News / Africa

Zuma’s Plan for South Africa Wins Support

South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (File)
South Africa's President Jacob Zuma (File)

Reaction to South African President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address - where he outlined plans for an ambitious infrastructure development to boost the economy  and create jobs  - has been generally favorable.

Speaking at the annual opening of parliament in Cape Town, President Zuma promised his government will spend billions of dollars on five major rail, road and water infrastructure projects.  Zuma says the projects are aimed at wooing investment in capital intensive sectors to create jobs.

"The massive investment in infrastructure must leave more than just power stations, rail lines, dams and roads," he said. "It must industrialize the country, generate skills and boost much needed job creation.”

Limpopo in the north - a resource rich, and populous but underdeveloped province - is high on the priority list to boost infrastructure in two areas to encourage exploitation of the large deposits of coal, platinum, palladium, chrome and other minerals.

The president noted that in addition to mining these resources, South Africa must also encourage investment in beneficiation.  Currently most of the country’s mineral wealth is exported in a raw state.

Other projects will beef up the strategic corridor between the industrial and agricultural centers of Johannesburg and the Free State province and the country’s largest commercial harbor in Durban; the west coast iron-ore corridor and a manganese export channel through the deep water harbor at Port Elizabeth on the south coast.

Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan is to unveil funding details in two weeks, but it is expected that the government will spend some $100 billion over the next three years.

South Africa has struggled to significantly speed up economic growth since the global recession in 2008. This, along with structural defects in the energy sector, has discouraged investors, both local and international.

Aubrey Matshiqi, research fellow at the Helen Suzman Foundation, says the president’s speech was aimed at boosting confidence across the board that he is in charge and taking the country in the right direction.

"The fact that he focused so much on infrastructure development was very positive, because South Africa’s economy does need a boost and the state needs to be at the center of that process, of course working in conjunction with the private sector," said Matshiqi.

But Matshiqi says South Africans need to be cautious as the government’s past track record reveals a significant gap between what has been promised and what has been implemented.

"So while we need to be happy as South Africans about the economic direction our government seems to be taking or intends to take, we do need to ask questions about what the sources of funding for our infrastructure development program will be.  Secondly, what the government is going to do with issues of enhancing state capacity particularly as it pertains to state resource leakages in the form of corruption, incompetence and ineffective implementation," said Matshiqi.

In addition to the infrastructure development projects, Zuma also promised the government would build two new universities, one in Limpopo and the other in the Eastern Cape.  And he urged South Africans to do all they can to support the country’s bid to host the international Square Kilometer Array radio telescope - the largest in the world to explore new recesses of the universe. South Africa is competing against Australia to host the project and the winning bid will be announced next month.



You May Like

Cambodia Seeks Official UN Maps for Vietnam Border

Notice of request comes as 2 countries open border talks Tuesday after a clash last month More

From South Africa to Vietnam, Cyclists Deliver Message Against Rhino Horns

Appalled by poaching they saw firsthand, sisters embark on tour to raise awareness in countries where rhino horn products are in demand More

Uber Wants Johannesburg Police Protection

Request follows recent protests outside ride-hailing service's Johannesburg office More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Maia Pujara
July 07, 2015 10:01 PM
A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video New Implant Could Help Restore Movement to Paralyzed Limbs

A half-million people suffer spinal cord injuries each year because of car accidents, serious falls and diseases, according to the World Health Organization. Researchers are now working on a soft but strong spinal cord implant that could one day restore movement in paralyzed individuals. VOA’s Maia Pujara reports.
Video

Video Getting it Done Beyond a Nuclear Deal

If a nuclear deal is reached between Iran and world powers in Vienna, it will be a highly technical road map to be used to monitor nuclear activity in Iran for years to come to ensure Tehran does not make nuclear weapons. Equally as complicated will be dismantling international sanctions that were originally intended to be ironclad. VOA’s Heather Murdock talks to experts about the key challenges any deal will present.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.

VOA Blogs