LIVE COVERAGE: State of the Nation Address

Final preparations ahead of the State of the Nation Address by President Jacob Zuma. (Photo: GCIS)

All the coverage of what is happening at the State of the Nation Address.

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08.28 pm: Our duty to rebuild ubuntu – Zuma

South Africans need to work together to rebuild the spirit of ubuntu and shed the violent legacy of apartheid, President Jacob Zuma said during his state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.

“We have a collective responsibility to build a society that respects the rule of law, respects one another and which respects life and property,” he said.

“We should work together to rebuild ubuntu and a culture of responsibility in our society.”

Deaths during recent violent protests was “not a small matter”, Zuma said.

“We need to know what happened, why it happened.”

Corrective action needed to be taken against wrongdoing and police were required to act within the law.

Society should be concerned that almost 800 police officers were killed between 2005 and 2013.

“Police are protectors and are the buffer between a democratic society based on the rule of law, and anarchy. As we hold the police to account, we should be careful not to end up delegitimising them and glorify anarchy in our society.”

South Africa’s culture of violence had its origins in apartheid, and introspection was needed to shed this legacy, he said.

Sapa

 

08.21 pm: Violent protests worrying – Zuma

Premeditated violence during protests was worrying, President Jacob Zuma said during his state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.

“The right to protest, peacefully and unarmed, is enshrined in the Constitution. However, when protests threaten lives and property and destroy valuable infrastructure intended to serve the community, they undermine the very democracy that upholds the right to protest.”

Zuma acknowledged there had been a number of violent protests around the country in the past few weeks. These were due to the government’s “alleged failures”, he said.

“However the protests are not simply the result of ‘failures’ of government, but also of the success in delivering basic services.

“When 95 percent of households have access to water, the five percent who still need to be provided for feel they cannot wait a moment longer,” he said.

Zuma said success was the breeding ground of rising expectations.

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8.19 pm: SA united against corruption – Zuma

Government has recovered more than R320 million from perpetrators through the anti-corruption hotline, President Jacob Zuma said in his state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.

“Since the launch of the national anti-corruption hotline… over 13,000 cases of corruption and maladministration have been referred to government departments for further handling and investigation,” he said.

Fighting corruption within the public service was yielding results, Zuma told MPs, as members of opposition parties heckled him.

Some of the hotline’s “successes” included:

  • 1542 officials were dismissed from the public service;
  • 140 officials were fined three months salary;
  • 20 officials were demoted;
  • 355 officials were given final written warnings; and
  • 204 officials were prosecuted.

To prevent corruption in supply chains, government had decided to establish a central tender board to adjudicate tenders in all spheres of government. This body would work with the chief procurement officer, whose main function would be to check on pricing and adherence to procedures as well as fairness.

The Special Investigating Unit was probing maladministration or corruption in a number of government departments and state entities, through 40 proclamations signed by the president during the current administration.

In the first six months of last year, the Asset Forfeiture Unit paid a total of R149m into the criminal assets recovery account and to the victims of crime. This was 170 percent above its target of R55m and higher than had ever achieved in a full year.

Last year, the competition authorities investigated large-scale price fixing in the construction industry and fined guilty companies R1.4 billion. Further steps against those involved were underway.

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07.52 pm: Zuma puts focus on the economy

President Jacob Zuma emphasised building the economy in his state-of-the-nation address, warning that strife in the mining industry should not be allowed to destroy it.

07.48 pm: Trillion rand in infrastructure – Zuma

Government has invested one trillion rand in public infrastructure over the past five years, President Jacob Zuma said in his state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.

Many of the projects were completed or nearing completion, he said.

“The Rea Vaya system in Joburg is now used by more than 100,000 Gauteng residents.

“Similar systems are being built in Cape Town, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay, Buffalo City, eThekwini and Rustenburg.”

Zuma said the country’s harbours and ports had also been improved.

A 700-km fuel pipeline was built from Durban to Gauteng to transport four billion cubic litres of petrol, diesel and jet fuel a year.

Close to 1500km of new roads or lanes had been built.

“This progress in respect of roads reminds us of those who have served in this government before who wanted the best for the country,” he said.

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07.45 pm: SA must grow at plus five percent – Zuma

South Africa needs to grow its economy at more than five percent a year to be able to create jobs, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

In his state-of-the-nation address, delivered at Parliament, he told MPs the weaker exchange rate would make government’s infrastructure programme more expensive.

