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‘This year, we fix the fundamentals’ – Ramaphosa

President gives a speech of uncharacteristic boldness.
Jairus Mmutle/GCIS

The EFF missed a good speech.

In what has become an informal part of parliamentary proceedings, the county’s third-largest political party used procedural issues to delay President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address on Thursday night.

After the EFF held up proceedings for an hour-and-a-half and then left in a huff, Ramaphosa went on to surprise by giving a speech of uncharacteristic boldness.

The overall gist of it was government is now ready to act. Or as he put it: “This year, we fix the fundamentals.”

This means many of the bureaucratic bottlenecks that have been a pain for ordinary citizens as well as business are being dealt with.

South Africans for instance, can also expect improvement in the rail system, a reduction in company registration from months to a day, and to obtain a water use licence within 90 days instead of five years.

The government, along with business and labour are also in the process of either drawing up or implementing “master plans” for the poultry, steel, sugar, auto, and clothing and textiles sectors.

Sharing power

He also basically opened up the electricity market, where municipalities in good standing will be free to buy electricity from an entity other than Eskom. This means Johannesburg’s City Power is now free to self-provide or source power from whoever it wants to.

Ramaphosa unveils overhaul of electricity industry
City Power sees a future that is ‘less reliant on Eskom’

Entities producing less than one megawatt of power would also not need a licence to do so.

No details were provided on what would be done to deal with Eskom’s R450 billion in debt.

He also announced unspecific plans to create a sovereign wealth fund as well as establish a state bank.

Read: SA to get sovereign wealth fund, state bank

There will also be performance agreements for ministers by the end of the month – something he previously said would be implemented.

Ramaphosa even said South Africa is well on its way to creating its own “smart city”, something he flagged in his last Sona address. He said it would be based in Lanseria, in Gauteng and would house up to 500 000 people to “rise to change the social and economic apartheid spatial architecture”.

Youth employment

A big part of the speech was aimed at youth unemployment. With the percentage of unemployed youths sitting at over 53%, Ramaphosa mapped out the length of what the government is doing to address this issue.

He, for instance, said several of its projects would be orientated towards “vocational and technical education”.

He also reiterated that the government is preparing youngsters for the future of work. “This year, we will be introducing coding and robotics in grades R to 3 in 200 schools, with a plan to implement it fully by 2022.

“We are fundamentally changing how we prepare young people for the future of work, providing shorter, more flexible courses in specific skills that employers in fast-growing sectors need”.

This focus on the youth is unusual, in that Sona addresses usually say there is some kind of crisis, but provide no meaningful way to address it.

In his speech, Ramaphosa not only addressed it, but he also went on to announce programmes to get training, jobs or become self-employed.

There was more.

Further projects

In the 32-page document, he also said the government is going to release about 700 000 hectares of state land for agricultural production, and that it will soon table an “Expropriation Bill that outlines the circumstances under which expropriation of land without compensation would be permissible”.

The plan to auction off high-value spectrum, necessary for high-speed data service like 5G, would be concluded before the end of the year.

The Infrastructure Fund’s implementation team has also been busy. It has “finalised the list of shovel-ready projects and has begun work to expand private investment into public infrastructure sectors with revenue streams”.

So far, it comes up with a project pipeline with potential investments of over R700 billion over the next ten years.

In all, the 2020 Sona was more than a comprehensive to-do list.

It was a declaration of intent by a man who has been (rightly) criticised for not acting boldly when it comes to addressing the country’s problems.



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In was not inspired nor was I impressed by his speech. More of the same empty promises. Big talk about Eskom and IPPs and renewables but we all know the ANC can only talk. Doing is a foreign concept.

Same spin as last year about digital migration and spectrum allocation. Guess they have not found a way to enrich themselves yet.

Same spin on police recruits than last year.
Same spin on the cUtting public spending that we have heard from him in his last 3 SONAs before. But the ministerial handbook will not be changed. The ridiculous perks will not be taken away.
His hands are tied with the number of overpaid and under-skilled workers and he seems powerless at best. Dancing to the tune of other’s at worst.

Not to mention the idea of a state bank run by the ANC is laughable and scary.
It will make VBS look like someone shoplifted a chappie.

Even if what he says is legit, it is going to take 10+ years for the ship to start turning properly.

