Tag Archive for: SONA

President Cyril Ramaphosa has admitted that the country is facing serious challenges but said action was being taken to address them. The President delivered South Africa’s 2020 State of the Nation Address in Parliament, in Cape Town, last night.

Load shedding and Eskom

“The load shedding over the last few months has had a debilitating effect on our economy and our people. At its core, load shedding is the inevitable consequence of Eskom’s inability over many years – due to debt, lack of capacity and state capture – to service its power plants.”

Ramaphosa said that in order for Eskom to undertake the fundamental maintenance necessary to improve the reliability of supply, load shedding will remain a possibility for the immediate future. He said as Eskom works to restore its operational capabilities, government will be implementing measures that will fundamentally change the trajectory of energy generation in our country. These measures include to rapidly and significantly increase generation capacity outside of Eskom.

“We will put in place measures to enable municipalities in good financial standing to procure their own power from independent power producers,” Ramaphosa said. Municipalities such as the City of Cape Town, business leaders and, lately, the ANC, have backed a plan to allow municipalities to be less reliant on Eskom.

“Over the next few months, as Eskom works to restore its operational capabilities, we will be implementing measures that will fundamentally change the trajectory of energy generation in our country,” Ramaphosa said.

As part of Ramaphosa’s planned steps for the state to become less reliant on the troubled power utility, the president said that the Integrated Resource Plan of 2019 with be given effect to allow for the development of additional grid capacity from renewable energy, natural gas, hydro power, battery storage and coal.

“We will initiate the procurement of emergency power from projects that can deliver electricity into the grid within three to 12 months of approval,” Ramaphosa said. He said they will allow more independent power producers to supply energy to the grid.

Land Reform

The expropriation of land without compensation also remained key, said Ramaphosa, adding measures would be taken to implement the decision after Parliament has concluded all the issues. Ramaphosa emphasized that land expropriation would be done with caution as agriculture is one of the industries with the greatest potential for growth.

“Government stands ready – following the completion of the parliamentary process to amend section 25 of the constitution – to table an expropriation bill that outlines the circumstances under which expropriation of land without compensation would be possible. To date, we have released 44 000 hectares of state land for the settlement of land restitution claims, and will this year release around 700 000 hectares of state land for agricultural production,” Ramaphosa said.

The president also announced that this year his government would implement key recommendations of the presidential advisory panel on land reform and agriculture to accelerate land redistribution, expand agricultural production and transform the industry.

“We are prioritizing youth, women, people with disabilities and those who have been farming on communal land and are ready to expand their operations for training and allocation of land. A new beneficiary selection policy includes compulsory training for potential beneficiaries before land can be allocated to them,” he said.

State-owned Enterprises

Ramaphosa said serious action will have to be taken to deal with SOEs who are drowning in debt with the National Treasury providing guarantees of more than R570 billion.
“This year, we are moving from the stabilization of state-owned enterprises to re-purposing these strategic companies to support growth and development.

“After years of state capture, corruption and mismanagement, we are working to ensure that all SOEs are able to fulfill their developmental mandate and be financially sustainable,” the president said. “In consultation with the Presidential SOE Council, we will undertake a process of rationalization of our state-owned enterprises and ensure that they serve strategic economic or developmental purposes.

The extent of capture, corruption and mismanagement in SOEs is best demonstrated at South Africans Airways, which was placed in business rescue late last year. The business rescue practitioners are expected to unveil their plans for restructuring the airline in the next few weeks.”

The train system

Ramaphosa also committed to turning around the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa to fix the commuter rail network and said a plan for restructuring South African Airways would be unveiled in the next few weeks, and said government’s successes included pushing back against corruption.

Gender-Based Violence

Ramaphosa said they will increase their fight against gender-based violence. “We will amend the Domestic Violence Act to better protect victims in violent domestic relationships and the Sexual Offences Act to broaden the categories of sex offenders whose names must be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders and we will pass a law to tighten bail and sentencing conditioning cases that involve gender-based violence,” said Ramaphosa.

The youth

One per cent of South Africa’s budget would be set aside to assist with youth employment, Ramaphosa said during his State of the Nation Address .
“This will be through top slicing from the budget, which will require that we all tighten our belts and redirect resources to address the national crisis of youth unemployment,” he said. The initiative would be prioritized when Finance Minister Tito Mboweni delivered his medium-term budget policy statement later in the year.

Ramaphosa said the initiative was one of six “priority actions” spanning five years to reduce youth unemployment. The initiative would start immediately he said, under the banner of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention. Ramaphosa said the six actions would ensure that the capabilities of every young South African was “harnessed”, enabling them to contribute to the growth of the country.

“We are building cutting-edge solutions to reach young people where they are – online, on the phone and in person. This will allow them to receive active support, information and work readiness training to increase their employability and match themselves to opportunities.”

