Zuma: Government to invest R23 billion in Eskom

In his Sona, Jacob Zuma touched on a host of the country’s problems, including the electricity crisis.

President Jacob Zuma delivering his 2015 State of the Nation Address. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - After the drama died down in Parliament on Thursday evening, President Jacob Zuma eventually proceeded with the business of delivering his State of the Nation Address (Sona).

Zuma touched on a host of the country's problems, including the electricity crisis.

He says Eskom has been directed to switch from diesel to gas as it continues to grapple with the nation's energy woes, adding that the construction of three new power stations will add 10,000 megawatts to the national grid.

The president says government will invest R23 billion in the power utility.

"The short and medium term plan involves improved maintenance of Eskom power stations and managing the electricity demand. The long term plan involves finalising our long term energy security master plan."

Zuma added the state is working with the private sector to develop an agricultural policy action plan which will bring a million hectares of underutilised land into full production over the next three years.

He says this year government will promote the establishment of AgriParks in each of the 27 poorest district municipalities in the country.

"Funding of R2 billion has been made available for the AgriPark initiative. We will further enhance our agro-processing exports which have been growing rapidly, especially to new markets in Africa and China."


He also says the president failed to address the flare up of xenophobic violence and looting as well as the fiery protests which spread across the country.

"I was astonished by the fact that the president didn't mention the xenophobic attacks but in a way I understand because this government has sort to downplay those attacks as being mere criminality and it cannot be mere criminality."

Analyst Harold Pakendorf says Zuma didn't say anything new or innovative in his speech, adding that the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF)'s shenanigans were unfortunate.

"There's a lot of time next week to ask the questions it wanted to ask and what the EFF did was just a populist act, it has nothing to do with normal decency."

Education expert, Ian Scott, says Zuma didn't place enough focus on education-related issues.

"The president referred to this being the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter which promised that the doors of learning and culture would be opened. I'm afraid that's exactly what's not happening."

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