President Cyril Ramaphosa has a mammoth task ahead in ensuring that he is able to balance the thinking within the ruling party and its impact on governance of the country.
This address by the President should not be about unpacking the State of our Nation, which we are all aware of, but rather, how the ruling party and its allies would respond to what we hope is an address that takes the country forward without fear or favour.
The conflict and tension within the ruling party affects governance across the board, whether it be municipalities that are falling apart or state-owned enterprises which continually drains the public purse.
Bold decisions are what we expect of the President.
It is certainly a case of the chickens are coming home to roost, now that alleged maladministration and corruption are being uncovered and it would only be in the interest of justice when those who are found to be guilty are placed behind bars.
To turn the multiplicity of crises around, it would require more than a magic wand and words of dreams by the President.
South Africans are desperately looking to the President to provide the much-needed solutions in order to ensure that we can all keep the lights on, put food on the table and have more money in our pockets to stimulate the economy and to save.
The IFP will support the direction and vision of the President, only if he is able to do the right things based on the principles of integrity.
The President must take hard decisions as regards to State Owned Entities and consider our proposal for partial privatization.
Furthermore, as all arms of state will meet in Parliament, the President must announce steps to safeguard the independence of the Judiciary as it is a cornerstone of the protection of our hard-won democratic order.
The IFP does not expect the President to provide the silver bullets which will fix the plethora of issues in our country, but we are expecting of him to address the following:
Greater emphasis on the SMME sector development – support, incubate and grow this sector;
Inclusive economic growth with a sectorial focus – agriculture, tourism and mining with a new focus on manufacturing and infrastructure development;
Partial privatisation of ailing SOEs to keep jobs, to keep afloat but more importantly to turn a profit;
Better fiscal management that is transparent, inclusive and addresses economic justice in key sectors which affect the poorest of the poor;
Clamp down on corruption within government and SOEs;
Implement a local government monitor to monitor grant-fund spending;
Open up tender and procurement systems, improve financial controls within municipalities and ensure that projects are monitored and delivered on time;
Employing social workers per ward in each municipality to ensure that we address community challenges, mental health, tackle the scourge of drug abuse and violence against women and children;
Improve working conditions for health care sector workers in primary, secondary and tertiary health care facilities;
No need to pay for the NHI when we need to use the Health Budget better to improve conditions in our hospitals and clinics;
Decentralising the police management from National to Provincial and to local;
Increase minimum sentences and implement hard labour for prisoners who are guilty of committing heinous crimes;
Ensure that the is able to manage the demands of the Labour unions and their expectations, without having to cut jobs; and
Announce reforms with the funding for Higher Education and Training and restructure the National Student Financial Aid Scheme.
The political climate in our country right now is desperate. Obtaining real social and economic justice is a process and government must place their focus and efforts in this regard to make this a reality for all South Africans.
South Africa can ill-afford to be held to ransom by ideas which take our country backward instead of moving us forward, together. The stakes are too high for us to fail as a nation.
Narend Singh MP
IFP Chief Whip in Parliament
083 788 5954
Mkhuleko Hlengwa MP
IFP National Spokesperson
071 111 0539
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