By Lindokuhle Mnisi
|Jacob Zuma (Picture from Google)|
In his speech, Zuma, started by recapping on the promises he made in the last year (2011) SONA and he provided results on those promises. “We declared 2011 the year of job creation and mobilised our social partners namely, business, labour and the community sector to work with us in implementing the new growth path. The results are encouraging although we are not out of the woods yet, given the global economic situation,” said President Jacob Zuma. “During 2011 a total of 365 000 people were employed, this is the country’s best performance since the recession of 2008, Zuma added”
Majority of South Africans were expecting the president to mainly focus on the youth empowerment, unemployment and job creation (strategy), Zuma said “Forth quarter figures released on Tuesday indicates that the rate of unemployment have come down from 25% to 23,9% as a result of new jobs.” R10billions had been announced to be set aside by the IDC for job creation; Zuma confirms that about R1.5billion was approved for 60 companies to promote job creation.
Zuma assured the nation that all the new jobs are the formal sector of the economy, in sectors such as mining, transport, community services and trade. In everything that has happened in the year 2011, Zuma said there are at least two main things that the government did right in 2011 which are contribution to the joint factors “Firstly, we mainstreamed job creation in every government entity including state owned enterprises. Secondly, we strengthened social dialogue and cooperation between government, business and the community sector,” Zuma said.
Zuma declared the mining industry as one of the job drivers in the new growth path and as critical role players in the socio-economic development of the country. As part of addressing the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment, government has developed a strategy which seeks to provide opportunities in the downstream part of the mineral sector. “We remain committed to the creation of favourable and globally competitive mining sector and to promote the industry to attract investment and achieve both industrial growth and much-needed transformation,” Zuma stated.
The nation was urged to join and work with the government to write a new story about South Africa, a story of how working together unemployment was driven back and economic inequality and poverty was reduced. “It is beginning to look possible; we must not lose this momentum. For the 2012 and beyond we invite the nation to join government in a massive infrastructure development drive.”
In his speech, Zuma also mentioned other development strategies that are to be pursued to improve the lives of voters in South Africa. Education, health, crime mining and business infrastructures to name a few, were address in the State Of Nation Address. He mentioned the total of R300million that have been allocated for the preparatory work towards building new universities in Mpumalanga and North West. As people continue to need more, the government tries to provide where possible. “With regards to higher education, we are exceeding targets. Close to 14 000 learners were placed in workplace learning opportunities over the past year, and over 11 000 artisans have completed their trade tests,” he said.
To address the issues affecting students in tertiary institutions, Zuma said “To expand access to tertiary education as per our announcement last year, 200 million rand was utilised to assist 25 000 students to pay off their debts to institutions of higher learning.”