DP Cyril Ramaphosa says government has contributed to transformation and inclusive growth ever since the advent of democracy in 1994.
The Deputy President says government’s policies have always been to make the lives of the majority better by implementing programmes aimed at empowering the previously disadvantaged population during the apartheid era.
He said this when briefing the National Assembly during a question and answer session on Thursday.
“The transformation agenda of every administration since the advent of democracy has been directed towards the achievement of a better life for all.
“Our programmes are guided by the vision of the Freedom Charter and by the Constitutional injunction to improve the quality of life of all citizens and free the potential of each person.
“Government has directed resources towards meeting the needs of the poor, implementing policies to deracialise the economy, build the skills base of the black majority and create jobs through sustainable growth,” he said.
Deputy President Ramaphosa was responding to a question on the contribution of government’s policies to inclusive growth and redistributive financing in achieving its transformation agenda.
The remarks by the Deputy President come after President Jacob Zuma said in his State of the Nation Address that it was time for government to implement radical socioeconomic transformation in order to improve the lives of all South Africans and ensure that the less privileged are integrated into the mainstream economy.
He said there have been notable achievements to advance the transformation agenda.
On the growth side, real per capita Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has increased by a third since 1994.
The number of South Africans in employment has doubled since 1994 from 7.9 million to 16 million in 2016.
“However, because the size of the labour force has also grown over this period, the rate of unemployment has remained stubbornly high. Creating jobs for these unemployed people is one of the most important mechanisms of ensuring that growth is inclusive.
“Through redistributive financing, government has built an average of 1 000 houses every day since 1996, and provided piped water and electricity for cooking to an even greater number of households every day over the same period,” the Deputy President said.
He said several legal instruments have been put in place to deracialise the economy. This includes the Broad-Based BEE Act, Preferential Procurement Policy Framework Act, Employment Equity Act, among others.
He said the impact of these policies, together with government’s investment in education, can be seen in the significant growth of the South African middle class.
“Total enrolment at universities more than doubled in the first 20 years of democracy.
“The percentage of those enrolled who were African increased from under 50% in 1994 to over 70% in 2014,” he said.
The Deputy President said there is a strong link between educational performance and inclusive growth.
Because of this, government continues to use redistributive financing to increase the number of students from poor backgrounds who can access tertiary education.
“As indicated by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in the 2017 Budget, government is directing significant resources towards areas that promote inclusive growth.
“These include support for SMMEs and cooperatives, industrial infrastructure in Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks, broadband roll-out and tourism promotion, among others.
“We are further promoting economic transformation by strengthening BEE provisions and public procurement policy, intensifying land redistribution and supporting the emergence of black industrialists,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za