Statement on the Cabinet meeting of 1 March 2017

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1. Implementation of Government Programmes

 

1.1. Cabinet supports the commitments made in the 2017 National Budget to advance radical economic transformation and draw more South Africans into the economy towards inclusive growth. In the main the budget acknowledges that growth without transformation would only reinforce the inequitable patterns from the past.

 

Redistribution in support of education, health services and municipal functions in rural areas remains the central thrust of our spending programmes. Procurement reforms continue to improve the effectiveness of public spending and opening opportunities for small business participation.

 

Budget allocations support economic growth and development: R3.9 billion for small, medium and micro enterprises and cooperatives; R4.2 billion for industrial infrastructure in special economic zones and industrial parks; R1.9 billion for broadband implementation, R3.9 billion for the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, an additional R494 million for tourism promotion, an additional R266m to support the aquaculture sector and realise the goals of the Oceans Economy Phakisa Operation, and spending on agriculture, rural development and land reform amounting to nearly R30 billion by 2019/20.

 

The budget plays a central role in transformation by promoting redistribution and directing scarce resources towards catalytic investments in human and physical capital.

 

1.2. In recognition of our need to invest in the future of youth, the budget ensures that financially needy students can access tertiary education. The National Student Financial Aid Scheme (NSFAS) has provided funding to over 300 000 new and returning students to study at universities and Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) colleges across the country in 2017. The fund expects to add a further 100 000 students this year. The R15 billion allocated to NSFAS by government will assist in alleviating the financial burden faced by financially needy and missing middle students.

 

1.3. Following the successful launch of Operation Phakisa in sectors such as the Oceans Economy, Health and Basic Education, President Jacob Zuma launched the Operation Phakisa for Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development on 24 February 2017. Operation Phakisa is derived from Malaysia’s Big Fast Results methodology which Malaysia used successfully to achieve rapid economic transformation; and having been successfully adapted to South African conditions, it now forms part of our Nine Point Plan Implementation toolkit.

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