New Anti-Corruption Body, Water & Land Agency – #SONA2021

Written by on 12 February, 2021

By: Mfundo Mabaso

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the revelations from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry lay bare the extent of state capture and related corruption.

Delivering his fifth State Of the Nation Address (SONA), on Thursday evening, he outlined government’s plans to deal with various issues including corruption, incompetence of local government, land reform and economic recovery.

Ramaphosa says the  testimony at the Commission has shown how the criminal justice system was compromised and weakened and it is therefore vital that they sustain the momentum of the rebuilding effort that they began three years ago.

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Outlining developments at the embattled power utility, Ramaphosa says Eskom is making substantial progress with its intensive maintenance and operational excellence programmes to improve the reliability of its coal fleet.

This as the country is currently faced with loadshedding with the latest one, on Tuesday evening, being on State 3.

“Eskom estimates that, without additional capacity, there will be an electricity supply shortfall of between 4,000 and 6,000 megawatts over the next 5 years, as old coal-fired power stations reach their end of life,” explains Ramaphosa.

The land issue has been a controversial one in South Africa, with political parties being divided in between in the National Assembly, as the Expropriation Bill 2020 was gazetted last year October, awaiting submission to parliament.

Ramaphosa says during the course of the next financial year, government will establish a Land and Agrarian Reform Agency to fast-track land reform.

“To date, government has redistributed over 5 million hectares of land, totalling around 5,500 farms, to more than 300,000 beneficiaries. This is in addition to the land restitution process, which has benefited over two million land claimants and resulted in the transfer of around 2.7 million hectares,” says Ramaphosa.

On COVID-19 vaccine developments, Ramaphosa says the first phase of the vaccination programme, which is targeted at health and other frontline workers, will now use the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which has been shown to be effective against the 501Y.V2 variant.

This follows a setback after the revelation that the 1 million AstraZeneca doses have an expiry date of April this year, and indications that the vaccine has 22% efficacy in preventing mild to moderate cases of the new variant in SA.

“We have secured 9 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The first batch, of 80,000 doses, will arrive in the country next week. Further consignments will arrive over the next four weeks, totalling 500,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines,” states Ramaphosa.

The President also announced that the period for the Special R350 COVID-19 grant has been extended by a further three months.

A total of 18-million people, or close to one-third of the population, have received additional grant payments through special relief measures.

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