President Jacob Zuma on Friday wished all South Africans a happy, productive and prosperous New Year.
Zuma, in a statement, said the country had come to the conclusion "of a fruitful and productive year".
He said in 2016 more had been done in terms of fighting poverty, inequality and unemployment.
Progress had also been made in extending services to people, including housing, water, electricity, accessible education, health care, roads, transport, social grants and fighting hunger through public employment schemes and other programmes, Zuma said.
"Jobs remain high on the list of priorities of our people... we must continue to promote unity in action to reignite economic growth."
He said government, business and labour needed to continue collaborating to support the economy.
"Together, we must take the economic transformation programme forward. We need to change the commanding heights of the economy, and increase the participation of black people as owners and managers."
Zuma said in 2017, meaningful progress must be made on the land reform and restitution programme.
He said one of the key tasks of building social cohesion would be to heighten the fight against racism in 2017.
"All institutions and businesses must promote inclusion and non-racialism. Nobody must be excluded on the basis of colour or race, through subtle and unconstitutional means."
'Continue to work together'
Zuma said that next year the country would mark two important centenaries, celebrating the life of the ANC's Oliver Reginald Tambo, and the sinking of the ship The Mendi, where scores of black soldiers died on February 21 1917.
"The two centenaries must be used to unite all our people in appreciation of what the country has achieved against all odds, in building a new society from the ashes of apartheid colonialism."
Zuma said, regardless of the challenges the country faced, "we must continue to work together, to build the South Africa of our dreams".
He extended his condolences to those who had lost their loved ones during the festive period.
He also thanked all public servants, including traffic officials and health care professionals, who worked over the holidays.
Zuma again called on motorists to be cautious on the roads as the festive season draws to an end. -- News24Wires