SONA 2017: Plans to boost employment

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has outlined a number of proposals aimed at boosting employment.

Speaking during the State of the Nation Address on Thursday night, President Zuma said that while indications were that South Africa had entered a period of recovery, the economy is still not growing fast enough to create the jobs needed.

The plans include:

-       The establishment of a Invest SA One-Stop Shop

-       Taking advantage of tourism as a job driver

-       Scaling up the Expanded Public Works Programme

-       Using public infrastructure as a way to create work opportunities


Government would use the nine-point plan announced in the 2015 State of the Nation Address to help speed up growth and employment.

The Key Pillars of the plan include, among others, resolving the energy challenge, promoting agriculture and agro-processing, advancing beneficiation, and encouraging private sector investment.  

On Thursday, President Zuma said government had also identified tourism as a key job driver.

“We are thus pleased that our tourist arrival numbers for the period January to November 2016 increased to nine million, an increase of just over one million arrivals from 2015. This represents a thirteen percent growth in tourist arrivals,” he said.

In addition, government runs effective poverty alleviation programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

“The EPWP has since 2014, created more than two million work opportunities towards the attainment of the target of six million work opportunities by the end of March 2019. Of the work opportunities created, more than one million have been taken up by the youth.”

President Zuma noted that during 2015/2016, more than sixty one thousand work opportunities were created through the Environmental Programmes such as Working for Water, Working for Wetlands, Working on Fire and Working for Ecosystems. More than 60% of the beneficiaries were young people.

This has led to job creation in the Northern Cape and diversification of the economy through the creation of artisan and maintenance jobs, and the promotion of science as a career of choice.

On road infrastructure, Sanral has started with the planning phase of the 4.5 billion rand project to upgrade the current Moloto road.

In 2014, government launched the operation Phakisa Big Fast results methodology in the ocean economy, health, education and mining sectors. The purpose was to find a few key projects where it could unlock growth in implementing the NDP.

Call to unite


President Zuma used his speech to call on South Africans to “unite in driving radical economic transformation for the good of our country.”

 He earlier announced that in honour of one of the country’s most prolific struggle heroes, Oliver Reginald Tambo, who would have turned 100 years old this year – the year 2017 has been declared  the Year of Oliver Reginald Tambo.

 It is the year of unity in action by all South Africans as we move South Africa forward together, the President said. 

He quoted the ANC struggle stalwart,  who once said: “Working together as fellow South Africans, we have it within our power to transform this country into the land of plenty for all, where the nightmare of apartheid will just be a faint memory of the past." –



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