Saturday, February 04, 2006

President Thabo Mbeki addresses the nation

President Thabo Mbeki has given some insight into specific interventions planned to ensure the government's Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative of South Africa is a success. Delivering his state of the nation address in Parliament, Mbeki revealed that large investments will be made into various sectors by both state-owned enterprises and the public sector. These investments will contribute to meeting the demand for electricity, provide efficient logistic infrastructure and expand and modernize South Africa’s telecommunications network. Mbeki says the government will continue using the Expanded Public Works Programme as an important bridge between the two economies and as a significant part of the poverty alleviation programme.

In his address the President also dealt with the thorny issue of service delivery. He says government has completed performance assessments of a number of national departments, including housing, health, education and trade and industry. Mbeki says the necessary interventions will be made to address the issues raised by these assessments, He says we cannot allow that government departments become an obstacle to the achievement of the goal of a better life for all because inefficient service delivery.

On the land reform issue, Mbeki says the government will review the willing-buyer willing-seller process when dealing with land redistribution. Land acquisition models and the possible manipulation of land prices will also be investigated during 2006, while the government will regulate conditions under which foreigners buy land, in line with international norms and practices.

Mbeki has also defended the country’s HIV/Aids policy, saying more than 100 thousand people are getting free drugs in one of the world's biggest public health programmes. He says the Operational Plan for Comprehensive Prevention, Treatment and Care of HIV and Aids has resulted in the upgrading of hundreds of facilities, and combined with patients in the private sector, SA has one of the largest such treatment programs in the world.

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