UASA calls on Pres. Cyril Ramaphosa to put South Africans first in the upcoming State of the Nation Address (SONA).
We need to revive the economy, protect our people from Covid-19 and implement the ratification of the International Labour Organisation’s Convention 190 to protect women and children against abuse as a matter of urgency.
UASA urges Ramaphosa to try in every way possible to differentiate the SONA from his addresses since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the so-called “Family Meetings”. In his SONA we need a strong focus on economic and social matters.
Corruption must be fought tooth and nail. We expect Ramaphosa to explain how the shocking theft of public resources by officials and politically connected individuals that was revealed at the Zondo Commission into State Capture will be dealt with. How will dysfunctional SOE’s and entities on local, provincial and national level be rebuilt?
We want to see realistic timelines for the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. The recent revelations on the large scale theft of PPE’s amidst a raging pandemic does not bode well for the procuring and distribution of the desperately needed vaccines. While clarity is needed on the Covid-19 relief grant. Will it continue or not? Millions of South Africans lost their jobs or work for reduced income because of the pandemic and all indications are that we are going to live with the scourge for years to come.
We need a solid economic revival plan. Clearly, South Africa is not attracting foreign direct investment at the anticipated pace. What is the practical plan to return South Africa to a functioning economic rank and how will this be executed? We expect an announcement on concrete recovery measures for the tourism, arts, entertainment, culture, and hospitality sectors. The pandemic saw distressed companies putting their workers on leave, paying greatly reduced wages or retrenching them altogether.
Many independent contractors lost their livelihood altogether. Unemployment rate remain high. We have heard Ramaphosa promise 2 million jobs to our people since 2019 over a period of ten years but so far, no progress has been made. He held costly job submits in the hope of attracting more investors. Where are the promised jobs? What is the way forward in terms of job creation and economic development? What is the way forward for our youth who are most affected by unemployment?
Load shedding is driving South Africa over the edge while the recent announcement of yet another far above-inflation increase in tariffs will force businesses to their knees. This makes a mockery of Eskom Social Compact signed at NEDLAC. After social partners put in much work and effort to speed up implementation, it has been delayed by months.
As for State-owned enterprises (SOEs): Eskom, SA Airways, PRASA, SABC, etc. Are we going to continue using taxpayers’ money to rescue these sinking ships? What is government doing to assist these enterprises so that they can function independently without numerous cash injections? We need realistic action concerning our failed SOEs, preferably without using the savings of hard-working South Africans and pensioners.
We want a South Africa that is safe and fair for all. We want a president who speaks truth and progress and backs it up with solid, doable plans. We need more than empty words and hollow promises. We need a president who leads from the front and who puts the country above party politics.
The SONA is Ramaphosa and the government’s chance to show a disillusioned and struggling nation how we can prosper as a nation.
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