Cyril promises change in ANC’s 2019 election manifesto

JOHANNESBURG — With any political party’s manifesto, you have to take their promises with a pinch of salt. However, it’s all part and parcel of our election season and even though it’s debatable about whether political parties ever truly meet their promises, it is still an important part of our democracy to see what each party wants to bring to the table. The ANC has had a rather questionable track record on all things, ranging from corruption to dire education and very poor economic policies. But in this manifesto speech, President Cyril Ramaphosa tries to acknowledge his party’s shortcomings while playing up its successes. And then, of course, there’s a very long list of promises to read through in which he even mentions the word ‘reform’ seven times… – Gareth van Zyl

By Cyril Ramaphosa ANC President

Fellow South Africans,

The freedom we enjoy today was achieved through struggle, determination and great sacrifice. Despite challenges and setbacks, we won our freedom by working together and never giving up.

As we continue to work as a nation to create jobs, end poverty and build a better life for all, we must act with greater determination. Only by working together, can we strengthen democracy and grow South Africa.

Over the past 25 years, the lives of the people of South Africa have changed for the better. Millions of people have houses, electricity and access to clean drinking water. Children from poor communities have access to free education. In the past five years the number of HIV positive people on antiretroviral treatment has doubled while the overall rate of new infections is decreasing. Over 17,5 million of our most vulnerable citizens receive social grants. We advanced the cause and rights of workers to organise, collectively bargain, refuse dangerous work, and to strike. A National Minimum Wage comes into effect from January 2019, improving the lives of over six million workers.

Although much has been achieved, we could have moved faster and the quality of services could have been much better. We accept that mistakes have been made and in some critical areas, progress has stalled.

This is a moment of renewal. It is an opportunity to restore our democratic institutions and return our country to a path of transformation, growth and development.

The country’s future is now in the hands of those who believe in it the most. The voter.

Together with the people of South Africa, the ANC is ready to write the next chapter in our country’s history.

A chapter of new hope in the fight to eradicate unemployment, poverty and inequality.

A chapter where we uproot corruption. A chapter of renewal.

A chapter of rebuilding.

A chapter that pursues shared prosperity and inclusive growth. Let’s turn the page and Let’s Grow South Africa. Together.

The African National Congress is a broad movement of the people with the historic mission to build a united and democratic South Africa that is non-racial, non-sexist and prosperous. Many people fought a long and hard struggle and sacrificed much to bring about freedom and democracy in this country.

The Freedom Charter remains our inspiration and our strategic guide to realising a better life and a South Africa that truly belongs to all who live in it.

The Freedom Charter is the living soul of our country’s progressive constitution and is the foundation of Vision 2030 of the National Development Plan (NDP). Everything we are doing is in pursuance of the vision of the NDP to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Over the past 25 years, the dignity of our people has been restored. The lives of South Africans have improved. We promoted nation-building, social cohesion and celebrated our diversity as a nation. We pursued world peace and advanced an agenda for a better Africa and a better world.

Much of what we set out to do in the 2014 Manifesto has been implemented with varying degrees of success.

So much remains to be done to bring us closer to the achievement of the Freedom Charter.

Our struggle for radical socio-economic transformation continues.

Our economy has not been fundamentally transformed to serve all people. Unemployment remains high, particularly among the youth. The land question has not been fully addressed. The country has obscene levels of income and wealth inequality. Gender-based violence has reached crisis proportions and drugs, violent crimes and gangsterism are wreaking havoc in many communities. Corruption continues to raise its ugly head, threatening the very moral and ethical basis of our young democracy. Our education, training and health systems still need radical improvements.

The ANC acknowledges that we made mistakes and veered off course.

As a nation, we have learned the harsh impact of corruption on society and the economy. We have witnessed the loss of integrity in some of the institutions of state, business and political and other organisations. We have learned hard lessons about the vigilance needed to stop lawlessness, greed and selfishness from taking root.

