Sharks confident Johnson can provide bite

first_imgJohnson will play his first game for the Sharks against Newcastle on Friday night, after he was released by the Warriors in an ugly split at the end of last year.His pick up couldn’t have come at a better time for Cronulla, who lost their biggest attacking weapon in Holmes last November.Holmes led the Sharks last season for tries, linebreaks, tackle busts and running metres, hitting his best just as Cronulla made a run to the preliminary final.”I think what he brings to the side is a bit of X-factor which we lost with Val,” Morris said of Johnson.”(I’ll tell him) just to get into the game and get his hands on the ball, take the line on and guide the boys around the park.”He’s the perfect pick up for us because he allows Matty (Moylan) to go back to fullback and both have that unstructured style of footy.”Called on to do the organising for much of his Warriors career, Johnson will be freed up in the No.6 jersey with Chad Townsend maintaining control of the Sharks attack.The pair have already played together in two seasons at the Warriors, winning 18 of 34 games together when Townsend was a far less experienced first-grader.last_img read more

Graham Hansen, the great assistant

first_imgOne of the featured names in this almighty Barça It’s of Caroline Graham Hansen The Norwegian end came last summer as star signing with Jenni Hermoso and he has not disappointed in his early stages as Barça, but quite the opposite. With the Madrid striker he has formed one of the more lethal couples of the First Iberdrola, But the truth is that few fail to get along well with Oslo. With its speed and overflow it has managed to penetrate the half world defenses. So much so that in 2019 he managed to add the a whopping figure of 30 assists, distributed between Barça, where he has seven in the League, Wolfsburg and Norway, with which only in the Euro qualifier 2021 in recent months has managed to distribute six assists. Without a doubt, her role as a passer is decisive for the teams in which she militates. Barça and the First Iberdrola enjoy it now, a top player worldwide.last_img read more

Levante-Real Madrid Without goal or leadership

first_imgThe advantage of Madrid is over, which will reach the Classic with the water around the neck and without leadership to cushion its fall. It was after an hour of dominance without bullets and a final stretch where all the ghosts of the past appeared: an alarming lack of auction, an extremely long team and an excessively confident Courtois. The Levant won the battle of the resistance until the goal of Morales arrived, many times guardian angel.Even with the provisional leadership of Barça, still dressed in an alignment full of honors, still convicted of the painful draw against Celta, Madrid did not have the explosive exit that deserved the case. El Levante de Paco López is a more adventurous team than his classification and budget say and he was not impressed by Madrid or his own and other people’s needs. Lopez got two points, Roger Martí and Mayoral, and the two wings with the most flight of the squad, Bardhi and Morales. The plan was a care with Madrid from the beginning.Zidane also left nothing in the pantry with the exceptions of Valverde and Mendy, threatened with suspension. That allowed him to repeat Marcelo, who makes his band more elastic and less resistant, and gave Isco another chance, that violin that as soon as it sounds silent. The other nine, except for mishap, will be on that double ride among crocodiles next week.With some and with little other precautions, an open field match was left, presumably more inclined to Madrid, superior in the punch, although in recent times the consumption of goals has plummeted. In five minutes he concentrated his fire on the Aitor area. The goal stopped two shots to Benzema and Modric and then went to put his fists and ended up putting his leg in a clearance that could end up at his door if Casemiro has more tub in his head pumped. On the other side, everything was almost, in well-intentioned shipments of Bardhi and Morales that nobody attended. There was the feeling that there was more energy than results in the game Granota, team in which Campaign puts all the music. There he plays what he decides. A football player who does not release the baton. However, his good handling of the situation did not prevent the party from drifting towards the Aitor area, besieged in the last minutes of the first half. Benzema scored a goal because, before the goal, he did not throw or pass. And without respite, Aitor took out a Modric missile. The Levant reached the middle of the cat.Of more lessAnd so it went on in the second half. The Levant was wrapped in the last quarter of the field, confident in its defensive strength and the very low definition of Madrid, one more night with more play than fang. Isco opened all the lines of investigation between the behind granota without finding a single space. And when it appeared, there was no success in the auctioneers. Marcelo got Hazard a first pass that the Belgian could not tame in his solo gallop against Aitor and ended up disastrously finishing off. Almost immediately he had to leave, injured. Madrid also claimed a penalty by Campaña, one of those who whistle or not according to what the referee and VAR have received. The draw was ending the caution of Madrid, which began to become dangerously long and vulnerable.Zidane looked outside for what was inside, with Lucas Vázquez on one side and a huge Vinicius on the other. But then the team was already another, less dominant and more exposed. And in those, Morales grabbed an impressive left-handed, far and not too much angle, for the first stick he caught in Babia to Courtois. It was the end of Madrid, of his leadership and of that sense of security with which he had walked in recent months. The Classic is already life or death.last_img read more

