By: Teboho Modise 06 February 2015
Surely this year’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) promises to be very different from other past symbolic addresses, how so, one can ask, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) sticking to their guns that they would even go to parliament naked if they are again prevented from wearing their trademark red overalls and berets, surely the sparks certainly will fly come the 12th February when president Jacob Zuma will be delivering his second SONA since he took office in 2014.
EFF since Zuma’s last appearance in parliament was disruptive whilst the president was responding to the motions presented to his office…They chanted “bring back the money song” where within all the pandemonium erupted, the police had to be called in.
Since then, EFF and other opposition parties vowed to make sure that Zuma appears in front of parliament to account in whichever way possible.
EFF has again wrote to the speaker of parliament, Baleka Mbete in their persistent call for Zuma to have his day in parliament, the party further mentioned that they won’t mind to make sure the SONA does not take place. In response the office of the Speaker came out to remind EFF that parliamentary rules will be applied and further measures would be put in place to neutralize any outward developments.
However, on the other hand the ANC government I believe should use the coming Zuma’s address as a platform to acknowledge the government’s shortcomings or challenges whilst obviously highlighting the current government’s achievements.
The challenges facing the ANC government range from energy security (ESKOM and load shedding), to wide range of economic issues especially on the issue that unemployment rate is still high in this country especially that over 50% of young people in this country are still without jobs or rather are discourages to go out for employment.
Strategically it would prove to be on the advantage of the ANC government that it comes out more clearly on the current service delivery protests which has been seen mainly in the Limpopo and Northern Cape provinces.
This again brings into the fore the question on how capable is our municipalities in delivering efficient and effective services to the communities, do municipalities have the financial muscle plus relevant skills to carry-out properly their mandate.
Since the shooting of a 14 years old boy in Soweto apparently by a Somali national, the surrounding townships have seen the looting and violent acts by angry communities, the situation is still volatile and foreign shop owners have been advised not to return to their shops as yet.
Apart from the criminal nature of this whole debacle, clearly the issue of idling youth roaming the streets whilst they are supposed to be at school or running their own businesses warrants the attention of the Small Business Development Minister, Lindiwe Zulu.
The rate of our economic growth has been sluggish in the past months, a situation which is dire to our country in creating much needed jobs in order to bolster household income and in putting bread to the table of many people who go to bed hungry everyday.
The successes of the ANC are enormous and forthright, they range from the government achieving a commendable matrix pass rate, to the ANC being able to increase its footprint in terms of decreasing the mother to child HIV infection, to the increased accessibility and provison of ARV’s at various health centers.
The ANC can pride itself in stabilizing the economy of the country through its inflation targeting and management of interest rate, policy interventions which has proved to work over the past 20 years.
Our country’s foreign policy has seen SADC through the much lauded intervention of our country stabilizing the volatile political impasse in the bordering mountain kingdom, fortunately, Lesotho is heading to general elections end of this month.
One can go on and on, however having mentioned all that, I believe it is prudent to note that the road ahead leading to the achievement of the National Development Plan (NDP) won’t be easy and won’t be a smooth ride and therefore, this reality requires an ANC government that is conscious and is speedily responsive to the economic challenges it is faced with.
*Teboho Modise is a writer, political commentator and a blogger*