Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma
on Thursday announced the establishment of a jobs fund of R9bn over the next three years to finance new job-creation initiatives.
In addition, the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) had set aside R10bn over the next five years for investment in such economic activities with a high job creation potential, he told parliament in his third state of the nation address.
"It is also my pleasure Honourable Members, to announce R20bn in tax allowances or tax breaks to promote investments, expansions and upgrades in the manufacturing sector," Zuma said.
For a project to qualify, the minimum investment should be R200m for new projects, and R30m for expansion and upgrades.Merger may save money
The programme would provide an allowance of up to R900m in tax deductible allowances for new investors and R550m for upgrades and expansions.
Zuma said the small business sector was a critical component of the job creation drive.
"We will continue to provide financial and non-financial support to small, medium, and micro enterprises (SMMEs), small scale agriculture as well as cooperatives.
"We need to cut administrative costs, avoid duplication and direct more resources to small business," he said.
Therefore, consideration was being given to merging the
three agencies Khula, the SA Micro-Finance Apex Fund and the IDC's
small business funding into a single unit.
The programmes of state owned enterprises and
development finance institutions should also be more strongly aligned to
the job creation agenda.
Research had indicated that jobs could be created in six priority areas.
These were infrastructure development, agriculture, mining and beneficiation, manufacturing, the green economy and tourism.
Turning to mining, Zuma said the government would make
it a priority this year to adopt a beneficiation strategy "so that we
can start reaping the full benefits of our commodities".
Other priorities included giving a third of the 1.2
million households living in informal settlements security of tenure
within the next three years.
"By the year, 2014, 400 000 of the said households should have security of tenure and access to basic services."
Zuma acknowledged that service delivery needed to be
speeded up and, in a first, cited angry complaints citizens had posted
on government's Facebook page.