2017 SONA: Save South Africa conveyor, Sipho Pityana has predicted an underwhelming and a disappointing 2017 State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Though it’s always advisable for one to get to the bridge before one crosses it, it appears Pityana hurriedly wants to cross the bridge before getting to it when he made the startling prediction.
Well-known for his criticism and hostility towards President Zuma, Pityana told guests at the Cape Town Press Club on Thursday that Zuma will not be short of words during his address next Thursday, but he will mislead the people over the issues that matter.
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To him, Zuma’s continuous presence at SONA makes little or no impact because he climbs the podium yearly to make promises he never intends to fulfill.
Pityana reiterated that the Zuma administration has only succeeded in back-pedalling developments in the country on so many fronts and nothing more.
He described Zuma as a head of state who is the commander in chief of state corruption and who brazenly and daringly masterminded the agenda for state capture.
Flipping through pages, he enumerated areas in which the ANC administration had failed over the years; tracing promises Zuma had made regarding unemployment, education, health and other sectors at previous SONA addresses.
Pityana expressed passionate grief about the tanking Rand, the increment on the poverty line, the devastating state of the country’s education – especially in Mathematics and Science.
It is paramount to note that despite having one of the highest education budgets relative to its GDP: 8.5%, South Africa was recently ranked 138th out of 140 countries. This development received backlashes from elder statesmen and education authorities.
The gathering also observed a minute’s silence for the 94 psychiatric patients – better known as “The Silent 94”. The 94 mental patients died after they were transferred to an unlicensed NGO in Gauteng. The provisional health MEC has since resigned for the flop.
As scheduled, 2017 SONA is expected to hold on February 9 and President Zuma is expected to touch on key and sensitive issues that have affected the country so far.
The annual event also avails him the opportunity to address the plight of the masses and also present his plans for the year.
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For the past two years, Zuma has had a very disturbing SONA, with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) always ruining the show.
During the 2016 SONA, the fighters were bundled out of Parliament when they insulted and urged Zuma to pay back state funds used in upgrading his Nkandla homestead. The story was the same in 2015.
Nevertheless, most South Africans, including opposition groups still feel Zuma has not lived up to expectation. For instance, in 2010 SONA, he promised to alleviate poverty‚ and lessen the gap of inequality. At the time‚ 20% of South Africans lived below the poverty line.
But a quick check indicated that the figure has deteriorated to 21.5%. Currently, South Africa is now ranked as the second most “unequal” society in the world. This development shows that inequality has tremendously increased in the country.
Even the richest 20% of South Africa accounts for over 61% of consumption‚ while the bottom 20% account for 4‚3% of consumption.
Well, Pityana summarized his speech by asking South Africans to come out in large numbers for the ‘real’ SONA on Wednesday next week at St George’s Cathedral in Cape Town.
He also promised to give guests a platform to say their minds during the real state of the nation.
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