The 2019 State of the Nation address was given on the 20th of June and acknowledged that the country and state entities are in trouble. At the same time, it spoke of dreams of anew cities and job creation (2 million jobs).
There were 7 main areas targeted during the speech namely:
Economic transformation and job creation
Education, skills, and health
Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services
Spatial integration, human settlements, and local government
Social cohesion and safe communities
A capable, ethical and developmental state
A better Africa and World
Some main points were that people need more jobs because half of all young people are unemployed. A special goal given was that kids be taught to read by schools (sad). Government would like everyone to make jobs for all the unemployed while it will also try and make some along the way.
‘if it can’t be saved now then what is the point of having money set aside to try to save it later’
It was also announced that a massive amount of money will be used in the short term to save Eskom rather than in bits and bobs over the next 10 years. It seems that if it can’t be saved now then what is the point of having money set aside to try to save it later. An amount of R230 Billion was mentioned which would make a significant dent into what Eskom owe.
Focus on the Areas Doing Well
An extra effort is going to be put into areas of industry and the economy that are already doing well. The plan is to build on successes and worry about the other industries down the line. It turns out the President was wearing a locally made suit for the event and encouraged locals to buy local and support local business in an effort to grow the local economy.
More Cops Less Crime?
There are plans afoot to try to add another 2000 police recruits more than currently are in the intake (there are currently 5000 people in the program) over the next 2 intakes (so a potential extra 4000 more cops eventually). Government feels that more cops may help reduce crime. Eventually, they would like to really tackle crime in a massive way and reduce violent crimes by 50% in years ahead.
Young People Want
It seems that young people want jobs or cheaper data or preferably both. These two issues were repeatedly raised by younger South Africans and the President asked the mobile networks if they could look at their data prices since access to data may help young people create online opportunities.
The Reserve Bank
The topic was discussed and the new position of trying to keep things as much the same as possible while still nodding at the desired changes was attempted. For now, the President tried to help people understand that the SARB needs to be an independent body. The Reserve Bank acts according to the Constitution and not shareholders whims.
This is still on the books but as stated before this would potentially start with public land and not private land. Over 100 years ago the Apharteid system of land regulation put most South Africans in a negative position and a hundred years later millions of people still don’t have their own land or own homes. Even after 25 plus years of a changed government and improved policies, people are still flocking to the cities to live in rented land rather than enjoying their own land and homes. Though little of substance was said it seems that an effort will be made to identify some land in the near future. Some opposition parties say that now that elections are over talk of this subject will just fade away.
I Have A Dream…
The president launched into an interesting part of the speech talking about building a new hi-tech city. This would be the first new city in 25 years. Such an ambitious city could combine many of the goals of job creation, cheaper data and increased capacity (think 5 G) and a little land expropriation on the side but not much of substance was said as this was presented more as an “i have a dream” moment. Many say that such an idea is inspired by such efforts in China in the past.
‘The SONA produced the usual mix bag of grand plans, mild denial and a vague promise of future prosperity’
The State of the Nation
The SONA produced the usual mix bag of grand plans, mild denial and a vague promise of future prosperity. Many vital points were discussed or at least touched on. The Rand slowly rose prior to the speech and hit a small high point (relatively) before dropping after the speech. Many experts point to a lack of any actual details being offered in regard to many of the plans mentioned. Still, the Rand is slightly better off than it was a few weeks back which may offer some relief in the days ahead.