The State of the Nation Address is undoubtedly one of the major events on the South African calendar. It is on this day that multitudes in the country over, gather in different parts to watch the event live and or attend it. The main aim behind the attention it receives is not only for the outfits and ‘hublahaah’ of the main entrance or the dramatic effects within parliament but to hear the report back from our head of state on where the tax payers’ money, investment and donations went as appropriated in the previous year.
It is on this statement where matters of the public’s concern are arguably sufficiently dealt with. This year is no different, if anything- the anticipation is on an all-time high following massive events like the Fees Must Fall movement, the land issue and the closing down of poultry farms due to the importing of chicken from abroad-unnecessarily. Following the anticipated 2019 elections the nation also stands eagerly to at least get a feel of whom the political house has selected and lobbied as hopeful candidates to stand in the running for the coveted presidential seat come 2019.
More to be attended to, is the quality of education, especially given the dreams the nation has repeatedly been sold, year in and year out about our education system producing graduates and matriculants of first choice yet accepting a 30% margin as a pass rate! The focal points of interest have come to be Education and whether or not the quality of the current curricula will stand the test of time, the issue of unemployment and how the government continues to brag about job creation through the Extended Public Works Programme failing to mention that such workers are hired seasonally and not permanently; the escalating rate of crime and how in some of the most notorious townships of South Africa there aren’t enough police stations or corrective centres to at least be employed as possible permanent solutions to a perpetual problem.
The nation as it stands wonders as to how ‘The House’ plans to alleviate crime when they themselves continue to act as though they are above the law. This we have witnessed in numerous reports where the ‘’who’s-who’’ are never tried and convicted of any crime when they see their day in court. Tax evasion and crimes related to fraud and embezzlement of state funds is reduced to office sweets and continuously swept under the already dirty carpet on claims of insufficient evidence versus the proof beyond reasonable doubt that the people on the ground see on every case. The skills development programs that young people are still yearning for since the inception of dinosaurs is still a long standing plea even after their extinction.
Constitutionally, the rules pertaining to the joint sitting have more often than not been violated over the years in parliament publicly for the masses to witness, yet not a lot has been done to progressively call the ‘perpetrators’ to book. Such happens do not paint the desired picture of our thriving democracy or powers vested in our judicial system. The current state of the happenings of this thriving nation have made it a worldwide spectacle at best, for all the wrong reasons. In law speak the constitution is the supreme law of the country which states that any law or conduct inconsistent with it is invalid, and the obligations imposed by it must be fulfilled. Furthermore, the Bill of Rights is a cornerstone of democracy in South Africa. It enshrines the rights of all people in our country and affirms the democratic values of human dignity, equality and freedom.
It further states that the right to basic education is a right open to all who require it including adult basic education, and further education which the state through reasonable measures must make progressively available and accessible. We will remember that if the former was adhered to and the latter followed the nation would not have witnessed the hard hitting of fees must fall in 2015 – 2016 would it? Rule (2) also makes clear mention of the right to receiving of education in the mother tongue or language of preferred choice as a right to be enjoyed including; Equality, Practicability as a need to redress the results of past racially discriminatory laws and practices.
We wonder how much of these claims will be dealt with this year and how feasible the plans to be made will be relative to the NYP and 9 point plan that directly deal with youth concerns. The coming generations would fault us greatly if we did not question, microscopically view and interrogate these issues as they continue to contribute to the demise of this beautiful country on the 09 February 2017 at 19H00.