SONA 2023: ‘Ramaphosa’s address will have political consequences’, Cosatu
Ramaphosa is set to deliver his address on Thursday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa responds to the State Of The Nation (Sona) debate in the National Assembly on 12 February 2021. Picture: Gallo Images/Jeffrey Abrahams
The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) has warned that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) will have dire political consequences.
Ramaphosa is set to deliver his address on Thursday, 9 February, and the federation has voiced its high expectations of the ruling party at large.
Plan and benchmarks
“To restore hope, the Sona needs to present a clear programme and set clear implementation benchmarks and timeframes.
“The government also needs to account for the implementation of the 2022 SONA commitments as part of building society’s confidence,” said Cosatu in a statement on Monday.
Load shedding debacles
The federation highlighted that the current 43% unemployment rate, rising levels of debt and the economy struggling to recover from recession were made worse by load shedding.
“These are made worse by 10 hours of load shedding a day, a deteriorating passenger and freight rail network under siege from criminal syndicates, rampant levels of crime and corruption, and dysfunctional municipalities unable to provide basic services.”
“The economy cannot grow, and unemployment cannot be reduced with continuous load shedding. The Lekgotla recommendation for the declaration of a state of disaster needs to be officially implemented.”
Resources and authority
Cosatu said the government needs to ensure Eskom has all the resources and authority at hand to reduce load shedding, ramp up targeted high impact maintenance and bring on board new generation capacity.
Another way this pandemic could be dealt with is by tackling the corruption and criminality crippling Eskom.
“Similar interventions are needed at Transnet and Metrorail, which are key to growing the mining, manufacturing, and agricultural sectors as well as to the urban economy. Equally government needs to come with clear turnaround plans for the Post Office, SABC, DENEL and other embattled but once thriving SOEs.”
“The economy needs a stimulus package from both the public and private sectors. Schemes like the Bounce Back Scheme and the Infrastructure Programme need to be resuscitated and expedited respectively. The progressive commitments of the Economic Recovery and Reconstruction Plan need to be implemented honestly and diligently.”
Cosatu also complained about the Special Relief Dispensation (SRD) glitches stating that millions were affected by the irregularities of the failing system.
“The administrative glitches that have bedevilled it need to be resolved to ensure all unemployed persons receive it. This needs to be raised to the Food Poverty Line and utilised as a foundation for the Basic Income Grant.”
Another matter raise by Cosatu is the need for clean and accessible water to citizens
“Particular attention is needed to the provision of clean and accessible water. The backlogs in water infrastructure need to be sorted out or it will plunge the nation into another unaffordable crisis.”
Cosatu also pleaded that law enforcement agencies needed to be equipped to fight staggering crimes rates in South Africans.
“The government needs to announce clear interventions to ramp up the fight against crime and corruption. These need to include the reversal of the deeply concerning decline in SAPS and NPA personnel numbers. The South African Revenue Services needs to be empowered to undertake lifestyle audits of politicians and senior state managers.”
Public servants’ hostile environment
According to Cosatu, public servants are not able to excel at their places of employment because of the working conditions they were subjected to on a daily basis.
“The South African government needs to fix its relationship with public servants. A state cannot be productive if nurses, doctors, police officers and countless other hard working public servants feel aggrieved that their employer is outsourcing the bill for state capture and corruption to them and pickpocketing their meagre wages to balance the books.”
“It is untenable that while public servants are drowning in debt government bureaucrats are spending billions of rand on half-baked ideas.”
Compiled by: Siphumelele Khumalo