Bua Briefs 1 of 2012

8 February 2012

Towards the 2012 State of the Nation (SoNA) address

Working Together We Can Do More!

President Jacob Zuma will deliver his SoNA at 19:00 on Thursday, 9 February 2012.

The SoNA is part of the opening of Parliament during a joint sitting of the two houses, namely the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces.

The SoNA primarily provides the President with a platform to communicate to Parliament and the National Assembly but also, very importantly, allows the President to communicate with the people of South Africa.

With SoNA, the President does not only address the nation in his capacity as Head of Government, but also as Head of State. In this position, the President takes stock of the previous year’s achievements and charts a common direction for the country for the coming year.

The SoNA is largely informed by the annual Cabinet Lekgotla in January where Cabinet assesses the impact of government programmes and deliberates on the forthcoming Programme of Action.

The 2012 January Lekgotla also served as a mid-term review during which Cabinet assessed progress made in the six areas (infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism) of the New Growth Path (NGP), which aims to enhance growth, employment creation and equity. This policy’s target is to create five million jobs over 10 years.

This year’s Lekgotla directed that various initiatives launched in 2011 to spur job creation should be maximised. There is a strong indication that “2011 as the year of job creation”, which President Jacob Zuma declared at the previous SoNA, will probably roll over into 2012, highlighting that continuity of government programmes is important for meeting the national priorities as they demand sustained interventions over long periods of time.

The 2012 Cabinet Lekgotla also reported that government had made notable progress across its five key priority areas of education, health, rural development, safety and crime prevention, as well as job creation.

Key messages Supporting statements
Job creation remains at the centre of government's efforts to create opportunities for all South Africans and transform the economy and society.
  • In July 2011, government formed two significant commissions to give substance to accelerate job creation through public-sector projects. The Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission is led by President Jacob Zuma while the Short-Term Job Creation Commission is led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
  • Cabinet calls on all sectors to “Play Your Part” and partner with government by maximising the initiatives to create and sustain economic activity and growth.
  • These initiatives include the innovative R9-billion Jobs Fund, which gives effect to the NGP as a focal national priority. The idea of the fund is not giving loans but rather grants on a co-funding basis.
  • Another intervention is the R10-billion loan scheme, established under the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), to help companies create new jobs. The scheme will run over five years, again with the aim of putting more South Africans to work.
  • Government merged its three agencies that support the small, medium and micro-enterprise sector to improve access, efficiency and effectiveness. The merger brings together Khula Enterprise Finance Limited, the South African Micro-Finance Apex Fund and the small business activities of the IDC.
  • A third intervention is the R20 billion in tax allowances of tax breaks to promote investments, expansions and upgrades in the manufacturing sector.
The 2012 Mid-Term Review is an important measure of the performance of this administration and a building block towards our assessment in 2014 of 20 years of democracy.


  • The Department of Performance Monitoring and Evaluation in The Presidency will in the next few weeks undertake final consultations with delivery forums in the various government clusters as part of finalising a review that will be published soon.
  • Government calls on all South Africans to engage with the 2012 Mid-Term Review against the backdrop of their own experiences and to share independent research with government.
  • The discussion around the review will direct us as a nation on who we are and where we are going. It will also contribute to a national consensus on how we should measure our progress that we have made towards a better life for all South Africans.
The SoNA charts government's vision and action for a prosperous, united and equal South Africa.
  • The President’s SoNA is followed by the post-SoNA ministerial cluster media briefings which provide detailed information on future and current government programmes.
  • In bolstering this heightened period of government communication, a mix of public participation visits are planned as well as ministerial interviews on mainstream and community media to attain maximum public reach.



Economic development

R350-million assistance package for Cuba
South Africa and Cuba have signed a R350-million Economic Assistance Package Agreement geared towards helping Cuba improve its food security and stimulating trade between the two countries. The signing is a follow-up to President Jacob Zuma's State Visit to Cuba in 2010.

Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) report highlights jobs potential of South African mining
According to an IDC report, a supportive operational environment together with a turnaround in South Africa’s mineral extraction rates could stimulate the creation of an additional 140 000 direct mining jobs by 2020 and over 200 000 by 2030. The report noted that the country’s raw mineral exports had increased steadily over the past decade, while exports of beneficiated minerals were exceeding pre-financial crisis levels in value terms.

South African living standards “on the up”
According to the latest South Africa Survey by the South African Institute of Race Relations, the proportion of adults with the lowest living standards has decreased by 77% over the last 10 years. Using Living Standards Measures (LSMs), the survey shows that in 2001, one in 10 (11%) adults was in LSM 1, the lowest LSM category. By 2010, this had fallen to only 2%. Over the same period, the proportion of adults in the top three LSM categories, LSMs 8 to 10, increased by 25%. In 2001, 16% of adults were in LSMs 8 to 10, while by 2010 this had increased to 20%, or one in five adults.

World Economic Forum's (WEF) Crystal Award

Yvonne Chaka Chaka became the first African woman to receive the WEF Crystal Award for artists who improve the world through their work. Chaka Chaka, a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations' Roll Back Malaria Partnership, was presented with the award during the opening ceremony of the forum's annual meeting in Davos.

Service-delivery initiatives

Premier's Hotline set to improve service delivery

The Gauteng Provincial Government has launched the Premier's Hotline in a move aimed at accelerating service delivery in the province. Premier Nomvula Mokonyane said: "The hotline will focus on improving service delivery by providing accurate, reliable and timeous information to the residents of Gauteng on all services rendered by government."

Residents are encouraged to send opinions and recommendations, which will be used to improve service delivery. With 70 trained agents, callers will receive a response from call centre agents within 72 hours. It will operate between 7am and 10pm, and can be reached on the toll-free number: 0860 428 8364, hotline@gauteng.gov.za, or by fax at 011 429 3223.

Education infrastructure

Gauteng to build 79 new schools, refurbish existing ones

The Gauteng Department of Education (GDE) is seeking expressions of interest from building contractors for the construction of 79 new schools and the refurbishment of 12 Phase 1 schools and 285 existing schools in the province. The GDE admitted to having its “fair share” of the national schools facilities backlog and despite attempts to address this problem, the current financial allocations and the lack of provincial delivery capabilities were hindering progress.

Environmental affairs

Cabinet approves national waste management plan

Cabinet has approved the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) that spells out the overarching methods to implement the Waste Act, 2008 and its Waste Management Strategy. Government has, through the departments of water affairs and of environmental affairs, developed and amended legislation to address the general waste management problem in the country and the NWMS is the master plan for the implementation of the legislation.

Sport and recreation

Laureus Sports Awards
South Africa’s Oscar Pistorius was presented with the Laureus Disability Award, after becoming the first amputee to win a track medal in the non-disabled World Championships, a silver in the 4 x 400 metres relay.


South African doctor wins international award for TB research
Dr Bavesh Kana, a senior research scientist and unit head of the Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research at the University of the Witwatersrand, was one of 28 top biomedical scientists chosen from 12 countries for the prestigious Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s inaugural International Early Career Scientist Award. He was chosen from among 760 applicants for his keen interest to understand what triggers latent TB. Kana will receive a $-650 000 (more than R5 million) grant over the next five years for research he hopes will produce interventions to speed up TB diagnosis.