South Africa is consumed by all forms of emotions, thoughts, and feelings as it gravitates its focus and attention towards the State Of The Nation Address (SONA) 2016. It has also been reported that Parliament received a record high volume of applications from media houses to be granted access to cover the event. My guess is that owe part of this media and public attention towards this year’s SONA to the unprecedented dramatic events that played itself out on the previous one, which saw some Members of Parliament being manhandled out of the chambers and some members staging a walk out. But few minutes later after the whole fracas, it was ‘Business as usual’. The President proceeded to address the nation.
The recent occurrences building up to #SONA2016 have not been positive either. However; to counter this, the phrase “boost confidence” resurfaces. Because we are in election season, the President has a lot of confidence boosting to do. It seems as though he will have to boost everybody’s confidence during the address.
Starting with that of the beloved business market confidence, among other things in an already slow economic growth the turmoil was exacerbated by change of three Finance Ministers in just a period of two weeks which saw the Rand hitting record lows. The New Age reported that “South Africa is rated one notch above junk status by international ratings agencies”, so the poor SONA speech could hasten the country’s descent to junk status or even recession. So business is expecting serious confidence boosting.
With the shrinking economy, tax law revisions, electricity hiked and increasing inequality, I wonder how the confidence of the constituencies, young people and general public will be boosted. These challenges are a huge monkey on the backs of South African citizens, even Izinduna (headmen) in KZN do not want to get left behind as they need some boosting. They are even threatening to disrupt the local government elections should provincial government’s Department of Traditional affairs fail to meet their salary demands.
I, myself could do with a bit of boosting, I will be following the address very closely to get a sense of how the government is planning to reverse these economic challenges and how it plans to tackle other social challenges we find ourselves in…Blah! Blah! Blah!! Who am I kidding?? The only reason I will be watching the SONA is because inside Parliament the EFF is planning to disrupt the speech in seeking clarity and to find reasons that resulted in the former Finance Minister axing. The second one is that about few organisations will be marching outside Parliament, so there’s bound to be drama there. That will help fix my drama cravings.
Seriously though, expecting something solid from the SONA is like watching that new Beyonce “Formation” video that has been trending. You sit there you wait to see that ‘woke’ moment people are talking about, and it just ends without giving you anything tangible and leave you hanging like that. Even the emerging market economist Peter Montalto shares this sentiment when he stated “He is expecting no surprise policy changes or any major growth boosting move. Despite the current rhetoric about doing everything possible to manage growth”.
So ladies and gents , the SONA will consists of the usual rhetoric, promises, statistics, sugar coating, promises, “politricking”, and more promises. The only difference about this one is that we will be having members of the public outside the Parliament making their voices heard and challenging the status quo. If the President is to be taken seriously, he must make use of the advice that he gave on his Presidential Investor Luncheon and World Economic Forum Review. That in these tough times the “Business and Government must abandon the ‘Business as usual approach.”