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Zuma promises economic freedom after elections

The president says government will usher in radical new policies, focusing on economic change.

President Jacob Zuma delivers his reply to the debate on the State of the Nation in Parliament, Cape Town, 20 February 2014. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - President Jacob Zuma has promised his government will bring economic freedom after the May elections.

Replying to debate on last week's State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament, the president says the government will usher in radical new policies, focusing on economic change.

Zuma defended the government's pro-poor policies, saying the social grants that help 16 million people were essential.

"We are dealing with a problem that cannot be dealt with in any other way, to help those who have absolutely nothing have something to put on the table. In the meantime, while we are developing the country the economy must indeed change the quality of lives."

He says a new radical phase of transformation will begin after the elections to tackle poverty unemployment and inequality.

The president says the focus will be on economic change and that affirmative action will also intensify.