Beyond the insults‚ fisticuffs and other WWE Smackdown moments amid the condition of the country address were more serious issues embedded in the speech read out by President Jacob Zuma.
Here are four take-away points for you to mull over:
1. Zuma outlined a “new chapter in radical economic transformation”.
This would require a fundamental change in the structure‚ systems‚ institutions and patterns of ownership‚ management and control of the economy in favour of all South Africans‚ especially the poor. “Twenty-two years into our freedom and democracy‚ the majority of black people are still economically disempowered… We are saying that we should move beyond words‚ to practical programmes.”
How? “The state will play a role in the economy to drive that transformation. In this regard‚ government will utilise to the maximum‚ the strategic levers that are available to the state‚” he said. “This includes legislation‚ regulations‚ licensing‚ budget and procurement as well as broad-based black economic empowerment charters to influence the behaviour of the private sector and drive transformation.”
2. Renewable energy.
Zuma signalled that government had not turned its back on this “important part of our energy mix” to focus only on its nuclear ambitions. “Government is committed to the overall independent power producers programme and we are expanding the programme to other sources of energy including coal and gas‚ in addition to renewable energy.”
3. Zuma was optimistic that the economy would grow‚ slightly.
“We anticipate an economic growth rate of 1.3% in 2017 following an estimated 0.5% in 2016‚” he said. But‚ he added: “The economy is still not growing fast enough to create the jobs we need.”
“We assure the youth that the lowering of the cost of data is uppermost in our policies plans‚” said Zuma.