We are resolved to work with our people to address this cancer in our society.

After a difficult time, we are on the cusp of a new era of hope and renewal – the New Dawn is upon us.

The ANC has a unique history of advancing the aspirations of South Africans. The commitments we make in this Manifesto are in the spirit of Thuma Mina that inspires the New Dawn. At critical moments in our country’s history, we have demonstrated that we can mobilise and unite South Africans around the common challenges facing the country.

We have shown the capacity to self-correct where mistakes have been committed. We are a movement with experience in governance and a clear resolve to advance an agenda of radical socio-economic transformation.

This Manifesto is informed by the 54th National Conference of the ANC and, true to our tradition, we have consulted widely and listened to many voices in drafting the Manifesto. These voices include those of our Alliance partners and a broad range of organisations in the wider civil society. The peoples’ priorities are incorporated in this Manifesto.

Our Manifesto is a coherent and bold people’s plan for a better life for all, addressing the persistent realities of unemployment, poverty and inequality. The NDP will to continue to guide government’s policy agenda and will be implemented at a brisker pace.

Our Manifesto is about:

– Transforming the economy to serve all people, through interventions that promote a developmental growth path to create more jobs and decent jobs. This will need sustainable and radical land reform and a plan to broaden ownership of the economy. It will mean that we must address monopolies, excessive concentration and the growth- inhibiting structure of the economy and advance an industrial plan for localisation. We must drive innovation and the digital revolution, increase levels of investment in the economy, accelerate the provision of infrastructure to support the economy and meet basic needs, transform and diversify the financial sector, consolidate support for small businesses and cooperatives, as well as the grow the township and village economy. These interventions will be accompanied by the development of an appropriate macroeconomic framework to support the transformation of the economy to serve all people.

– Advancing social transformation that continues to make education and health our priorities to radically improve access and quality, building more homes, a modern, integrated, affordable, accessible and reliable public transport system, and working towards a comprehensive social security system to protect the well-being of the people and society. Our Manifesto focuses on keeping our communities safe by ensuring there is security in our streets, our homes, our schools and our borders. This includes our fight against gender-based violence, drugs and gangsterism.

– Stepping up the fight against corruption throughout society and safeguarding the integrity of the state and ethical leadership.

– Re-building and renewing a capable and developmental state, re-organising the way government interacts with the people, rebuilding and improving local government, and improving public accountability and responsiveness to the needs and concerns of the people, and rebuilding and improving the local government system.

– Advancing nation-building and social cohesion, stepping up the fight against racism, sexism, homophobia and other intolerances.

– Building a better Africa and a better world.

This manifesto sets out how we will improve the lives of South Africans and grow South Africa together.

Twenty-five years ago, the South African people changed the course of history and broke the bonds of colonialism, apartheid and patriarchy.

On April 27, 1994, we finally held South Africa’s first non-racial, democratic election and the nation delivered a decisive majority to the African National Congress. It is through this election that our beloved President Nelson Mandela assumed the helm with a commitment to build a better life for all South Africans.

Today, we look back at this process of critical political and social change full of pride because of what the ANC, its allies and the people of this country have achieved.

We have made progress and faced challenges in our foundational aspiration to build a united and democratic South Africa.

– Our constitution is embraced by all South Africans, advancing the individual and collective rights of our people. Our robust Chapter Nine institutions, judiciary and parliament are critical safeguards to protect these rights.

– We have improved the representation and empowerment of women in the public and private sectors through our constitutional commitment to non-sexism and gender equality.

– Our democracy unleashed the creative energies of all people in sports, arts, music, literature, film and dance, as well as science, technology and innovation.

– Although the demon of racism is far from defeated, we have a society that refuses to accept racism as the norm.

The lives of the majority of South Africans have improved:

– Electricity:

– In 1994, only 36% of the population and only 12% of people in rural communities had access to electricity.

