0 South Africa: “A year of change. A year of renewal. A year of hope.” Top 40 quotes from Cyril Ramaphosa SONA2018
South Africa: “A year of change. A year of renewal. A year of hope.” Top 40 quotes from Cyril Ramaphosa SONA2018

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South Africa: “A year of change. A year of renewal. A year of hope.” Top 40 quotes from Cyril Ramaphosa SONA2018

It has been a momentous week in South Africa. Scandal-plagued former President Jacob Zuma resigned on Valentine’s day and his deputy former trade union leader and self-made millionaire Cyril Ramaphosa was sworn in as his successor to much public exultation and hopeful optimism. On Friday Ramaphosa delivered a much-awaited State of the Nation address which heightened further the country’s mood for a new political and economic beginning.


As the new President now prepares to name his new Cabinet amid reports of a pending purge and uncertainty over the future of current Finance Minister Malusi Gigaba who will deliver the 2018 budget on Wednesady 21 February -many will be revisiting the promises he made in the SONA2018. From zero tolerance on corruption, job creation, land expropriation, rule of law – here are some of our top 40 take outs from the speech set to reshape Ramaphosa’s South Africa.

  1. Our country has entered a period of change. While change can produce uncertainty, even anxiety, it also offers great opportunities for renewal and revitalisation, and for progress.


  1. Guided by Nelson Mandela’s example, we will use this year to reinforce our commitment to ethical behaviour and ethical leadership.


  1. We should honour Madiba by putting behind us the era of discord, disunity and disillusionment…we should put behind us the era of diminishing trust in public institutions and weakened confidence in leaders.


  1. We will continue the long walk Madiba began – to build a society in which all may be free, in which all may be equal before the law and in which all may share in the wealth of our land and have a better life.


  1. We are building a country where a person’s prospects are determined by their own initiative and hard work, and not by the colour of their skin, place of birth, gender, language or income of their parents


  1. No liberation can be complete and no nation can be free until its women are free.


  1. South Africa belongs to all who live in it.


  1. We are determined to build a society defined by decency and integrity that does not tolerate the plunder of public resources, nor the theft by corporate criminals, of the hard-earned savings of ordinary people.


  1. We know that there is still a lot that divides us. We remain a highly unequal society, in which poverty and prosperity are still defined by race and gender. We have been given the responsibility to build a new nation, to confront the injustices of the past and the inequalities of the present.


  1. As we pursue higher levels of economic growth and investment, we need to take additional measures to reduce poverty and meet the needs of the unemployed.


  1. If we are to break the cycle of poverty, we need to educate the children of the poor.


  1. There is a greater sense of optimism among our people. Our people are hopeful about the future.


  1. Some financial institutions have identified South Africa as one of the hot emerging markets for 2018.


  1. This year, we will be initiating measures to set the country on a new path of growth, employment and transformation.


  1. Tough decisions have to be made to close our fiscal gap, stabilise our debt and restore our state-owned enterprises to health.


  1. At the centre of our national agenda in 2018 is the creation of jobs, especially for the youth… One of the initiatives will be to convene a Jobs Summit within the next few months to align the efforts of every sector and every stakeholder behind the imperative of job creation.


  1. We will seek to re-industrialise on a scale and at a pace that draws millions of job seekers into the economy.


  1. We will improve our capacity to support black professionals, deal decisively with companies that resist transformation, use competition policy to open markets up to new black entrants, and invest in the development of businesses in townships and rural areas.


  1. Our most grave and most pressing challenge is youth unemployment… Young South Africans will be moved to the centre of our economic agenda.


  1. Starting this year, free higher education and training will be available to first year students from households with a gross combined annual income of up to R350,000.


  1. Mining is another area that has massive unrealised potential for growth and job creation in mining. We need to see mining as a sunrise industry, rather than a sunset industry.


  1. Ultimately, the growth of our economy will be sustained by small businesses…We will work with our social partners to build a small business support ecosystem that assists, nourishes and promotes entrepreneurs.


  1. Government will honour its undertaking to set aside at least 30% of public procurement to SMMEs, cooperatives and township and rural enterprises.


  1. Agriculture presents one of the greatest opportunities to significantly grow our economy and create jobs. It made the largest contribution to the improved growth of our economy in the second and third quarters of 2017.


  1. This year, we will take decisive action to realise the enormous economic potential of agriculture. We will accelerate our land redistribution programme not only to redress a grave historical injustice, but also to bring more producers into the agricultural sector and to make more land available for cultivation.


  1. Guided by the resolutions of the 54th National Conference of the governing party, this approach will include the expropriation of land without compensation.


  1. We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensure that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.


  1. On the 1st of May this year, we will introduce the first national minimum wage in South Africa. This historic achievement – a realisation of one of the demands of the Freedom Charter – is expected to increase the earnings of more than six million working South Africans and improve the living conditions of households across the country.


  1. To ensure greater coherence and consistency in the implementation of economic policy – and to ensure that we are better equipped to respond to changing economic circumstances – I will be appointing a Presidential Economic Advisory Council.


  1. Tourism currently sustains 700,000 direct jobs and is performing better than most other growth sectors. There is no reason why it can’t double in size.


  1. We will soon establish a Digital Industrial Revolution Commission, which will include the private sector and civil society, to ensure that our country is in a position to seize the opportunities and manage the challenges of rapid advances in information and communication technology.



  1. Growth, development and transformation depend on a strong and capable state. It is critical that the structure and size of the state is optimally suited to meet the needs of the people and ensure the most efficient allocation of public resources. We will therefore initiate a process to review the configuration, number and size of national government departments.


  1. Many of our State Owned Enterprises (SOEs) are experiencing severe financial, operation and governance challenges …We will intervene decisively to stabilise and revitalise state owned enterprises.


  1. We will change the way that boards [of SOEs ] are appointed so that only people with expertise, experience and integrity serve in these vital positions.


  1. This is the year in which we will turn the tide of corruption in our public institutions.


  1. The commission of inquiry into state capture headed by the Deputy Chief Justice, Judge Raymond Zondo, is expected to commence its work shortly. The Commission is critical to ensuring that the extent and nature of State Capture is established, that confidence in public institutions is restored and that those responsible for any wrongdoing are identified.


  1. We must understand that tax morality is dependent on an implicit contract between taxpayers and government, that state spending provides value for money and is free from corruption.


  1. We want to instill a new discipline, to do things correctly, to do them completely and to do them timeously.


  1. Together we are going to make history. We have done it before and we will do it again


  1. By working together we will build the fair and just and decent society to which Nelson Mandela dedicated his life.















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Written by Regina Jane Jere

reGina Jane Jere is a Zambian-born London-based journalist and founding Editor of the New African Woman magazine the sister-publication of the New African magazine of which she was the Deputy Editor for over a decade. The mother of two juggles a wide-range of editorial and managerial duties, but she has particular passion on women’s health, education, rights and empowerment. She is also a former Zambian correspondent for Agence France Presse, and a former Africa Researcher at Index on Censorship. She writes extensively on a wide range of issues, from politics to women’s rights, media and free speech to beauty and fashion.

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