Far-reaching measures to revitalise the construction sector and increased investment in infrastructure were among the highlights of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address.
Opening the first session of the 6th Parliament in June, President Ramaphosa committed government to the accelerated implementation of the National Development Plan.
Three issues stood out in the wide-ranging speech that set out his administration’s priorities for the new term of Parliament.
Economic growth depends on investment in infrastructure
The new approach to infrastructure development is based on stronger partnerships between the public and private sectors and with local communities.
This includes a special package of financial and institutional measures to boost construction – including roads – through a more efficient use of budgeted money.
The R100bn Infrastructure Fund announced earlier will be managed by the Development Bank of Southern Africa with the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure playing an oversight role.
This will ensure better planning, rigorous feasibility and preparatory work, improved strategic management, impeccable execution and better governance.
Restructured state-owned entities will play critical roles
To ensure the state is able to generate economic and social development it is essential that state-owned enterprises are strengthened.
The Presidential Council on SOEs will ensure greater alignment between all state-owned companies and better define their respective mandates. The council will work with the leadership of SOEs to develop a legal and regulatory environment that promotes innovation and agility and enhances their competitiveness.
“We will build on the work we have already begin to address problems of poor governance, inefficiency and financial sustainability,” President Ramaphosa said.
Youth employment must be elevated to a national priority
He announced the implementation of a comprehensive plan to create no fewer than two million new jobs for young people within the next decade. This plan will be driven and coordinated from the Presidency.
Government will continue to provide employment through the Expanded Public Works Programme. It will also mean cooperating with the private sector and public sector agencies to invest in sectors where jobs demand is growing – including technical installation, the digital economy and the 4th Industrial Revolution.