Preparations for the 2019 state-of-the-nation address well underway in the parliamentary precinct. Picture: Supplied by GCIS
On Thursday, 7 February 2019, R2K Western Cape, will picket at the Bunga Avenue off-ramp on the N2, on four footbridges along the Nelson Mandela Boulevard and outside the Cape Town Castle from 7am until 9am.

While the President prepares to deliver his State of the Nation Address, R2K will protest the continued failure by government to address inequality and curbing corruption, that has crippled service delivery across the country. The bridges pass over the road to be travelled by the President and ordinary citizens on Sona day. They represent the connections and continuities in our divided society.

This year’s Sona is significant not only because it’s an election year but also because of the deep corruption revealed during the State Capture Inquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice, Raymond Zondo. As activists, we are anxious to know what repercussion those implicated in the State Capture Inquiry will face. The extent of how the alleged corruption has plagued our government is beyond shocking.

As R2K we demand:

Clean Cabinet following #StateCapture allegations: The President must cast out the bad apples from the Cabinet before the national elections. We cannot afford any delays: those who have been complicit in acts of corruption must be brought to book.

Protect our personal information: Our private information is not being protected. The Protection of Personal Information Act is meant to protect us against companies from abusing our information, but five years after being signed, it’s still not in force. We call on the President to fast track the implementation of the POPI law and ensure the Information Regulator is properly resourced to investigate and act against companies and departments which misuse our private info.

Protect the Right to Protest: Government structures continue to abuse the Regulation of Gatherings Act to deny people’s right to protest. Furthermore, police continue to resort to brutal tactics against protesters: These attacks pose a real threat to democracy and the ability for ordinary people to demand accountability and justice.

#PartyFunding: Although the Political Party Funding Act promises a step forward for transparency and the voters’ right to know, the President’s delays in signing it has ensured that the law’s transparency clauses will not be implemented before the 2019 national elections. We call on the President to lead by example and ensure his own political party discloses its finances to the nation proactively.

End surveillance abuses: Eight months have passed since the President announced a panel to investigate abuses and dysfunction at the State Security Agency. We call on the President to release any findings or interim findings of this process, to the nation, and ensure swift action.

Land for the people: R2K believes that all efforts that are aimed at addressing historical and current injustices involving land must be informed by the voices and lived experiences of the landless people and movements; the people who have been waiting for their land claims to be dealt with; people who have been at the receiving end of state violence when they have occupied vacant land.

Police visibility: We demand police visibility in our communities. We also want police to prioritise the protection of women and children against violence and crime.

Access to Internet/Data Must Fall: Even though Parliament has joined the debate on the high cost of communications in SA, we believe that government is not serious in its effort to stop profiteering by the telecoms companies. South Africans continue to suffer from high cost of communications – a major issue when it comes to our right to access information and freedom of expression. ICASA and all regulatory bodies need to ensure that data costs are decreased to match the socio-economic needs of South Africans. In addressing this, R2K is also campaigning for free Wi-Fi in public spaces. Municipalities must expand access to free high-speed internet in public and communal spaces.

Free Education for all: We support the #FeesMustFall movement and believe that the President failed the nation by not halving Zuma’s bloated cabinet in order to cut government expenditure and fund free education. The struggle for free education speaks to the socio-political and economic state of the nation.

The President needs to understand that we are tired of hearing the same rhetoric without seeing any positive results. The right to organise, protest and speak out is central to all community struggles for social justice. We demand that the government respect this right! R2K believes it is time government put the people first and invest in our democracy.  We must return to the vision of a people-centred, people driven development. In particular, we call on the President to advance the right to know. We call on all South Africans to stand up, defend our hard-won democracy and make it work for the people.