He said that starting this month, government was launching five prototype sites in five province “that will grow to a national network reaching three million young people through multiple channels”. The network would allow young people to receive active support, information and work readiness training to increase their employability and match themselves to opportunities.

“We are fundamentally changing how we prepare young people for the future of work, providing shorter, more flexible courses in specific skills that employers in fast-growing sectors need. We are developing new and innovative ways to support youth entrepreneurship and self-employment,” Ramaphosa said.

“We are scaling up the youth employment service and working with TVET colleges and the private sector to ensure that more learners receive practical experience in the workplace to complete their training. We are establishing the first cohort of a presidential youth service program that will unlock the agency of young people and provide opportunities for them to earn an income while contributing to nation building.”

As part of the intervention, he said, the National Youth Development Agency and the department of small business development would provide grant funding and business support to 1 000 young entrepreneurs in the next 100 days, “starting today”.

Crime

He said that while police statistics showed that violent crime, rapes and murders have not gone down, improved detective methods would be effected through the training of officers. Ramaphosa said: ” Anti-Gang Units will be further strengthened, with priority given to the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Gauteng and Free State.

“Following the graduation of 5 000 police trainees last year, 7 000 new police trainees have been enlisted this year to strengthen local policing. To improve the quality of general and specialized SAPS investigations, we are establishing a Crime Detection University in Hammanskraal,” the president said.

Cannabis

Ramaphosa also told the nation about his plans for hemp and cannabis. “This year we will open up and regulate the commercial use of hemp products, providing opportunities for small-scale farmers; and formulate a policy on the use of cannabis products for medicinal purposes, to build [the] industry in line with global trends”, Ramaphosa said.

Our take-aways

A number of Relocation Africa team members were able to attend a British Chamber round-table, to discuss SONA 2020. Key opinions and take-aways from those in attendance (not our own stances on the issues) were as follows:

  • There appears to be a faction within the ANC pushing back against the President, and this creates hurdles for his agenda for South Africa. However, a full-scale rebellion against him is highly unlikely.
  • An independent panel may be considered to remove the Public Protector.
  • There are still limitations in existence against independent power producers (IPPs) putting electricity back into the national grid, to take pressure off Eskom.
  • The budget speech may need to announce a cut in public sector wages in order to avoid a status downgrade by Moodies.
  • It was disappointing to see many promises not having deadlines attached to them in the SONA proceedings.
  • Overall, the President’s speech reassured many South Africans, who are hoping to see if the economy can develop sufficiently in 2020.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email info@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: [1], [2].

It is time for South Africans to take climate change seriously, said President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday in his response to the debate on his State of the Nation Address.

He said if South Africa is a country that prioritises the interests of the poor and the vulnerable, then we need to act with greater urgency to respond to the effects of climate change and make our contribution to preventing it.

“The rural poor are most affected by the droughts that have become more frequent and which last longer,” he said.

“The urban poor is most affected by the impact this has on food prices and the availability of water.

“It is people who live in informal settlements who are most affected by the flooding that accompanies the increasingly extreme weather conditions.”

He said we are all affected in different ways by the environmental changes taking place on land, in our oceans and in the air.

“Unless we tackle climate change, we will not be able to meet our developmental objectives.”

He said South Africa ratified the Paris Agreement to Combat Climate Change as part of the global effort to dramatically reduce the rate of global warming.

Ramaphosa said as part of the country’s efforts to build a sustainable low carbon economy, we are taking steps to finalise the national Climate Change Bill, which will provide a regulatory framework for the management of climate change and its impacts.

“We are making a fair contribution to the global effort to stabilise greenhouse gases through our Nationally Determined Contribution to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.”

He said South Africa is due to be the next coordinator of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change, which is vital in ensuring that Africa remains united and speaks with one voice on the key climate change issues facing the Continent.

He also paid homage to the role Edna Molewa, who passed away last year, played in these efforts as Minister of Environmental Affairs.

“The progress we have made in responding to the various environmental challenges that confront our people is in no small measure thanks to the leadership and dedication of the late Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa,” he said.

“She worked to ensure that the conservation of the environment became a catalyst to advance the objectives of the National Development Plan.”

“Taking our lead from her vision, we continue to encourage investment in cleaner energy through the renewable energy independent power producers programme.”

Ramaphosa said South Africa benefitted through the competitive bidding process from rapid, global technology developments and price trends, buying clean energy at lower and lower rates with every bid cycle.

“As a result, South Africa is now getting renewable energy at some of the lowest tariffs in the world.

“Under the renewable energy, a total number of 112 projects have been procured and it is envisaged that these projects will create 114,266 job years over the construction and 20 year operations period.”

A job year is equivalent to a full time employment opportunity for one person for one year.

