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By Lunga Simelane


SA citizens say they expect nothing new from Sona

One woman said, "Since I won’t be watching Sona, I’ll be applying for work opportunities that are based overseas,”

Even as the Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (Outa) was urging South Africans to “switch off”, instead of watching President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) tonight, some South Africans are already clear that the event hardly makes a blip on their radar.

Outa chief executive Wayne Duvenage said their decision was not taken lightly as they did not want to send the wrong message in regards to citizen participation in democracy.

ALSO READ: Sona: Is it worth spending so much money on?

“But sometimes it is necessary to visibly disengage with government in a manner of protest when the message is not authentic and appeals to clear political agendas,” he said.

Duvenage said Sona had become an event for political posturing and empty rhetoric when, in fact, the public needed to hear about the real issues of the state of the nation.

Tswelopele Makgale from Alberton said she did not feel anything towards tonight’s Sona. She said the country was faced with so many challenges and the government continued to fail its citizens.

“What is the plan regarding these issues, or it will be same old promises?” Makgale asked.

“However, things which I would like the government to touch on are unemployment, as well as access to higher education.”

Makgale said she would not watch Sona tonight. “How are we even supposed to watch and be eager to listen when we are also faced with load shedding? I will be focusing on my studies and finishing off my masters dissertation. I am chasing my future, to be more qualified and get out of this country.”

Thando Xamsane from Katlehong said there was nothing new to expect because the president, who would be presenting Sona, “did not even want to be president”.

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Xamsane said she expected to hear yet another long list of empty promises and “threats of what would be discontinued or what would happen if citizens do not vote for the ANC”.

“Since I won’t be watching Sona, I’ll be applying for work opportunities that are based overseas,” she said.

Mbali Tshabalala from Joburg South said South African politics could be summed up by the word, “despondent”.

“The national elections are coming up and we can expect false promises and being manipulated – more than we usually are,” she said.

“I expect the nation will be addressed in a propagandistic manner, where the shortcomings of the government will be omitted or spoken about with a promise that they will be fixed.”

Tshabalala said she was still proud to be a South African and tried to find any source of optimism. “For that reason, I will be tuned in to Sona to hear what the president has to say.”

“A great proportion of the youth, myself included, find ourselves confused about who to vote for in the coming elections and I think about actively seeking knowledge on the political state of the country. Sona being a great way to help alleviate doubts and confusion, even if it’s to a very small extent.”

ALSO READ: Here’s what was promised in the last Sona, and what has changed

Siyabonga Dlangalala from Tembisa said he would watch Sona because as a young voter, he was eager to hear the president highlight the accomplishments of the current government.

“I am particularly interested in how these achievements compare to the empty promises which have been made in the past,” he said.

“This address will help me gauge the government’s track record and assist me in making an informed decision during the upcoming general election and will play a vital role in helping me make a clear decision on who to vote for.”

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