“We are still going through a difficult period. Developments in the United States economy have led to a rapid depreciation in the emerging market currencies, including the rand.”

Last year, the rand depreciated by 17.6 percent against the US dollar.

“The weaker exchange rate poses a significant risk to inflation, and will also make our infrastructure programme more expensive.

“However, export companies, particularly in the manufacturing sector, should take advantage of the weaker rand and the stronger global recovery.”

Zuma said the country would be able to cope with “this period of turbulence”. It had done so before in the past five years.

“We will, in fact, emerge stronger if we do the right things. We have to work together as government, business and labour to grow our economy at rates that are above five percent to be able to create the jobs we need.”

Sapa

 

07.43 pm: SA still in difficult economic period – Zuma

South Africa is still going through a difficult period economically, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

Developments in the US economy had led to a rapid depreciation in emerging market currencies, including the rand, he told MPs in his state-of-the-nation address.

During 2013, the rand depreciated 17.6 percent against the US dollar.

“The weaker exchange rate poses a significant risk to inflation and will also make our infrastructure programme more expensive,” he said.

However, export companies, particularly in the manufacturing sector, should take advantage of the weaker rand and the stronger global recovery.

“While we have these difficulties, we know that we can cope with this period of turbulence. We have done so before in the past five years. We will, in fact, emerge stronger if we do the right things.

“We have to work together as government, business and labour to grow our economy at rates that are above five percent to be able to create the jobs we need.”

This collaboration was already taking place.

“It is taking place at Nedlac, which is one of the key institutions of co-operation in our democracy, between government, business, labour and the community sector,” he said.

Sapa

 

07.27 pm: Zuma Cheered, praised in Assembly

President Jacob Zuma was greeted by a standing ovation and loud cheers in the National Assembly chamber on Thursday.

Zuma entered minutes after observing a military salute, followed by a 21-gun salute. A hush fell over the chamber and MPs stood while the national anthem was played.

Women ululated and a praise singer welcomed Zuma before he took to the podium to deliver his sixth state-of-the-nation address.

Prior to his entrance, MPs applauded premiers, who were the first to be ushered into the chamber as part of the ceremonial procession.

The premiers took their seats in front of the podium.

Members of the judiciary were led into the chamber by Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng.

The standing ovation was initiated by Justice Minister Jeff Radebe, who jumped up first, to lead the applause when Zuma entered.

Zuma later paid respect to various late ANC heroes, including former president Nelson Mandela. Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela made her first appearance at Parliament in months. Dressed in black, as she was still observing the mourning period, Madikizela-Mandela smiled as ministers and MPs surrounded her to greet her.

Madikizela-Mandela is an MP, but rarely seen during National Assembly sittings.

Her fellow MPs wore more colourful outfits, hats and bright colours. Expensive and ostentatious jewellery and accessories appeared to be a hit with the women MPs, and even with some of the men.

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07.12 pm: We must continue Mandela’s legacy – Zuma

South Africans had daunting challenges of poverty and unemployment to overcome, President Jacob Zuma said in his state-of-the-nation address on Thursday.

Zuma listed the achievements of South Africa’s successive democratic governments since Nelson Mandela took power in 1994, starting with burying an oppressive minority regime. They had made “South Africa a better place to live in now than it ever was before”.

But he said the country still faced inequality, poverty, and unemployment and the government’s efforts were focused on eradicating these problems. It was crucial that business, labour and government joined forces to create faster economic growth and jobs, he said.

In the face of pressure on the rand, which Zuma warned would make government’s infrastructure programme more expensive, the country needed to grow the economy “at a rate of above five percent to be able to create the jobs we need”.

Sapa

 

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07.13 pm: Zuma arrives at Parliament

President Jacob Zuma arrived alongside his first wife, Sizakele Khumalo, at Parliament on Thursday and started delivering his state-of-the-nation address at 7pm.

06.18: Winnie arrives at Parliament

Former president Nelson Mandela’s ex-wife Winnie Madikizela-Mandela made her first appearance in Parliament in months on Thursday.

06.15 pm: Parliament gets styled up

The red carpet in the Parliamentary precinct lit up with colour on Thursday as MPs, parliamentary staff and invited guests dazzled with their glamorous and not-so-glamorous outfits.

05.11 pm: Volunteers to line red carpet

Volunteers who keep citizens safe from fires, crime and disasters will make up the civil guard of honour greeting President Jacob Zuma at Parliament on Thursday evening.




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