Inequality still staring us in the face: Pres Zuma
President Jacob Zuma says inequality was still staring the people of South Africa in their faces, and that government was working tirelessly to turn the tide.
He said through the amendment of several laws, regulations and policies, government has already set in motion plans to dismantle cartels and monopolies by industrializing the economy.
The President said this today when replying to a two-day debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA), which he delivered in Parliament, last Thursday.
“Inequality is still staring us in the face. Census 2011 informed us that the income of households has hardly changed and that income of white households is still six times more than that of black households,” he said.
He also said that the black majority of South Africans only owned three percent of the JSE, pointing to the need to move swiftly to economic emancipation.
“We have called for radical transformation. By this we mean actions such as the industrialisation of the economy, boosting and expanding agriculture and manufacturing and adding value to South Africa’s mineral wealth in order to open up opportunities for economic participation for more people and create jobs,” he said.
As part of this, the President said the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment Act (B-BBEE) was proclaimed into law in October, last year.
The regulations to give effect to the Act were also being finalised, the President said.
“A B-BBEE commission is to be approved this year, to oversee the overall implementation of B-BBEE, and ensure effective reporting and monitoring.”
The President also said that in addition to these, a programme to create and support black industrialists over three years was launched in November 2014.
He said as Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel pointed out, work to expand the ownership of the economy through the dismantling of the cartels and monopolies was ongoing.
“The Competition Commission has already taken action against many companies for collusion and corruption.
“Economic transformation to unlock growth also means improving the support provided to small enterprises especially township and rural enterprises which will promote economic activities at local level,” he said.
State dealing with corruption
The President also responded to COPE leader, honourable Terror Lekota, who raised concerns over the state of the supply chain management in government.
“We are taking action to improve the performance of the supply chain management system in government to prevent the fruitless and futile expenditure, corruption and other problems you raised.
“Government buys goods, services and infrastructure worth roughly five hundred billion rand a year.
“Often, we pay the highest prices and one part of government does not know how much the other part of government pays for goods and services.
“The bulk of negative audit opinions arise from potentially avoidable procurement violations,” he said.
He said to respond to these changes, the Chief Procurement Office, led by Kenneth Brown - an experienced National Treasury official - was established and would become operational this year.
“All tenders will be posted on an electronic Tender Portal, which will free access to public sector tenders across the length and breadth of South Africa.
“This will give small businesses an advantage compared to the current system where they have to pay more money for administrative costs in order to obtain hard copies of tender documents.
“A centralised supplier database will also be phased in, starting from the 1st of April 2015.
“Once fully functional, this will replace the six hundred or so supplier databases that currently exists,” he said.
The President said the system would offer a quick and more effective mechanism for verifying supplier information such as their BEE status and tax certificates, among others.
“Where deemed necessary, we will consider amending existing legal and regulatory frameworks to accomplish this goal,” he said. – SAnews.gov.za
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