Political parties to debate SONA

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Pretoria - Political parties will this afternoon debate President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

The debate takes place in Parliament from 2pm.

Last week, the President delivered his 8th SONA where energy, land and the economy took centre stage.

Acknowledging that South Africa was experiencing serious energy constraints - the President  announced that stabilising Eskom's finances was a priority and the power utility would be given R23 billion in the next fiscal year to do so.

This, after the country had experienced different stages of load shedding the past few weeks.

Cabinet said they were working "round the clock" with Eskom to stabilise the electricity supply system and contain load shedding.

“We have developed a plan which involves both short, medium term and long term responses. The short and medium term plan involves improved maintenance of Eskom power stations, enhancing the electricity generation capacity and managing the electricity demand.”

Turning to the economy he admitted that South Africa's economy needed "a major push forward".

The country's aim of achieving a growth target of five percent in 2019 was at risk, the President warned, referring to the International Monetary Fund revised down economic growth forecast to 3.5 percent for 2015.

However, President Zuma said the implementation of the National Infrastructure Development is jumpstarting the economy while creating jobs.

He added that government had a nine-point plan to "ignite growth and create jobs".

This included, among other things, resolving the country's energy challenge, revitalising agriculture, advancing the beneficiation of minerals and encouraging private sector investment.

With regards to land, the President announced that foreigners would not be allowed to own land in South Africa but instead be eligible for long-term lease.

In this regard, the Regulation of Land Holdings Bill will be submitted to Parliament this year. - SAnews.gov.za

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