On 16 February 2018, President Cyril Ramaphosa gave his first State of the Nation Address, only 30 hours after having been sworn in as the new president of South Africa.
Not much time to prepare, but clearly tasked with guiding the country out of state capture, economic stand-still and to free the people form a corrupt and inept leadership. The speech was long and had its moments, where even the opposition applauded, but otherwise, it lacked the long-awaited spark, the light at the end of the tunnel in form of goalposts, targets and tasks at hand.
Some passages awkwardly reminded of past president Zuma, might even been written for him with no time to be replaced.
So what can South Africa expect?
Ramaphosa’s intention to reduce the number of cabinet members and state departments was welcomed and leaves the majority of the current ministers at unease about their future. Ramaphosa needs to set a clear sign by reducing the state departments to under 20 and to dismiss those, who were only appointed to dance to Zuma’s ill-intended flute. This includes especially:
* Playboy Malusi Gigaba, who should have never been allowed into politics;
* Ayanda Dlodlo, who managed to attend to absolute nothing since October 2017, when she took over the Department of Home Affairs;
* Mosebenzi Zwane, Gupta Puppet in the Mining Department, needs to answer to the NPA and will most likely become Zuma’s neighbour in jail;
* Lynne Brown, Gupta-Protegee and responsible for the ESKOM mess;
* David Mahlobo, Minister for Energy, but without any spine Zuma#s puppet for the sole purpose of pushing through a nuclear power deal, which the country neither needs nor can afford;
* Bathabile Dlamini, responsible for the SASSA crisis and like her puppeteer Zuma defiant until the end, a true political embarrassment;
* Bongani Bongo, Minister for State Security, could not be further away from Steve Tshwete, an iron broom is needed not a like-warm washcloth;
Heads must roll to start the cleaning process and restore confidence in leadership. The heads of SARS, NPA, SAA and SABC need to be replaced!
The next stepping stone will be the Budget Speech, which might still be held by Gigaba, hopefully one of his last activities. This speech will not go down easy as the finances of the country are in a mess! The budget deficit can be expected to be at R 50bn, which means that the taxpayers will have to fork out a little fortune by means of increased income taxes and a long-dreaded hike in VAT.
We can only wish the new president the strength and focus on what counts most in the moment, to prevent the economy from deteriorating further and to return the country to a course that screams prosperity!