Zuma promises jobs and economic growth for 2017
IGNITING economic growth to create more jobs would be top of government’s agenda for 2017, President Jacob Zuma said in his New Year’s message to South Africans.
Zuma described 2016 as a fruitful year in which government worked hard to fight poverty, inequality, unemployment, and reversing “the legacy of apartheid colonialism” through extending services like housing, water, electricity, education, healthcare, among others, to citizens.
“The year 2017 must be a decisive one for the country as we take the reconstruction and development programme forward,” he said.
“Jobs remain high on the list of priorities of our people. In this regard, we must continue to promote unity in action to reignite economic growth.”
Zuma lauded business and labour for working with government to support economic growth, adding this cooperation should continue in the new year.
“Importantly, together we must take the economic transformation programme forward. We need to change the commanding heights of the economy, and increase the participation of black people as owners and managers,” he said.
“Progress made on the achievement of this goal will greatly enhance the national reconciliation programme.”
The fight against racism should be elevated in 2017, said Zuma, to enhance reconciliation and nation building.
“All institutions and businesses must promote inclusion and non-racialism. Nobody must be excluded on the basis of colour or race, through subtle and unconstitutional means.”
Zuma said two centenaries will be marked in 2017 – 100 years since the birth of the African National Congress’s longest serving president Oliver Tambo as well as a century since the sinking of the ship, Mendi in February 1917. Over 600 people were killed, most of them black South African troops.
“The two centenaries must be used to unite all our people in appreciation of what the country has achieved against all odds, in building a new society from the ashes of apartheid colonialism.”
Zuma extended condolences to those who lost loved ones during the festive season, adding a plea for road users to drive responsibly as the death toll on the country’s roads continued to climb.
“Irresponsible behaviour costs lives.”
Members of the country’s emergency services who had to forego the holidays to serve the country’s citizens did not go unnoticed, said the President.
“We thank our law enforcement agencies, especially the police and traffic authorities, for ensuring order and peace during the holidays,” he said.
“We also acknowledge health care professionals and other public sector workers, retail and hospitality sector staff, the media, and all others who are on duty during the holidays.” – ANA