Government makes progress in 2016

This year has been productive and successful for government, as it continued to implement programmes that are aligned with the National Development Plan.

"The South African economy remained resilient and continues to be an attractive investment destination that is open for business, despite the difficult economic climate domestically and globally," President Jacob Zuma said in his end of year statement on Thursday.

"During the 2015/16 financial year, the Department of Trade and Industry (dti), through its range of incentives, supported 1 770 companies, resulting in R57 billion new investment made by the private sector and more than 80 000 jobs were supported.

"In the first six months of the current financial year, the dti, through its incentives, leveraged more than R27 billion private sector investment, supporting just over 7 000 new jobs to be created," President Zuma said.

The dti's Automotive Production and Development Programme has attracted automotive investments from across the world.

"The Industrial Development Corporation last year approved R14.5 billion in new investment, the largest sum to date and 26% higher than the preceding year.

"Of particular note is the fact that this included R2.9 billion in transactions involving 54 black industrialists, so that we broaden participation in the economy," President Zuma said.

More than 22 black industrialists have been supported to the value of more than R1.5 billion, mainly in the agro-processing, plastics and pharmaceuticals, electro technical equipment and metals sectors. More than 2 000 jobs were created across the sectors.

The Black Industrialists Programme was established to enable black industrialists to enter strategic and targeted industrial sectors and value chains. This project seeks to enable black empowerment beyond share ownership schemes to create a footprint of industries owned by black people.

About R1 billion was approved for youth-owned enterprises, which shows that government is serious about implementing the Youth Employment Accord.

"So far, The Special Economic Zones programme remains an important instrument to attract strategic foreign and domestic direct investment, build targeted industrial capabilities and also build new industrial hubs.

"Since the introduction of the programme, investments worth R41.2 billion have already been secured and the relevant projects are at various levels of implementation. Of these, R9.4 billion worth of investments are already in operation in the zones," President Zuma said.

He said progress has been made in the implementation of the Nine Point Plan, which is an action plan to deliver on the socio-economic goals stated in the National Development Plan, especially to achieve a higher level of inclusive growth.

Areas of focus include energy, manufacturing, transport, telecommunications, water, tourism, the ocean economy, mining, agriculture, reform of State owned companies, telecommunications, the Industrial Policy Action Plan and managing workplace conflict.

Tourism puts SA on the map

"Tourism to South Africa continues to thrive. From January to September 2016, a total of 6 625 141 tourists visited our country.

"This is an increase of 14.3% from January to September 2015," President Zuma said.

He said all of South Africa's major overseas source markets performed well in 2016.

"The weaker rand and easing of visa regulations continue to provide positive spin offs," President Zuma said.

Source: South African Government News Agency