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2017-02-14
State of Nation Address Summary


SUMMARY OF STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS 2017

The State of the Nation Address (SoNA) is an occasion whereby the President accounts to Parliament and the Nation on what Government has done in 2016 and provides an overview of what Government plans to do in 2017. The summary below focusses on what Government plans to do in 2017.

1. Entrepreneurship/unemployment, with a particular focus on the youth

Economic growth rate is anticipated at of 1.3% in 2017.

The Nine-Point Plan aims to reignite growth in order to create jobs. The focus areas include industrialization, mining and beneficiation, agriculture and agro-processing, energy, small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs), managing workplace conflict, attracting investments, growing the oceans economy and tourism.

On investment promotion, government has established InvestSA, an investment one-stop shop nationally and will open provincial centres in KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng and the Western Cape. The message is clear to the affected government departments. There must be no undue delays and no unnecessary red tape.

It was emphasized that the economy is not growing fast enough to create the jobs and that many people, including youth, that have not worked for years.

In the effort to curb water wastage, about 10 000 to 15 000 unemployed youth are being trained as plumbers, artisans and water agents.

The Extended Public Works Programme have created two million work opportunities. A million of which have been taken up by the youth.

Government will continue to pursue policies that seek to broaden the participation of black people and SMMEs, including those owned by women and the youth, in the information and communications technology sector.

2. BBBEE- and related issues, such as the Codes and Enterprise Development

No specific mention regarding the amendments to BEE codes however, the following statements will inform any amendments in the direction of transformation:

“Only 10% of the top 100 companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are owned by black South Africans, directly achieved principally, through the black empowerment codes, according to the National Empowerment Fund.

The pace of transformation in the workplace, the implementation of affirmative action policies as required by the Employment Equity Act, 1998 (Act 55 of 1998) also remains very slow.

In terms of the 2015/16 information submitted to the Employment Equity Commission, the representation of whites at top management level amounted to 72% while African representation was at 10%.

The representation of coloureds stood at 4.5% and Indians at 8.7%. …The report further provides that white South Africans, in particular males, are afforded higher levels of recruitment, promotion and training opportunities as compared to the designated groups.

At the level of gender at senior management level, males remain dominant at 67.6% and females at 32.4%. …The State will play a role in the economy to drive that transformation. In this regard, government will utilise to the maximum, the strategic levers that are available to the State. This includes legislation, regulations, licensing, budget and procurement as well as Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment charters to influence the behaviour of the private sector and drive transformation.

As a start, the new regulations making it compulsory for big contractors to subcontract 30% of business to black-owned enterprises have been finalised and were gazetted on 20 January. Through such regulations and programmes, government will be able to use the State buying power to empower small enterprises, rural and township enterprises, designated groups and to promote local industrial development. …mainstream the empowerment of women in all government programmes.”

Less than 5% of the property sector is owned or managed by black people and Africans in particular. To further the transformation, a Property Practitioners Bill is being drafted and will be published for comment.

Mining charter will be reviewed.

The bill amending the Expropriation Act, 1975 (Act 63 of 1975) bill to be sent back to Parliament as there are concerns about its constitutionality.

SA will push for the renewal of African Growth and Opportunity Act. It was stated that China is one of South Africa’s most important and key strategic partners. At continental partnership level, the Joint Africa-European Union (EU) Strategy remains an important long-term framework for continued cooperation.

The Economic Partnership agreement with the EU came into force in September 2016, thus providing new market access opportunities for South African products. Almost all South African products, about 99% will have preferential market access in the EU.

The Southern African Customs Union Mercosur Preferential Trade Agreement has also entered into force, providing preferential access to over 1 000 tariff lines. This is an agreement that promotes South-South trade.