SONA about envisioning the SA we want

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa says his State of the Nation Address was not merely about dreams.

It was about setting out what is needed to achieve the South Africa all South Africans want.

He said this when he was responding to a debate on the State of the Nation Address at the National Assembly on Wednesday. The response was largely directed at those who expressed a narrative that the President’s speech was thin with detail and was about dreams.

“The State of the Nation Address was not merely about dreams. It was about the lived reality of our people and setting out what we need to do to achieve the South Africa that we want.

“What it sought to do was to say let us imagine this South Africa that we so long to have. And in imagining this South Africa, let us do everything that we can to work towards this South Africa,” he said.

The President agreed with Public Works and Infrastructure Minister Patricia De Lille, who said during Tuesday’s debate that she observed that the State of the Nation Address shows us a picture and sketches a framework.

“SONA is about articulating a vision and a direction for government programmes. Ministers who are responsible for government work will provide details on the programme in budget votes of the various departments.

“Guided by the election manifesto of the governing party, this SONA was about setting out the seven priorities of the administration, namely economic transformation and job creation; education, skills and health; consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality-based services; spatial integration, human settlements and local government; social cohesion and safe communities; a capable, ethical and developmental state and a better Africa and a better world,” the President said.

Presidency to release Presidential Advisory Panel report

The President said government is determined that land should be distributed to those who work and those who need it.

“We will soon release the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture. This report will inform the finalisation of a comprehensive, far-reaching and transformative land reform programme,” he said.

He said among the important tasks of the new Parliament is to finalise constitutional amendments to clearly indicate how expropriation of land without compensation will be put into effect.

“Parliament will also need to debate and finalise the Expropriation Bill, which deals with the modalities and the circumstances in which expropriation will take place. Expropriation is an important land acquisition strategy. It is important because it enables us to conduct land reform in a pro-active and planned manner. This frees us from a wait-and-see approach dependent on market sales.”

Second investment conference to be held in November

The President said, meanwhile, that in the time ahead, government will intensify its investment drive.

“This year, we are intensifying our investment drive because we are seeing that it is producing results.

“We are going to hold our second South Africa Investment Conference in November because we have seen commitments made at last year’s conference being implemented.

“These are the investments that we will in the months and years to come be creating new jobs, developing new supply chains and reviving local economies,” he said.

He said a greater effort will be put on in-crowding local investors. He said while the country manages to attract higher volumes of foreign direct investment (FDI), this was not the only area of focus.

“We are trying and working very hard to get the local investors, local businesses to invest in our economy.

“And if you look at our focus in this investment conference that we held last year, we were overweight with local investors and the commitments that were made largely came from local investors. We are seeking, through our investment drive, not only to generate FDI, but also that local investment,” he said. –