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Ramaphosa: 2018 the year to transform SA economy

Feb 11 2018 18:00
Lameez Omarjee

Cape Town – The year 2018 is a year for action, where social players in South Africa take steps to transform the economy, said Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

He was addressing the crowd at the Grand Parade in Cape Town on Sunday, where the ANC was holding celebrations to mark Nelson Mandela’s centenary.

During his address Ramaphosa also said that the transition of South Africa’s presidency will be brought to finality at the national executive committee’s meeting on Monday.

As part of continuing Nelson Mandela’s legacy, Ramaphosa called for a social compact where different players work together to realise economic growth, job creation and transformation.

“This is a year of celebration but it is also a year of action, action that will begin to transform the lives of our people,” said Ramaphosa.

“We must work together as Madiba taught us to push back the frontiers of poverty, to push back the frontiers of unemployment and inequality by providing quality education to the children of the poor and working class,” he said.

Accelerate land reform

Ramaphosa also said that the process of land reform must get under way. “It must be the year in which we accelerate the return of the land to those from whom it was taken and in which we plant the seeds of an agricultural revolution.”

He said that this “great resource”, which was forcibly taken from people, should be returned to them.

“This must be the year in which we make great strides in unlocking the wealth of our economy. A year in which we attract and unlock greater investment in those industries which have greatest potential to grow the economy, including mining, manufacturing, agriculture and tourism,” he said.

Ramaphosa also spoke of reaching a continental free trade agreement for the African continent, and he referred to Mandela’s travels across the continent to gain support against apartheid. “It must be a year in which we lessen conflicts in our continent,” he added.

National Minimum Wage to take effect

This year also marks the introduction of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), which takes effect on May 1, Ramaphosa highlighted.

He thanked the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) for leading negotiations along with other labour federations.

“That is going to mean that no worker in our country must earn less than the NMW except for those from the two sectors, domestic workers and agriculture,” he said.

“The NMW will improve lives of 6.6 million low-paid works in our country and make an important contribution to our ongoing efforts to tackle severe inequality in our country.”

Ramaphosa said that Mandela would be pleased with the NMW, which was an objective of the Freedom Charter.

He went onto say that efforts will be made to continue Nelson Mandela’s legacy by fighting corruption.

“We will continue with his legacy of fighting corruption and making sure that those who are corrupt and steal from the poor are brought to justice. That is what Nelson Mandela would have wanted.”

Ramaphosa added that steps will be taken to fight capture of state institutions and to address governance issues and corruption at state-owned enterprises.

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