Thu. Oct 17th, 2019

SONA 2019: Four things to expect from Ramaphosa’s most critical address

cyril ramaphosa sona 2019The president has this one opportunity to restore calm and belief in the nation.

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President Cyril Ramaphosa is due to deliver what analysts would argue is his most critical State of the Nation address (SONA 2019), as he ushers in his own philosophy into the sixth administration.

When he took over the reins from former president Jacob Zuma to salvage the little bit of respect the ANC had left, the ideas and outlooks he had revealed at the previous SONA were not entirely his.

Thuma mina” was a mere sacrifice made by the president to allow himself more time to craft an actionable plan for the country, if the ANC was given another chance to govern.

The true state of the nation ahead SONA 2019

Everything, thus far, has worked in his favour. However, the country still remains stuck in a state of peril.

The level of crime is at an all-time high. Honestly, it is as if criminals converged for an annual general meeting where it was agreed that last year’s statistics were an embarrassment to the ill-founded values they stood for and that they had to do better.

The state of our jobs market, as reported by Statistics South Africa, in their quarterly labour force survey, has decreased significantly in the first quarter of 2019.

Moreover, the state of our economy is a tiptoe away from plunging into recession, and our women and children are still being pillaged and defiled in the most abhorrent manner imaginable.

So, in a nutshell, Ramaphosa has inherited a nation in despair. However, not all hope is lost. It has been well documented that South Africa holds the necessary abilities to challenge the status quo.

The only hamper in achieving the latter has been the spate of rampant corruption in government that has been apparent since the dawn of Msholozi.

Bearing this in mind, these are the four things we believe will make up the core part of Ramaphosa’s address.

What to expect from Ramaphosa’s SONA 2019:

What is the plan of action in boosting the economy?

The president will take the podium knowing that his audience, a timid National Assembly and the rest of the nation, understand full and well that the country’s economy is currently balancing on broken crutches.

Our growth domestic product recently fell by a staggering 3%, indicating that there has been a shortage of investor confidence in bringing in more job opportunities to the fore.

Ramaphosa will have to mine words that hold practical solutions to the economic troubles we face. Neither the country nor the interested foreign investment community wants to peel through the wishy-washy, abstract and poetic, speech we have heard many times before.

How does government plan on addressing job creation?

As stated above, the country currently sits with a record-high unemployment rate that recently rose by four percentage points to 27.5%.

Although this was expected, having one of the highest unemployment rates in the world still affects investor confidence and the economy.

Ramaphosa will be expected to deliver a timeous and practical plan-of-action in how the sixth Parliament is going to address this. The Jobs Summit that was hailed for attracting the commitment of the private sector has yet to yield notable and impactful results.

Will Eskom get another bailout?

As shocking as it may be, it is on the cards. Eskom may receive yet another bailout, after receiving a reluctant nod from the National Energy Regulator of South Africa (Nersa) to increase prices for the next three financial years.

The power utility had already been approved by National Treasury for a R69-billion bailout that was meant to be rolled out in phases. However, it seems more than likely that, with the demand to fast-track maintenance work on power plants, it may receive another boost.

What will be done about rampant crime in South Africa?

While the DA-led government in the Western Cape is caping under the pressure of rampant crime, it is the duty of the national executive to oversee the issue of crime in the country.

Close to 2 000 murders have been recorded in the Western Cape alone, in 2019. On a daily basis, we bear witness to disturbing videos and images of victims murdered, robbed and abused, and it seems, at least from a distance, that nothing is being done to address this.

It will be important for Ramaphosa to restore some order and deliver a practical solution to this nagging problem.

After all, industries like Tourism and Trade will be affected if safety is a concern.

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