– Today, 8 out of 10 South Africans, including those in rural areas, have their homes electrified. This has improved the quality of lives and reduced exposure to dangerous levels of air pollution from using coal, wood or charcoal for cooking and heating. Progress towards universal access is now integrated with the use of renewable electricity from the sun, wind and water to power buildings, transport and industry.

– Water:

– In 1994, only 6 out of 10 South Africans had access to clean drinking water. Today, that figure has increased to nearly 9 out of 10 South Africans.

– The improved access to water services has reduced the time spent, mostly by women and girls, on gathering water and has given more time for productive activities, adult education, empowerment activities and leisure. We will continue to maintain water infrastructure and expand access to water for all, while enhancing quality control and management for the sustainable use of our water resources.

– Housing:

– Since 1994, over 3,2 million free houses have been built benefiting over 14 million people. This has meant a massive extension of home ownership, growing the productive assets of our people. In the recent period, we have been hard at work to ensure that more and more South Africans live closer to economic opportunities and that we eventually overcome the race-based spatial separation of our people inherited from apartheid.

– Education:

– In the 2014 Manifesto, we committed ourselves to eradicating illiteracy. Today 9 out of 10 adult South Africans can read and write, and an illiteracy-free South Africa is within our reach.

– Ninety percent of public schools have become no-fee paying schools, and learners are benefiting from school feeding schemes and subsidised public transport. This has contributed to the increase in school attendance from 51% in 1994 to 99% today.

– We have achieved near universal access to basic education for young children aged 7-14 years of age.

– The number of learners who passed matric increased from 50% before 1994 to around 78% today, with a major shift in the balance of high performers to schools with learners from poor backgrounds. We will continue to build a solid foundation for quality teaching and learning well before Grade 12.

– Our support for university and TVET college students from poor and working class backgrounds through the National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has hugely increased from R70 million in 1994 to nearly R15 billion in 2018. This has contributed to the enrolment of students doubling over the same period to over two million, significantly transforming the racial and gender composition of the student population.

– Building on the NSFAS programme, in 2018 we introduced free higher education at first year level for students from poor and working class families. This policy will be extended to second year students this year and by 2024 all undergraduate students will be fully funded by NSFAS.

– We have made signficant progress in meeting the NDP goal of graduating at least 5,000 doctoral graduates annually by 2030. In 2017, 2,450 students graduated with doctorates from our universities and we will continue expanding our investments in graduate education.

– Health:

– More South Africans are living longer, with average life expectancy increasing to 64 years in 2018 from a low of 53 years in 2005.

– Progress in life expectancy reflects improvements in the quality and availability of health care, our massive campaign to turn the tide against HIV and Aids and our efforts to meet basic needs like access to clean water, electricity and adequate housing.

– More than 4.5 million South Africans living with HIV receive antiretroviral treatment, up from 2.4 million in 2014, making it the biggest antiretroviral treatment programme in the world.

– We have made dramatic progress in the prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV. In 2004, over 70,000 of babies born to HIV positive mothers became infected. By 2018 this figure had plummeted to 4,500, saving tens of thousands of new born babies per year.

– New HIV infections have decreased but our collective fight continues for an AIDS-free generation.

– In 2009, there were 69,000 TB related deaths, and by 2016 these had dropped to 29,000.

– Access to free primary health care has been expanded from pregnant women and children under six years of age in 1994 to free primary health care for all today.

– Thousands more medical doctors, including from poor families, have been produced by our public medical schools. More needs to be done to improve the production of more health professionals.

– We have begun the process of establishing the National Health Insurance (NHI) by rolling out various pilot sites across the country and drafting the enabling legislation for the country-wide introduction of the NHI.

– Comprehensive social security:

– The number of individuals on social grants increased from 3 million in 1994 to 17,5 million in 2017, benefiting children, the elderly, people with disability and veterans.

– The Unemployment Insurance Fund has been extended to help most workers (including domestic workers) and the benefit payment period has been increased from 6 months to 12 months.

