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Infrastructure upgrades must continue: Zuma

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Improvements to water and energy infrastructure must continue in the new year, President Jacob Zuma said on Wednesday.

“[In 2014], we celebrated the milestone of 11 million connections to electricity since 1994,” he said in his new year’s statement.

“This successful programme has brought into sharp focus the need to speed up the upgrading and expansion of the energy infrastructure, which had been designed to serve just a few and a smaller economy before 1994.”

Zuma said that similarly “on-going work to expand and upgrade water infrastructure” was needed.

During 2014 there were water and electricity cuts in various parts of the country.

Zuma said government had taken measures to “assist and revitalise state-owned enterprises that are facing difficulties”.

Towards the end of the year, Zuma appointed Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa to stabilise operations at SAA, Eskom, and the SA Post Office.

This followed a turbulent three-month strike at the SA Post Office, the National Treasury having to take control of SA Airways after it fell into financial difficulty, and Eskom battling to maintain a regular power supply.

On Wednesday, Zuma said the general elections in May were “successful” and “vibrant”, proving South Africa was a “stable democracy”.

Service delivery had improved in a number of areas, he said.

“We have achieved a lot in a short space of time.”

Zuma said 2015 would mark the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Charter –a founding document of the ANC that famously declares that “South Africa belongs to all who live in it, black and white”.

“In that spirit, let us make 2015 the year of unity and co-operation,” Zuma said. SAPA

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