State of the Nation
DAWN IS UPON US: PRESIDENT RAMAPHOSA
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
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,¡¨
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
¡§Yet, we are bound together by a common
¡§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
|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
¡§¡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
¡§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
¡§While there are many issues on which we
may differ, on these fundamental
matters, we are at one.¡¨
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
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
¡§We are going to embark on a number of
measures to address the unemployment
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
¡§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
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
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
¡§We will make a major push this year to
encourage significant new investment in
¡§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
"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
|Tripartite Free Trade Area
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
¡§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
¡§Negotiations towards the Continental
Free Trade Agreement are progressing at
a brisk pace, and it is expected that
the framework agreement could be
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
|Government to tackle
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
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
¡§This is the year in which we will turn
the tide of corruption in our public
¡§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
|Tourism can make the
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
¡§We call on all South Africans
to open their homes and their
hearts to the world.¡¨
full version of the State of the
Nation Address, 2018, visit: