President Jacob Zuma had delivered his most “populist” State of the Nation address (Sona) on Thursday – surrounded once again by anarchy.
Zuma, who is close to ending his term as President, has had his fair share of disruptions in the National Assembly, but none that had been so violent, according to political analyst Daniel Silke.
A heavy-handed stance taken by parliamentary security personnel was no doubt a “recipe for disaster”, he added.
Two days before Sona 2017, the Presidency had issued a statement authorising over 400 South African Nation Defence Force members in support of the SA Police Force.
“We have seen it before with disruptions – this year, the disruptions were more violent and the fact that there was a heavy handed approach by security personally was a recipe for disaster.”
The approach had also pushed the DA to leave the house, he said.
“Broadly speaking … this was the most populist Sona on macroeconomic policies. It will appeal to the radical who supports the ANC, but won’t provide economic growth for real distribution. And I don’t know if we will see a substantive change.”
Zuma in his speech had prioritised land and business ownership for the black majority. He said only 10% of the top 100 companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange were owned by black South Africans.
“The skewed nature of ownership and leadership patterns needs to be corrected. There can be no sustainability in any economy if the majority is excluded in this matter. Today we are starting a new chapter of radical socioeconomic,” Zuma said.
Part of regulations going forward would affect the construction companies in particular. To this end, all big construction companies would have no option but to subcontract 30% of its business to black owned businesses. This was gazetted less than a month ago.
“There are two key challenges … high levels of concentration in the economy, as well as the collusion’s and cartels which squeeze out small players.”
The property sector also needed to be closer looked at as it was valued that at approximately seven trillion rand, with the subsidised sector being valued at one point five trillion rand.
However, less than five percent of the sector was owned or managed by black people and Africans in particular.
Among key priorities this year, Government will also address the increasing delays and backlogs in registration and issuing of title deeds to beneficiaries of housing projects funded by the capital subsidy.
They were re-thinking its approach to land ownership. He said the state hadn’t been “meticulous enough” when trying to empower rightful land owners.
“It’s important that you remain with the land and not with the money … we weren’t meticulous in the beginning … should just have said the land is brought back so you can keep it,” said Zuma.
Silke said: “Zuma’s growth path doesn’t look like it will be helped at all”, and the disruptions in parliament was also likely to “spook investors rather than encourage investment”.
“On social issues – he was well meaning – the South African fiscus must be strengthened for better economic growth,” he said.