As from April 2011, Vuk’uzenzele has taken on new look and will be published every month instead of every second month. Instead of its former A4 format, the printed version of Vuk’uzenzele is now published as a tabloid newspaper. It will still be full of news and advice on socio-economic opportunities created by government, and how to access these opportunities.
Government has committed itself to making a difference in the lives of people by addressing five key priority areas. They are education, safety and security, health, job creation and rural development.
Each issue of Vuk’uzenzele will carry information and news about government’s programmes relating to these priorities. It will include a special four-page supplement, called Employment News, which will address matters relating to job creation, careers and skills development. Among other things, it will also feature news on youth matters, international relations, events, advice and sport and recreation.
It has a print run of 1,7 million copies, which are distributed in all nine provinces, in large part door-to-door in deep rural, rural and peri-urban areas. It is published in all official languages, but the majority of the print-run is in English. It is also published in Braille for the visually impaired.
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President Jacob Zuma kicked off his fourth State of the Nation Address with a focus on creating jobs and curbing the economic divide through infrastructure development.
A massive infrastructure project to kick-start economic growth will be the focal point of government’s job-creation plan going forward. Addressing a joint sitting of Parliament, President Zuma said government had identified five infrastructure projects in five provinces to address the triple challenges of unemployment, poverty and inequality.
Following the President’s Address, Minister of Finance Pravin Gordhan said South Africa had the money to spend on such infrastructure. “We already know that for the past five or six years for every three-year period we have had something around R800 billion to R900 billion being spent, largely by our state-owned enterprises.”
Better economic links
Gordhan said the projects would help develop better economic links between outlying areas and the main urban centres to make it easier for companies to export and do business locally.
Government’s massive infrastructure plan will be driven and overseen by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission which was set up in September last year. The plan brings together Ministers, premiers and metropolitan mayors under the leadership of Zuma and Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe.
“We will use the project management expertise gained during the 2010 FIFA World Cup to make this project a success,” he said, adding that the commission had identified and developed projects from state-owned enterprises as well as government departments.
In Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West, extended infrastructure development projects will focus on developing rail and road infrastructure to serve the mining sector.
An economic corridor linking Gauteng, the Free State and KwaZulu-Natal will be created to connect the three provinces economically. Aimed at improving the movement of goods, this logistics and industrial corridor with improve export capacity through Durban harbour.
The Eastern Cape, through the new Port of Ngqura, will benefit from infrastructure to improve the province’s industrial and agricultural sectors and maximise export capacity. A dam will be built using the uMzimvubu River as the source to expand agricultural production.
Added to this, work is at an advanced stage on the Mthatha revitalisation project to improve water, sanitation, electricity, roads, human settlements, airport development and institutional and governance issues.
In the North West, the expansion of infrastructure will include the upgrading of 10 priority roads.
On the West Coast, government will focus on expanding the iron-ore rail line between Sishen in the Northern Cape and Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape, which will create many jobs in both provinces.
Health and housing
Government has also identified infrastructure projects to help lay the basis for the National Health Insurance system including the refurbishment of hospitals and nurses’ homes.
Access to tertiary education will receive a boost in Mpumalanga and the Northern Cape through the allocation of R300 million towards new universities for the provinces.
Regarding the needs of people who do not qualify for RDP houses or bank loans, the President said government allocated R1 billion funding towards loans for those who fell into these categories.
Changing economic landscape
Addressing a breakfast event the day after his State of the Nation Address, President Zuma said “We believe it [the key infrastructure projects] is going to change the economic landscape of the country and connect it to the continent.” He added that it was now clear where investment had to be placed in the economy.
“There are massive opportunities that are coming, let us take advantage,” he said. South African firms should enter Africa with more vigor as the continent was one of the most promising investment regions in the world at the moment, he added.
-Mbulelo Baloyi and BuaNews