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

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
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.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs