On February 7, SA President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his second State of the Nation address, making a number of key announcements.

E-Visas were named as the highest priority by the President, who pledged the introduction of a world-class e-Visa regime. “This, combined with enhanced destination marketing and measures to strengthen tourism safety, will create the conditions for the growth we envisage, and the jobs and opportunities that will follow,” said Ramaphosa.

He said Government was pleased with the progress made in restoring policy certainty on the visa regime. “We are focusing our attention, our policies and our programmes on the key parts of the economy that are labour intensive. These include agriculture, tourism and the ocean economy.

“Our concerted efforts to market South Africa as a prime destination for tourists has yielded positive results, with significant annual growth in the number of foreign visitors. In the past year we had 10 million tourists who came to our country. We intend to raise this to 21 million by 2030, targeting, among others, the largest and fastest growing markets of India and China, as well as strong markets on our continent. We will deepen the partnership between government and business to realise this vision.”

Other pivotal points that Ramaphosa touched on included:

  • Investment books being compiled for each province
  • New targets to improve SA’s ease-of-doing-business ranking
  • A requirement for work experience to be dropped in the public sector
  • Release of identified state-owned land for human settlements
  • New gas and oil legislation
  • New infrastructure implementation model
  • Eradication of unsafe school toilets within three years
  • Compulsory early development for all children
  • Access to a smart tablet for every pupil by 2025
  • New technology subjects and technical high schools
  • A new bank for housing
  • Removal of taverns, shebeens and liquor outlets near schools
  • New Scorpions to deal with serious corruption and associated offences
  • National Health Insurance Bill to be submitted for free healthcare services