State of the Nation Address
It was good to hear the President throw rhetoric to the wind for the first time and concentrate on health, basic education, infrastructure, information and communications technologies and regional integration. We have a huge poor population who wish to hear of a short-term alleviation to their misery. It must be desperately difficult to support a family in these times.
Government has at last had the courage to put poverty alleviation and job creation as the secondary problem, rather than the primary one. The topics covered are more relevant than the generalities of job creation and poverty alleviation which remain, at present, insurmountable global problems. It is a bad time to focus on health when administrative problems beset government hospitals. We have considerable expertise but maladministration dodges supply and prevents hospitals from performing at their best. The injection of billions of rands does little to allay fears when a lack of administration and accountability continues. Money allocated must be spent honestly and wisely, and this is the Government's responsibly.
As far as education is concerned, it is heart-warmingly remarkable that some of the poorest schools with the most dedicated staff achieve marvels and should receive accolades by the thousands!! However, the majority of schools are beset by ill-attendance.No book can cure this.
As far as infrastructure is concerned, I can only hope that the environmental issues that are raised are properly investigated. Future generations will depend on efficient use of both land and water. There is not a person in South Africa that will not praise any initiative, be it the supply of water and electricity or an efficient rail system. I would ask, Mr President, that land-reform initiatives should be carefully monitored before more implementation. Much reclaimed land now lies waste and large-scale commercial farming is vital to supply an increasingly large urban population.
Lastly, because I am a woman, I have this to say. Rape is a horrendous problem but it is a social issue, rather than a political one. Let the sociologists deal with it while you Mr President, rule the country. Please don’t write legislation that insists that women must have a place in government or business. Believe me, given a good education, her determination alone will allow her to rise in the ranks.
I welcomed your new approach but have only one reservation. With such a small tax base, I wonder where the money will come from. I am no financier, but billions of rands must be acquired and managed without corruption managing to get its finger into the pie. But, thank you for an address that gives us all hope; may you manage to implement it.
The President and government as a whole are trying to alleviate the high unemployment rate, but there are still thousands of youth who are unemployed. What does this say about our country? Does it have anything to do with low pass rates at universities?
Most youths are unemployed because they may have the qualifications, but they lack the proper skills. This needs to be addressed, and only then can government make a dent in improving the unemployment rate.
President Jacob Zuma in his speech said that R10 billion was to be set aside by the Industrial Development Corporation for job creation and to date about R1,5 billion was approved for 60 companies to promote job creation. Where are the people who gain from these jobs?
Not one person I know has found a job through any one of these initiatives. Have these jobs been verified or are they just numbers and rands added up to make the State of the Nation Address sound great?
The basic education system is failing, not only because of learner problems, but because teachers do not show up on time for school; they take extended periods of leave and simply are absent. This disrupts student focus and in turn also effects the grades and end-results of learners. It is time we stop blaming government and ensure that the teachers who teach at our schools are there to do their jobs.
As a citizen of South Africa, I would to like comment on the following issue raised at the State of the Nation Address by our honourable President Jacob Zuma. Previously, it was an issue that the citizen who use to earn R3000 or more were not entitled to get a RDP house while they could not qualify for a house bond either.
Fortunately, our government has gone some way to address the problem by subsidising them with R83 000, to enable them to obtain housing finance from an accredited bank.
The President spoke about people who do not qualify for houses and who also do not qualify for bank home loans because they do not earn enough. Yes, I do believe it is a challenge, but a person who earns more than someone who needs an RDP house is not poor. Government should pay more attention to build more homes for the poor.
With regard to funds being spent within government, each year billions of rands are allocated to various departments, but we keep hearing about corruption among government officials. What guarantee do we as tax payers have that government is cracking down on corrupt officials? It is not enough to suspend or fire them, the money should be paid back to government, as it is not their money, it belongs to the taxpayers of this country.
Health has been upgraded, and the roll-out of the National Health Insurance scheme (NHI) is well underway. However, how can we ensure that the scheme will uphold and work well, if government cannot ensure service-delivery at public hospitals now? What is going to be changed to ensure service delivery of the NHI?
We need officials who are accountable to deliver services to patients. Civil servants need to realise that they are employed to serve the people and the public, so they should do just that, serve.
Unlike the last time the President was able to speak or address people at a personal level, he drew closer by reading letters from normal South Africans and giving solutions. Even though he did not commit himself to a lot of issues like the mine issue and provinces, he made sure we know he knows about it and is looking into the matter.
He finally addressed the issue of houses for the working class; at least the Government will not only take from us but we will have something to gain as well.
Mr President applauded the teacher’s unions for their cooperation while the Eastern Cape Teacher’s Union proposed a go-slow not so long ago. I like the constant drive towards job creation, skills development and the massive infrastructure investment. The building of new universities in Mpumalanga and Northern Cape is definitely going to boost the economy of those two provinces.