– Women on maternity leave who paid into the UIF for 13 weeks or more will now be entitled to receive benefits for between 17 and 32 weeks and receive a flat rate of 66% of their salary (instead of 38% to 60%). These benefits also extend to the LGBTQI community.

– More recently, we introduced unprecedented legislation in South African history, the National Minimum Wage, which will improve the wages of at least 6 million workers who are currently being paid below the national minimum wage level of R20 an hour. This National Minimum Wage forms part of the broader reforms aimed at achieving a living wage for most South Africans.

– Economy:

– Since 1994, we have seen sustained growth, tripling the size of the economy and improving the GDP per capita. Sustained growth has been crucial for enabling redistribution of public resources to meet the basic social needs of our people.

– Employment also picked up since 1994 compared with the pre-1994 period. Today seven million more people are working, making a total of over 16 million. However, employment growth has slowed since 2013 due to a combination of global and domestic factors. We face a more significant challenge to meet the target of 24 million employed by 2030.

– We have advanced the rights of workers and protected vulnerable workers through progressive labour legislation. At the same time, relative to full-time employment, we have seen the growth of more precarious forms of work through casualisation and labour brokering.

– The black middle class has grown significantly thanks to the ANC’s progressive policies on affirmative action, black industrialisation, broad-based black economic empowerment and gender equality.

– Infrastructure:

– We have invested more than R2 trillion in infrastructure projects over the past 10 years to build more schools, clinics, roads and the freight logistics network.

– These achievements and many others have been the most critical factors in the support the ANC has received from the voting public since 1994. People have affirmed the confidence they have placed in us to achieve the vision set out in the Freedom Charter.

– Throughout these years, the majority of the South Africans have voted for an ANC government and renewed its electoral mandate to continue with its historic mission of building an inclusive South Africa and contribute to a better Africa and a better world.

We aim to transform the economy to ensure it serves the people. Our Manifesto builds on the recently announced stimulus and recovery plan and sets out our key commitments to change the structure of the economy.

Too many people are unemployed, particularly among the youth and too many jobs are lowly paid and insecure.

1. Our Plan for More Jobs and Decent Jobs takes forward the outcomes of the Presidential Jobs Summit aimed at protecting and creating decent jobs, with a focus on addressing youth unemployment. The public and private sector must take concrete steps to bridge the gap between skills and the labour market, including the implementation of mass apprenticeship opportunities for young men and women.

2. Our Plan for Broadening Ownership promotes mixed ownership of the economy, with a focus on extending worker ownership across the sectors of the economy.

3. We will carry out a Sustainable Land Reform Programme that expands participation in, and ownership of, agricultural production, advances food security and helps reverse the apartheid spatial separation of our cities and towns. This will be done through a range of measures, including expropriation without compensation.

4. We will address Monopolies, Excessive Economic Concentration, Abuse of Dominance by Large Corporations and the Growth-Inhibiting Structure of the Economy by de-concentrating and transforming the economy and opening it up to participation by small and medium enterprises, emerging co-operatives and township and village enterprises.

5. Our Investment Plan aims to increase the levels of investment by R1.2 trillion over the next 4 four years to grow our economy and create jobs. We will create a publicly-led infrastructure fund to build more roads, schools, health facilities, water and sanitation infrastructure, transport networks, ICT systems and energy generation and distribution capacity.

6. Our Industrial Strategy will accelerate industrialisation by supporting enterprises, including black industrialists, to save and create decent jobs in the core industries of manufacturing, agro-processing, mining and beneficiation, and tourism. Industrial policy support will include sectors of the future, such as renewable energy. We will address the rising energy prices and strengthen public procurement and other regulatory tools which will be leveraged to support locally produced goods and services and promote the Buy Local Campaign. We will work with the private sector and organised labour to drive the industrialisation of South Africa and Africa.

