Photo: Elmond Jiyane.

Johannesburg - The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Friday welcomed President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-nation speech.

Sacci CEO Neren Rau said the chamber was pleased with Zuma's promotion of the National Development Plan as a long-term solution to the country's problems.

Rau commended Zuma for acknowledging that business faced many obstacles, and that these had to be removed to accelerate economic growth.

He said the business community appreciated the reiteration that nationalisation was not government policy.

Delivering his speech in Parliament on Thursday night, Zuma urged South Africans to use their right to protest responsibly.

“We welcome the call on labour to exercise the right to protest in a peaceful and orderly manner, and that any incidents of violent protest will be acted upon, investigated and prosecuted in a prioritised manner,” Rau said.

The chamber would have liked to hear more about government programmes for supporting small business, in addition to the 30-day payment rule.

Zuma said the government would take action against officials who failed to pay businesses within 30 days.

Neren said Zuma's speech did not indicate how the private sector would play a role in the government's infrastructure programme.

There was also a lack of detail as to how the infrastructure programme would be financed.

The quality of education was another big concern for Sacci.

“Although specific focus on maths, science and technology is welcomed, Sacci is concerned that there may be an overemphasis on the overall quantity of students passing, with insufficient attention to the overall quality of education being delivered,” he said. - Sapa