Achievements and challenges: President reflects on sixth administration

Sunday, May 26, 2024

As the term of the sixth administration draws to a close, President Cyril Ramaphosa has reflected on the achievements and challenges faced by government during this five year period.

South Africans are expected head to the polls in the National and Provincial Elections this week to elect leaders for the seventh administration.

In an address to the nation on Sunday, the President said that at the start of his term in office in 2019, South Africa “stood at a turning point”.

“We had endured a decade of corruption and state capture, of weak economic growth and the erosion of our public institutions. Today, we have put that era behind us. We have placed South Africa on a new trajectory of recovery and laid a strong foundation for future growth.

“We have taken significant steps to reform our economy by implementing a number of reforms that affect various sectors of the economy. In tackling crime and corruption, we have introduced a number of initiatives and measures to reposition our criminal justice system.

“We have faced many challenges along the way, which have tested our resilience and our resolve. Yet, in each instance, we have confronted these challenges together. We have remained united. We have worked in partnership and in solidarity,” the President said.

State Capture and corruption

President Ramaphosa said that the nation brought state capture to an end.

“We dislodged the criminal networks that had stolen billions from our people, that had eroded our public institutions and that had undermined the rule of law. Together, we worked to rebuild our law enforcement agencies, our security services, our state-owned companies and a number of other public bodies.

“Through the work of institutions like the NPA’s [National Prosecuting Authority] Investigating Directorate, the Hawks and the SIU, several state capture and corruption cases have been brought to court and billions of Rands in stolen funds have been recovered,” he said.

To further strengthen the work of the NPA, President Ramaphosa has now signed into law the establishment of the NPA’s Investigating Directorate against Corruption as a permanent entity.

“There is still much that we need to do to end corruption. However, as a country, we have sent a clear message to the corrupt that they can no longer expect to get away with their crimes with impunity and without consequence,” President Ramaphosa said.

COVID-19 pandemic

The President remarked that the COVID-19 pandemic, which swept across the world and pushed economies to their limits, was one of the defining moments of the last five years.

More than 100 000 South Africans died during the pandemic with some two million jobs lost.

“We introduced a massive package of social and economic support to protect vulnerable businesses, workers and households from the destructive effects of the pandemic. More than 5.7 million workers received wage support through the special UIF scheme.

“Through the introduction of the special SRD [Social Relief of Distress] grant, we provided relief to more than 11 million unemployed people at the height of the pandemic.

“Working together, we succeeded in administering more than 39 million COVID-19 vaccine doses. Even during the worst moments of the pandemic, we endured and we overcame. This is how we are as South Africans. We confront even the greatest of challenges with determination and courage,” the President said.

Rebuilding the economy

President Ramaphosa said rebuilding the economy following the devastation of the COVID-19 pandemic has been characterised by South Africans coming together “in social partnerships to drive investment, to build infrastructure and to remove the obstacles to inclusive growth”.

He highlighted that as a result, the economy has now returned to levels seen before the pandemic and “we have recovered the jobs lost to the pandemic”.

“Together, we supported Eskom’s efforts to improve the performance of its power stations. We enabled investment in new electricity generation capacity on a scale that is unprecedented in our history.

“Working with financial institutions, development agencies, business and professional associations, we revitalised investment in infrastructure. The value of projects currently in construction is over R230 billion, including energy, water infrastructure and rural roads projects.

“Together, we mobilised more than R1.5 trillion in new investment commitments. This has led to the opening of new factories, mines, data centres and production lines.

“Working with private sector partners, we established the Youth Employment Service, which has created over 144 000 work experiences for young people. We have worked across government and with NGOs to implement the Presidential Employment Stimulus, which has created more than 1.9 million work and livelihood opportunities for unemployed South Africans,” he said.

Into the future

The President emphasised that the sixth administration and all of the work it has done is a springboard for building a better future.

“The last five years have been a time of rebuilding and recovery. It has been about working together not only to meet the challenges of the moment, but to put in place firm foundations for a better future.

“As this sixth administration draws to a close, and as we prepare for the seventh administration, let us build on the progress that we have made. At this moment in our path to renewal, we cannot afford to turn back. There is more work to be done,” President Ramaphosa said. –