SONA: Slow pace of implementation eroding public’s confidence in the government

2020-02-12 11:24
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gallo Images, Sowetan, Esa Alexander)

President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Gallo Images, Sowetan, Esa Alexander)

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The "snail's pace" rate at which the South African government is implementing its commitments to the people regarding social and economic development is eating away at the confidence that citizens have in the government's ability to bring about positive changes in society.

Remarks which have been made by South Africans ahead of SONA on various platforms indicate that their patience with the government is wearing thin - they're tired of empty promises and want government to start walking the talk by putting the policies, and short-long term commitments that had been made in previous year(s) into practice.

It is known that factors such as budget constraints, re-prioritising, corruption and the lack of infrastructure that is needed for the successful execution of projects often slow down the implementation process.

However it is important that the public be kept informed about the progress on said projects, and get explanations why some may have been halted.

Generally there is a lack of transparency and accountability in the country which is problematic.

If those deployed in government would buy into the habit of being transparent, there would be less disgruntled people burning tyres on the streets because of non-delivery on promises made.

State of the Nation Address

Yearly the President of the Republic announces the priorities of the government at the State of the Nation Address in Parliament.

The flaw in how SONA unfolds is that it is a gathering where often new commitments are articulated, despite those of the previous year not being met.

Ideally upon beginning a term of office, the President should outline the key priorities which shall guide government's actions then spend each SONA to state how far government has come in achieving set objectives and outline challenges impeding the attainment of the said goals while still making room to address other social, political and economic issues that require urgent attention despite not having been included initially.

The current chopping and changing of priorities before the set term for their implementation has passed makes the success or failure of projects difficult to measure.

I hope that the State of the Nation Address on Thursday will be one where President Cyril Ramaphosa makes little to no new commitments, but instead outlines the progress made since SONA 2019, and states the measures to be taken in pursuit of the same short-long term objectives in 2020.

I look forward to hearing what the President has to say regarding the state of the economy, unemployment, safety at public schools (or the lack of), and gender-based violence and femicide.

Traditional leaders ought to play a bigger role in the fight against the scourge of GBVF (gender-based violence femicide).

Often rural areas are spaces where the subordination and ill-treatment of women are highly prevalent and normalised. Hence a gender-based violence and femicide team needs to exist in each Kingdom.

Part of their role should be to, in collaboration with the provincial government, host public education initiatives aimed at educating the people who live in the kingdoms about the Bill of Rights and gender relations in an effort to dismantle the patriarchal order which is dominant in the said societies.

In addition, the training of law enforcement officers should be revised to include a course on Gender Studies so that they are well equipped to deal with sensitive cases brought forward by women, children and sexual minorities in a manner that is not discriminatory.

Sivuyisiwe Hela

East London

Read more on:    cyril ramaphosa  |  politics  |  leadership  |  sona
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