President Jacob Zuma says for the country to move forward, it is important to acknowledge that the legacy of the apartheid regime resulted in the structural challenges that people are experiencing today.
Speaking at The New Age Business Briefing in Cape Town, Zuma also said while a lot has been achieved over the past 20 years, the challenges remain bigger and a lot still needs to be done to put a dent on the triple challenge of joblessness, poverty and inequality.
He said despite these challenges, the country was moving forward.
Zuma addressed the media after delivering his last State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the current administration in the National Assembly in Parliament on Thursday.
“I know when you talk about apartheid, many people ask why do we keep talking about apartheid as it was there and is no longer there… The reason we talk about the triple challenge today emanates from the day the black people of this country… woke up one day after owning land and were told, ‘you have no land’… And that is when inequalities were born,” Zuma said.
He said South Africa could not continue to deny apartheid and colonialism were the root of the country’s problems, and cited problems such as Bantu education, Coloured education, amongst others.
He said that was the context that must be considered when criticising government on socio-economic challenges.
Zuma, meanwhile, reiterated his message from Thursday night’s address, and said South Africa has a good story to tell.
He said government has, despite the 2008 recession, created more jobs than before, expanded social grants, housing and basic services.
Zuma said the re-configuration of the administration had yielded good results – including the introduction of the Performance Monitoring and Evaluation Department to track performance on a continuous basis and the introduction of the National Planning Commission ensured that government was able to do long-term planning.
He said Cabinet’s decision to focus on five key priorities – job creation, education, health, safety and security and rural development and land reform – ensured that the public service implemented programmes in a more focused manner.
In recent times, service delivery protests have broken out in various communities around the country, and leaders in government have all condemned the manner in which demonstrations have turned violent.
While calling on citizens to exercise their right to protest in a peaceful manner, Zuma said all those in positions of power should give more attention to the protests to address to root causes.
He said in most cases, protests were caused by people seeing progress in other areas and becoming impatient while waiting for services to reach them. – SAnews.gov.za