Ramaphosa said government will work with all stakeholders to ensure that the gradual transition towards new forms of electricity generation creates jobs, develops new capabilities and does not negatively affect the livelihoods of communities.

While congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is agitating for a Green New Deal in the United States, South Africans will have to do with the Good Green Deeds programme.

Ramaphosa announced that on March 8, this “landmark campaign” will be launched to “mobilise all South Africans to become environmentally conscious”.

“The Good Green Deeds programme is aimed at changing behaviour towards littering, towards illegal dumping, and towards waste in general,” Ramaphosa said.

He said it is part of government’s call and commitment “to clean South Africa, to make our cities, towns and rural areas places where it is safe and healthy for all to live”.

“Because of environmentally insensitive human action, the forces of nature conspired to set in motion the dramatic process of climate change,” Ramaphosa said.

“It is by conscious human action that its effects can and will be mitigated and ultimately reversed.”

South Africa’s current minister of environmental affairs is Nomvula Mokoyane. Several opposition speakers called for her head after she was mentioned by whistleblower Angelo Agrizzi in his explosive testimony at the Zondo Commission about the Bosasa-scandal. Allegations of corruption and mismanagement plagued her term as minister of water affairs and sanitation. Ramaphosa didn’t address these issues in his reply.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2]. Image sources: Tim Johnson [1], [2].

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered South Africa’s State of the Nation address last night, and announced a number of changes for the country going forward. Among them are plans to attract foreign direct investment, improve the quality of education, and resolve Eskom’s (the country’s power utility) debt crisis. The date of the 2019 general election was also announced; 8 May. Key announcements are outlined below.

Eskom will be split in three

Government plans to “immediately embark” on a process of establishing three separate entities – Generation, Transmission and Distribution – under Eskom Holdings. “The consequences may be painful, but they will be even more devastating if we delay,” Ramaphosa said.

‘Investment books’ will be compiled for each province

Following the success of the 2018 investment conference which attracted over in R300 billion in investment, Ramaphosa said a second conference will be held in 2019. Investment in South Africa should be spread out in projects throughout the country, Ramaphosa said. “In this regard, I have asked provincial governments to identify investable projects and ensure that we build investment books for each of our nine provinces to present to potential investors,” Ramaphosa said.

A new target to improve South Africa’s ease-of-doing-business ranking

Ramaphosa said the World Bank’s annual Doing Business Report currently ranks South Africa 82 out of 190 countries tracked. The state aims to be among the 50 global performers within the next three years, Ramaphosa said. A team from the Presidency, Invest SA, National Treasury and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation will address the policy, legal, regulatory and administrative barriers that frustrate investors.

A requirement for work experience will be dropped in the public sector

It is important that more youth be absorbed into South Africa’s labour market, Ramaphosa said. The government would, therefore, do away with entry-level work experience requirement in the public sector. “Our young people need to be given a real head start in the world of work,” he said.

Release of state-owned land for human settlements

Ramaphosa said as part of accelerated land reform, the government identified land parcels owned by the state for redistribution. Strategically located land will be released to address human settlements needs in urban and peri-urban areas, he said.

Introduction of eVisa regime

The South African government will introduce a “world class” eVisa regime in 2019 to assist in growing the local tourism sector, Ramaphosa said. The goal is reach 21 million tourists by 2030, up from 10 million in 2018. Instead of applying for a South African visa at an embassy, prospective visitors will be able to apply for an eVisa online and the final visa can be printed at home.

New gas and oil legislation after the Brulpadda boon

Following Total’s discovery of “world-class” oil and gas in the Brulpadda field off the coast of South Africa, Ramaphosa said the government will develop legislation to ensure that it is properly regulated for the interests of all concerned. “We are extremely encouraged by the report this morning about the Brulpadda block in the Outeniqua Basin, which some have described as a catalytic find. This could well be a game-changer for our country and will have significant consequences for our country’s energy security…”, ANC National Chairperson Gwede Mantashe stated.

New infrastructure implementation model

Ramaphosa said Cabinet has adopted a new infrastructure implementation model to ensure projects are implemented. He said the new model is underpinned by the new Infrastructure Fund announced in September last year. Ramaphosa said government has committed to contribute R100 billion into the Infrastructure Fund over a 10-year period and use this to leverage financing from the private sector and development finance institutions. “As a first step, we will expand projects underway already, such as student accommodation.”

Eradicate unsafe school toilets within 3 years

Ramaphosa expressed deep sadness at the tragic deaths of Michael Komape, who drowned in a pit toilet at Mahlodumela Primary School in Limpopo in 2014, and Lumka Mkethwa, from Luna Junior Primary School in the Eastern Cape, who lost her life in March last year. He said the government has since August already provided safe and appropriate sanitation to 699 schools, with sanitation at a further 1,150 schools either in planning, design or construction stages. Government identified that nearly 4,000 schools require appropriate sanitation, and hopes to eradicate unsafe sanitation by 2022.

