
Social grants would be linked to economic activity and community development, to enable short-term beneficiaries to become independent in the long run. The government would phase in the extension of the Child Support Grant to cover all eligible children under the age of 18 years.
The National Health Insurance policy would be released soon for public engagement and implementation.
His government would steer a comprehensive Rural Development Programme designed to revive land reform projects and irrigation schemes in former homelands and distressed farms owned by individuals.
service deliveryHouses are being built for the homelessThe fourth local government elections would be held before the end of May. Those who missed the first registration period, including those without identity documents, were urged to apply without delay, so as not to miss the next registration period planned for March.
The local government turnaround strategy would focus more on strengthening basic administrative systems, financial management and customer care. “We have to make people’s experience of local government a pleasant one, as it touches their homes and their lives directly, every day.”
The state had allocated R800-million for immediate relief to help communities devastated by the recent floods. “We will also be earmarking funding to deal with post-disaster recovery and reconstruction in the years ahead,” Zuma promised.
The state-owned Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) had set aside R10-billion over the next five years for investment in economic activities with a high job creation potential. Zuma said his government would continue to provide financial and non-financial support to small, medium and micro enterprises, small scale agriculture and co-operatives.
Administrative costs would be cut in an effort to direct more resources to small businesses. The government was also considering merging Khula, a programme geared at improving access to finance for small, medium and micro enterprises; the SA Micro-Finance Apex Fund; and the IDC’s small business funding into a single unit.
South Africa had mineral resources valued at US$2,5-trillion, expected to be exploitable for over a century to come. To take advantage of this, the government had endorsed the African Exploration, Mining and Finance Corporation as a state-owned mining company that would undertake the mining of minerals of strategic significance.
“One of the government’s priorities this year is also to finalise and adopt the beneficiation strategy as the official policy of government, so that we can start reaping the full benefits of our commodities,” he said.
Television and radio signals would be adapted from analogue to digital, to provide quality sound and picture. This was viewed as a job creation strategy to benefit people in manufacturing, packaging, distribution and installation during the migration process.
crimePolice will be out in full force to combat crime, especially drug peddlingZuma said the government was committed to renewable energy measures. It would start procuring power from renewable energy power producers. “Energy security is critical for economic development and job creation.”
To ensure the security of electricity supply, Eskom had invested more than R75-billion. “We must all save energy so that we do not have to resort to load shedding again as a saving measure.”
There were about 1,2 million households living in South Africa’s 2 700 informal settlements, 180 of which are spread across the outside edges of Joburg. By 2014, Zuma said, 400 000 households living in those settlements should have security of tenure and access to basic services.
The state would spend R2,6-billion on improving access to water services, especially in poverty-stricken communities.
Through its Expanded Public Works Programme, it would embark on an extensive drive to patch potholes and repair the country’s road networks, creating 4,5 million job opportunities. Johannesburg’s roads are already being upgraded, thanks to the ongoing R20-billion Gauteng Freeway Improvement Project. Once complete, its roads will be wider and smoother to drive on, with electronic toll stations fully operational.
South Africa was bidding to host the Square Kilometre Array radio telescope, in a move to enhance innovation in science and technology and create further jobs. “The bid has already provided 800 construction job opportunities … and will create a further 100 jobs this year.”
He emphasised that the government’s job creation drive would enhance youth development. “We believe that the interventions we have mentioned briefly will take us forward in placing job creation high on the agenda of all decision-makers in the country.”
Along with its social partners, the government was reviewing legislation on labour brokers and the policy framework for the provision of public employment services. This would enable it to maintain a database of all job seekers and job opportunities.
World Cup2010 World Cup: the most exciting project for the year 2010Zuma urged every South African to think of how they could contribute to the jobs campaign through creating opportunities for themselves and others.
“Our goal is clear. We want to have a country where millions more South Africans have decent employment opportunities, which has a modern infrastructure and a vibrant economy and where the quality of life is high. We all have a responsibility to work hard to make this a reality.”
Zuma said the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ had “undoubtedly” been the most exciting project in 2010. Johannesburg was a key host city of the football showpiece. The opening and closing ceremonies and first and final matches, as well as several group stage matches took place in the city. Many of its stadiums were used as training venues.
“The experience of the 2010 FIFA Soccer World Cup™ taught us the need to appreciate all that is good about our country. The South African flag became the most important item for every household.”
The government would build on this by ensuring the placing of flags in schools and public institutions to promote South Africa’s national symbols and identity. “We urge all our people to learn the national anthem and sing it properly, with pride.”
Zuma concluded his speech by saying that all South Africans ought to draw inspiration from Nelson Mandela. He quoted Mandela from the opening of parliament in 1994, urging all citizens to “act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world”.
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