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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address was less about the actual state of the nation as it is now than about the state of the nation as he hopes to see it. It was about an SA that is “emerging from a period of uncertainty and a loss of confidence and trust” into a period of “renewal” and “hope”. This forward-looking focus is reflected in his constant references to the importance of improving education, and expanding youth employment. He stated that reading is “possibly the single most important factor in overcoming poverty, unemployment and inequality” and is a “critical priority” for the government. To improve learning environments, he said, he is determined to eradicate unsafe sanitation facilities at more than 3,000 schools within three years. He noted that a flagship youth employment service has been launched to start to absorb unemployed youths. With the future very clearly in mind, he mentioned the devastating effects global warming is having, “damaging liveli...

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