(In the Pic - President Jacob Zuma, addressing Parliament). State of the Nation Address, National Assembly, Parliament of the republic of South Africa, Cape Town. 17/06/2014, Elmond Jiyane, GCIS


Parliament - President Jacob Zuma on Friday put better service delivery alongside economic growth as a key priority for the state over the next five years.

Responding to the debate in Parliament on his State of the Nation address, Zuma said officials would pay unannounced visits to home affairs offices, police stations, and hospitals to ensure the public received “a new culture of accountability and seeking to do better (which) is coming into being”.

Zuma said accountability would extend to improving financial management of departments, adding that shortcomings were “glaring” every time the auditor general released his annual report.

He reiterated that economic transformation remained the main focus of his second term, with the aim of engendering job-creating growth.

“We need to change the structure of the economy [for] employment creating growth and we can achieve all these goals with focus and determination,” he said.

The sectors in which government would strive to boost employment included energy, infrastructure, and mining, he said.

The president also mentioned the mining sector as one of those where the state would actively seek to uplift distressed communities.

“The programme will also improve the delivery of services by government, and in particular revitalise stressed areas such as mining towns and local service delivery hotspots.”

He was speaking after two days of sometimes raucous debate on his address, which saw Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema ordered to leave the chamber for accusing the governing African National Congress of killing striking miners in the 2012 Marikana shooting. - Sapa