7. The country and the world are at a critical point in the Digital Revolution. We must craft our common digital future and devise a national programme for innovation that will unleash the talents and creativity of South Africans. Our country must become the centre of digital transformation in Africa. Its benefits must be spread across the economy and society rather than reinforcing existing inequality.

8. We will help grow Small Enterprises, Co-Operatives and the Township and Village Economies for economic transformation, job creation and innovation and encourage all forms of entrepreneurship.

9. We will Transform and Diversify the Financial Sector and ensure the industry serves the economy and the people.

10. Our Macroeconomic Framework, through fiscal and monetary policies, will be aligned to support the commitments made in this Manifesto.

MORE JOBS, MORE DECENT JOBS

Working with labour, business and communities, we will create many new jobs and ensure that all workers can earn a decent living.

– Create an extra 275,000 jobs each year by boosting local demand for goods, investing more in mining, manufacturing and agriculture and expanding export markets

– Massively increase internship and training opportunities for young people

– Implement the national minimum wage to improve the lives of 6 million workers

– Mobilise R1.2 trillion in new investment over 4 years

– Establish an Infrastructure Fund to build roads, rail lines, hospitals, schools, dams and other infrastructure vital for a growing economy

Too many of our people are without decent jobs. Our plan is to draw more South Africans, particularly youth and women, into decent employment and self-employment. Much work still needs to be done to promote decent work.

We will:

– Work with social partners (business, labour and communities) to implement the Presidential Jobs Summit framework agreement, which has the potential to create around 275,000 jobs annually.

– Ensure that we not only create new jobs, but work hard to protect existing jobs. In line with the Presidential Jobs Summit outcomes, we will take active steps to ensure that retrenchments are the last consideration taken by employers and that retrenchment procedures are reviewed.

– Set bold but achievable targets for youth internships, including prescribing a minimum percentage in the public sector while securing concrete commitments from the private sector.

– Increase employment through programmes that expand early childhood development sites, primary health care services and increase police visibility in our communities.

– Remove work experience as a requirement for employment of young people, especially in the public sector, as it robs the youth of employment opportunities.

– Scale-up support for micro, small and medium enterprises, co-operatives and township and village enterprises, including through the rapid implementation of measures contained in the Competition Amendment Bill. Support for these enterprises will include enterprise development, public and private procurement and access to funding and enterprise development.

– Increase participation in public employment programmes such as the Expanded Public Works Programmes through a guaranteed placement of TVET graduates and increasing private sector placement for beneficiaries of public employment programmes.

– Roll out the implementation of the National Minimum Wage to cover workers in domestic work, farming and forestry and other vulnerable sectors and ensure effective compliance.

– Ensure adequate legislation is in place to give effect to the Constitutional Court’s ruling on labour brokers.

– Develop a short and medium-term plan to insource support services back into the public sector.

– Ensure that the laws of the country are observed in the employment of foreign nationals by firms.

The rate of investment in the productive economy and infrastructure has slowed in the recent past. Increasing such investments will help us grow the economy faster, create jobs and boost incomes. This should help us to strengthen our infrastructure for more roads, schools, toilets, clinics and hospitals, housing, public transport, communications systems, energy generation and distribution.

We will:

– Work tirelessly to increase the levels of investments by R1,2 trillion over the next four years as part of our plan to grow the economy and create jobs. We are within reach of our target. These investments will help diversify the economy in sectors like mining, forestry, manufacturing, telecommunications, transport, energy, water, agro-processing, consumer goods, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure and financial services.

– Investigate the introduction of prescribed assets on financial institutions’ funds to unlock resources for investments in social and economic development.

– Build a social compact on infrastructure investment with business and organised labour to build more and better infrastructure. These investments will boost faster economic growth and improve the lives of many South Africans.

– Establish a Sovereign Wealth Fund to invest in strategic sectors of the economy and long-term social and environmental needs of the county.

