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South Africa will focus on radical socio-economic transformation

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday reaffirmed the government’s commitment to radical socio-economic transformation in 2018.

Radical socio-economic transformation will be the government’s main focus in the year 2018 and it will inform the delivery of development programs, Zuma said in a New Year message to the nation.

He urged South Africans to work together to build a truly united, non-racial, non-sexist, democratic and prosperous South Africa.

He stressed the need to put extra efforts together to reignite the economy and promote growth and also to make it inclusive and beneficial to all.

Radical socio-economic transformation has been on the cards of the government for years.

But little progress has been achieved as the economy is still dominated by the white minority due to the legacy of apartheid.

The ruling African National Congress (ANC) decided in 2012 that socio-economic transformation takes center stage as the next phase of liberation, characterized by more radical policies and decisive action to effect socio-economic and continued democratic transformation.

As defined by Zuma, radical socio-economic transformation refers to fundamental change in the structure, systems, institutions and patterns of ownership, management and control of the economy in favor of all South Africans, especially the poor, the majority of whom are African and female.

The ANC-led government has identified mining, manufacturing, agriculture, energy, tourism and ICT (information, communication and technology) as priority sectors for the participation of black people who were excluded in the past.

The government has introduced programs such as promoting and supporting black industrialists and black small businesses so as to change the patterns of ownership of the economy.

In pursuit of this mission, significant strides were made in 2017, in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment, Zuma said in his New Year message.

"Despite serious challenges on the economic front, together we made substantial progress in providing basic services such as electricity, housing, roads, water and sanitation, health care, social grants as well as accessible education," he said.

Through the Industrial Policy Action Plan and other programs, South Africa will continue to promote investments particularly in key strategic sectors such as energy, manufacturing, transport, telecommunications, water, tourism, the oceans economy, mining and agriculture, said Zuma.

"We will also continue to lay a firm foundation for greater growth through our infrastructure rollout program," he added.


South African President Jacob Zuma highlights inclusive growth in 2018

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday said in his new year message that the country will strive to achieve inclusive growth in 2018.

Zuma said the country experienced a poor economic growth in 2017 but managed to get out of the technical recession.

Zuma said they made significant progress in fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment.

"In the New Year, we will need to put extra efforts together, to reignite the economy and promote growth and also to make it inclusive and beneficial to all," said Zuma.

He said the country will continue to promote investments in various sectors, including energy, manufacturing, transport, telecommunications, tourism, oceans economy, mining and agriculture.

"We will also continue to lay a firm foundation for greater growth through our infrastructure rollout program," Zuma said, also promising more investment in education and greater efforts to tackle crime and drug abuse.

South African Parliament pledges to comply with court ruling over Zuma

CAPE TOWN South Africa (Xinhua) -- South Africa’s Parliament pledged on Friday to comply with a Constitutional Court ruling ordering it to hold President Jacob Zuma accountable for alleged wrongdoing.

"Parliament respects the majority judgment and will comply fully with it," said a parliamentary statement.

Under a majority judgment meted out earlier in the day by the court, the National Assembly should hold the president to account "without delay" regarding the Nkandla scandal, in which Zuma was accused of abusing public funding worth 246 million rand (about 20 million U.S. dollars) in security upgrades at his private home in Nkandla, KwaZulu-Natal Province.

Parliament had failed to make rules surrounding the removal of Zuma and should attend to this matter, the court said.

The court held the National Assembly collectively responsible for not meaningfully implementing section 89 of the Constitution.

Justice Chris Jafta said in the ruling that the National Assembly had failed to determine whether the president had breached section 89 of the Constitution.

Section 89 of the Constitution deals with the removal of the president on the grounds of a serious violation of the Constitution or the law, serious misconduct, or inability to perform the functions of office.

"The court has thus ordered that the Rules of the Assembly be amended without delay to comply with section 237 of the Constitution, which instructs that all Constitutional obligations be performed diligently and without delay," Jafta said.

Several opposition parties—the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), the United Democratic Movement (UDM) and Congress of the People (COPE)-- brought the matter to the court, seeking an order to institute impeachment proceedings against Zuma.

The parliamentary statement said Parliament’s Rules Committee has already initiated a process to outline a procedure to be followed in implementing section 89 of the Constitution.

"In this regard, Parliament will ensure finalization of the Assembly’s rules, in line with the court’s order," said the statement.

In a related development, the ruling African National Congress (ANC) said it will study the judgment and discuss its full implications when the ANC National Executive Committee meets on January 10, 2018.

South African stocks end 2017 higher

JOHANNESBURG South Africa (Xinhua) -- The Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) all share ended the year 17.47 percent higher at 59,504.67 points, after a tough two years which saw it gain just 1.85 percent in 2015 and lose 0.08 percent last year.

The all-share ended Friday’s trading 0.94 percent higher.

The blue-chip top 40 index rose 0.89 percent to 52,533 points, 4.8 percent down from its 55,192 peak and 19.7 percent higher than a year ago.

The banking index advanced 1.82 percent, led higher by Rand Merchant Holding’s 3.23 percent rise to R79.17, Capitec’s of 2.52 percent to R1,097.96, and Barclays Africa Group’s of 2.24 percent to R181.99.

Spar rose 3.25 percent to R203.33.

The grocery chains were among Friday’s best performers.

Shoprite 2.55 percent to R221.19, and Pick n Pay 2.29 percent to R69.56.

Kumba Iron Ore climbed a 137 percent annual gain. Retailer TFG, whose brands include Foschini, Home, Markham, and Total Sports, rose 2.79 percent to R197.33.

South Africa’s rand was 0.28 percent firmer at 12.34 per dollar from Thursday’s R12.40, at R14.74 to the euro from R14.81, and at R16.61 to the pound from R16.67.

The euro was at 1.1987 dollars, from 1.1988 dollars.

The local unit firmed to the dollar on Friday after the Constitutional Court ruled that Parliament had failed to hold President Jacob Zuma to account for allegedly using state funds to upgrade his homestead, Nkandla.

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