Cannavaro to retire and join brother Fabio in China

first_imgPaolo Cannavaro, the younger brother at 36, says his job “will be that of assisting Fabio 360 degrees as technical collaborator. I can coach the reserves, those who play a bit less during the season.”He adds: “Chinese will be difficult to learn, we’ll settle for English.” “A new year, a new life … it will be an odd feeling. I won’t miss the field because it’s a decision I’ve made, but I will miss being around my teammates,” he said.Cannavaro progressed through the youth team at Napoli and in 1999 joined his older brother Fabio at Parma, where he spent six years. The defender then spent a season at Hellas Verona before rejoining Napoli and making more than 200 appearances in eight years at his hometown club.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkCannavaro moved to Sassuolo in 2014.Fabio Cannavaro, who won the World Cup with Italy as a player in 2006, was announced as Guangzhou Evergrande coach last month. Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours Scottie Thompson also worthy of Finals MVP, thinks Cone Sassuolo’s defender from Italy Paolo Cannavaro celebrates after scoring during the italian Serie A football match Sassulo vs Roma at the Mapei Stadium in Reggio Emlia on October 26, 2016. / AFP PHOTO / FILIPPO MONTEFORTESASSUOLO, Italy— Paolo Cannavaro will quit football after this weekend and join his brother on the technical staff at Chinese club Guangzhou Evergrande.Cannavaro announced on Thursday that Sassuolo’s Serie A match at Roma will be his last.ADVERTISEMENT Redemption is sweet for Ginebra, Scottie Thompson Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next MOST READ OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Brian Heruela arrival bolsters Phoenix backcourt, defense Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard PLAY LIST 02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award OSG plea to revoke ABS-CBN franchise ’a duplicitous move’ – Lacson Magic trip Pistons to snap nine-game losing streak Meralco ‘never the same’ after Almazan injury in PBA Finals LATEST STORIES Jiro Manio arrested for stabbing man in Marikina View commentslast_img read more

Adamson seeks fifth straight win, battles National U

first_imgLATEST STORIES Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. For the complete collegiate sports coverage including scores, schedules and stories, visit Inquirer Varsity. Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST PLAY LIST 01:00Chief Justice Peralta on upcoming UAAP game: UP has no match against UST02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Gov’t to employ 6,000 displaced by Taal Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Tim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crown Nadine Lustre’s phone stolen in Brazil With first playoff stint under Alas in sight, Phoenix raises its target View commentscenter_img Will you be the first P16 Billion Powerball jackpot winner from the Philippines? Gretchen Barretto’s daughter Dominique graduates magna cum laude from California college MOST READ Japeth Aguilar embraces role, gets rewarded with Finals MVP plum Nursing a foot injury, the reed-thin forward pumped in 27 points against University of the East, went scoreless against University of Santo Tomas and fired 18 points including the game winner against UP.The Falcons face a different type of challenge against a young, rebuilding NU team that is looking to bounce back from a 46-72 drubbing at the hands of Ateneo last Saturday.The Bulldogs are bannered by rookie sensation Dave Ildefonso, who is looking to bounce back after he was held to just four points on 2-of-8 shooting by the Eagles. Ildefonso averaged 17.5 points in his first two games this season.Defending champion Ateneo seeks a fourth straight victory as it collides with UST in the second game at 4 p.m.The Eagles, who made light work of the Warriors on Wednesday, aim for a fourth win in five games against the Tigers, who dropped a 71-79 decision to the Falcons last Saturday, after splitting their first two games of the season.ADVERTISEMENT Adamson coach Franz Pumaren warned his team from getting carried away from all the attention surrounding the Falcons’ unbeaten start in UAAP Season 81.ADVERTISEMENT Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew As the Falcons shoot for a fifth straight victory on Saturday against the National U Bulldogs at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan, Pumaren was quick to remind his players that they are far from achieving their goal this season.“I’ve been telling them 3-0 is nothing, 4-0 is nothing,” said Pumaren after the Falcons survived the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 69-68, on a last-second shot by Sean Manganti.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSJapeth Aguilar wins 1st PBA Finals MVP award for GinebraSPORTSGolden State Warriors sign Lee to multiyear contract, bring back Chriss“We were probably reading too much about social media that we’re so great already. Probably if we win the championship we can start acting that way but the way we played (against UP), it felt like we were thinking of highly of ourselves.”Manganti will be a marked man despite enduring a roller-coaster campaign so far. Allen Durham still determined to help Meralco win 1st PBA titlelast_img read more

Employment picture grabs the spotlight

first_imgOn another encouraging note, the economy ended up adding 55,000 more jobs in December and January combined than the government estimated a month ago. Workers’ wages grew briskly, another sign that the job market is in fundamentally good shape, analysts said. Average hourly earnings jumped to $17.16 in February, from $16.49 a year earlier. That represented a solid 4.1 percent increase over the last 12 months.160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! WASHINGTON – The unemployment rate dipped to 4.5 percent and workers got fatter paychecks in February, even as bad winter weather sent a bit of a chill through U.S. job growth. The latest employment picture, released by the Labor Department on Friday, suggested employers are holding up well and opportunities continue for job seekers as the economy deals with a sluggish spell, a housing slump and troubles in the automotive industry. Employers – both private companies and the government – added a total of 97,000 new jobs to their payrolls in February, the fewest in two years. Lousy winter weather was blamed for much of the slower job growth. Construction companies – already feeling the strain of the ailing housing market – slashed 62,000 jobs in February, the most in 16 years, as nasty weather hit many parts of the country. Meanwhile, factories, coping with slowing economic conditions at home and intense competition from abroad, continued to cut jobs. They eliminated 14,000 positions last month. Those job losses, however, were eclipsed by employment gains elsewhere including at health care facilities, financial companies, computer-design firms, bars and restaurants, retailers and the government. “The job market remains relatively healthy. The weather certainly delivered a lashing to the job market in February, particularly in the construction business as snow, ice, and sleet hammered parts of the country,” said Lynn Reaser, chief economist at Bank of America’s Investment Strategies Group. “Still, companies cautiously have the hiring mats out and workers are making more money.” In financial markets, the employment news gave a boost to the Dow Jones industrials. The index rose 15.62 points to close at 12,276.32, after trading in both positive and negative territory over the course of the day. The drop in the unemployment rate from 4.6 percent in January came as people left the work force in February. Economists said bad weather made it difficult for people to get out and look for jobs. Taking those factors into account, February’s jobless rate, the lowest since December, still should ease any fears that the economy could be headed for a worse-than-anticipated slowdown in growth, analysts said. last_img read more

