President Jacob Zuma said working groups will be formed to ensure that a clear path to address socio-economic challenges is drafted and institutionalised over the next five years.
Delivering the Budget Vote for the Presidency in Parliament on Wednesday, the President also said plans to bolster service delivery were underway through the revitalisation of the Batho Pele programme.
The President made these and other announcements after other government departments presented their plans of action in marathon budget votes that spanned for two weeks.
“The Presidency is taking steps to institutionalise partnerships with various stakeholders through reconstituting the Presidential Working Groups to promote partnerships for development and progress,” he said.
Among the new working groups being establish are the Presidential Small Business Working Group, the Presidential Working Group on Disability and the Presidential Working Group on Communication and Media.
“We will… establish a Presidential Small Business Working Group, which will bring together organisations representing small business owners and government to chart a path for supporting small enterprises,” he said.
President Zuma said a working group on labour would bring together leaders of major labour federations and government leaders.
“The Joint Working Group will bring together the social partners represented at NEDLAC – business, labour, government and the community sector, to seek joint solutions to the challenges facing all sectors,” he said.
Issues that have already been placed before the committee include the National Minimum Wage proposal and the impact of protracted strikes.
When delivering his State of the Nation Address (SONA) last month, the President made a bold announcement that the current administration would aim to grow the economy by a rate of 5% by 2019.
He said these and other economic interventions would assist government jump-start the economy to desirable levels, as key partnerships were essential to the well-being of the country.
He said the new Working Group on Disability would enable the Presidency to champion and monitor the work of government departments and society “in creating a better life for persons with disability”.
He said the launch of a Working Group on Communication and the Media was being finalised, with the aim of bringing together “government and organisations from community and commercial media sectors”. President calls for Israel ceasefire
Switching focus to international developments, the President called for a ceasefire in Gaza tensions.
As the death toll in Gaza continues to rise due to the ground and air invasion by the Israeli government, the President reiterated his call for the onslaught against the people of Palestine to stop.
He said he was “shocked” and “dismayed” by the violence and loss of lives in Gaza.
“We also call for an end to the firing of rockets on Israeli citizens by Hamas.
“We are opposed to the veiled attempts by the Israeli government to use its onslaught on Gaza to undermine the Unity Government in Palestine.
“There will never be a military solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The only solution lies in serious and genuine negotiations involving all parties,” he said.
The President appealed to Egyptian authorities to open their doors to injured and affected people of Gaza.
DA leader in Parliament, Mmusi Maimane, said while the President announced working groups to intervene in critical business sectors like mining, bolder action was needed to deal with protracted strikes as they made the economy bleed.
Source : SAnews.gov.za