‘ANC needs a new story to tell’
ROXANNE HENDERSON, AZIZZAR MOSUPI and PENWELL DLAMINI | 2017-02-10 07:41:01.0
President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation Address (SONA) to a joint sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces in Cape Town, South Africa February 9, 2017.
Image by: SUMAYA HISHAM
Political and economic experts have measured President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation speech and found it wanting.
Economist Dr Azar Jammine said it contained nothing likely to inspire significant change in the economic landscape.
“The worst case didn’t happen. I thought he was going to lambast white monopoly capital and especially the international investment community, which he didn’t do.
“But he spoke about maintaining laws that are unpopular with the investment community. He said nothing that is going to excite business in wanting to invest in South Africa.”
University of Johannesburg’s Prof Hinaunye Eita said Zuma’s talk of cracking down on cartels emphasised support for the small player.
“He emphasised fundamental change in ownership of the production side of the economy. The aim is to ensure South Africa deals with inequality.”
Mcebisi Ndletyana, also of U J, said: “The ANC needs to have a new story to tell. They can no longer say that water and electricity have been delivered. Yes, they have been delivered but the main thing now is unemployment .”
He said if chaos had not ensued, it would have been considered a “successful speech” but there were many other narratives at play, including opposition parties’ complaints about soldiers’ having guns and live ammunition in the parliamentary precinct.
“This is not simply about supplying material needs but about building the entire democratic system. The undemocratic environment [of parliament] and undemocratic practices stained [Zuma’s] message.”