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Last Updated: Friday, 21 May, 2004, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Mbeki promises water and power
Thabo Mbeki
Last month Mbeki began his second and final term in office
South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki has promised all households will have running water within five years and electricity within eight years.

Unusually, Mr Mbeki also mentioned the fight against HIV and Aids in his State of the Union address to parliament.

He said 113 Aids health centres would be fully operational, treating 53,000 people, by next March.

Mr Mbeki has been criticised for not doing enough to combat Aids, which affects five million South Africans.

He promised more emphasis on home-based care and cheaper medicines.

Crime

The president also touched on crime and ways to combat unemployment.

He presented plans for a massive public works programme to employ thousands of South Africans.

He promised to boost the police force and said a new task force on serious crime would be set up in the next three months with the task of finding the country's top 200 criminals.

"Let us get down to work in a people's contract to build a better South Africa and a better world," he said.

Opposition parties praised Mr Mbeki for providing timetables for his initiatives and programmes.

"There was an impressive list of goals. I think it was very brave of the president to put a number and a date next to the list," said Democratic Alliance leader Tony Leon as quoted by the South African press agency.

But the leader of South Africa's Zulu-dominated Inkatha Freedom Party, Mangosuthu Buthelezi, said there should have been more emphasis on Aids, "because that is the thing that is mowing down young people".


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