Bua Briefs - Highlights of the State of the Nation Address

11 February 2011


President Jacob Zuma noted that:

  • More than 400 000 additional people were served with basic water supply last year.
  • About 81% of the country is electrified compared to 63% in the year 2000.
  • The crime statistics show a decrease in most crimes, particularly armed robberies, housebreakings and business robberies as well as contact crimes, for example, the murder rate declined by 8,6% in the past year.
  • There has been a significant increase in the matric pass rate last year, and in the interest displayed by the youth in education around the country.
  • Close to 15 million South Africans obtain social grants from the State. Government will phase in the extension of the Child-Support Grant to cover eligible children under the age of 18 years.
  • The budget deficit is set to decline from the current 6,7% to between 3% and 4% by 2013.

Economic sectors and employment

Addressing the issue of job creation in his speech, the President noted government’s concern that unemployment and poverty were persisting despite the economic growth experienced in the past 10 years.

  • Government has declared 2011 a year of job creation, through meaningful economic transformation and inclusive growth.
  • Every government department will align its programmes to the job-creation imperative and called for local and provincial government, as well as the labour and business sectors to work with national government in this drive.

    Government measures forming part of the job-creation drive include:

    • The introduction of a New Growth Path (NGP) that will guide the Government’s work in achieving its job-creation goals. The NGP will work within the premise that the creation of decent work is at the centre of the country’s economic policies.
    • A call for the programmes of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and development finance institutions to be more strongly aligned to the job-creation agenda.
    • The establishment of a jobs fund of R9 billion over the next three years to finance new job-creation initiatives.
    • The Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) setting aside R10 billion over the next five years for investment in economic activities with a high jobs potential.
    • R20 billion in tax allowances or tax breaks to promote investments, expansions and upgrades in the manufacturing sector for a project to qualify, the minimum investment must be R200 million for new projects, and R30 million for expansion and upgrades. The programme will provide an allowance of up to R900 million in tax deductible allowances for new investors and R550 million for upgrades and expansions
    • A plan to merge the three agencies Khula, the South African Micro-Finance Apex Fund and the IDC’s small business funding into a single unit so as to cut administrative costs and streamline functions to better service small, medium and micro-enterprises, small-scale agriculture as well as cooperatives, as they too play a crucial role in job creation.
    • Continuing work in legislative reforms to make it easier to register businesses and to strengthen the Competition Act in order to open up the market to new participants, who in turn can also participate in the job-creation drive.


  • To further boost the country’s tourism potential, government will, among other measures, look into flexible visa requirements, improved landing slots at foreign airports as well as improved tourism infrastructure.
  • The cultural industries sector has also been designated for development as it is linked to tourism and contributes about R2billion to the gross domestic product.

 Agricultural sector 

  • There will be a focus on developing infrastructure that will boost the country’s agricultural sector with the aim of enhancing food security and creating work opportunities for many in mind, especially women in rural areas.

Public enterprises

  • The President called on SOEs to play a key role in skills development and help to provide the technical skills needed by the country’s economy.

 Rural development 

 Infrastructure issues 

  • By 2009, the mining industry contributed more than 30% to the country’s total export revenue, and employed 2,9% of the country’s economically active population.
  • Estimates suggest that our mineral resources are expected to be exploitable for over a century to come.
  • Government has endorsed the African Exploration, Mining and Finance Corporation as the State-owned mining company that will undertake the mining of minerals of strategic significance.
  • There are also plans to finalise and adopt the beneficiation strategy as the official policy of government, so that the country can begin to reap the full benefits of its commodities.
  • To ensure the security of electricity supply for the country, Eskom has invested more than R75 billion, mainly on the new stations Medupi, Kusile and Ingula, as well as the return to service and transmission of other projects.
  • This year, government will start procuring power from renewable energy power producers, which will demonstrate our commitment to renewable energy.
  • There are 1,2 million households living in the country’s 2 700 informal settlements. By the year 2014, 400 000 of the said households should have security of tenure and access to basic services.
  • The Expanded Public Works Programme aims to create 4, 5 million work opportunities, and more than a million opportunities have been created already since the beginning of Phase 2. Part of the programme focuses on repairing our roads networks.
  • Government will develop infrastructure that will boost our agricultural sector, while also helping to create jobs.

