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Budget Speech 2017

South Africa's growth and transformation

Towards a transformation action agenda


Transformation is in part about overcoming the legacy of exclusion and inequality of the past, but it is also about restructuring the economy to take advantage of new technology, market access and investment opportunities.


It is about investing in social capabilities, through better outcomes in health and education and skills development, and through inclusive and responsive institutions.


Let me say clearly and emphatically: sound public finances, the health of our financial institutions, investment-grade credit ratings and our competitive public procurement processes are valued elements in the sustainability and integrity of our transformation path. So also are the clarity of vision and the details of sectoral priorities and programmes set out in the National Development Plan.


Radical transformation and inclusive growth touch many aspects of social organisation and economic activity. Renewal and wider participation have to be opened up across as broad a range of industries and social formations as possible. The portfolios of every Member of the Cabinet, every provincial MEC and every member of mayoral committee are involved, while responsibilities arise in every business, every NGO, every association.


And we need to see progress, rapidly. There is growing impatience and ferment among our people. Can we channel this energy into constructive activism and productive collaboration?


Allow me to emphasise five critical priorities in which government is committed to work with the private sector and social stakeholders to propel inclusive growth.


Improved education is a central priority, and particularly the quality of basic literacy and numeracy achieved in the first phase of schooling. We must increase funding for proven interventions.
Reform of technical and vocational education and training programmes is vital, so that they effectively meet occupational and industrial needs. We must strengthen collaboration between employers and TVET colleges.
We must accelerate development of our cities, housing investment, improved public transport and urban enterprise and industrial development.
South Africa’s integration and linkages with its regional neighbours offers significant opportunities for enterprise growth, agricultural development and new industrialists.
Reform of domestic market structures, promotion of competition, deconcentration of monopolised industries and greater private-sector participation in sectors dominated by public enterprises: these are structural reforms that will bring opportunities for business development, modernisation and a more balanced distribution of wealth and opportunities.


In regard to market concentration, Honourable Members, I need to commend the work of our competition authorities under Minister Patel’s leadership. These are difficult regulatory issues, particularly where the activities in question involve large institutions operating in internationally integrated and complex markets.


In the year ahead the Department of Economic Development will finalise establishment of the Tirisano Fund, to be financed from the construction sector settlement. It will boost much- needed skills among black South Africans and support emerging enterprises. An initial amount of R117 million is earmarked for the Adjustments Appropriation this year.


If we transform competitive markets effectively, we will see more rapid growth. If we achieve faster growth, we will see greater transformation, enterprise development and participation.