Expectations of pres. Zuma’s 2015 State of the Nation Address

2015-02-10
Dr Pieter Mulder

The FF Plus would like president Zuma to act like the head of state and not as leader of the ANC during the State of the Nation Address.

A head of state acts in the interest of all South Africa’s people – not just in the interest of certain people. This means that he should use words such as “let us” in order to call on everyone to help with the economy and other serious problems. He should not, as he he has often done in the past, act only as the leader of the ANC. During the previous SONA he acted only as ANC leader who tried to force the ANC’s ‘good story’ with various figures and projects down our throats. The difference between the head of state and the leader of a political party is that on an occasion such as the SONA a head of state rises above petty politics and propaganda for his political party. We need proposals that make minorities feel welcome and which do not alienate them and make them feel pressurised as it has happened in recent times following presidential outcomes.

South Africa’s most important problem at present is to get the stumbling economy on the go again. If the growth rate is increased unemployment will be addressed, the state’s debt would decline, it would have an influence on the crime rate and poverty and several of our other problems can be addressed.

From these ‘let us’ sentences that the president should use, includes;

Let us all work together to restore foreign investors’ confidence in South Africa following the shocks caused by load-shedding and the banana republic actions in Parliament.

Let us think again about black economic empowerment, affirmative action and our labour legislation because these measures are at present retarding economic growth and do not succeed in reaching the goals for which these measures had been instituted. Black economic empowerment has only benefitted a small section of the population without addressing poverty in general. In the same manner labour legislation is only protecting a small number of Cosatu and other trade union members while the majority of unemployed, numbering much more than trade union members, are kept unemployed. To continue with measures which do not bring results is short-sighted.

The government cannot create jobs. The task of the state is to make it possible for the private sector to grow the economy. The best that the state could doin this regard is to cut out the red-tape of the public service and to maintain and expand South Africa’s infrastructure. This government inherited the largest and best infrastructure in Africa in 1994. Half of all tarred roads in Africa are to be found in South Africa while South Africa alone generates nearly as much power as the rest of Africa put together.

For various reasons this infrastructure has declined to the point where it has started to knee-halter economic growth. In the SONA we want proposals on how Eskom will provide the required electricity to South Africa again. The current long-term solutions which Eskom is proposing are not acceptable as we are confronted with an immediate crisis. Some of the immediate solutions should be the use and integration of private organisations’ electricity generation capabilities with Eskom’s as well as bringing back former experts to make Eskom effective again.

We are looking for proposals as to how the state will get out of its ever-increasing sovereign debt situation. It should entail public entities such as SAA and Eskom not being bailed out with taxpayer’s money. Increasing private initiatives should rather be considered to rescue these entities.

We need the president to give us hope for the future. Let us stop making all kinds of small short-term economic plans because they do not move and motivate people to make the impossible possible and in so doing solve South Africa’s problems.

 

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