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 did not do.
“But he spoke about maintaining laws that are unpopular with the investment community. He said nothing that is going to excite businessmen in wanting to invest in South Africa.”
Jammine said that Zuma has been speaking of radical economic transformation for years and that it appears there has been little implementation.
Apart from SONA’s content‚ Zuma’s lacklustre delivery also left much to be desired‚ he said.
Professor Hinaunye Eita‚ of the University of Johannesburg’s Department of Economics and Econometrics‚ said Zuma’s talk of cracking down on cartels‚ amongst other things‚ emphasised support for the small player.
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“He emphasised fundamental change in ownership of the production side of the economy. The aim is to ensure South Africa deals with inequality.
“South Africa is one of the most unequal societies in the world and that situation is not sustainable.”
He said Zuma assured the investment community that measures for transformation would be done within the laws of South Africa.
Dr Mcebisi Ndletyana‚ professor of politics at the University of Johannesburg‚ said:
“I think there is a general attitude of impatience as the ANC is concerned with regards to what they feel is a slow pace of transformation.
“The ANC needs to have a new story to tell. They can no longer say that water and electricity has been delivered. Yes‚ they have been delivered but the main thing now is unemployment especially because of the segment of people that is largely unemployed – the youth.
“You can’t have an unemployed youth. It is quick to express its anger and is fond of a militant display of dissatisfaction and you have party that appeals to them.
“This is not simply about supplying material needs‚ but about building the entire democratic system. The undemocratic environment [of Parliament] and undemocratic practices stained their message.”
Ndletyana says that the views of‚ and issues raised by‚ opposition parties at the beginning of SONA is not considered as grand-standing as they had valid points.
“The EFF considers the president to be an illegitimate president – and that is valid. In most societies‚ if a president was found to be in violation of his oath of office‚ the he would have resigned; [Zuma] hasn’t‚ so they were well within their rights‚” he said.
When ANC secretary-general Gwede Mantashe was asked if he would have given a moment of silence in respect of the 94 psychiatric patients who died in Gauteng‚ he replied: “If I was a speaker I would have given it.”
But Mantashe felt it took way too long to restore order in the house.
“If I was a speaker‚ I would not have allowed that thing to continue for an hour. I would have dealt with it in the first 20 minutes.”
Later‚ Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe agreed that there was a need to have a moment of silence in Parliament‚ but not necessarily on the night.
He went further even saying a “day of mourning” is also appropriate.
Graphic courtesy of The People’s Assembly http://www.pa.org.za/
– TMG Digital/TimesLIVE