State of the nation address: 5 things worth knowing

2011-02-10 18:48

President Jacob Zuma announced a R9-billion fund to finance “job creation initiatives” during his state of the nation address.

Zuma said this evening the money would be rolled out over three years, adding that the Independent Development Corporation would set aside R10 billion over the next five years that would be invested in activities with high potential to create jobs.

Companies that invest more than R200 million in new projects and R30 million for expansion and upgrades would benefit from the R20 billion in government tax breaks meant to promote investments.

» Zuma promised security of tenure and access to basic services to 400 000 households living in informal settlements by 2014.

Currently, 1.2 million households live in the country’s 27 000 informal settlements.

» Zuma endorsed the African Exploration, Mining and Finance Corporation as the state-owned mining company that will undertake the mining of minerals of significance.

This comes against the backdrop of calls by the ANC Youth League for mines to be nationalised and the wealth used to fund education and social welfare. Zuma said the company would take advantage of US$ 2.5 trillion worth of mining assets which could be mined over the next century.

He said government would finalise and adopt the beneficiation strategy as the official policy of government, “so that we can start reaping the full benefits of our commodities”.

» Zuma said government would ensure that “every child has a textbook on time, and that we assist our teachers to create the right working environment for quality teaching to take place” . His administration would train principals in underperforming schools. Government, he said, would also spend money on training maths and science teachers.

» Zuma said nearly 15 million people were now receiving social grants, an increase of almost two million since March 2009. This formed part of the government’s aim to eradicate poverty.

But he warned that government was building a developmental state and not a welfare state, saying that “social grants will be linked to economic activity and community development, to enable short-term beneficiaries to become self-supporting in the long run”.

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