State of the Nation Address -


Let us put all the negativity that has dogged our country behind us "because a new dawn is upon us". This was the strong message that newly elected South African President Cyril Ramaphosa shared with the nation on Friday night, 15 February 2018.


¡§Together we are going to make history. We have done it before and we will do it again,¡¨ said an upbeat President Ramaphosa.

Delivering his maiden State of the Nation Address, the President said in the spirit of honouring world icon Nelson ¡§Madiba¡¨ Mandela, the country should put the negative past behind and focus on rebuilding, hope and renewal.

The President said that as the country prepared to mark the centenary of the former statesman, South Africans should honour Madiba by putting behind us the era of discord, disunity and disillusionment and build the future that he envisioned.

This comes after a leadership transition that saw former President Jacob Zuma resigning last week after being recalled by the African National Congress.

¡§We should put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in leaders.

¡§We should put all the negativity that has dogged our country behind us because a new dawn is upon us.

¡§It is a new dawn that is inspired by our collective memory of Nelson Mandela and the changes that are unfolding.

¡§As we rid our minds of all negativity, we should reaffirm our belief that South Africa belongs to all who live in it,¡¨ he said.

In a speech that inspired hope and the renewal of the nation, the President said even though South Africa was a tossed salad ¡V a diverse nation ¡V ¡§we are one nation¡¨.

"We are a nation at one," he said, "bound together by a common destiny".

¡§There are 57 million of us, each with different histories, languages, cultures, experiences, views and interests.

¡§Yet, we are bound together by a common destiny.

¡§For this, we owe much to our forebears ¡V people like Pixley ka Seme, Charlotte Maxeke and Chief Albert Luthuli ¡V who understood the necessity of the unity and harmony of all the people of this great land.
Clarion call for South Africans to work together for change

The President said while change could produce uncertainty, even anxiety, it also offered great opportunities for renewal and revitalisation, and for progress.

¡§¡K bonded by our common love for our country, resolute in our determination to overcome the challenges that lie ahead and convinced that by working together we will build the fair and just and decent society to which Nelson Mandela dedicated his life.¡¨

The President said government was committed to working as one to put a dent on employment and create jobs.

¡§We are one people, committed to work together to find jobs for our youth, to build factories and roads, houses and clinics; to prepare our children for a world of change and progress; to build cities and towns where families may be safe, productive and content,¡¨ he said.

He said government wanted to ensure that there was a better management of state resources.

¡§We are determined to build a society defined by decency and integrity that does not tolerate the plunder of public resources, nor the theft by corporate criminals of the hard-earned savings of ordinary people.

¡§While there are many issues on which we may differ, on these fundamental matters, we are at one.¡¨
Business confidence improving in South Africa companies

The President said citizens were hopeful about the future.

He said business confidence among South African companies had improved and foreign investors were looking anew at opportunities in the country.

¡§Some financial institutions have identified South Africa as one of the hot emerging markets for 2018.

¡§Our task, as South Africans, is to seize this moment of hope and renewal, and to work together to ensure that it makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our people.

¡§This year, we will be initiating measures to set the country on a new path of growth, employment and transformation.¡¨

He said government had to build further on the collaboration with business and labour to restore confidence and prevent an investment downgrade.

As the Minister of Finance is set to deliver the budget on Wednesday, the President said tough decisions had to be made to close the fiscal gap, stabilise debt and restore state-owned enterprises to health.

¡§We are going to embark on a number of measures to address the unemployment challenge.¡¨

He also said that he would, within the next few months, convene a jobs summit to align the efforts of every sector and every stakeholder behind the imperative of job creation.

¡§The summit will look at what we need to do to ensure our economy grows and becomes more productive, that companies invest on a far greater scale, that workers are better equipped and that our economic infrastructure is expanded.

¡§We will expect this summit to come up with practical solutions and initiatives that will be implemented immediately.¡¨
Industrialisation at the centre of transformation

President Ramaphosa underlined that the process of industrialisation must be underpinned by transformation.

He said through measures like preferential procurement and the Black Industrialists Programme, government was developing a new generation of black and women producers who were able to build enterprises of significant scale and capability.

