On Saturday, masses of people thronged the amphitheater in the Union Buildings to witness the inauguration of President Jacob Zuma, who is due to commence his second term as the President of the Republic of South Africa. As a result of this momentous event, a number of roads and streets in Pretoria were closed to traffic to facilitate the smooth progress of the event.
In his speech to accept the inauguration, President Zuma told those gathered in the amphitheater that, together with his government, they did not take the mandate of being elected to govern one more time lightly. He added that they were going to do all in their power to ensure that all in the country would have a sense of belonging and hope for a better future. He told those gathered that a lot of progress had been made in implementing policies that would lead to a change in the lives of the poor and the workers. He said that a review that had been conducted last year had indicated that while the lives of millions of people had significantly improved, poverty, inequality and unemployment still reared their ugly heads.
President Zuma informed those gathered that this year marked the implementation of radical socio-economic policies which were enshrined in the National Development Plan. This NDP, he posited, was the road map that would move the country forward towards the society that was envisaged by the leadership. This programme would lead the country in the direction of prosperity and success. Zuma added that economic transformation would take centre stage in this National Development Plan. This economic development would take the form of industrialization, broad-based black economic empowerment and strengthening the role of the state in the economy, where state owned enterprises would be used as agents of transformation. He added that land restitution and redistribution would form a large part of this empowerment.
Musholozi stated that, through the NDP, government, being ever-conscious of the need for infrastructure development, would continue to build schools, railways, ports and many other infrastructures that were needed around the country. He added that the vision of the government was that all citizens should be able to feel safe wherever they were and that national healing and reconciliation should continue. South Africa would continue to participate in the growth and development of Africa as a whole and the world at large by participating at different levels in organisations such as the United Nations and G20 among others.
Commenting on the president’s speech, the people gathered at the Union Buildings expressed mixed feelings about what he had expounded on. There were some that felt that the president’s speech was positive and showed prospects for a lot of growth. They felt that he spoke well and encouragingly about the future and the economy. On the contrary, there were others in the crowd gathered to witness his inauguration who felt that he did not speak enough and unequivocally about creating employment and what the government would do to help the poor and those suffering at grassroots level.