Key talking points from SONA 2020

Key talking points from SONA 2020

In his fourth State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa outlined government's plan to tackle a range of issues from embattled SOE's, unemployment and the construction of a new state of the art science and innovation university in Ekurhuleni. Amid uncertain times for the economy, Ramaphosa was frank about South Africa's outlook saying the,"country is facing a stark reality". 

President Cyril Ramaphosa
Image courty: GCIS

- Youth unemployment -

During his SONA in the National Assembly, Ramaphosa said that six priority actions would be taken in the next five years to tackle youth unemployment.

"We are creating pathways for young people into the economy. We are building cutting-edge solutions to reach young people where they are through online platforms, on the phone and in person. This will allow them to receive active support, information and work readiness training to increase their employability and match themselves to opportunities."

READ: President Cyril Ramaphosa's full 2020 SONA speech

- Higher Education -

Ekurhuleni in Gauteng, the only metro in the country without a university, will soon be home to the University of Science and Innovation. 

Ramaphosa promised to put IT and tech-learning at the centre of early childhood development.

"This year, we will be introducing coding and robotics in grades R to 3 in 200 schools, with a plan to introduce this on a more universal basis in 2022."

Ekurhuleni is the only metro in our country that does not have a university.

- Eskom - 

There's a plan to lift South Africa from its dark days of load shedding. The energy crisis was among a host of pressing issues the President highlighted in his State of the Nation Address last night. 

"Over the next few months, as Eskom works to restore its operational capabilities, we will be implementing measures that will fundamentally change the trajectory of energy generation in our country. We will initiate the procurement of emergency power from projects that can deliver electricity into the grid within 3 to 12 months from approval."

Ramaphosa says load shedding is an inevitable consequence of debt, a lack of capacity and state capture at Eskom. He says the country's SOEs will be repurposed to support growth and development. 

"After years of state capture, corruption and mismanagement, we are working to ensure that all SOEs are able to fulfill their developmental mandate and that hey should be financially sustainable. We will undertake a process of rationalisation of our state-owned enterprises and ensure that they serve strategic economic and developmental purposes."

- Economy -

The President's asked the Finance Minister to come up with measures to reduce public spending.  It's what the President's asked him to do amid rising debt levels. 

"Low levels of growth means that we are not generating enough revenue to meet our expenses. Our debt is heading towards unsustainable levels, and spending is misdirected towards consumption and debt servicing rather than infrastructure and productive activity. We cannot continue along this path, nor can we afford to stand still."

Ramaphosa says the congestion that's leading to inefficiency at our ports need to be sorted out.

In his State of the Nation Address late last night, he called for urgent intervention. 

Ramaphosa says the issue's come up time and time again and has severely affected business operations in Durban especially. 

"We will undertake a fundamental overhaul of Durban port, the third-largest container in the Southern hemisphere to reduce delays as well as costs."

The ANC's Paul Mashatile says the party hopes the announcements allow state-owned enterprises to start driving economic growth. Ramaphosa noted changes in the way people use and generate electricity, as well as a new and improved SAA - need to be sustainable.

"SOE's are instruments to drive growth if they are run properly, there's good governance, we cut out corruption, we have proper boards, many SOE's now, new boards, new CEO's so the work has started, but we need to move to ensure that all of them can work properly." 

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