¡§We will improve our capacity to support black professionals, deal decisively with companies that resist transformation, use competition policy to open markets up to new black entrants, and invest in the development of businesses in townships and rural areas.¡¨

As expected, President Ramaphosa made time in his speech to outline the implementation of the much-talked about radical economic transformation, a policy adopted by the governing party.

¡§Radical economic transformation requires that we fundamentally improve the position of black women and communities in the economy, ensuring that they are owners, managers, producers and financiers,¡¨ President Ramaphosa said.

Government would be pushing the policy to reverse the inequalities created by the country¡¦s history and would ensure the participation of the majority in the economy.
Promoting investment

¡§We will make a major push this year to encourage significant new investment in our economy.

¡§To this end, we will organise an Investment Conference in the next three months, targeting both domestic and international investors, to market the compelling investment opportunities to be found in our country.

¡§We are going to address the decline over many years of our manufacturing capacity, which has deeply affected employment and exports.

¡§We will seek to re-industrialise on a scale and at a pace that draws millions of job seekers into the economy.

¡§We are going to promote greater investment in key manufacturing sectors through the strategic use of incentives and other measures.

¡§To further stimulate manufacturing, we will forge ahead with the localisation programme, through which products like textile, clothing, furniture, rail rolling stock and water meters are designated for local procurement.

¡§We have already spent more than R57 billion on locally-produced goods that may have been imported from other countries.

"Special economic zones remain important instruments we will use to attract strategic foreign and domestic direct investment and build targeted industrial capabilities and establish new industrial hubs."
Tripartite Free Trade Area agreement

President Ramaphosa said that South Africa had acceded to the Tripartite Free Trade Area agreement, which brought together the Southern African Development Community, Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa and the East African Community.

¡§The free trade area will combine markets of 26 countries with a population of nearly 625 million.

¡§It will open market access opportunities for South African export products, contribute to job creation and the growth of South Africa¡¦s industrial sector.

¡§Negotiations towards the Continental Free Trade Agreement are progressing at a brisk pace, and it is expected that the framework agreement could be concluded soon.

President Ramaphosa said that South Africa as Chair of the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) group of countries would give priority to the promotion of value-added trade and intra-BRICS investment into productive sectors.
Government to tackle corruption head-on

The President said government would intervene decisively to stabilise and revitalise state-owned enterprises.

He said the recent action government had taken at Eskom to strengthen governance, root out corruption and restore its financial position was just the beginning.

Government, the President said, would take further measures to ensure that all state-owned companies fulfil their economic and developmental mandates.

¡§We will change the way that boards are appointed so that only people with expertise, experience and integrity serve in these vital positions.

¡§We will remove board members from any role in procurement and work with the Auditor-General to strengthen external audit processes.

¡§This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions.

¡§The criminal justice institutions have been taking initiatives that will enable us to deal effectively with corruption.

The Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, headed by the Deputy Chief Justice Judge Raymond Zondo, is expected to commence its work shortly.

He said the commission was critical to ensuring that the extent and nature of state capture was established, that confidence in public institutions was restored and that those responsible for any wrongdoing were identified.

¡§We are at a moment in the history of our nation when the people, through their determination, have started to turn the country around.

¡§Now is the time to lend a hand. Now is the time for each of us to say ¡¥send me¡¦. Now is the time for all of us to work together, in honour of Nelson Mandela, to build a new, better South Africa for all,¡¨ President Ramaphosa said.
Tourism can make the country shine

President Ramaphosa said that tourism was another area which provided our country with incredible opportunities to, quite literally, shine.

¡§Tourism currently sustains 700 000 direct jobs and is performing better than most other growth sectors.

¡§There is no reason why it can¡¦t double in size.

¡§We have the most beautiful country in the world and the most hospitable people.

¡§This year, we will enhance support for destination marketing in key tourism markets and take further measures to reduce regulatory barriers and develop emerging tourism businesses.

¡§We call on all South Africans to open their homes and their hearts to the world.¡¨

For the full version of the State of the Nation Address, 2018, visit: https://www.gov.za/speeches/president-cyril-RAMAPHOSA-2018-state-nation-address-16-feb-2018-0000