 Social protection and community development 


  • Government will spend R2,6 billion on water services this year. Among the priority areas are the provinces of Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape where there are still high numbers of people without safe drinking water.
  • Water reservoirs, windmills and irrigation schemes will be rehabilitated. Crops, livestock as well as grazing will be protected with the installation of fences. These projects will enhance food security and create work opportunities for many, especially women in rural areas.
  • The Job-creation drive should also enhance youth development. The National Youth Development Agency is in discussion with state organs and the private sector to mainstream youth development in public sector programmes and to promote youth enterprises and cooperatives.
  • The Government Position Paper on Social Security Reform is expected to be released this year for discussion.
  • There have been lots of complaints about local government. The frustrations in some areas resulted in protests, which indicated the problems that existed in this sphere.

  Governance and administration  

  • Government has instituted a turnaround strategy for local government, focusing on, among other things, the strengthening of basic administrative systems, financial management and customer care.
  • Government has directed the Special Investigating Unit to probe alleged maladministration or corruption in various government departments, municipalities and institutions. About R44 million has been recovered from public servants who are illegally benefiting from housing subsidies.
  • The Multi-Agency Working Group on procurement led by National Treasury, the South African Revenue Service and the Financial Intelligence Centre is reviewing the state procurement system to ensure better value for money.

Human development

  • Education
    Commitments include:
    • The focus in basic education this year is Triple T: Teachers, Textbooks and Time. The President reiterated the call that teachers must be at school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day, and that the administration must 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.
    • Government began the annual national assessments in literacy and numeracy that are internationally benchmarked, for grades 3, 6 and 9.
    • Government will continue investing in teacher training, especially in Mathematics and Science.
    • Government will pay special attention to the training of principals, particularly those in underperforming schools.
    • The focus of higher education will be to expand access, especially for children of the poor. This includes the conversion of loans into bursaries for qualifying final-year students.
    • There will be exemption for students in further education and training colleges who qualify for financial aid from paying fees


  • Health issues
    Government is committed to:
    • The appointment of appropriate and qualified heads of department, chief financial officers, hospital chief executive officers, district health officers and clinic managers.
    • The revitalisation of 105 nursing colleges countrywide, to train more nurses.
    • Opening a medical faculty at the Limpopo Academic Hospital to train more doctors.
    • The renovations and refurbishments of hospitals and clinics.
    • Broaden the scope of reproductive health rights and provide services related to, among other things, contraception, sexually transmitted infections, teenage pregnancies and sanitary towels for the indigent.
    • Government has revitalised its programmes and promote various prevention measures, including medical male circumcision, prevention of mother-to-child transmission and the promotion of HIV testing.
    • Over five million HIV tests have been done since the launch of the testing campaign in April last year.
    • Work has continued to develop the National Health Insurance policy and implementation plan. Government will soon be releasing the policy document for public engagement.
  •   Sports and recreation
    • Government will ensure that flags are placed in schools and public institutions to promote our national symbols and identity.
    • People to learn the national anthem and sing it properly, with pride.  
    • Government will also launch a programme celebrating National Icons and promote a National Heritage Route, to honour individuals who have made an enormous contribution to the liberation of our country.

Justice, crime prevention and security

Priorities in this cluster include:

  • improving the capacity and effectiveness of the police – in particular the detective services, forensic analysts and crime intelligence
  • increased visible policing and patrols in identified hotspots
  • reducing the proliferation of illegal and legal firearms
  • working with communities and other key stakeholders to deal with drug peddling and abuse
  • government continuing to prioritise crime against women and children, and provide support through Thuthuzela care centres.

 International cooporation 

  • Achievements on the international front include joining the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa (Brics) forum, which is an important bloc of emerging economies. The non-permanent seat in the United Nations Security Council will be used to promote the African Agenda as well as peace and security in Africa and the world.
  • The country will also host the fifth India-Brazil-South Africa (Ibsa) Summit this year; and will continue to argue for a more equitable world economic order at the G20 Forum.
  • The African Agenda remains the key policy focus, with South Africa serving a two-year term on the African Union (AU) Peace and Security Council. The country will also continue to participate in the revitalisation of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development with specific focus on the implementation of its infrastructure programme, of which we champion the North-South infrastructure development corridor.
  • The country will also chair the Southern African Development Community Organ on Politics, Defence and Security from August. Added to this, South Africa will participate in finding solutions to the situation in Cote d’Ivoire, as a member of the AU High-Level Panel chosen to help resolve the challenges in that country. The South African National Defence Force has on average deployed over 2 000 military personnel in peacekeeping operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Sudan and the Central African Republic.