Phil Craig of the Cape Independence Advocacy Group – Saturday 13 February 2021
The ‘State of the Nation Address (SONA)’ has, in recent years, evolved into a surreal pantomime, in which, as the President and the leaders of his government step through the portal between the real world and Parliament, reality becomes suspended. The 2021 performance may have featured less pomp, and fewer actors, but none of the farce was lost.
His government will seek to restore growth and create jobs. This they will do by ‘continuing to work with the private sector to create a more conducive environment for them to be able to create jobs’. They ‘expect a strong recovery by the end of 2021’. This was, predictably, accompanied by terms like ‘before the pandemic struck’, as if somehow South Africa’s disastrous economic performance was a consequence of Covid rather than the ANC.
Since 2006, South Africa has fallen from 28th in the global ‘Ease of doing business’ rankings to an all-time low of 84th.[iii] Economic growth hasn’t been above 4% since 2008, has been below 2% since 2014, and under 1% since 2018,[iv] long before anyone had even heard of Covid-19. Unemployment, even using the government’s own narrow definition, had increased from 23% in 2009 to 29%, pre-covid. It now stands at 31%.[v]
The CIAG believes the government certainly must not ‘continue to do’ anything, South Africa does not need ‘more of the same’, it needs a Damascus style conversion.
President Ramaphosa addressed Eskom and State owned Enterprises (SoE’s). The foundations have apparently ‘now been laid’ for ‘an efficient, modern and competitive energy system’. On the day of SONA South Africa experienced level 3 load-shedding, whilst Eskom now employs 24% more people than it did in 2009, and between them they generate 8% less electricity.[vi]
A centralised SoE model is being implemented this year, and ‘these vital public companies’ will then be able to ‘fulfil their mandate for growth and development’. In 2019, losses made by SoE’s accounted for roughly 10% of South Africa’s entire GDP. [vii]
Crime and corruption were up next. Steps have apparently been taken to stop a range of crimes, and ‘to deal with those responsible in terms of the law’. ‘Tackling crime is central to the success of our recovery’. South Africa currently has the world’s 3rd highest crime rate.[viii] The last 5 heads of the South African police Service (SAPS), covering a period from 2000 to 2017 have all resigned, been suspended, been removed from their position, or have been fired on account of alleged corruption.[ix][x][xi]
On corruption, the ‘Zondo revelations’ were, by inference, a surprise to the government who presided over state capture, and the ANC for whom at least four of their top six officials have been directly implicated in alleged corrupt activities.[xii][xiii][xiv][xv][xvi] The government will ‘sustain the momentum’. How can anyone take such statements seriously when the Secretary General of the ANC has literally had a book written about his alleged corrupt activities, has been formally charged with corruption, and yet is still carrying on in his role regardless?
The Coup de grace of this year’s SONA was the ‘draft master plan’ for South Africa’s first ‘smart city’, Lanseria, which will house ‘350 000 to 500 000’ people.[xvii] This from a governing party who leads the overwhelming majority of the 92% of South African municipalities who failed to get a clean audit, and who took, on average, 180 days to pay their bills.[xviii]
Among these were bankrupt municipalities, municipalities who just stopped accounting, municipalities where every employee was claiming indigent benefits for the poor, municipalities where contractors were paid to build an imaginary waterworks and sink non-existent boreholes, and municipalities where sewerage contaminated the drinking water supply.[xix][xx]
In 2009, Julius Malema, whilst still a member of the ANC, said this:
“If Jacob Zuma is corrupt, then we want him with all his corruption. We want him with all his weakness. If he is uneducated, then we want him as our uneducated president”.
In 2019, 73.1% voters in eight out of nine provinces effectively said exactly the same thing about the ANC (and the EFF). Despite knowing all of the ANC governments faults, and having seen more than enough to realise that the EFF would only be worse, the highest percentage ever voted either ANC or EFF anyway.
Voters in the 9th province, the Western Cape, watched helplessly on. They have never given the ANC a majority, they didn’t elect this government, and they are powerless to hold it to account. They are denied functional democracy.
SONA 2021 is just the latest evidence that South Africa will continue its self-inflicted decline, and that a union with South Africa is not in the best interest of Western Cape citizens.
The CIAG calls upon the provincial government of the Western Cape to begin a consultation process with Western Cape citizens over whether they wish to remain in a union with South Africa, and, should there be sufficient support, to call a provincial referendum as authorised by clause 37(2)(f) of the Western Cape constitution.