Birds Eye View of the Port of Durban
Birds Eye View of the Port of Durban. Ojas Narappanawar/

Deputy President Paul Mashatile on Tuesday praised the government for addressing socio-economic inequalities issues with social welfare programs in housing, healthcare, education and social services.

Speaking at a special public lecture on the 30th anniversary of South Africa's democracy at the invitation of the University of Johannesburg's School of Public Management, Governance and Public Policy, the deputy president noted the steps taken by the South African government to address historical injustices.

"Over the past few decades, the South African government has taken significant steps to address historical injustices and strive towards achieving social cohesion and socio-economic empowerment for all its citizens," he said during the event, held in partnership with the College of Business and Economics, SA News reported.

During the event, he also spoke about the Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) policies, which helped to boost economic transformation and helped Black South Africans to become part of the mainstream economy.

He noted that the state has secured R1.5 trillion in new investment pledges, with more than R500 billion already injected into the economy.

"We have made further strides in addressing load shedding, ensuring energy security, enhancing logistics systems, and improving ports and rail networks," he said.

Furthermore, the country's deputy president mentioned that the government is progressing towards land redistribution. He highlighted that black South Africans now possess approximately 25% of farmland and the state has helped 1,000 industrialists in black-owned enterprises.

Despite these accomplishments, Mashatile acknowledged the obstacles to achieving a more inclusive and fair society.

"The triple challenges of poverty, unemployment, and inequality, as well as corruption, continue to pose obstacles to the nation's progress. In addressing these challenges, we are conscious that, as government, we must strengthen social compacts by working together with all sectors of society," he added.

However, the deputy president highlighted the achievements of South Africa in the past 30 years including investment in transport infrastructure such as the Gautrain, the Freeway Improvement Project and Bus Rapid Transport.

He noted that infrastructure investment was vital for South Africa's growth, adding that R21.4 billion worth of projects have been completed so far.

"I would like to see more young people and women-led businesses being involved in these projects because young people are the future of our country and women carry the hardest burden of communities," he noted.

During the event, he also said that the government is "committed to the delivery of quality services to our people" including dealing with increased water and sanitation issues.