Retiring letter carrier is a friend, too

first_imgThe proof is right there in Stark’s personnel file, Van Nuys Postmaster Joel Smith said. “We’ve never gotten one letter of complaint about John, but plenty of letters of compliment. After 24 years out on the streets delivering mail, that’s pretty incredible.” Smith met Stark 20 years ago when they were both taking the supervisors exam. Both men passed, but when Stark looked around the office and saw all those suits and ties, he opted to stay out on the streets in his postal shorts. “I’m just not an inside person,” he said. “Put me outside with the people.” At 60, he knows he’s kind of young to be retiring, but he figures he’ll pick up some part-time work if he gets bored. The way he sees it, being a letter carrier is a young person’s job, anyway. “Bring the youngsters in, and let the old people go,” Stark says, laughing. “I’m going to miss the people and stopping to talk with them every day. But I’m sure not going to miss all those circulars and junk mail.” From your friends on Langdon Avenue, happy retirement, John. Dennis McCarthy’s column appears Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday. dennis.mccarthy@dailynews.com (818) 713-3749160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Up and down Langdon Avenue – a long stretch of apartment buildings in Van Nuys – residents were saying the same thing about Stark, their letter carrier, who is retiring. For nearly 20 years, the Vietnam veteran has delivered the mail on route629 – the longest route in the Van Nuys post office. He’s gone from postman to friend; he’s been a mentor to young boys growing up in a neighborhood with gang violence. “I’ve seen them born, grow up, get married, and I’ve seen them be buried,” Stark said Wednesday, delivering the mail on Langdon. “I’ve got plenty of gang bangers on my route, and one-on-one they’re fantastic, but when they get together in the gang, well.” Stark tells them about the gang he used to be in 40 years ago – the toughest gang in America. The Marines. “You try to make it personal, get their attention to a better life out there,” Stark said. “Sometimes they listen. Sometimes they don’t. Either way, if you care, you’ve got to try. And I care.” John Stark went from being Patricia Kennedy’s letter carrier to being her friend the week her father died a few years ago. “I was standing outside crying when John pulled up in his mail truck and asked what was wrong. When I told him, he held out his arms and gave me a hug. “He let me stand there crying on his shoulder for as long as I needed to get it all out,” the Van Nuys woman said Wednesday. “In a time when people don’t care, John cares. I don’t think he realizes how much we’re all going to miss him.” last_img read more

Salah the star African performer in Europe

first_imgRIYAD MAHREZ (Leicester City)Algerian Mahrez was again absent from the Leicester squad in a 1-1 draw against Swansea after his displeasure at the Foxes’ refusal to let him move to runaway league leaders Manchester City last week.MOHAMED DIAME (Newcastle United)Former West Ham United midfielder Diame scored his second goal of the season © AFP / Adrian DENNISSenegalese midfielder Diame headed home his second goal of the season to earn Newcastle a 1-1 draw at Crystal Palace to lie just a point above the relegation zone.SPAINEMMANUEL BOATENG (Levante)The 21-year-old Ghanaian marked only his fourth La Liga start with his first goal in the Spanish top flight against floundering champions Real Madrid.Boateng latched onto a loose ball to coolly slot in Levante’s first equaliser of a 2-2 draw and cap an enterprising individual display.ITALYKALIDOU KOULIBALY (Napoli)Koulibaly’s Napoli maintained their slender lead at the top of Serie A © AFP / MARCO BERTORELLOBottom club Benevento were awarded a penalty for Senegalese defender Koulibaly’s clumsy tackle only for it to be revoked by VAR (video assistant referee) due to an earlier offside position. Napoli won 2-0 to stay top of the Serie A table.AFRIYIE ACQUAH/MBAYE NIANG/JOEL OBI (Torino)Ghanaian Acquah equalised and was sent off as Torino settled for a 1-1 draw against European qualification rivals Sampdoria. Acquah levelled in the 25th minute before being red-carded for a second bookable offence after 75 minutes.Senegalese Niang missed a chance to pull Torino ahead three minutes after Acquah’s goal, but his lob was off target. He was substituted to his obvious displeasure and Nigerian Obi went off injured.GERMANYSALOMON KALOU (Hertha Berlin)Once again, the Ivory Coast veteran rescued a point for Hertha when he headed home a second-half equaliser for his eighth Bundesliga goal of the season in a 1-1 draw against Hoffenheim.It was the fourth time this season that Kalou, 32, pulled Berlin level after also netting in draws against Bayern Munich, Freiburg and Augsburg.FRANCEKEITA BALDE (Monaco)Balde has now scored seven league goals for Monaco since joining from Lazio © AFP / YANN COATSALIOUThe Senegal international endured a night of contrasting emotions as Monaco came from two goals down to beat Lyon 3-2.Balde used his strength to hold off a series of defenders and drill in a low strike to cut the deficit on 31 minutes that helped spark his side’s recovery.But his role in the fightback ended prematurely as he was sent off for a second yellow card shortly before half-time for a wild challenge on Ferland Mendy, having been booked minutes earlier for kicking the ball away in frustration.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Salah has scored 21 goals in 25 Premier League games for Liverpool © AFP / Paul ELLISPARIS, France, Feb 5 – Mohamed Salah was the star African performer in Europe at the weekend, netting twice to close within one goal of Harry Kane in the English Premier League leading scorer race.The Egypt sharpshooter and 2017 African Footballer of the Year twice gave Liverpool the lead in a dramatic 2-2 draw with Tottenham Hotspur, whose second equaliser came from Kane. Gabon striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang — third behind Salah and Senegalese Sadio Mane in the Footballer of the Year poll — scored on his debut as Arsenal triumphed 5-1 against Everton.ENGLANDMOHAMED SALAH (Liverpool)The Egypt winger struck twice, including a stoppage-time goal, but Liverpool were denied as Tottenham rescued a 2-2 draw at Anfield. Salah punished a mistake from defender Eric Dier to put Liverpool ahead with a cool finish in the third minute. He restored Liverpool’s lead with a superb solo effort — his 21st league goal this term.PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG (Arsenal)Aubameyang dinked in a debut goal as he rekindled his relationship with ex-Dortmund teammate Mkhitaryan © IKIMAGES/AFP/File / Ian KINGTONHe marked his Arsenal debut with a goal in the Gunners’ 5-1 demolition of Everton at the Emirates Stadium.Aubameyang joined Arsenal from Borussia Dortmund for a club record £56 million last week and didn’t waste time making a good impression on his new fans.He capped a lively performance by scoring Arsenal’s fourth goal with a cool finish late in the first half, although replays showed he was fortunate not to be flagged offside.VICTOR WANYAMA (Tottenham Hotspur)Wanyama set up a dramatic finish at Anfield with an incredible 25-yard piledriver into the top corner for Tottenham’s first equaliser 10 minutes from time.The Kenyan had been on the pitch only a minute before smashing home his first goal of an injury-plagued season.WILFRIED BONY (Swansea City)The Ivory Coast striker has been ruled out for the rest of the season after suffering a serious injury in a 1-1 draw at Leicester.Former Manchester City star Bony tore a cruciate ligament in his knee after coming on as a second-half substitute.AHMED HEGAZI (West Bromwich Albion)The Egypt defender scored his first goal since August, but it wasn’t enough to boost his side’s hopes of avoiding relegation as they lost 3-2 at home to Southampton.Hegazi put Albion in front with a fourth-minute header from Chris Brunt’s cross.last_img read more

Pardew will pick the Crystal Palace team to face Dover, reveals Millen

first_imgAlan Pardew will pick the team for Crystal Palace’s FA Cup match against Dover Athletic on Sunday, according to caretaker boss Keith Millen.Pardew has been in discussions with Palace about taking over from Neil Warnock, after Newcastle United gave him permission to speak to the London club.An official announcement was expected today, but Millen has reassured fans that a deal is still likely and Pardew will have a say on matters for Sunday’s FA Cup clash.“There still talking but there are no problems at all. Alan was at the training ground this morning,” said Millen.“I can’t give you a time scale on it, but we are certainly preparing for Alan to take the team and training tomorrow.“He will pick the team [for Sunday].” Alan Pardew 1last_img

State of the Nation Address 2016: full speech

first_imgIn the State of the Nation Address, President Jacob Zuma called for the eradication of the ‘demon of racism’, he reminded South Africans that economic growth was the fastest way to reduce inequality and lift fellow South Africans out of poverty. The Junior Guard of Honour at Parliament in Cape Town ahead of the State of the Nation Address. (Image: GCIS) State of the Nation Address by Jacob G Zuma, President of the Republic of South Africa on the occasion of the Joint Sitting of ParliamentThe Speaker of the National Assembly,The Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces;Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly and Deputy Chairperson of the NCOP,Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa,Former President Thabo Mbeki,Chief Justice Mogoeng Mogoeng and all esteemed members of the judiciary,The President of the Pan African Parliament, Mr Roger Nkodo Dang,Ministers and Deputy Ministers,Premiers and Speakers of Provincial Legislatures,Chairperson of SALGA and all Executive Mayors present,The Heads of Chapter 9 Institutions,Chairperson of the National House of Traditional Leaders,Leaders of faith based organisations,The former Speaker of the National Assembly, Dr Frene Ginwala,Invited guests,Veterans of the struggle for liberation,Members of the diplomatic corps,Fellow South Africans,Good evening, sanibonani, molweni, dumelang, goeie naand, lotshani, riperile, ndimadekwana,Thank you for the opportunity to address Parliament and the nation.Today marks the 26th anniversary of the release of President Nelson Mandela from prison, which was one of the most remarkable episodes in the history of our country.It is also the 50th anniversary of the declaration by the National Party regime that District Six would be a whites only area, leading to the forced removals of more than 60 000 residents.The year 2016 also marks the 20th anniversary of the signing into law by Madiba, of the Constitution of the Republic. The signing took place in Sharpeville on 10 December 1996.We are proud of our democracy and what we have achieved in a short space of time. Our democracy is functional, solid and stable.Compatriots,The Constitution, which has its foundation in the Freedom Charter, proclaims that South Africa belongs to all who live in it. A lot has been done to promote inclusion and a non-racial society.However, the journey to a non-racial society has not yet been completed.The nation was shaken last month when racism reared its ugly head on social and electronic media, causing untold pain and anger.There is a need to confront the demon of racism. Human Rights Day, March 21, will be commemorated as the national day against racism this year. It will be used to lay the foundation for a long-term programme of building a non-racial society.Compatriots, I would like to remind you of a few other important anniversaries.The year 2016 marks 60 years since the women’s march to the Union Buildings to demand an end to the pass laws. We are happy to have in our midst Ms Sophie de Bruyn, who was among the heroic leaders of that historic march.We also acknowledge the former President of the Black Sash, Ms Mary Burton. We acknowledge the organisation’s track record in fighting for human rights, justice and equality.This year also marks 40 years since the landmark June 16 student uprising in Soweto.We welcome the photographer who shot the famous photograph of Hector Peterson carried by Mbuyisa Makhubu with his sister Antoinette, Mr Sam Nzima.We also salute the class of 1976 for their bravery in standing up against the brutal apartheid regime. We acknowledge one of the activists of that era, the Deputy Secretary of Parliament, Ms Baby Tyawa, who is in our midst.This year we also mark 30 years since the ambush and brutal killing of the Gugulethu Seven by the apartheid police in March 1986.The University of Fort Hare celebrates its centenary, which is a critical milestone in the liberation history of not only our country but the continent. The national celebrations will take place on the 20th of May.Let me recognise uMntwana wakwaPhindangene, the leader of the IFP who is a former student of the university.The year 2016 also marks the centenary of the battle of Deville Woods in France, which took place during the First World War.Scores of Black soldiers fought in the war but were treated badly due to the colour of their skin.A memorial that will restore their dignity and humanity is scheduled to be unveiled in July this year in France.Compatriots, allow me as well to recognise three special guests who are also with us today,the chairperson of the National Church Leaders Forum and Archbishop of Cape Town, Archbishop Thabo Makgoba. Archbishop Daniel Matebesi, the President of the National Interfaith Council of South Africa and Bishop Zipho Siwa, the Presiding Bishop of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa and the President of the South African Council of Churches.Madam Speaker and Madam Chairperson,A resilient and fast growing economy is at the heart of our radical economic transformation agenda and our National Development Plan.When the economy grows fast it delivers jobs. Workers earn wages and businesses make profits.The tax base expands and allows government to increase the social wage and provide education, health, social grants, housing and free basic services – faster and in a more sustainable manner.Our economy has been facing difficulties since the financial crisis in 2008. We embarked on an aggressive infrastructure development programme to stimulate growth.Our reality right now is that global growth still remains muted. Financial markets have become volatile. Currencies of emerging markets have become weak and they fluctuate widely.The prices of gold, platinum, coal and other minerals that we sell to the rest of the world have dropped significantly and continue to be low.The economies of two of our partners in BRICS: Brazil and Russia – are expected to contract this year. The third, China, will not register the kind of robust growth that it is known for.Because our economy is relatively small and open, it is affected by all of these developments.Our economy is also affected by domestic factors such as the electricity constraints and industrial relations which are sometimes unstable.The IMF and the World Bank predict that the South African economy will grow by less than one per cent this year. The lower economic growth outcomes and outlook suggest that revenue collection will be lower than previously expected.Importantly, our country seems to be at risk of losing its investment grade status from ratings agencies. If that happens, it will become more expensive for us to borrow money from abroad to finance our programmes of building a better life for all especially the poor.The situation requires an effective turnaround plan from us.It is about doing things differently and also acting on what may not have been acted upon quickly before.I will share a few points that we believe would make a difference.First, our country remains an attractive investment destination. It may face challenges, but its positive attributes far outweigh those challenges.We must continue to market the country as a preferred destination for investments. This requires a common narrative from all of us as business, labour and government.If there are any disagreements or problems between us, we should solve them before they escalate. This is necessary for the common good of our country.We have had fruitful meetings with business, including the high level meeting with CEOs on Tuesday this week.We have heard the suggestions from business community on how we can turn the situation around and put the economy back on a growth path.We have heard the points about the need to create the correct investment support infrastructure.Government is developing a One Stop Shop/Invest SA initiative to signal that South Africa is truly open for business. We will fast-track the implementation of this service, in partnership with the private sector.Such an initiative requires that government removes the red tape and reviews any legislative and regulatory blockages.We have established an Inter-Ministerial Committee on Investment Promotion which will ensure the success of investment promotion initiatives.Compatriots, we have heard the concerns raised about the performance of state owned enterprises and companies.Many of our SOCs are performing well.Sanral has built some of the best roads in Gauteng and in many parts of the country. These make us the envy of many parts around the globe.The Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority has constructed dams of varied capacities, thus making it possible for our people to have access to safe drinking water.Transnet has built rail infrastructure which has enabled our country’s mines to move massive bulk of commodities through our ports to markets around the globe.Eskom, in spite of the challenges, still manages to keep the economy going, against all odds.Our development finance institutions such as the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) or Development Bank of Southern Africa and others have provided finance for infrastructure, various industries and agricultural businesses without fail, even in the aftermath of the global financial crisis.For the state owned companies to contribute to the successful implementation of the National Development Plan, they must be financially sound.They must be properly governed and managed. We will ensure the implementation of the recommendations of the Presidential Review Commission on State Owned Enterprises, which outlines how the institutions should be managed.The Deputy President chairs the Inter-Ministerial Committee which is tasked with ensuring the implementation of these recommendations.We have to streamline and sharpen the mandates of the companies and ensure that where there are overlaps in the mandates, there is immediate rationalization.Those companies that are no longer relevant to our development agenda will be phased out.Government departments to which they report, will set the agenda and identify key projects for the State owned companies to implement, over a defined period. Proper monitoring and evaluation will be done.These interventions are essential for growth and also for the reduction of national debt levels.Compatriots,We must take advantage of the exchange rate as well as the recent changes of visa regulations, to boost inbound tourism.SA Tourism will invest one hundred million rand a year to promote domestic tourism, encouraging South Africans to tour their country.We have heard concerns from companies about delays in obtaining visas for skilled personnel from abroad. While we prefer that employers prioritise local workers, our migration policy must also make it possible to import scarce skills.The draft migration policy will be presented to Cabinet during the course of 2016.We have heard the appeals for policy certainty in the mining sector, especially with regards to the Mineral and Petroleum Resources Development Bill.The Bill was referred back to Parliament last year. We await Parliament to conclude the processing, which we trust will be done expeditiously.CompatriotsWe need to empower SMMEs to accelerate their growth. Access to high-quality, innovative business support can dramatically improve the success rate of new ventures.The department of small business development was established to provide such targeted support to small business.Economic transformation and black empowerment remain a key part of all economic programmes of government.  One of our new interventions is the Black Industrialists Scheme which has been launched to promote the participation of black entrepreneurs in manufacturing.We urge big business to partner the new manufacturers including businesses owned by women and the youth, as part of broadening the ownership and control of the economy.CompatriotsWe are proud of our Top 10 ranking in the World Economic Forum competitiveness report with respect to financial services.Maintaining and indeed improving our ranking is important to our competitiveness as a country.It is also fundamental to our ambition to become a financial centre for Africa.The banks, through the Banking Association of South Africa, are to launch a project aimed at establishing a centre of excellence for financial services and leadership training.This will ensure that as a country we can attract, nurture, develop and retain the best talent in financial services in our country and across our continent.They will work with the Minister of Finance and the National Treasury to get this done. We believe that this will over time ensure that we can expand the pool of financial skills and broaden the job opportunities for many young people.This strategic project from the banking sector is a positive and encouraging outcome of our engagement with business this week.Together we move South Africa Forward!Compatriots,We have made an undertaking to spend public funds wisely and to cut wasteful expenditure, but without compromising on the core business of government and the provision of services to our people.In 2013, the Minister of Finance announced a number of cost containment measures.Excessive and wasteful expenditure has been reduced, but there is still more to be done to cut wastage.I would like to announce some measures this evening.Overseas trips will be curtailed and those requesting permission will have to motivate strongly and prove the benefit to the country.The sizes of delegations will be greatly reduced and standardised.Further restrictions on conferences, catering, entertainment and social functions will be instituted.The budget vote dinners for stakeholders hosted by government departments in Parliament, after the delivery of budget speeches will no longer take place.The Minister of Finance will announce more measures and further details in the budget vote speech on the 24th of February.The executive management and boards of public agencies and state owned companies must undertake similar measures.I also invite Premiers of all nine provinces as well as mayors to join us as we begin eliminating wasteful expenditure within government.I trust that Parliament and the Judiciary will also be persuaded to consider the implementation of similar measures.CompatriotsA big expenditure item, that we would like to persuade Parliament to consider, is the maintenance of two capitals, Pretoria as the administrative one and Cape Town as the legislative capital.We believe that the matter requires the attention of Parliament soon.CompatriotsWe all have a lot to do to turn the economy around and to cut wastage. We will go through a difficult period for a while, but when the economy recovers, we will be proud of ourselves for having done the right thing.Compatriots,I would now like to report back on the undertakings made last year.During the State of the Nation Address in February 2015I announced the Nine Point Plan to respond to sluggish growth.The nine point plan consists of:a.Revitalisation of the agriculture and agro-processing value-chain;b.Advancing beneficiation adding value to our mineral wealth;c.More effective implementation of a higher impact Industrial Policy Action Plan;d.Unlocking the potential of SMME, co-operativess, township and rural enterprises;e.Resolving the energy challenge;f.Stabilising the labour market;g.Scaling-up private-sector investment;h.Growing the Ocean Economy;i.Cross-cutting Areas to Reform, Boost and Diversify the Economy;i.Science, technology and innovationii.Water and sanitationiii.Transport infrastructureiv.Broadband rolloutv.State owned companies.We have made significant progress in the implementation of the plan.Progress has been made to stabilise the electricity supply. There has been no load shedding since August last year which has brought relief for both households and industry alike.Government has invested eighty three billion rand (R83 billion) in Eskom which has enabled the utility to continue investing in Medupi and Kusile, while continuing with a diligent maintenance programme.Additional units from Ingula power station will be connected in 2017, even though some of them will begin synchronisation this year.The multiple bid windows of the Renewable Independent Power Producer Programme have attracted an investment of one hundred and ninety four billion rand.This initiative is a concrete example of how government can partner with the private sector to provide practical solutions to an immediate challenge that faces our country.In 2016, government will select the preferred bidders for the coal independent power producer.Request for Proposals will also be issued for the first windows of gas to power bids.The nuclear energy expansion programme remains part of the future energy mix.Our plan is to introduce nine thousand six hundred megawatts of nuclear energy in the next decade, in addition to running Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant.We will test the market to ascertain the true cost of building modern nuclear plants.Let me emphasise that we will only procure nuclear on a scale and pace that our country can afford.Compatriots,Our government through the Department of Trade and Industry introduced a number of incentives in the past few years to boost investments in the manufacturing sectors especially textiles, leather and the automotive sectors.Progress has been made in these sectors.The incentives for the automotive sector have attracted investments of over twenty five billion rand over the last five years. We welcome key investments from Mercedes, General Motors, Ford, Beijing Auto Works, the Metair group, BMW, Goodyear and VW.The clothing and textile sector has also been successfully stabilised after a difficult few years.Multinational companies such as Nestle, Unilever Samsung and Hisense have also affirmed South Africa as a regional manufacturing hub.They have retained and expanded their investments in new plants.Indeed the progress made in manufacturing has certainly demonstrated that the incentive programmes are effective and attractive to investors.Compatriots,I announced programmes for the revitalisation of agriculture last year. We introduced the Agri-Parks programme, aimed at increasing the participation of small holder farmers in agricultural activities.Construction has begun in at least five agriparks, which are: Westrand in Gauteng, Springbokpan in North West, Witzenberg in Western Cape, Ncora in the Eastern Cape and Enkangala in Mpumalanga.The agricultural programmes must empower women farmers as well. Allow me to introduce the winner of the Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2015, Ms Julia Shungube, from Nkomazi municipality in Mpumalanga.Honourable Speaker and Chairperson,Land reform remains an important factor as we pursue transformation.I spoke about the fifty/fifty policy framework last year, which proposes relative rights for people who live and work on farms.Twenty seven proposals have been received from commercial farmers and four are being implemented in the Eastern Cape and the Free State.I also announced the Regulation of Land Holdings Bill which would place a ceiling on land ownership at a maximum of 12 000 hectares and would prohibit foreign nationals from owning land. They would be eligible for long term leases. The draft Bill will be presented to Cabinet in the first semester of the year.We also announced the re-opening of land claims for people who had missed the 1998 deadline. The number of new land claims that have been lodged stood at close to one hundred and twenty thousand as of December last year.Compatriots,As we are aware, five provinces have been seriously affected by drought, namely North-West, KwaZulu-Natal, Free State, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.Government provides relief to affected communities. Isomiso sixakile impela ezifundazweni eziningi. Imfuyo iyafa kanti nezolimo zisele emuva. Isikhathi esinzima lesi.Uhulumeni uzoqhubeka nokuxhasa abalimi kanye nokusiza imiphakathi ngezimoto ezithwala zamanzi.Let me take this opportunity to commend the civil society initiative, Operation Hydrate  and others for the provision of water relief to many communities in distress.The building of water infrastructure remains critical so that we can expand access to our people and industry.The first phase of the Mokolo and Crocodile Water Augmentation project in Lephalale area in Limpopo is fully operational. It will provide 30 million cubic meters of water per annum.The raising of the Clan William Dam wall in the Western Cape entails raising the existing dam level by 13 metres to provide additional water supply.To curb water wastage, the Department of Water and Sanitation has begun its programme of training fifteen thousand young people as artisans.Madam SpeakerMadam Chairperson,On improving labour relations, we welcome the agreement reached by social partners at NEDLAC on the principle of a national minimum wage.Deliberations continue on the level at which the minimum wage must be placed.It is important to emphasise that the national minimum wage should be implemented in a manner that does not undermine employment creation, the thriving of small businesses or sustained economic growth.We are also encouraged by reports from NEDLAC that a framework to stabilize the labour market by reducing the length of strikes and eliminating violence during strike action is being finalized.We have heard the concerns of labour about the Tax Amendment Act that I signed into law in December, following its passing by Parliament.Government is in discussion with COSATU about the matter and a solution is being sought.Discussions are also on-going within government, led  by the Department of Social Development and National Treasury, with regards to finalising the comprehensive social security policy.Compatriots,Only a few years ago, our mining sector was in turmoil especially on the platinum belt.The situation has improved and we commend business and labour for the progress made.Another positive development in the mining sector was the Leaders’ Declaration to Save Jobs which was signed by mining industry stakeholders in August 2015.We urge the parties to implement the agreement and to continue seeking ways of saving jobs.We appeal to business again that retrenchments should not be the first resort when they face difficulties.Compatriots,In 2014 we launched the popular operation Phakisa Big Fast results methodology and implemented it in the ocean economy, health, education and mining sectors.Seven billion rand has been committed in new port facilities, following the adoption of a Public- Private-Partnership model for port infrastructure development by Transnet National Ports Authority.Compatriots, we were concerned that South Africa did not own vessels while we are surrounded by about three thousand kilometres of a coastline.Through the oceans economy segment of Operation Phakisa, we are trying to solve this challenge.I am pleased that two bulk carrier vessels have been registered in Port Elizabeth, and a third tanker in Cape Town under the South African flag.Another positive Operation Phakisa development has been the launch of a fuel storage facility here in Cape Town, bringing an investment of six hundred and sixty million rand.Aquaculture appears to be an important growth area within the oceans economy segment of Operation Phakisa.Close to three hundred and fifty thousand rand private sector investment has thus far been committed in the Aquaculture sector. Nine aquaculture farms are already in production.  These farms are located within the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and Northern Cape.We continue to promote innovation within the Nine Point Plan programme.The Department of Science and Technology will finalise the Sovereign Innovation fund, a Public private funding partnership aimed at commercialising innovations that are from ideas from the public and the private sectors.Government will fast track the implementation of the first phase of broadband roll-out to connect more than five thousand government facilities in eight district municipalities over a three year period.Funding to the tune of 740 million rand over a three year period has been allocated in this regard.CompatriotsA lot of work was done in the social sector as well in the past year.Government has responded to the financial shortfall arising from the zero per cent university fee increase, as agreed in meeting with students and vice-chancellors last year.The Minister of Finance will provide the details of education shortfall funding in the Budget speech.I have appointed a Judicial Commission of Inquiry into higher education. We urge all stakeholders to cooperate with the Commission and help ensure its success.On the health front, the life expectancy of South Africans for both males and females has significantly improved and is currently 62 years across genders, which is an increase of eight and a half years since 2005.The HIV policy turnaround in 2009 led to a massive rollout of HIV testing and treatment for 3.2 million people living with the virus.This has contributed immensely to healthier and longer lives for those infected.We acknowledge the contribution of partners in the South African National Aids Council which is chaired by the Deputy President.Our next step is to revive prevention campaigns especially amongst the youth. The Minister of Health will soon announce a major campaign in this regard.I am also happy to announce that the state-owned pharmaceutical company, Ketlaphela, has been established. The company will participate in the supply of anti-retroviral drug to the Department of Health from the 2016/17 financial year.Meanwhile, the White Paper on National Health Insurance was released in December aimed at improving health care for everyone in South Africa.Compatriots,Local government elections will be held within three months after the 18th of May, the date of the last elections.We urge all citizens who are over the age of 18 to register to vote during the first registration weekend, 5 and 6 March 2016.We urge the youth in particular who are turning 18 years of age this year, to register in their numbers for this first ever opportunity to cast their votes.Our Back to Basics local government revitalisation plan was launched in September 2014 and 2015 has been the year of intensive implementation.In this second phase of implementation, national government will engage in more active monitoring and accountability measures.This includes unannounced municipal visits, spot checks of supply chain management processes, the implementation of recommendations of forensic reports, site visits of Municipal Infrastructure Grant funded projects, and increased interventions to assist struggling municipalities.A 10 point plan of Back to Basics priority actions has been developed to guide this next phase.The plan includes the promotion of community engagement, which is absolutely critical to enable communities to provide feedback on their experience of local government.I already undertook a walkabout at Marabastad taxi and bus rank in Pretoria on Monday to speak to informal traders and commuters.The majority of complaints and issues raised related to municipal services.They would like the Tshwane municipality to clean the area and also to fix some broken sewerage pipes. Traders said they needed and were prepared to pay.They alerted me that many people in Elandspoort receive RDP houses but instead of occupying them, they either sell them or rent them out other people.Mrs Baloyi who runs a stall complained about nyaope drug addicts who steal goods from traders.Other commuters said I must visit Kwaggafontein in the former KwaNdebele and see the lack of service delivery. I will visit the area soon.I was also able to speak to foreign nationals who said they queue daily to apply for documentation from the Department of Home Affairs. We will continue to visit communities to hear their concerns and suggestions. Issues raised during the visit will be followed up by the respective departments.CompatriotsThe South African Police Service is undergoing a turnaround and has adopted the Back to Basics approach to management to rebuild the organisation and to improve performance at all under-performing police stations.We note sadly, as well that fifty seven police officers have been murdered to date during the 2015/16 financial year. We condemn this criminality strongly.We urge the police to defend themselves when attacked, within the confines of the law.CompatriotsThe African continent remains central to our foreign policy engagements.South Africa continued to support peace and security and regional economic integration through participation in the African Union and the Southern African Development Community initiatives.We continued to assist sister countries in resolving their issues for example in Lesotho and South Sudan.The South African National Defence Force represented the country bravely and remarkably well in peacekeeping missions on the continent.  We are truly proud of our soldiers. They will be showcasing their capability in Port Elizabeth from the 13th to the 21st of February, the celebration of Armed Forces Day.The Agreement by BRICS nations on the New Development Bank or BRICS Bank came into force and the bank is envisaged to approve its inaugural projects in April this year.We participated in the India-Africa Summit as well as the Forum on Cooperation between Africa and China as we strengthened these important partnerships.China announced investments of fifty billion US dollars of which South Africa will receive ten billion US dollars for infrastructure, industrialisation and skills development.On North-South cooperation, we continued our engagements with the European Union as a bloc which is our largest trading partner and foreign investor.Over 2000 EU companies operate within South Africa creating over three hundred and fifty thousand jobs.South Africa’s relations with the USA and Canada continue to strengthen, especially in the areas of economy, health, education, energy, water, safety and security, capacity building and the empowerment of women.The renewal and expansion of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) provides a platform for the enhancement of industrialisation and regional integration. All outstanding issues around AGOA are being attended to.CompatriotsWe extend good wishes to all athletes who have qualified for the Olympic Games to be held in Rio de Janeiro.We encourage participation in several programmes aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles and nation building.These include the National Recreation Day, the Nelson Mandela Sports and Culture Day; the World Move for Health Day, the Golden Games and the Andrew Mlangeni Golf Development Day.Compatriots,A committee has been established to coordinate the participation of our performing arts legends in nation building activities in the country.The Living Legends committee is chaired by playwright Mr Welcome Msomi working with music icon, Ms Letta Mbulu, as deputy chairperson.We are also happy that musicians and actors amongst others heeded our call to unite and have formed the Creative Industries Federation of South Africa. The Presidency has established the Presidential Creative Industries Task Team to support our artists.Compatriots,To achieve our objectives of creating jobs, reducing inequality and pushing back the frontiers of poverty we need faster growth.In the National Development Plan, we set our aspirational target growth of five per cent per year, which we had hoped to achieve by 2019.Given the economic conditions I have painted earlier on, it is clear that we will not achieve that growth target at the time we had hoped to achieve it.The tough global and domestic conditions should propel us to redouble our efforts, working together as all sectors. In this regard, it is important to act decisively to remove domestic constraints to growth.We cannot change the global economic conditions, but we can do a lot to change the local conditions.Let us work together to turn the situation around. It can be done.I thank you.last_img read more