President Jacob Zuma (centre rear) and other dignitaries observe a guard of honour at the opening of Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

Johannesburg - Although the thrust of President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation speech was to be welcomed, alignment was needed in government policies, Nehawu said on Thursday.

“Nehawu welcomes the main thrust of government's assessment of the advances made since last year,” said National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union general secretary Fikile Majola.

“However, the current state of the economy and the expected growth rate in the coming year highlights the necessity for the alignment of the NDP (National Development Plan), the New Growth Path and the Industrial Policy Action Plan, including the discussion on the question of forging a developmental state,” he said.

Majola said the government needed to accelerate the implementation of its programmes.

Nehawu was pleased with the establishment of a presidential remuneration commission to investigate the appropriateness of the remuneration and conditions of service provided by the state to all its employees.

Majola said the union was also pleased that Zuma clarified the African National Congress's position by referring to education as an essential service.

In his speech, Zuma said referring to education as an essential service did not mean teachers would be deprived of their right to strike.

“It means we want the education sector and society as a whole to take education more seriously than is happening currently,” Zuma said.

Nehawu welcomed the creation of the National Health Insurance (NHI) system in 2014 and the undertaking to accelerate progress in the piloting the NHI. - Sapa