SONA 2024 shines light on renewal and reform
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12 Feb 2024
While the process of renewal and reform is currently in motion, more work is needed to see the reforms through to the end.
President Ramaphosa emphasised this during the 2024 State of the Nation Address in the Cape Town city hall on Thursday 9 February 2024.
Other work that government will focus on includes:
- seeing through work underway with partners to end load-shedding and revive the performance of ports and rail network;
- continuing to strengthen law enforcement institutions, tackle gender-based violence and fight corruption to make South Africa a safe place for all;
- continuing to strengthen local government, professionalise the public service and ensure that public officials are held accountable for their actions;
- continuing to position the local economy to grow and compete in a fast-changing world, support small businesses, give young people economic opportunities and provide social protection to the vulnerable;
- continuing the work to improve the country’s fiscal position and hold firm to a sound macroeconomic trajectory;
- using opportunities provided by the African Continental Free Trade Area to increase trade and expand industries; and
- continuing to build an inclusive economy, focusing on the empowerment of black and women South Africans, advancing workers’ rights, intensifying land reform and pursuing a just energy transition that leaves no-one behind.
Other developments highlighted by president Ramaphosa include:
- Presidential Employment Stimulus, launched three years ago, has created more than 1.7 million work and livelihood opportunities and placed more than 1 million school assistants in 23,000 schools, providing participants with valuable work experience while improving learning outcomes;
- Based on recommendations of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council, government plans to introduce further measures to strengthen anti-corruption agencies, protect whistle-blowers, regulate lobbying and prevent the undue influence of public representatives in procurement;
- Digital forensic capability set up, with the assistance of business, to support the NPA Investigating Directorate which will be expanded to support law enforcement more broadly;
- National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill currently before parliament to establish the Investigating Directorate as a permanent entity with full investigating powers;
- More than 14 000 km of new transmission lines to be built to accommodate renewable energy over the coming year – to fast-track process, private investment in transmission infrastructure will be enabled through a variety of innovative investment models;
- Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill tabled in parliament in August 2023 designed to support the restructuring of Eskom and establish a competitive electricity market – currently before the portfolio committee on mineral resources and energy;
- Climate Change Response Fund to be set up designed to bring together all spheres of government and the private sector in a collaborative effort to build our resilience and respond to the impacts of climate change;
- To deal with severe inefficiencies in freight logistics system, action being taken to improve ports and rail network and restore them to world-class standards – working closely with business and labour, dedicated teams set up to turn around five strategic corridors that transport goods for export purposes – freight rail system being overhauled by allowing private rail operators to access the rail network;
- New regulations published to reform the visa system to make it easier to attract the skills that the local economy needs and create a dynamic ecosystem for innovation and entrepreneurship;
- To support growth in the mining sector, government moving ahead with modernisation of mining rights licensing system – exploration fund launched to support emerging miners and exploit new mineral deposits;
- New and innovative funding mechanisms to be utilised to increase construction of infrastructure – water and sanitation department aims to enhance water resource management by initiating infrastructure projects to secure water supply and diversifying water sources to reduce dependence on surface water;
- Cabinet approved, in November last year, a framework for high-speed rail, focusing initially on the Johannesburg to Durban corridor;
- Access to early childhood development to be expanded and early grade reading improved over the next five years;
- Social relief of distress grant, introduced during Covid-19, to be extended and improved as the next step towards income support for the unemployed;
- National Health Insurance, designed to provide free health care at the point of care for all South Africans, whether in public or private health facilities, to be implemented incrementally dealing with issues like health system financing, the health workforce, medical products, vaccines and technologies, and health information systems; and
- Presidency, national treasury and COGTA working together to enhance technical capacity in local government and to improve planning, coordination and fiscal oversight.
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