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What Ramaphosa promised South Africans

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the 2018 State of the Nation address in Parliament.
President Cyril Ramaphosa President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the 2018 State of the Nation address in Parliament.
Image: Esa Alexander

Newly elected President Cyril Ramaphosa made many promises in his state of the nation address on Friday.

While the promises and plans he made to the public were both general and specific‚ he made a number of undertakings he would personally deal with.

Given the mess he inherited from his successor‚ Jacob Zuma‚ if Ramaphosa lives by his promises‚ he will surely be a busy man this year.

Among his promises were to:

- Set up a team “to speed up implementation of new projects‚ particularly water projects‚ health facilities and road maintenance”.

- Establish a Digital Industrial Revolution Commission, “which will include the private sector and civil society‚ to ensure that our country is in a position to seize the opportunities and manage the challenges of rapid advances in information and communication technology”.

- Introduce the first national minimum wage in South Africa on May 1.

- Appoint a presidential economic advisory council to ensure greater coherence and consistency in the implementation of economic policy “and to ensure that we are better equipped to respond to changing economic circumstances”. It will draw on the expertise and capabilities that reside in labour‚ business‚ civil society and academia.

- Make‚ from this year onwards‚ free higher education and training available to first-year students from households with a gross combined annual income of up to R350‚000.

- Ensure there would not be any disruption to the efficient delivery of social grants. He has undertaken to take action against anyone who is undermining the implementation deadlines set by the Constitutional Court to deal with social grants.

- Launch a huge cancer campaign‚ similar to the HIV counselling and testing campaign‚ in the next three months.

- Initiate a process to review the configuration‚ number and size of national government departments.

- Intervene “decisively” to stabilise and revitalise state-owned enterprises – just in case you thought he forgot about the mess at SOEs. The National Prosecuting Authority will also get his attention. “I will urgently attend to the leadership issues at the National Prosecuting Authority to ensure that this critical institution is stabilised and able to perform its mandate unhindered‚” he said.

- Not spare SARS. “I will shortly appoint a commission of inquiry into tax administration and governance of SARS‚ to ensure that we restore the credibility of the Service and strengthen its capacity to meet its revenue targets‚” Ramaphosa said.

- Promised to meet with provincial and local government leaders “to ensure that the state‚ in its entirety‚ responds to the pressing needs of our people”.

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