SOUTH AFRICA: GOVT PURSUING NUCLEAR BUILD PROGRAMME AT AN AFFORDABLE PACE

CAPE TOWN, Government remains intent on pursuing the Nuclear New Build Programme at a pace and scale that the country can afford, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

He said this when he appeared before the National Assembly to respond to oral questions.

He said the Nuclear New Build Programme was being pursued as part of the general energy mix – which includes hydro, solar, coal, wind and gas – in order to ensure energy security for the country.

With regard to nuclear, government is committed to a process that is open and transparent, cost effective and competitive.

The transparent approach to the programme will ensure that the risk of any deviation from constitutionally acceptable procurement norms is reduced, he said.

The President said it is important to note that the Court found fault with the process that was followed, especially in tabling the Intergovernmental Agreements in preparation for the programme.

The Judgment does not deal with substantive matters pertaining to the country’s future energy programmes.

The Nuclear New Build Programme is informed by the Nuclear Energy Policy of 2008, which outlines roles and responsibilities for various nuclear organisations and South Africa’s goal to become self-sufficient in all aspects of the use of nuclear technology for peaceful uses, he said.

Government’s economic, jobs plan post 2008 recession

Meanwhile, the President says government has introduced several measures since 2009 to reignite economic growth and create jobs.

ANC MP Fezeka Loliwe had asked what measures, in light of the recent announcement by Statistics South Africa that the unemployment rate had gone up to 27.7%, what steps were being taken to tackle jobs and growth in the future.

Zuma said the government’s plan for growth and jobs includes the National Development Plan, which outlines several sectors and measures for taking the South African economy to a higher growth path.

Through the NDP, government has set the goal of creating 11 million jobs by 2030.

Government also continues with measures to provide support to affected workers during this period, he said.

He said as part of the steps that were being taken, the Department of Labour continued to implement Labour Activation programmes to support the Unemployment Fund Beneficiaries and job seekers.

He said the department, through the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), has paid out more than R5 billion in the form of income support to unemployed contributors as part of social security safety net.

The UIF also undertakes a number of Skills Training Programmes through the Labour Activation Programme to raise the employability prospects of job seekers, he said.

The President said the department was also administering the Training Lay-off Scheme, which was designed to assist companies in distress in order to avoid retrenchments.

The UIF benefits have also been increased in order to provide the-much-needed relief on a much more improved scale and scope, the President said.

Our industrial policy continues to offer financing and other forms of support to black people as part of our transformation programmes, such as the black industrialists programme.

Our competition policy also continues to tackle cartels and the abuse of market power, and to use market inquiries to probe the state of competition in many parts of our economy.

We will also be working hard to enter into more effective partnerships with the private sector, and to enhance the compacts between business, labour and government, he said.

Unemployment rate reflects current global economic outlook

Meanwhile, the President said the recent spike in the unemployment rate was very much a reflection of the current global economic outlook.

He said economic growth globally has been very weak since the 2008 global financial meltdown.

This crisis has contributed to increased unemployment not only in South Africa but also in other countries.

There are also domestic factors that have contributed to weak economic growth in our case.

These include but are not limited to the impact of the recent drought which adversely affected the agricultural sector in particular. It is good that this sector is now recovering well.

Even when our economy was growing it was not absorbing the large number of young people in particular who are looking for employment.

Source: NAM NEWS NETWORK