President Cyril Ramaphosa’s (Sona) State of the Nation Address illustrates how little progress has been made during his tenure, with experts highlighting his lack of substance, his failure to tackle youth unemployment and how it neglected the contribution made by tourism to the economy. Failed to resolve South Africa’s many challenges The Black Sash said it had failed to resolve the country’s many challenges. During what opposition parties claimed was his final speech as head of government before this year’s national and provincial elections, Ramaphosa said the past 30 years of ANC governance…
President That of Cyril Ramaphosa State of the Nation Address (Sona) illustrates how little progress has been made during his term, with experts highlighting his lack of substance, his failure to tackle youth unemployment and the way he has neglected tourism’s contribution to the economy.
Failure to resolve SA’s many challenges
THE Black belt said he had failed to resolve the country’s many challenges.
During what opposition parties claimed was his final speech as head of government before this year’s national and provincial elections, Ramaphosa said the last 30 years of ANC governance had:
- Abandon the tyranny of apartheid and build a democratic state, based on the will of the people;
- Establish strong institutions to protect the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all;
- Transformed the lives of millions of South Africans, providing them with the necessities of life and opportunities that never existed before;
- Enabled a diversified economy, whose minerals, agricultural products and manufactured goods reached every corner of the world, creating jobs; And
- Returned to the community of nations, extending a hand of peace and friendship to all countries and peoples.
At the forefront of engaging with people facing poverty and hardship, Black Sash was unimpressed, saying Ramaphosa “claimed another year has gone by with little progress have been carried out on the numerous plans that he exposes in his annual Sona”.
Open letter from civil society
Citing the failure to implement the recommendations of the Zondo commission, to combat unemployment, to extend the right to social assistance, to fail to prioritize the welfare of the poor and to devalue alimony for children, Black Sash said it endorsed an open letter to Ramaphosa from civil society partners.
The letter highlighted “gaps between commitments made during previous Sona events and the actual allocation of resources by the National Treasury”.
Unilateral budget cuts aimed at mitigating fiscal consolidation went “against the government’s priority of advancing socio-economic rights, economic growth and previous government achievements”.
“The failure to make tangible progress in addressing South Africa’s many challenges is having a devastating impact on the lives of the poor and marginalized,” he said.
“Every year that the government fails to deliver on its promises, it contributes to a disaster of poverty and despair that is increasingly evident in many communities.
“These communities fight daily to survive, often failing, going to bed hungry, only to wake up in the morning and face another day of hunger and uncertainty,” Black Sash said.
Ramaphasa, the “worst president in terms of concrete results”
Independent political analyst Sandile Swana said that while Jacob Zuma had been “a bad president”, Ramaphosa was “the worst in terms of concrete results”.
“According to Harvard University’s study of South Africa’s 30 years of democracy, the situation worsened during Ramaphosa’s tenure. Under his leadership, we saw a bankrupt party, running a bankrupt state.”
Concerned that tourism is not featured in Sona, President of the Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa, Rosemary Anderson, said: “This forgetting of tourism’s immense potential for job creation and growth economics is confusing.
“The president has spoken fervently about the need for businesses to create more jobs.
“Yet his administration continues to put in place obstacles that actively hinder the tourism and hospitality sector’s ability to achieve this goal.”
Nkosinathi Mahlangu, youth employment portfolio manager at Momentum Metropolitan, said Ramaphosa “failed to secure youth employment”.
“There weren’t a lot of tangible things. There were vague references to job opportunities (and there is) a big difference between job opportunities and actual jobs.