President Cyril Ramaphosa has homed in on implementation of policy as the central feature of the sixth democratic administration, simultaneously admitting that his government faced financial constraints which could impact on delivery.
In a sombre address, Ramaphosa outlined seven priorities and five goals, acknowledging that due to fiscal constraints, his government would not be in a position to deliver “everything at one time”.
“Now is the time to focus on implementation. It is time to make choices. Some of these choices may be difficult and some may not please everyone.
“In an economy that is not growing, at a time when public finances are limited, we will not be able to do everything at one time,” he said.
The government would focus on seven key areas: economic transformation and job creation, education, skills and health, consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services, spatial integration, human settlements and local government, social cohesion and safe communities, a capable, ethical and developmental state and the promotion of a better Africa and the world.
He announced a “relentless focus” on economic growth in order to ensure that the economy grows at a much faster rate than the population in the next decade. “It is only when we reach consistently high rates of growth that we will be able to reverse the economic damage of our past. We make this assertion at a time when the economic outlook is extremely weak,” he said.
The president cited the “serious financial, operational and structural problems” at Eskom which led to rolling blackouts earlier this year as among the reasons for the bleak economic picture.
Ramaphosa announced an appropriation bill for fiscal support to Eskom, saying the power utility is too big to fail. Part of the plan to boost the economy includes an industrial strategy, emphasising sectors with the greatest potential for growth.