SA better than before – Zuma

2013-06-24 16:23

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South Africa is better now than it was before the dawn of democracy, President Jacob Zuma has said.

“South Africa is a much better place than it was before 1994, and the last five years have pushed that change forward,” Zuma told editors today at a breakfast in Johannesburg.

He said that as South Africa approached 20 years of democracy, the face of the country had changed.

However, the country’s achievements and those of the African National Congress were not receiving “the necessary exposure”.

“We have created more jobs, provided social grants... These have grown from 2.5 million in 1993, to 16 million to date, which is regarded as impressive and progressive for a developing country,” he said.

The South African economy had expanded by 83% in the past 19 years.

National income per capita had increased from R27?500 in 1993, to R38?500 in 2012, an increase of 40%.

Household disposable income per capita rose by 43% since 1994. Total employment increased by more than 3.5 million.

Zuma said all types of crime, with the exception of white-collar crime, had been reduced in the past 19 years.

“We also admit that the public service must still perform much better than it is doing now, to speed up services.”

He said the National Development Plan (NDP) was designed to address the country’s problems.

“The plan identifies three key priorities that must be addressed urgently and with much vigour. These are: raising employment; improving the quality of education; and building a capable developmental state.”

The government and the ANC had endorsed priorities set out in the NDP. The plan proposed ways to get more people into work. This meant creating 11 million jobs, and ensuring total employment rose from 13 million to 24 million by 2030, he said.

Zuma said the ANC would discuss the implementation of the NDP at its forthcoming lekgotla.

He said he was also pleased by interventions made by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe in the mining sector.

“We are pleased with the progress registered thus far and expect a conclusion of the talks and an outcome soon.”

Zuma tasked Motlanthe with leading interactions with both unions and mining companies to bring stability to the mining sector.

The industry has been plagued by strikes and violence, especially in the Rustenburg platinum belt.

Zuma said the government was looking forward to the official visit of US President Barack Obama on June 28. “This is a significant visit as the US is a major trade, investment, tourism and technology partner for South Africa.”

The US had about 600 companies operating within the South African economy, he said.

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