Zuma touches on burning issues

President Jacob Zuma discussed issues around the economy, the NDP and youth unemployment.

President Jacob Zuma and his deputy Kgalema Motlanthe during the State of the Nation Address on 14 February 2013. Picture: Regan Thaw/EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma on Thursday touched on a number of burning issues in his State of the Nation Address (SoNA).

He kicked off his speech with an update on the state of the economy.

The president said the Euro zone crisis is having a major impact on the South African economy because it is one of the country's main trading partners.

South Africa's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate is expected to average 2.5 percent in 2013, down from 3.1 percent in 2012.

Zuma added that to create more jobs, a growth rate of five percent is needed.

The president then moved on to the National Development Plan (NDP), which he believes will be crucial in stimulating the economy and realising the target of creating 11 million jobs by 2030.

He also vowed a harsh crackdown on graft.

Zuma elaborated on the issue of a job fund for unemployed youth, with R3 billion being set aside for the project.

He acknowledged problems in the mining sector, but assured the country that through government intervention, stability and certainty has now been realised.

On the National Health Insurance (NHI), he said medical practitioners will be contracted to provide their services at more than 500 clinics.

The gang-rape of 17-year-old Anene Booysens also featured prominently in his speech.

Zuma said the National Council on Gender Based Violence was established in 2012 to tackle the issue.

He says it aims to galvanise and bolster the campaign against the scourge.

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