‘Return SA’s wealth to all the people’

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He said the government expected 1.3% economic growth this year, which was not fast enough to keep up with population growth.

“We successfully avoided credit ratings downgrades, which would have had significant impact on our economy.

 

“Our labour market environment is also showing signs of stability due to co-operation by social partners. The manner in which parties conducted and carried themselves during the wage negotiations in the platinum sector, in particular, must be applauded,” Zuma said.

He welcomed an agreement this week on the national minimum wage and the stabilisation of labour relations .

Zuma said since 1994 about 7million households had gained access to electricity.

He also congratulated Eskom on its new build and maintenance programmes and committed the government to the improvement of bulk water supply, with about 10,000 youth being trained as plumbers and other artisans.

He also committed the government to the building of schools, with 173 having been constructed in place of mud schools since 2011.

Zuma said political freedom alone was incomplete without economic emancipation.

“It is inconceivable for liberation to have meaning without the return of the country’s wealth to all of the people,” he said.

He defined radical social transformation as the change of ownership, management and control of assets to all South Africans, especially the poor.

He said the majority of blacks remained economically disadvantaged, with the average white household earning five times more than the average black household.

Zuma also addressed the Gauteng psychiatric patient tragedy, in which 94 mentally ill patients died after being transferred from Life Esidimeni centres to unlicensed NGOs.

“Mentally ill patients are some of the most vulnerably members of society… I’ve instructed the minister of health to ensure that the health ombudsman’s recommendations are wholly and speedily implemented,” Zuma said.

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