Sona Preview: ‘What will Ramaphosa say he did for us?’

In anticipation of today’s State of the Nation Address (Sona), the public is eager to hear updates on employment, the basic income grant, and Eskom.

However, regardless of what the president articulates, his past shortcomings remain indelible, according to political analyst Duma Gqubule.

Unfulfilled promises

With a laundry list of unfulfilled promises and mounting criticism of his leadership, the president faces an uphill battle. A battle to restore confidence and campaign to bolster support for the ruling ANC.

His address marks the beginning of a critical year, with two such addresses scheduled with upcoming elections on the horizon.

The theme of this year’s address, “Following up on our commitments”, stresses the urgency for concrete action on pressing issues. These are unemployment, the energy crisis and escalating crime levels.

Vague rhetoric

However, Gqubule believes that Ramaphosa’s address will likely fall short of addressing these issues. Instead, Gqubule anticipates a speech filled with vague rhetoric as the president attempts to bolster his image.

Despite his attempts to appear reassuring, Gqubule argued that there will be little substance in his address. He was reflecting mounting criticism of Ramaphosa’s leadership  since 2018.

In his Sona 2023, Ramaphosa pledged to address these concerns diligently. However, the reality paints a starkly different picture.

Load shedding, in particular, has escalated to unprecedented levels, with the country experiencing over 330 days of blackouts in 2023 alone.

The adverse effects on businesses and households have been catastrophic, aggravating unemployment. Also the burden of the high cost of living.

Economic woes

Gqubule contends that the administration’s failures, particularly regarding Eskom and Transnet, cannot be dismissed. They have significantly contributed to the country’s economic woes.

“It is a bleak economic for the country.” 

“The administration destroyed Eskom,” Gqubule asserts. “When they try to fix it, they expect the public to congratulate them, but it was their doing. Load shedding has become an unmitigable disaster.”

Gqubule argued that the ANC government has failed to live up to its mandate. Instead, they keep blaming external factors. Factors such as Covid-19 pandemic and geopolitical events in the middle east. They also deflect responsibility for the state of Eskom and Transnet.

“If anything, Ramaphosa’s Sona needs to be positive,” Gqubule emphasises. “He needs to give people what they want and outline a clear vision for the future. Zuma left us with free tertiary education. What will Ramaphosa say he did for us? What will be his legacy?”

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