Compulsory early development for all children

The responsibility of early childhood development centres are being migrated from the social development department to basic education, Ramaphosa said. He said during the migration the government will proceed with the process towards two years of compulsory early childhood development for all children before they enter grade 1. “This is essential in equipping children to succeed in education, in work and in life – and it is possibly the single most important factor in overcoming poverty, unemployment and inequality,” Ramaphosa said.

Access to a tablet for every pupil by 2025

“Over the next six years, we will provide every school child in South Africa with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device,” Ramaphosa said. He said government will start with the schools that have been historically most disadvantaged and are located in the poorest communities, including farm and rural schools.

New technology subjects, and technical high schools

Ramaphosa said several new technology subjects and specialisations will be introduced into basic education such as technical mathematics and technical sciences, maritime sciences, aviation studies, mining sciences, and aquaponics. Several “ordinary” state schools will also be transformed into technical high schools, he said.

A new bank for housing

If the South African government is to effectively address the substantial housing backlog it needs to develop different models of financing for human settlements, Ramaphosa said. Therefore a new human settlements development bank will be established to leverage both public and private sector financing to aid in housing delivery. He said the state’s housing development agency will construct an additional 500,000 housing units in the next five years..

No taverns, shebeens and liquor outlets near schools

Ramaphosa promised the complete shutdown of all taverns, shebeens and liquor outlets near schools as the country deals with extremely high levels of substance abuse. “South Africa has extremely high levels of substance abuse, which feeds crime and violence against women and children, it deepens poverty and causes great hardship and pain for families. As government, we continue to roll out interventions to address social ills tearing our communities apart, such as alcoholism and substance abuse. Knowing, as we do, that there are strong linkages between substance abuse, drug trafficking, crime and insecurity in communities, we are focusing on tackling this problem at its source through prevention programmes targeting vulnerable persons especially our youth. We are resolute that all taverns, shebeens and liquor outlets near school premises must be shut down,” Ramaphosa stated.

Strengthening the focus on gender-based violence

“We will strengthen the national hotline centre that supports women who experience gender-based violence and ensure it is functional. We have listened to the call to make funds available to combat gender-based violence and have allocated funding in the current budget to support the decisions taken at the [Gender-Based Violence] Summit. Government will lead the campaign to include men and boys as active champions in the struggle against gender-based violence. Ending gender-based violence is an urgent national priority that requires the mobilisation of all South Africans and the involvement of all institutions,” Ramaphosa said.

Scorpions 2.0

Ramaphosa said he agreed with the new NPA head that an investigation directorate dealing with serious corruption and associated offences will be established as soon as possible. In broad terms, the Directorate will focus on the evidence that has emerged from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, other commissions and disciplinary inquiries, Ramaphosa said.

General election date

National elections will be held on May 8.

A war room for public health

The National Health Insurance Bill will soon be submitted to Parliament. The NHI will enable South Africans to receive free services at the point of care in public and private quality-accredited health facilities. Ramaphosa said a ‘War Room’ in the presidency has been established to improve public heallth. “We have a funded national quality health improvement plan to improve every clinic and hospital that will be contracted by the NHI.”

To read the SONA address in full, click here.

 

For information as to how Relocation Africa can help you with your Mobility, Immigration, Research, Remuneration, and Expat Tax needs, email marketing@relocationafrica.com, or call us on +27 21 763 4240.

Sources: [1], [2], [3]. Image sources: [1], [2].

In their new year’s resolution statement, African National Congress (ANC) stalwarts and veterans said that for the party to achieve unity, President Jacob Zuma needs to resign as leader of the country. The statement was part of the annual resolutions that ANC veterans make at the turn of every year.

Part of the statement is as follows: “In 2018 no one should ever again believe that they can avoid their day in court because of their position in society. Real action against corruption has to happen. That starts with the urgent appointment of a new head of the National Prosecuting Authority. It must be followed by the politicization of our law enforcement agencies”.

“A clear message to SA would be for our country’s president to voluntarily step down. If the president really loves the ANC and wants it to remain in power by 2019, he would assist it by handing over the leadership”.

Opposition parties have called for steps against the President to be taken before the State of the Nation Address (SONA) next month.

Parliament recently announced that the 2018 SONA will take place at 7pm on Thursday 8 February. The President of will deliver the Address to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town, marking the official start of the Parliamentary program.

SONA sets out government’s key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead‚ highlights achievements‚ flags challenges, and outlines development interventions for the coming financial year.

The State of the Nation address is broadcast live each year on major news channels, such as eNCA, SABC News, ANN7, and Parliament Channel, as well as on numerous South African radio stations.

 

Sources: [1], [2], [3], [4]. Image source: [1].