You cant turn a sunken ship Johan. SA is not dying, its dead. Manufacturing, jobs, JSE, FDI, debt to GDP, public safety – all flat-lining. Corporate and public malfeasance at an industrial scale. Gangsters in suits sitting in senior government (Ace, Supra, Mabuza etc). We all pathetically hope for The Great Cyril to save us. He amassed a fortune of approx. US$ 400 m from being a trade union leader. Jimmy Hoffa didn’t do 10% of that and he’s known as one of the US’s greatest villains. Cyril is no hero, he’s a cynical manipulator of white guilt and boy he played that well. If you are not planning a full exit from SA, then enjoy Zim2.0, it is a historical certainty. When? Who knows but soon enough!!

Extremely disappointing to say the least.
After being in power for 25 years it gets said ‘This year, we fix the fundamentals’
I am absolutely speechless!!!

Cyril old boy, just fix one thing, Eskom. 20000 to work there, halve all salaries and bingo I will then be able to keep my factory open 12 hours a day, earn more, employ more people, pay them more, pay more tax……………………………..sorry I was dreaming!!!!

A state bank is a daft idea. What will this bank be able to do that commercial banks can’t or won’t do? The idea that this state bank should provide funding to projects and individuals that the commercial banks won’t touch is downright scary. This implies that like in the case of Eskom, the PIC will become the “lender of last resort”, as the Reserve Bank is for commercial banks.

In effect, the ANC politicians will be using the State Bank to lend our pension money to people who have no collateral and who are not creditworthy, to themselves in other words.

You give fantastic input that is worth reading on this site. Thank you for that. But I want to ask, are you able to say something positive, too? Why don’t you start sharing your view of both sides of the coin, and 100% fine for that to be (justifiable) weighted towards the negative side?

The coin that is South Africa has the same face on both sides. A picture of a losing battle. As is always the case when lofty and unworkable socialist ideas come into contact with the real world. So I believe Sensei is sharing his views of both sides of the coin.

The idea of the “glass half-full” became meaningless in SA a long time ago.

I’m of the opinion that Sensei argues each point and comes to a conclusion based on his beliefs/learnings. Not sure that it should be perceived as negative per se.

Johan I appreciate your comment and Griet I very much appreciate your support.

We are blessed with a nation of lovely and friendly people. Life is a daily struggle to make ends meet for most of them. Everybody I meet on a daily basis is respectful and friendly. They all want a better life and they deserve it.

I have empathy and respect for my fellow citizens. This is why I cannot tolerate policies and ideas that can only cause damage to these people in the long term. Many of these retrograde policies are shortsighted and causes more harm than good over the long term.

If it is expected of me to voice my honest opinion here, then I must state the view that I use to plan my own business and personal financial affairs. I do not say one thing and then do another.

I try to form an opinion about the opportunities and threats and then position my personal affairs accordingly. If I am wrong in my analysis, I will pay the price in the form of financial loss.

I am basically putting my money where my mouth is. If someone experience this as negative, it may be because I identified an issue that threatens my assets. We are equal under the law. If a certain policy threatens the wealth of one citizen, it is a threat to the wealth of every citizen.

More middle class black people are emigrating than white people. Why is this? They are voting with their feet.

Here is my honest take on the situation. South Africa is the land of milk and honey as long as your beehive and cow are offshore.

My view will change immediately when the DA, COPE or FF+ comes into power. I find nothing positive in socialist policies because it leads to financial ruin in 10 cases out of 10.

Fully concur with Sensei. My husband and I grew up poor and killed ourselves to amass what little wealth we have. We have no intention of handing that over to a bunch of caviar communists and their slay queens on Christian Louboutin shoes. Money out the country, helping the children leave, getting ourselves as mobile as possible. These are the stark realities of our beloved country.

Griet describes the situation most of us find ourselves in. Don’t expect me to paint a rosy picture of a political situation that forces hardworking patriots to constantly protect their wickets against pathetic communist looters. I despise them for abusing our trust. I despise them for abusing our legal system, our constitution, our parliament, our heritage, our goodwill, our compassion and our good intentions. They force me to abandon the business that I love in the country that I love, to do business in a country that is not mine, in a language that is foreign to me, and pay taxes to people that are not my people.

This is the legacy of the ANC.

A State Bank would just be another employment opportunity for useless ANC cadres to line their pockets with director’s fees, expenses and low input work.

Just empty promises as usual.He and his chommies can’t run a country.

Rather, he and his commies you meant?

The problem in South Africa today is that standing up or lying down the ANC gets voted into power every time. So they pretend to govern whilst looting and we pretend to be ruled whilst descending into lawlessness.

I was not impressed. A few positives but the two main elephants are still there:
– taking land without compensation. Do we realise what this will do to our economy? We will turn into Zimbabwe in less than 5 years!
– NHI (we simply can’t afford it at this stage).

Time for movements like “I’m Staying” to go to the elections. Political parties (AMostly ANC & EFF) have lost their right to represent the people of South Africa and they only think about themselves!

