Cape Town - South Africans have high expectations of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s second State of the Nation Address (Sona) of the year on Thursday.
Much has happened since February’s Sona, including load shedding, the general elections, the appointment of a new Cabinet and a sudden upsurge in urban crime and rural insecurity in the Western Cape, and frustrated South Africans are now demanding more than a plan; they want action and tangible results.
According to the Quarterly Labour Force Survey results released by Statistics SA last month, the first quarter of this year saw 237000 job losses and the unemployment rate growing to 27.6%. Post-election perceptions that the country is moving forward may reverse in due course.
Premier Alan Winde said: “I would like to see a very big focus on the economy and definitive action steps towards growth and job creation. Government red tape is a major hindrance to investment and job creation and I would like to see announcements around steps taken to reduce this.
“I would also like to see announcements around energy security and Eskom. The energy crisis is one of the biggest risks our economy currently faces, so we want action steps in Eskom. It’s also important that we have a structured plan around renewables, and ideally we would like to see President Ramaphosa make it easier for municipalities to purchase power from independent power producers,” said Winde.
Thebe Tourism Group chief executive Jerry Mabena said: “As the tourism sector, we’re hoping Ramaphosa’s Sona will tackle serious developmental bottlenecks to help move the country towards economic recovery and growth. Two of these, we believe, are a clear focus on building rural economies through agriculture and tourism by availing restituted land for commercial use in agriculture and tourism projects, and facilitating a rural beneficiation programme that’ll open up access to markets for young, black farmers.”
Alex Simeonides, chief executive of fiduciary services provider Capital Legacy, said: “A huge issue South Africans face is that the executor services industry is lagging in terms of reform and modernisation compared to other professional services in the broader financial industry.
“Insurance administrators, financial advisers, estate agents and stockbrokers have all reformed through legislation that improved the quality of the professional service. We’d like to see the legislature move towards making this a reality in fiduciary and estate administration as well.”
Director strategic partnerships at Sonke Gender Justice, Bafana Khumalo, said: “We would like to hear more concrete plans and commitment for the funding of the national strategic plan to end gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide.
“This should include clear time frames, monitoring and evaluation models and funding. We are eager to see movement on the legislation to effect decriminalisation of sex work. We would like to see filling of vacant posts in the Thuthuzela Care Centres to ensure adequate conviction rates for perpetrators of GBV and femicide.”
Opposition to Urban Tolling Alliance chief executive Wayne Duvenage said: “Outa would like to see the president address a comprehensive plan to deal with unacceptable mismanagement and collapse of municipalities. It is imperative that the president deals with the lack of oversight and the lack of accountability at both provincial and local government level, which is having a knock-on effect on Eskom and many other suppliers and businesses.”
Mobiz managing director Greg Chen said: “Government should subsidise reverse-billed mobile data for businesses, especially SMEs, so that mass consumers are not blocked from the benefit of a digital economy. This will further accelerate the growth of the country’s digital economy through increased participation.”
Reza Omar, strategic research director at Citizen Surveys which carried out an opinion poll last month detailing what South Africans want from the Sona, said: “With the economy reversing course in the first quarter of 2019 and 73% (27.5million) of South Africans believing that unemployment is the most important problem facing the country, followed by crime and poverty, it’s no surprise that growing the South African economy and attracting investment to create more jobs is currently President Ramaphosa’s biggest task.”