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PRESIDENT Cyril Ramaphosa has promised every school child in
the country digital textbooks on a tablet in the next six years.This will be part of government’s priorities to equip school
children to succeed in education, in work and in life to ensure poverty,
unemployment and inequality is overcome.He made the promise while delivering the State of the Nation
Address at the National Assembly in Cape Town.Ramaphosa said with over 700 000 children acceding early
childhood education last year, the government will this year migrate
responsibility for early child development centres from social development to
basic education. This will lead towards the two years compulsory ECD for all
children before they enter grade one.”Already, 90% of textbooks in high enrolment subjects
across all grades and all workbooks have been digital user. In line with our
Framework for Skills for a Changing World, we are expanding the training of
both educators and learners to respond to emerging technologies including the
internet of things, robotics and artificial intelligence.”To expand participation in the technical streams,
several ordinary public schools will be transformed into technical high
schools,” he said.On housing, Ramaphosa committed the Housing Development
Agency to building an additional 500 000 houses in the next five years. R30
billion will be provided to municipalities and provinces to enable them to
achieve this.”We will also be expanding the People’s Housing
Programme, where households are allocated services stands to build their own
houses, either individually or through community-led housing cooperatives.Ramaphosa also highlighted the financial plight of Eskom,
saying bold decisions needed to be made. Meaningful consultations and dialogue
with key stakeholders will be needed.He emphasized that Eskom crisis poses a great risk to the
country and consequences maybe painful and even more devastating if decisions
are delayed.He called on those using electricity to pay for the usage.”As we address the challenges that face Eskom, we also
need to safeguard our national fiscal framework, achieve a positive impact on
our sovereign credit rating, and pay attention to then rights and obligations
of Eskom’s funders.”Government will support Eskom’s balance sheet and the
Minister of Finance will provide further details on this in the budget
speech,” he said.On corruption, Ramaphosa said the level of corruption and
state capture at Zondo Commission were deeply concerning and called for the
recovery of money stolen and criminal prosecution of those involved.He said the revelations at the commission revealed the
breadth and depth of criminal wrong doing that challenges the very foundation
of the democratic state.He said in light of this he has agreed with the National
Director of Public Prosecutions an urgent need to establish an investigative
directorate dealing with serious corruption and associated offences.”I will soon be promulgating a Proclamation that will
set out the specific terms of reference of the Diroctorate. In broad terms, the
directorate will focus on the evidence that has emerged from the Zondo
Commission of Inquiry into State Capture, other commissions and inquiries. “It will identify priority cases to investigate and
prosecute and will recover assets identified to be the proceeds of
corruption,” he said.


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