– Establish an Infrastructure Fund to finance key economic and social infrastructure projects. Strengthen the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission (PICC) to unblock and fast-track the delivery of infrastructure projects, such as the public passenger transport system, water infrastructure and integrated communities.

The ANC will strengthen the country’s industrialisation path by boosting domestic demand through public and private procurement, building our core industries of manufacturing, agriculture and agro-processing, mining and beneficiation, energy and renewable energy, tourism, the ocean economy and creative industries.

On localisation, we will:

– Strengthen government and state-owned enterprises procurement and leverage private sector procurement to support local enterprises, including township and village enterprises, black industrialists, and support stronger job creation and localisation.

– Increase designation of products that are locally produced to facilitate an expanded Buy Local Campaign, stronger support for the Local Procurement Accord agreed to at NEDLAC and greater partnerships with and commitments by the retail sector to support local industries.

– Impose penalties for state institutions or agencies that do not comply with the government’s localisation commitments and ensure this forms part of the perfor- mance agreements with accounting officers.

– Attach conditionalities to all forms of state support, including incentives, to encourage the private sector to match government local procurement commitments. These conditionalities will be similar to the Tax Clearance Certificate required for all enterprises doing business with the state and receipt of incentives.

– Build an institutional capacity to support localisation, including SARS with an urgent focus on combating illegal imports, smuggling, invoice fraud and dumping.

– Apply targeted tariffs and non-tariff measures where necessary to protect and incentivise labour-intensive industries, including agriculture, clothing, textile and footwear and other manufacturing industries.

On renewable energy, we will:

– Continue to support the use of renewable technologies in the country’s energy mix to reduce the cost of energy, decrease greenhouse emissions, build the local industry through increased localisation and create jobs, while recognising the reality that we have large coal reserves that can provide cheap energy that can also assist with affordable prices.

– Take forward NEDLAC’s Green Economy Accord on renewable energy. We will ensure that workers are treated fairly and reskilled and that the needs of people and the environment are at the centre of a just transition to a sustainable and low carbon energy future.

– Develop and implement a dedicated education and training programme on renewable energy targeting young people.

– Contribute to investment to boost greater demand in the renewable sector – particularly solar, municipal waste, biomass, biogas and wind – to support rural development, localisation, research and development, small enterprises and co-operatives. The universities in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape will offer academic programmes in renewable energy.

– Reposition Eskom to play an active role in the renewable energy sector and promote public ownership in renewable energy infrastructure.

– Investigate the cost-benefit of introducing solar panels in state buildings and mandate new commercial and residential developments in the medium term to use renewable energy technologies to reduce utility costs. These should include deploying clean energy solutions to provide lighting and small power needs in the informal settlements.

On reducing administered prices, we will:

– Use administered prices as an intervention for growing the economy and supporting localisation in specific sectors.

On mining and beneficiation, we will:

– Support the local recycling industry, especially metals, rubber and paper. For scrap metals used by local foundries and steel mills, we will introduce an export tax to ensure greater local use of the resource to create local jobs, reduce energy emissions and support the national infrastructure programme.

– Ensure that the Mining Charter provisions benefit state, community and employee ownership. The state mining company will be strengthened to play a significant role in the industry.

On clothing, textile, and footwear, we will:

– Support the growth of the industry through boosting existing initiatives, including strengthening the Buy Local Campaign and intensifying the fight against illegal imports.

– Increase opportunities for women entrepreneurs, worker-owned businesses and SMMES in urban and rural areas through access to funding and markets, including public procurement and engagements with the retail sector to support local enterprises.

– Consider the establishment of a Special Economic Zone for clothing, textile, and footwear.

On the pharmaceutical industry, we will:

– Establish a state-owned pharmaceutical company as part of our programme to promote an affordable and reliable supply of medication and localisation, especially in the production of vaccines and active pharmaceutical ingredients.

– Support the local pharmaceutical industry through a range of measures, including access to public procurement and the black industrialist programme.

