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Zuma starts with the good news: growth to nearly treble

09 February 2017 - 23:37 By Linda Ensor And Bekezela Phakathi
President Jacob Zuma arrives at the 2017 State of the Nation Address.
President Jacob Zuma arrives at the 2017 State of the Nation Address.
Image: GALLO

The economy was expected to grow 1.3% this year‚ up from the estimated 0.5% in 2016‚ President Jacob Zuma said in his state of the nation address on Thursday.

Despite the uncertain global economic environment‚ SA had entered a period of recovery. However the economy was not growing fast enough to create the much-needed jobs.

A programme to stimulate economic growth would focus on a few key areas to reignite growth - industrialisation‚ mining and beneficiation‚ agriculture‚ agroprocessing‚ energy‚ small and medium enterprises‚ managing workplace conflict‚ attracting investment‚ growing the oceans economy‚ and tourism.

Zuma said there were encouraging signs of labour market stability and he welcomed the agreement reached this week on the national minimum wage and labour market stability.

The president reiterated the government’s commitment to the independent power producer programme which would be expanded to other sources of energy including coal and gas in addition to renewable energy.

Eskom will sign the outstanding power purchase agreements for renewable energy‚ Zuma said.

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He insisted that undue government delays and unnecessary red tape related to investment — such as licences and visas — would not be tolerated. “We should make it easy to do business in SA‚” the president said.

The government was working to ensure bulk water supply to support economic growth‚ Zuma said.

He announced that the government would train about 10‚000 youths as plumbers and water agents.

“We call upon municipalities to support the war on [water] leaks…. Government is working hard to ensure bulk water supply to [ensure] economic growth and increase access for vulnerable rural municipalities‚” said Zuma.

SA has been hit by successive droughts in the past three years. Last year’s drought was the worst since 1992.

Several municipalities have introduced stricter water restrictions as dam levels continue to drop.

Zuma also announced that the South African National Road Agency Ltd (Sanral) had embarked on the planning for the R4.5bn upgrade of the Moloto road.

Reporting on progress with the expanded public works programme‚ Zuma said that since 2014‚ 2-million work opportunities had been created on the road to achieving the target of 6-million by March 2019. Of these‚ more than 1-million had been taken up by youth

- TMG Digital/BusinessLIVE