SONA expectations from a business, political and unionist perspective

President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma.

South African citizens and politicians have some expectations for his speech at 7pm. From a business perspective, South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) said the Sona is an important opportunity for Zuma to respond to urgent economic concerns in the country.

Sacci president Vusi Khumalo said, “The business community is yearning to assist government in finding solutions to these challenges. Sacci trusts that the role of the private sector in addressing national impediments to economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation will be a central theme of the president’s address.”

Meanwhile on the political front, Congress of the People (Cope) president Mosiuoa Lekota said there was no doubt that 2015 is a time of great national angst and uncertainty and that Cope believes that Sona 2015 must address issues that are damaging the country. Lekota said, “There is a lack of forceful, democratic and visionary leadership, and failures in respect of transparency, accountability and financial controls by government and they need to be addressed.”

He stated that there has been an abandonment of the drive for national reconciliation to achieve a common national identity and social cohesion, and an inability to pull the economy out of its stagnant state due to failure to rein in State borrowing – which now stands at a staggering 47 percent of GDP. He added that they expect the president to reduce red tape and other impediments to doing business, and encourage fixed, direct investment in the economy, and create confidence in South African Revenue services in order to achieve wide-scale tax compliance.

Cope also expects Zuma to be forthright and come clean about Nkandla and hopes he avoids ridiculous remarks such as Nkandla being a concern only to ‘the media and the opposition’ and an ‘issue with the clever blacks’.

Meanwhile, the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) said that the country is still confronted with the triple challenge of unemployment, poverty and inequality.

Cosatu spokesperson Patrick Craven said, “The address also comes a week after the release of horrifying poverty statistics by Statistics SA which show that more than one in every two South Africans lives in conditions of poverty. Coupled with stubbornly high rates of unemployment at over 36 percent, with young people constituting the majority of those who are without jobs, the country is facing serious challenges and needs extraordinary measures to address these challenges.”

Aphiwe Boyce
Metro Reporter

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