On the tourism industry, we will:

– Increase support for the tourism sector, including cultural tourism, to boost its job creation capacity by adopting a ‘whole-government approach’ to tourism, including reducing visa requirements for tourists and measures to ensure the security of tourists.

– Identify iconic and landmark sites that can be expanded for domestic and international tourists.

On the creative industries, we will:

– Promote and support the diverse creative industries, from folk art, festivals, music, books, paintings, performing art to the film industry, broadcasting and video games.

– Ensure public funding schemes do not exclude the creative industries and work with the private sector to increase investment in the sector.

– Develop and implement cultural projects in schools and communities that raise awareness of career opportunities in the creative industries.

– Promote and invest more in museums, archives, heritage and cultural projects. These will include support to conserve, protect and promote the country’s Liberation History and Heritage – archives, struggle sites, values, ideas, movements, veterans and networks.

– Work with stakeholders to ensure that innovators and artists are justly rewarded for their labour in the digital age and protect the copyrights of artists.

– Actively promote the growing African film industry by:

– producing more local content and investment in local infrastructure, especially in townships and rural areas,

– developing skills in capital raising, post-completion and distribution,

– providing capital for producing content and extending funding to address sales, marketing and distribution.

– Ensure demand for creative goods and services by tourists by supporting the development of creative industries.

On the ocean economy, we will:

– Establish an integrated governance framework for the sustainable growth of the ocean economy that maximises socio-economic benefits while ensuring adequate ocean environmental protection.

– Promote investment in offshore oil and gas exploration and production as new growth areas.

– Continue to support infrastructure development in marine transport as well as modernising and expanding the capacity of our ports.

– Finalise fishing quotas and ensure this is given effect to support aquaculture and sustainable livelihoods.

– Develop a marine policy that ensures the use of South African ships as part of our trade with the rest of the world.

The world and our nation are at a critical point in the rapid digital transformation linked to the 4th industrial revolution. This is reshaping the future of work, social interaction and industrial production. The rise of new technologies in robotics, artificial intelligence, big data and the internet-of-things will all have a profound impact on our country.

We will:

– Create a legal and regulatory framework for promotion of innovation.

– Work with stakeholders through the Presidential Digital Industrial Revolution Commission to shape a common digital future that places people at the centre of digital transformation and ensure that its benefits are spread across society.

– Increase spending on innovation and aim for more technological break- throughs critical to the country’s development through support for research.

– Scale-up skills development for the youth in data analytics, the internet-of-things, blockchain and machine learning, to enable training of young people to develop and operate new technologies.

– Work with partners to train workers and unleash their talents and creativity. A just transition framework will be developed with all stakeholders address re-skilling and support for workers displaced by new technologies.

– Reduce the cost of data through the work of competition authorities and the communication regulator, ICASA. Lowering the cost of data will be one of the major requirements in the licensing of the much-needed radio frequency spec- trum this year.

– Extending the government broadband rollout programme.

– Ensure there is significant localisation of new technologies and ensure that SMMEs and co-operatives are drawn into the digital economy.

– Support e-commerce which will enable SMMEs and co-operatives, including rural producers, to sell their products online, allowing them access to national, regional and global markets. This will include access to digital secure storage facilities known as data centres and cloud computing.

– Open opportunities for young people to develop new software and applica- tions, devices and equipment through specialised start-up support programmes for use by all spheres of government and society. A digital innovation centre will be established for this purpose within the next three years.

– Strengthen and consolidate efforts to digitalise government, utilise big data in planning and execution, and expedite the implementation of e-governance so that citizens can access public services from any location as they become connected. Priority will be given to effective use of new technologies for public infrastructure as we build smart public schools and smart health facilities and smart community policing to fight crime.

– Create rules to ensure safety and enforce our constitutional values on the web especially that of women and children.

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“We see a country that has embraced the benefits of technology for economic growth, social development and for more effective governance. We are producers of knowledge and drivers of technological progress.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa