State of the Nation Address 2023



State of the Nation Address 2023

Leave No One Behind Leave No One Behind

No person in South Africa will go hungry

Why this?

Poverty eradication will be achieved by expanding employment opportunities, but also by making life more affordable for low income households, reducing vulnerability by increasing the asset base and strengthening social security and the social wage.

NDP Target

Reduce the proportion of households with a monthly inclome below R419 a person (in 2009 prices) from 39% to zero by 2030.

To reach this goal, we will:

  • Expand access to social security benefits and lengthen UIF coverage.
  • Use surplus UIF funds for employment-creation activities, on the basis of safe and reasonable return that do not deplete the Fund.
  • Strengthen the social wage through no-fee schools, free basic services and subsidised public transport.
  • Improve the affordability, safety and integration of commuter transport for low income households.
  • Accelerate provision of housing and land to poor South Africans.
  • Implement National Health Insurance to ensure quality health care free at the point of care by 2025.

Alleviate Poverty

Our determination that within the next decade no person in South Africa will go hungry is fundamental to our effort to eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. We must strengthen the social wage and reduce the cost of living.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, SONA 2019

National Minimum Wage

The implementation of the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA) at the start of the year has been a key step in addressing the problems of the working poor, protecting low-earning workers and reducing the huge levels inequality prevalent across the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa proclaims the National Minimum Wage in Kliptown.

The National Minimum Wage Commission is expected to conclude research on the impact of the minimum wage on employment, poverty, inequality and wage differentials by the end of September 2019.

Early indications are that many companies are complying with the legislation. The Department of Labour, however, will be taking strict action against employers who contravene the law.


Many South Africans still need land to build homes and earn livelihoods. In the next five years, we will accelerate the provision of well-located housing and land to poor South Africans.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, SONA 2019

Government is committed to building human settlements in areas that bring together economic opportunities and all the services and amenities people need.

Over the next five years, the Human Development Agency will construct an additional 500,000 housing units.

The establishment of the Human Settlements Development Bank will address the housing backlog and leverage both public- and private-sector financing to promote housing delivery.

We will also be expanding the Public Works Programme, where households are allocated serviced stands to build their own houses, either individually or through community-led cooperatives.

Parcels of strategically located, state-owned land have already been identified for redistribution and release to address human settlements needs in urban and peri-urban areas.


We must improve the affordability, safety and integration of commuter transport for
low-income households.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, SONA 2019

The high costs of commuting, long commuting times and poor public transport contribute to the high rates of poverty in South Africa. A safe, reliable and integrated public transport system is key to economic development.

To achieve this goal, we need to urgently address the challenges facing the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa). Government’s commitment to providing safe and reliable passenger rail services to benefit commuters and the economy is reflected in its investment of more than R170 billion.

More than 7,000 new trains, or close to 30 per month, will be manufactured as part of PRASA’s Rail Rolling Stock Fleet Renewal Programme over a period of 20 years.

President Cyril Ramaphosa launching PRASA’s new trains at Cape Town Train Station in the Western Cape earlier this year.


To improve the quality of life of South Africans, to reduce poverty in all its dimensions and to strengthen our economy, we will attend to the health of our people.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, SONA 2019

The strategy to revise the National Health Insurance (NHI) detailed plan of implementation is at an advanced stage. The plan includes accelerating quality of care initiatives in public facilities, building human resource capacity, establishing the NHI Fund structure, and costing the administration of the NHI Fund.

The Presidential Health Summit Compact is being finalised to mobilise the capabilities of all key stakeholders to address the crisis in our clinics and hospitals.

Work is being intensified on the 90-90-90 strategy to end HIV as a public health threat, which includes increasing the number of people on treatment by at least another 2 million by December 2020.

Persons with disabilities

If we are to successfully address the challenge of poverty across society, we need to provide skills and create economic opportunities for persons with disabilities.

President Cyril Ramaphosa, SONA 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa has committed government to joining the disability sector of on a journey towards the full empowerment of people with disabilities.

The Presidential Working Group on Disability has been revived to advise government on measures to provide more economic opportunities for persons with disabilities, as well to monitor the work of government departments in this area.

The Working Group will submit the Protocol on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Africa to Parliament this year for ratification.

Government will also be working to ensure that the approximately half a million children with disabilities who are currently not in school are guaranteed an inclusive, quality education.

As part of our commitment to recognising the rights of people with disabilities, a proposal has been submitted to Parliament to give South African Sign Language the status of an official language.

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