Delivering the ANC's annual January 8 statement on behalf of the party's national executive committee (NEC), Zuma said decisive action was required to thoroughly and urgently transform the economic patterns of the present in order to realise "our vision for the future".
Zuma made it clear the ANC was not intending to change its current economic policies, which have widely been blamed, particularly by some leaders from the left and the ANC Youth League.
The recent ANC national conference rejected calls to nationalise mines and other key sectors of the economy. Instead, the ANC resolved to create a state mining company that will compete with the private sector.
"We have also resolved that the state must capture an equitable share of mineral resources rents through the tax system and deploy them in the interests of long-term economic growth, development and transformation. Government must implement this resolution," said Zuma.
Zuma said the ANC national conference opted for a mixed economy, where public, private, cooperative and other forms of social ownership complement each other in an integrated way.
"Within this mixed economy, we re-affirm the active and interventionist role of the state in ensuring economic development.
"It must be a state that has the capacity to intervene in the economy to lead development," Zuma said.
Key programmes of the NDP
Zuma urged all South Africans to unite behind the national development plan (NDP), which sets out various measures to tackle unemployment, poverty and inequality.
He said his government was already implementing some of the key programmes of the NDP, such as the new growth path and the infrastructure development plan.
"The infrastructure development plan has introduced the national and central coordination of the building of dams, roads, bridges, power stations, schools, hospitals, two new universities and other infrastructure that will change the landscape of our country and the lives of our people," he said.
He said the government would accelerate the implementation of all 18 strategic infrastructure projects, especially those directed at the 23 poorest districts in the country.
"The projects focusing on the 23 districts will ensure the provision of water, electricity and sanitation and will change the lives of approximately 19-million people," said Zuma.
Some of the districts that will benefit include; John Taolo Gaetsewe in Northern Cape; Ngaka Modiri Molema and Ruth Mompati in the North West; Mopani, Greater Sekhukhune, Capricorn and Vhembe in Limpopo; Zululand, Amajuba, Uthukela, Sisonke and Ugu from KwaZulu-Natal; Ehlanzeni from Mpumalanga; Alfred Nzo, OR Tambo, Chris Hani, Amathole and Ukhahlamba from the Eastern Cape; and Xhariep in the Free State, said Zuma.
With only one year left before the national elections, Zuma promised that his government would fast track the supply of water to 1.4-million households and sanitation to 2.1-million households that were still without these basic needs.
He said the eradication of mud schools and the refurbishment of more than 2 000 schools and 886 health facilities nationwide would be concluded as part of the government's infrastructure programme.
The special presidential package
He said the private sector should view the infrastructure programme as an opportunity to partner with the government for sustainable development and job creation.
"Mining has historically been the backbone of our economy and should still contribute meaningfully to our development. We call on the ANC government to place the state mining company at the forefront of state intervention in the mining sector."
Zuma said the ANC has directed the fast-tracking of the work of the "special presidential package" initiative, designed to improve the living and working conditions of workers in key mining towns, following the unfortunate Marikana tragedy.
"We call on all role-players – government, labour, business and the community sector to work together to make this special project succeed."
Zuma said the issue of land would be among the key priorities on the ANC agenda.
"At the 52nd national conference in Polokwane we committed ourselves to transfer 30% of the 82-million hectares of agricultural land which was white-owned in 1994 to black people by 2014. The ANC government is unlikely to meet this target given the slow pace of land reform. We have directed our government to urgently speed up the process through a variety of measures. The implementation of these measures will take into account the principles contained in the Constitution in relation to land expropriation.
"We will replace the principle of 'willing buyer; willing seller' which has not sufficiently addressed the problem, with the 'just and equitable' principle when expropriating land for land reform purposes.
In addition to what government has already done to implement land restitution programmes; our government will re-open the lodgement date for claims and provide for the exception to the 1913 cut-off date to accommodate historical landmarks, heritage sites and descendants of the Khoi and San who lost their land long before 1913. These amendments to our laws will take effect this year," said Zuma.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula attended the event. Motlanthe and Mbalula lost the contest against Zuma and Gwede Mantashe for the positions of president and secretary general last December.