Sona 2024: President Cyril Ramaphosa promises to revive economy, fight crime and corruption

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to revive the evonmy. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to revive the evonmy. Picture: Ayanda Ndamane / Independent Newspapers

Published Feb 8, 2024


President Cyril Ramaphosa has promised to continue to fight crime and corruption, build on the work of the state capture commission, hire more police officers and fix the energy crisis.

Ramaphosa said he was still considering the National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill after it was sent to him by Parliament.

Ramaphosa said they were fixing port and rail problems, adding that teams were established to focus on this.

While the economy has not performed well since the 2008 global financial crisis, Ramaphosa said that they have managed to create jobs. However, this was not enough as there more young people who were unemployed.

Ramaphosa was delivering the State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Cape Town ahead of the elections.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) boycotted the Sona after it failed in its urgent application in the Western Cape High Court to get the suspension of its six members lifted.

They were suspended by the national legislature for disrupting last year’s Sona.

Speaker, Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, said the rules were going to be enforced on Thursday.

Ramaphosa said he was going through the NHI Bill.

“Yes, I am looking for a pen. We plan to incrementally implement the NHI,” said Ramaphosa in reference to signing the bill into law and implementing it.

He said they have set out a roadmap to fix Transnet and dedicated teams have been established to clear the congestion in the ports of Durban and Richards Bay.

Ramaphosa also said they will allow third parties to enter the railway network as part of measures to improve the performance of Transnet.

He also promised work was underway to reduce the severity of load shedding. This was because of the work they were doing to add more renewable energy projects to the grid.

There are 120 renewable energy projects that were in development. He said through all these actions they were confident the worst was behind us and the end of load shedding was finally within reach.

Ramaphosa said they were cracking down on state capture and corruption. They have taken a number of initatives deal with these cases.

“We set up the Investigating Directorate as a specialised and​ ​multidisciplinary unit within the National Prosecuting Authority to investigate corruption and other serious crimes,” he said.

“Legislation is currently before Parliament to establish the Investigating Directorate as a permanent entity with full investigating powers,” said Ramaphosa.

The president said that “great progress” was made in bringing those responsible for state capture to justice.

“More than 200 accused persons are being prosecuted. More are under investigation. Stolen funds are being recovered,” he said.

Ramaphosa said freezing orders of R14 billion have been granted to the National Prosecuting Authority’s Asset Forfeiture Unit for state capture-related cases, adding that around R8.6 billion in corrupt proceeds have been returned to the state.

“A restored and revitalised [the SA Revenue Service] SARS has collected R4.8 billion in unpaid taxes as a result of evidence presented at the Commission, while the Special Investigating Unit has instituted civil litigation to the value of R64 billion,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa said they will fight crime in all its facets and this had led to the employment of 20,000 police officers in the last two years. They will hire 10,000 more police officers this year.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele has said they need to get more officers to be deployed to various units of the SA Police Service.

The economic infrastructure task teams have been set up to crack down on illegal mining, the construction mafia and cable theft.

Cele said this year there were 18 task teams that have been deployed in 20 districts in the country.

Ramaphosa said they were reforming the energy sector to be more reliable. They will build 14,000km of transmission lines. They will allow investments in this project,

Electricity Minister Kgosientsho Ramokgopa said they will need almost R400bn to expand transmission lines in the coastal provinces of the Eastern Cape, Western Cape and Northern Cape.

Ramaphosa said they were intervening in municipalities that were collapsing. There were currently more than 30 municipalities under administration. .

Ramaphosa said in November last year Cabinet approved a framework for a high speed rail between Johannesburg and Durban. But this will be expanded to other areas.

Ramaphosa said government they wanted to get more young people into the labour market.

Statistics South Africa has said there has been an increase in the number of unemployed youth.

He said they will also take measures to fight gender-based violence.

More than two years ago Ramaphosa signed into law the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act Amendment Bill, the Criminal and Related Matters Amendment Bill, and the Domestic Violence Amendment Bill.

These laws will among other things tighten bail conditions for suspects charged with GBV.

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