On the eve of the 32nd anniversary of his excellency the former president Nelson Mandela’s release from Victor Verster Prison, the current president Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his 5th State of The Nation Address. The speech was delivered under unusual circumstances at the City of Cape Town City Hall instead of the National Parliament. This of course because parliament was burnt down.
The expectations around this address is that one would get somewhat of a report from the president on the issues the country is grappling with and what it is exactly that he plans to do to remedy situations which require remedies. However, a large chunk of the speech seemed to focus on how government policy was now going to lean towards privatization.
The president promised to remove red tape and all unnecessary bureaucracies that make it difficult for businesses to conduct business in the country. It is unclear which red tapes exactly is the president referring to however there are questions that ought to be asked regarding this. Why were these red tapes there in the first places?
Whose interests were they meant to protect and at who’s expense are they being removed? Is the president sacrificing the working-class citizens for big business? Until all details of what exactly the president is planning are available, it is best to remain cautious.
The president seemed to concede failure of his administration and it’s inability to create jobs by stating that it is not government’s job to create jobs, that responsibility rests on the private sector. Something strange occurred where the president was getting loud applause from opposition benches like the DA whilst his own ANC comrades seemed to not be on the same page as he was.
DA president John Steenhuisen seemed thrilled and went as far as saying the president was reading from the DA playbook. Shouldn’t that worry the ANC? It is really unprecedented that an ANC president is applauded so much by the DA. Why campaign on job creation when you do not believe it is your responsibility to create jobs? Questions Mr President.
The president did however have a good story to gloat about. A certain Mr Thando Makhubu from Soweto received the R350 unemployment grant and saved it for 7 months and has opened an ice cream shop that employs 4 people. While we can commend Mr Makhubu, with due respect, this is not a story one expects to hear about during the State of The Nation Address. It is hardly something President Ramaphosa can brag about.
It is like your deadbeat father who neglected you all your life and now that you’re successful goes around the streets beating his chest triumphantly saying look at what my child did. If the president and his ruling party that has been in government for almost 3 decades now had done it’s job properly,
Mr Makhubu would not even need an unemployment grant. The expanded unemployment rate is 46%. $46% of South Africans are unemployed and for that the president ought to hang his head in shame instead of bragging about ice cream shops.
There was very little said about the national security crises that we currently live under, national key points are being set alight, various other buildings have been in flames, cash in transit heists, rape, GBV the list is endless. None of these issues were properly addressed.
One did not at all get the feeling that this was an address aimed at ordinary South Africans. Assurances were made to the private sector and it ends there. Government is outsourcing it’s responsibility to the private sector, leaving poor South Africans at the profiteering South African capitalists class. We got the memo wrong. This was the State of Privatization Address and it was brilliantly delivered.