The focus on infrastructure development in President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address has been welcomed by various quarters.
Zuma announced that South Africa will spend billions of rands over the coming years on new infrastructure, with the government to focus on building rail, road, and economic links in five regions in the country, the building of new universities and refurbishing hospitals.
Speaking in a post-SONA television interview, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said she “really liked” the focus on infrastructure-led economic growth, adding that the challenge was to translate the focus into delivery.
She added that she would have liked to see obstacles to delivery such as red tape, corruption and inappropriate people in key positions also mentioned in Zuma’s address.
While COSATU General Secretary Zwelinzima Vavi welcomed the focus on infrastructure, he was disappointed that there was “not enough talk” about infrastructure that would improve the lives of the people.
“Overall, the infrastructure noise is the correct noise to be making,” he said.
African Christian Democratic Party leader Rev Kenneth Meshoe said the President’s speech was one which gave hope, while also lauding the building of universities in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape.
Cabinet Ministers also welcomed the address but noted that hard work lay ahead for them.
Public Enterprises Minister Malusi Gigaba said: “We are excited about the announcement the President made. We have our work cut out for us.”
Higher Education Minister Blade Nzimande was enthusiastic about the prospect of new universities.
“We are very pleased about it and were going to be moving in earnest to do all the preparatory work that will see us building institutions sooner rather than later,” said Nzimande in the television interview.
Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel said the President had highlighted the country’s rail and road challenges, noting that the challenge was to bring rural South Africa into the economy. – BuaNews