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Four key takeaways from Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address

Four key takeaways from Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the State of the Nation Address in the City Hall, Cape Town on 9 February 2023. (Photo: Shelley Christians)

President Ramaphosa’s 21-page State of the Nation Address looked at how to improve the living conditions of South Africans. At least four of the announced plans will play a critical role in effecting real change.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech centred on finding solutions for four key issues facing South Africans – the load shedding crisis, reducing unemployment, poverty and the rising cost of living as well as combating crime and corruption.

Read more in Daily Maverick: Cost of living in SA reaches critical highs for rich and poor alike

Load shedding solutions

The ongoing load shedding has taken a toll on citizens and business, and has prompted the government to look for a viable solution to the crisis in the short and long term. The President said:

  • Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma had gazetted the declaration of the State of Disaster, which began with immediate effect.
  • He would expand his Cabinet by appointing a minister of electricity in the Presidency. The role of the minister would be to take full responsibility for overseeing all aspects of the electricity crisis response, including the work of the National Energy Crisis Committee.
  • This year, he would ensure the Electricity Regulation Amendment Bill was passed to transform the energy sector and establish a competitive electricity market.

Reducing unemployment

The President spoke about the unemployment crisis and mentioned several programmes aimed at ensuring that young people were introduced to the world of work. The Covid-19 pandemic worsened a situation of deep unemployment leading to at least two million job losses. He announced:

  • The Social Employment Fund was recruiting 50,000 participants in its next phase of undertaking work for the common good.
  • The National Youth Service would create a further 36,000 opportunities through nonprofit and community-based organisations.

Read more in Daily Maverick: We can’t just wave goodbye to Eskom – we need to fix it, and it’s possible

Rising cost of living 

  • Social grants had to be increased to cushion the poor against rising inflation.
  • Work was underway to develop a mechanism for targeted basic income support for the most vulnerable, within fiscal constraints.
  • The National Treasury was considering the feasibility of urgent measures to mitigate the impact of load shedding on food prices.

Crime and corruption

  • The government was looking at partnering with the private sector to support the proper functioning of the 10111 crime helpline, to ensure that when people called the police, their calls were answered and their emergencies attended to.
  • Significantly more funding would be made available for the police, the National Prosecuting Authority and the Special Investigating Unit.
  • In a move that would ensure the safety of whistle-blowers, Ramaphosa said the government was working towards capacitating the Witness Protection Unit and would introduce amendments to the Protected Disclosures Act and Witness Protection Act to strengthen protections for whistle-blowers.
  • In response to the State Capture Commission and in line with the framework for the professionalisation of the public service, integrity assessments would become a mandatory requirement for recruitment to the public service and entry exams would be introduced. DM

Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • Mike Viljoen says:

    The declared state of disaster will lead to bypassing of certain procurement policies not compatible with attempts to
    reduce corruption.

    • Jeremy Stephenson says:

      The SIU still hasn’t completed its investigation into the last state of disaster, or if it has, the president hasn’t released the SIU’s final report into it. But the interim reports revealed R14.4 billion of fraudulent “emergency” procurement by government entities.

  • Dennis Bailey says:

    yadyada. Nought here to get excited about. Just another fat cat gets controlled by the presidency.

  • Rory Macnamara says:

    Perhaps Andre De Ruyter would take on the job as minister of electricity. at least he wont steal from the tax payers!

  • Andrew Blaine says:

    Inexorably South Africa moves towards autocracy and Parliament is bypassed.
    Soon rule by decree will become reality

  • Claude Ipser says:

    Don’t just protect whistle blowers, reward them!

  • Glyn Silberman says:

    You don’t think Mantashe is going to be the electricity minister!

  • D'Esprit Dan says:

    From what I can see, nothing of note from the speech (other than consolidating power in the Presidency, although nothing has been achieved by this layer of bureaucracy, so what’s the point?). Blathered on meaninglessly and aimlessly BS-ing the nation in a naked display of putrid ineptitude, whilst his sycophants kept telling him that his new clothes looked wonderful.

    On top of this, the EFF, in their usual display of mindless thuggery decided to show us why MPs shouldn’t get paid at all – we cough up R50 million a year so those degenerates can do the same thing every year, which is nothing but puerile pantomime protest.

    • Roelf Pretorius says:

      Maybe that is why power is consolidated in the Presidency with a dedicated ministry of electricity – because the real root of the problem is not the officials per se, but the politicians that are at odds with each other. It is the ANC that is the problem – they have to be bypassed. And the state of disaster gives the precidency the ability to do that. I would probably have done the same if I was Ramaphosa.

      • Carsten Rasch says:

        Creating a shadow government in the Presidency is not good news. The cost of this must be astronomical, but apart from that, he is usurping the powers of the state. And a state of disaster removes Parliamentary oversight. Every move this this man makes weakens the state, which should remain neutral, regardless of which party is in government. Its a fuck up. Maybe his last, but maybe ours too…

  • Tess Fairweather says:

    Just what the country needs!
    More seats in Parliament
    Another “specialist” to further slow down fixing Eskom.
    More social grants
    More handouts
    No action plan, just random goals of thousands of beneficiaries, when even state pensions and post remain undelivered.

  • Stephen Murray says:

    Crime and corruption. When will the government wake up that it is not money that will solve these problems (‘significantly more funding’) but the will to succeed and a real minister of police (no caps. for what exists). More funding, in reality, will simply mean more corruption unless the rot from the top is eradicated (heads to roll).

  • Neil Parker says:

    If , as some have mooted, the surprise package turns out to be the appointment of De Ruyter as “Minister of Electricity”, the President will have redeemed himself considerably at least in my eyes. Hopefully at least he understands electricity/energy a little better than a certain ANC MP who informed us that , by his calculations, nuclear is 46 times cheaper than IPP (46 times with pause and emphasis looking around to pick up all the accolades such erudition deserves) and coal is nine times cheaper than IPP. And by the way we did not sign up for renewables, we signed up to reduce carbon emissions. I think I’m going to submit a tender to open an IPP mine because I’ve discovered an IPP source that is 5 times cheaper than coal.

  • Derek Jones says:

    We have a useless president.

  • Wendy Dewberry says:

    Gleaning from what was promised at the last ten SONA, this one can be seen to achieve two things. On the one side, the true items of declaration are those that potentially take our country into an institutiinal oligarchy. The untrue items are the repetitions of false promises which one can presume is to try quieten and settle the citizenry into a lulled sense of hope. We as a nation need to wake up.

  • Mohammed Junaid Kader says:

    Do other countries also have a Minister of Electricity or are we the first to pioneer this?

    • Cedric Parker says:

      Probably the first – but this is no accolade. We must be amongst the first to have allowed our energy infrastructure to deteriorate to such an extent

  • Roly Boardman says:

    Andre de Ruyter for Minister of Electricity!?

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