President Jacob Zuma on Thursday said the National General Council took place amid a tumultuous economic climate, however, South Africans have something to smile about.
Addressing guests on the eve of the NGC at the Gallagher Convention Centre on Thursday, Zuma admitted that while government had failed to meet some of its goals, it had made significant strides in taking the country forward.
“We had said we wanted to grow our economy by 5% by 2019, and this target is proving indeed difficult to achieve under these conditions, but we shall soldier on working with you.”
He said countries like the United States were still struggling to recover from the 2008 recession.
“We can safely say that this period calls for unity amongst all of us. We need to work together… we have tried many things to help the situation but so far we have not gone under but it is a difficult period.”
However, Zuma said it was not all doom and gloom.
SA’S BIGGEST IMPROVEMENT
“It is not to say the country is not doing well. We must work together to promote our country and to disseminate positive and encouraging messages about our country.
“One of the problems we do in Africa is that we are too hard on ourselves.
“When you meet people outside of the country, they envy South Africans, it is a breath of fresh air and South Africans themselves don’t know that,” said Zuma.
He said the country had made significant achievements.
“We ought to celebrate some of those achievements because we have achieved a lot as a country and there are many countries that speak about that and recognise that.
“The World Economic Forum’s annual global competitiveness report 2015/2016 has said that South Africa climbed up seven places from 56 to 49 countries of 140 countries.
“We are back in the top 50 in the world… South Africa’s biggest improvements come in the areas of health, primary education, efficiency and technological readiness.
“South Africa has also improved in the area in micro economic development, higher education and training and business sophistication… However South Africa cannot be complacent, that is why we need you to help us,” said Zuma. News24