Five Lessons Learned From Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address | News

On Thursday night, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his seventh National Address as the country grapples with a protracted energy crisis and an economy hit by the COVID-19 pandemic- 19.

Africa’s second-largest economy is also facing rising costs of living and rampant unemployment.

With next year’s election fast approaching, Ramaphosa on Thursday sought to present himself as a solution-maker in a country he said was “defined by hope and resilience”.

Here are five key takeaways from the address to Parliament in Cape Town.

‘Special measures’ for the energy crisis

Ramaphosa claims to be the nation “disaster situation” on the severe power shortages that threaten the economy and security of the country, giving the government more authority to sign emergency procurement procedures faster and with less oversight.

“Special circumstances require special measures,” he said.

The crisis started in 2008 but became more severe last year. And now, power cuts of up to 8 hours a day are affecting homes, factories and businesses nationwide is 60 million.

The declaration will allow the government to buy more electricity from neighboring countries in the event of an emergency and provide support to businesses.

“Without a reliable electricity supply, our efforts to develop an inclusive economy that create jobs and reduce poverty will not succeed,” Ramaphosa said.

He also announced that he would appoint an electricity minister focused solely on the crisis, as well as loans and incentives to transition South Africa to solar power.

Fight poverty and unemployment

Public anger has driven unemployment rates up to 33%, the cost of living soaring and government services nearly collapsing in some towns.

South Africa’s president blamed the COVID-19 pandemic for exacerbating “deep unemployment”, as the country lost two million jobs.

“The pandemic is negatively affecting livelihoods and increasing poverty,” he said, claiming that about one and a half million new jobs were created between the third quarter of 2021 and the third quarter of 2022.

His government will continue to pay “impoverished South Africans” a social allowance of 350 rand ($19.60) at a time when “the rising cost of living is driving poverty and inequality deeper,” he said.

“Through a strengthened and expanded social protection system, there will be fewer people living in poverty and fewer households going hungry,” he said.


Ramaphosa said most of South Africa’s municipalities – 163 out of 257 – were found to be inefficient and sometimes corrupt, leading to poor service delivery.

“The government is implementing a number of interventions to address failures at the local government level and improve basic service delivery,” Ramaphosa said.

“These measures include strengthening the capacity of public officials and representatives, maintaining and upgrading local infrastructure, and invoking the power of national governments to intervene when cities self-governance fails to meet their responsibilities.”

He added that “integrity assessments” would become a mandatory requirement for public service recruitment and entrance exams would apply.

“We are revising the law and strengthening the role of the Public Service Commission to ensure that qualified people are appointed to senior management positions and work towards creating a harmonized public service. , unified,” the president said.

The announcement comes even as the shadow of a “state arrest” – a scandal in which Guptas, an Indian business family, used their affiliates with Ramaphosa’s predecessor Jacob Zuma to secure contracts without due process – further eclipsed in the current administration.

Women’s rights and empowerment

Ramaphosa promised to provide “significantly more funding” to the police, the National Public Prosecution Service and the Special Investigations Unit in a country with the highest rates of sexual violence globally.

“Crime against women and children remains a deeply troubling feature of our national life,” he said, promising the creation of specialized units focusing on types of crime. specific crime.

The government also intends to “direct at least 40% of public procurement to women-owned businesses” to support female entrepreneurs.

He also stated that complaints calling to 10111, the emergency response line, that go unanswered will be resolved.

“Violent crime takes a heavy toll on every South African. Communities across our country live in fear for the safety of their families. This state of affairs cannot continue and must not continue,” the president added.

Hope and resilience

Ramaphosa said his country is defined not by “our underground minerals or the spectacular landscape above it”, but by the “hope and resilience” of its people.

He claims that when he wondered why he had taken on the role of president, a voice within him told him, “Follow in the footsteps of Nelson Mandela.”

Ramaphosa said the late South African president and anti-apartheid activist made “enormous sacrifices” in serving his people ahead of the 10th anniversary of Mandela’s death.

“We need to work together and leave no one behind,” he said.


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