One more time: Nationalisation isn't policy, says Zuma

The nationalisation of mines is not ANC or government policy, President Jacob Zuma has reiterated, drawing attention instead to job creation and building infrastructure.

“Nationalisation is not our policy. It’s as clear as that,” he said to applause at a business breakfast gathering in Cape Town on Friday.

We captured some of the glitz and glam of this year’s State of the Nation address as some of the most important people in South African politics took to the red carpet ahead of President Jacob Zuma’s speech.
He said the African National Congress Youth League under the leadership of Julius Malema had raised the issue and, as was the norm, it would be discussed at ANC policy conferences.

“It is only that decision of that conference. We do not do things in secret… It does not mean that [because] one person has a view it is policy,” he said.

“Please, nationalisation is not the ANC or government’s policy.”

Infrastructure focus
Malema is facing possible suspension from the party after a disciplinary hearing ruled he had brought the ANC into disrepute.

In expanding on points raised in his State of the Nation address on Thursday night, Zuma asserted that to create more jobs and reverse the economic slump, government’s goal to massively expand infrastructure was the best option.

“We believe the infrastructure we are talking about is massive and it has to create jobs,” Zuma said.

He said the public needed to rein in its scepticism over the government’s capacity to meet its investment plans for development.

“Do we have the means to implement the plans? What we’ve said is what we believe we are in a position to achieve.”

Strict timelines
In an attempt to ensure delivery, stricter timelines for completion of projects—such as the ones set for building infrastructure for the 2010 World Cup—would be imposed.

“It’s no longer going to be government as usual.
We are in fact going to enhance the law [around time schedules]. I’m sure down the line you will see the difference, absolutely.”

Zuma also quashed a suggestion that government had failed to create the jobs it had predicted it would have by now. He said despite the global financial crisis and the eurozone’s economic turmoil, it was a feather in the country’s cap that some jobs had been found.

“In the face of the challenges globally, things were not very smooth. That we are able to create jobs [at all], it tells you that the scorecard is not that bad.”

Zuma urged the private sector to become more positive, mentor and support emerging businesses, and increase investment both in South Africa and the continent.

“You cannot have jobs without the private sector investing.”

Tolls needed
Referring to the controversial electronic tolling of Gauteng’s freeways, which was currently on hold, Zuma said it was necessary to maintain the country’s transport corridors.

However, he conceded that concerns, expressed particularly by the poor and workers that it would be a financial burden, were valid.

“I think they have a point to some degree ... but I still think toll gates are the way to go. There are discussions. I’m sure there will be some concessions made. If we have good roads, they need to be maintained.”—Sapa

For news and multimedia on the State of the Nation address visit our special report.

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