Pretoria - Swifter service delivery, better infrastructure, heightened awareness and faster prosecution of rape cases and action on rhino poaching are some of the suggestions put to President Jacob Zuma for inclusion in his State of the Nation address on Thursday.
South Africans also urged Zuma on the Presidency’s Facebook page to tell the nation what his government was doing to stamp out corruption and address education challenges, including youth development.
For the first time, the State of the Nation address is being preceded by a community designed to hear the views of the public on a number of issues.
Zuma visited Tshwane South FET College in Mabopane on Tuesday, to gain first-hand experience of the college system.
Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe was also set to visit Worcester, where he will interact with farmers and farmworkers.
Others responded to an invitation from the Presidency to offer suggestions on Facebook and Twitter by telling Zuma of their long wait for houses or asked him to build shopping malls and proper roads in their rural villages, including dams for their cattle.
Maribana Makgoka wrote that since Zuma became president corruption had become rife. The impression was that corrupt officials were not scared of anyone, including Zuma.
Walter Magwete asked Zuma to “tell us what are you going to do with fraudulently elected leaders in municipalities”.
Others asked Zuma to address inequities, particularly in education, with one commentator questioning his spending on luxury items when “what you spend in one day could feed and clothe an entire orphanage”.
Kabelo Ramokoka was unhappy with the “poor development” of some villages, particularly those in the North West, where young children had to walk long distances to school.
“In Witrandjie (village), once you outgrow the primary school level, you then get forced to… walk a long distance of about 12 to 15km to reach the nearest high school to continue your studies.
“This is a dreadful challenge for any 14-year-old to be subjected to at such an early stage of life, especially in pursuit of one’s democratic right… education,” he wrote.
Even more embarrassing, Kabelo said, was the fact that a few minutes away from this deprived community were a host of mines, and tourist attractions such as the Pilanesberg Game Reserve and Sun City resort.
“It breaks one’s heart to count how many mining companies are around here and still find these inhumane living conditions,” he wrote.
Zukiwa Madolo wanted an explanation for why the country was lending money to other countries when it had not solved its own problems such as better wages.
Rape, in the headlines following the gang rape and murder of Bredasdorp teenager Anene Booysen last week, was another big topic.
LeadSA activist Yusuf Abramjee, urged Zuma to declare “365 days of activism against women and child abuse”.
“To show your commitment to the fight against rape, let our flags be flown at half mast for a week,” Abramjee said.
He also called on Zuma to speak out about rhino poaching.
Lesego Masenthal called for the swift conclusion of rape cases, and for special courts to be established, while others asked what Zuma’s government was doing about women who were “brutally raped and murdered”.
Christa van Huyssteen urged the president to devote funds to the treatment of rhino horns to make them unusable, saying it would be “shameful for us to let such an amazing and unique creature become extinct on our watch”.
But Nkosie Zondi was more concerned with development in his area, saying “we need a mall, clean water in our houses, dams for our cattle and more proper roads”.