As we all know, the ANC is great at promising, totally rubbish at actually doing.

Priority number one is ESKOM. Let’s see if they can get that right. The most recent signs are not promising, considering their response to attempts to get SAA right.

Bottom line is the unions have the ANC by the balls, and won’t let them make the fundamental changes that need to be made, because it will ultimately involve job losses.

Until the ANC cuts that umbilical cord to the unions, I cannot see anything really changing.

Agreed – and one only has to see what the unions did to the mines, the poor students queuing at UNISA last week trying to enroll (the student’s union were part of it – WTF), the municipal workers dumping trash in the streets and damaging vehicles and threatening pedestrians – and don’t forget our failed education system where its more important for teachers to attend union meetings than it is to be in a class teaching. If we had the balls, we would collect all the union leaders and subject them to lifestyle audits so workers could see where their contributions were being spent.
If the unions are courageous enough they would be guiding their members in all of the 90% totally bankrupt and non functioning municipalities, SOE’s and government departments about how not to do it – that wastage and non-performance costs their own members in taxes and that its a privilege to work – ask the unemployed.
Can’t wait to see the unionist’s faces when the new colonialists take over.

The “fundamentals” will be fixed by….more of the same (i.e. continued EWC, continued transformation, continued anti WMC…)

The above have been tried, and it brought SA closer to the fiscal cliff. Please continue to employ the inept & ill-equiped into well paid positions….this artificial socio-economic experiment appears to be the answer, and that’s why SA has the least economic problems it had in decades & the lowest rate of unemployment in a long time 😉

(In that case, I didn’t know the actual plan was to drive SA over the cliff?)

The 2020 SONA was done for the ANC, not for South Africa.

Larry, with respect. This is not a to do list – this is a wish list of someone that cannot acknowledge a dysfunctional mess. The reality is RSA is broken – none of this will ever come to fruition before they get the basics right.

Apology for me the skeptic ..I was always an optimist but facts of recurring failure “sugar coated” by this type of baseless drivel will not cut it anymore.

Get the ANC to understand that country comes before party.

The fact that the ANC could not handle the EFF’s chaos in Parliament serves as a metaphor for the ANC in government. They were warned the EFF is going to disrupt.

Pres CR sounded like the late Dullah Omar, who used to say – we must do dis, we must do dat – not realizing he was supposed to be doing it.

Pres CR’s endless current consultations is a throwback to his negotiating approach around 94 – it is out of place, people should know the issues after 25 years – it is time for action and results.

this was a speech given because it has become a tradition – Cyril and the ANC talk up a storm, but if they had to put up a list of the previous years promises with a tick box next to it, the boxes would be empty. the ANC can move like lightning when motivated to do so – currently there is the magical tax revenue pipe with money coming out of it so life is good – if the money stopped flowing then you’d see a lumbering beast suddenly move with a level of coordination that would defy belief. I didn’t think that SA could do worse than Mbeki, then Zuma stepped up and dropped the bar so low ants would battle to crawl under it. Now we have the waffler, the excuse maker, the speech reader, the rich man who isn’t effected by the slide SA is on – another year will pass and another speech will be given – rinse and repeat. on the 26th Tito will describe how the ANC will make us poorer than we already are – who knows what this will lead too……

Our was so excited and optimistic, I mean he announced countless projects and plans in implementing what was proposed. No doubt in my mind that the country is moving forward to better things

And oh boy that only lasted for a few minutes when it dawned on me that I am still in Mzansi and the ruling party is ANC.

Cyril can I ask you just one question please?


Could you not just take it and build on it? Instead you bring us to our knees then ask for help.

And as for the clowns in red overalls, unruly louts the whole damn lot. Sa’s finest for the world to see.

So 3 million taxpayers are funding failed State enterprises and all manner of free stuff, not intended for them, at the same time having their farms stolen and being murdered in their homes.

I would like to know how an organisation that only knows how to ‘break’ is suddenly going to starting fixing things.

“This year, we fix the fundamentals.” Perhaps Dear Cyril, you would have more sympathy for your future policies if you acknowledge that it is the ANC and yourself that have destroyed the fundamentals.

It is, of course very easy to write off a Porsche, but a another matter completely to design and build one.

We await with anticipation …

Fantastic speech! South Africa is going to power ahead. We are skeptical in 1994 and then the growth came in 2001! Now is our watershed moment. We have a Billionaire and dynamic leader leading us, get your bank accounts ready to receive cash. Welcome the abundance! Our president is going to make us exceptionally wealthy!

Execution trumps all (pun intended).

End of comments.


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