This evening’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Cyril Ramaphosa is proof that the President has chosen to put the interests of the ANC ahead of the interests of all South Africans. Despite the desperate need for immediate action to fight unemployment, corruption and crime, the President failed to take the difficult decisions required – preferring to put the ANC ahead of South Africa.
His façade of talk-shops, summits, commissions, and meetings have yielded no tangible change to the lives of those left behind – most importantly the almost 10 million unemployed South Africans.
Ramaphosa’s first year as President has been a “State of No Action”. He is incapable of leading a government that can manage the real problems South Africa faces. South Africans rightly expected more from Cyril Ramaphosa and we share their disappointment at what was effectively a wish list devoid of any real, workable plans.
The President’s address was a laundry list of empty promises. In his SONA last year, the President also made many promises. He said corruption will be rooted out in the public sector, but not one ANC politician has been arrested – including those embroiled in the Bosasa and VBS scandals. Corruption remains firmly rooted in the very DNA of the ANC.
In his SONA last year, the President also spoke about all the many interventions government made into the economy, but today our economy is still on its knees. Today, 25 000 more young people are unemployed than in 2018, with expanded unemployment for young people at 50.1%.
The President’s SONA provided no plan of action to break down the wall that exists between the insiders and the outsiders – the “haves” and the “have nots” in our nation. Tinkering with the current policies that have not brought change to the lives of our people is not enough.
After the surge of optimism that saw Jacob Zuma removed and Ramaphosa elected President, we are bitterly disappointed because there has been little progress over the past year. After 12 months at the helm, the structural problems in our economy and government remain. Our communities remain unsafe, services are still not being delivered fast enough, government is riddled with corruption, and our borders are not secure.
The President has taken a step in the right direction by beginning the breakup of Eskom, however he hasn’t gone far enough. These entities will still fall under the same holding company – Eskom – and South Africans will still pay for corruption and mismanagement at the bloated entity.
The DA has been pushing for Eskom to be split up into two entities – one to generate electricity and the other to distribute and transmit. This will allow greater competition in the energy sector, ensuring prices are lowered for all South Africans. Moreover, well-functioning metropolitan municipalities must be allowed to source clean, renewal energy from independent power producers. Only these steps will transform the energy sector, stabilise supply, and lower costs.
In terms of the National Health Insurance (NHI), we reject this nationalisation of our health services. An ANC that is embroiled in corruption and cannot get the basics of governance right, cannot be trust with control over the health of our nation. NHI pilot projects have failed abysmally already. If a pilot project is unsuccessful, there is no chance that it will be successful nationally. The NHI will do to the health sector what Eskom has done to the energy sector.
The President reaffirmed the ANC’s plan to expropriate land without compensation, with Deputy President David Mabuza set to lead this process. This is an assault on the Constitution and private property rights and is solely to enrich the ANC elite. Rather than meddling with the Constitution, the government must put its money where its mouth is and fund land reform . Right now, the government spends more on VIP protection for politicians than it does on land reform.
The President has failed to present an agenda for reform. He is simply toeing ANC party line because Cyril Ramaphosa is the ANC, and the ANC is Cyril Ramaphosa. The ANC cannot self-correct – it must be removed from government in order for our nation to get working again.
The President wants to create jobs in the agricultural sector, yet also amend the Constitution to create legal uncertainty.
He wants to reform education, yet will not stand up to SADTU when they protect under-performing, under-trained and absent teachers.
And he wants to provide free higher education, yet has failed to address Early Childhood Development and ensure our children stay in school.
Only the DA can manage the real problems South Africa faces. Our track record speaks for itself. Where we govern, we govern well and get stuff done. And we have a solid agenda with workable solutions.
The only game-changer and “space to watch” is 8 May 2019 when the people of South Africa remove the ANC and elect a DA government that will build One South Africa for All.
Leader of the Democratic Alliance
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