Key Announcements from the State of the Nation 2022



President Cyril Ramaphosa made the following key announcements in the State of the Nation Address (SoNA) he delivered on 10 February 2022.

Economic issues were high on the Agenda. There is recognition that unemployment, poverty, and inequality need to be addressed to create conditions for long-term stability and development. New energy generation projects were once again promised.

Progress is being made with Covid-19 vaccinations. Thirty million doses have been administered, which means 42% of adults and 60% of people over 50 are now fully vaccinated.

 

Unemployment and Job Creation

Unemployment reached record levels in 2021. Government has taken measures to help businesses grow and create jobs. Public employment and social protection have also been expanded.

Government has undertaken the following to address the unemployment issue:

  • The Social Employment Fund will create 50 000 work opportunities, in conjunction with organisations in areas such as early childhood development, public art, and urban agriculture.
  • The criteria for participation in the Employment Tax Incentive will be expanded to encourage small businesses to hire new employees. It will also make it easier for them to hire young people.
  • The Social Relief of Distress (SRD) grant of R350 will be extended until the end of March 2023. Government will look at the best options for replacing this grant.
  • SAPS will hire an additional 12 000 police officers to meet its capacity needs.

Vacancies in the Security Cluster

Critical positions which are open in the State Security Agency and Crime Intelligence, as a result of suspensions, will soon be filled. A new head will also be appointed for the Investigating Directorate. There will be leadership changes in a number of security agencies to strengthen the security structures.

 

Business

Small business is going to receive help to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and civic unrest in the form of a redesigned loan guarantee scheme. The type of financing available will be expanded and eligibility criteria will be adjusted to encourage a bigger uptake.

Other measures to assist businesses are being implemented:

  • The Business Act and legislation that affects SMMEs are being reviewed to make it easier for companies to grow and create jobs.
  • The Cannabis industry will be formalised, as it has the potential to create more than 130 000 jobs.
  • The fourth South Africa Investment Conference will be held in Johannesburg on 24 March.
  • The mining exploration strategy will be finalised with the aim of attracting investors.

 

The Visa Process

The visa application process is being streamlined to make it easier to travel to South Africa for business, work, and tourism. The eVisa system has now been launched in 14 countries. A comprehensive review of the work visa system is also taking place.

 

Other Important Matters

The following matters were also high on the agenda:

  • Government is implementing a turnaround plan to streamline water user license applications. The backlog should be cleared by June 2020 and the aim is to process 80% of applications within 90 days during the next financial year.
  • Many South Africans still struggle to reach school and work, because of impassable bridges. The Welisizwe Rural Bridges Programme is being upscaled to deliver 95 bridges a year, going forward.
  • Law enforcement will take steps to address the sale of stolen scrap metal during this year, as enormous damage is being caused to infrastructure because of this practice.

 



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