President Ramaphosa has delivered the state of the nation address on Thursday 13th February.
Here are some key points from the State of the Nation Address:
On load shedding and Eskom:
President Ramaphosa said the load shedding over the last few months has had a debilitating effect on our economy and our people. At its core, load shedding is the inevitable consequence of Eskom’s inability over many years – due to debt, lack of capacity and state capture – to service its power plants.
“In order for Eskom to undertake the fundamental maintenance necessary to improve the reliability of supply, load shedding will remain a possibility for the immediate future.
He said as Eskom works to restore its operational capabilities, government will be implementing measures that will fundamentally change the trajectory of energy generation in our country.
These measures include to rapidly and significantly increase generation capacity. Municipalities such as the City of Cape Town, business leaders and, lately, the ANC, have backed a plan to allow municipalities to be less reliant on Eskom.
On Land Reform
The expropriation of land without compensation also remained key, said Ramaphosa,
He said that land expropriation would be done with caution as agriculture is one of the industries with the greatest potential for growth.
Ramaphosa said “Government stands ready – following the completion of the parliamentary process to amend section 25 of the constitution – to table an expropriation bill that outlines the circumstances under which expropriation of land without compensation would be possible. To date, we have released 44 000 hectares of state land for the settlement of land restitution claims, and will this year release around 700 000 hectares of state land for agricultural production. ”
The president went on to say “We are prioritising youth, women, people with disabilities and those who have been farming on communal land and are ready to expand their operations for training and allocation of land. A new beneficiary selection policy includes compulsory training for potential beneficiaries before land can be allocated to them,” he said.
Ramaphosa said serious action will have to be taken to deal with SOEs who are drowning in debt with the National Treasury providing guarantees of more than R570 billion.
“This year, we are moving from the stabilisation of state-owned enterprises to repurposing these strategic companies to support growth and development.
“After years of state capture, corruption and mismanagement, we are working to ensure that all SOEs are able to fulfil their developmental mandate and be financially sustainable,” the president said.
“In consultation with the Presidential SOE Council, we will undertake a process of rationalisation of our state-owned enterprises and ensure that they serve strategic economic or developmental purposes.
The extent of capture, corruption and mismanagement in SOEs is best demonstrated at South Africans Airways, which was placed in business rescue late last year. The business rescue practitioners are expected to unveil their plans for restructuring the airline in the next few weeks.”
On the train system
The President also committed to turning around the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa to fix the commuter rail network and said a plan for restructuring South African Airways would be unveiled in the next few weeks,and that government’s successes included pushing back against corruption.