DA Leader John Steenhuisen delivers real state of the nation address (SONA)

Image via: @Our_DA Twitter

Steenhuisen: Ramaphosa’s SONA will be a ‘masterclass in spin’

DA Leader John Steenhuisen feels that the president’s 2020 SONA speech will include nothing of significance.

DA Leader John Steenhuisen delivers real state of the nation address (SONA)

Image via: @Our_DA Twitter

In Democratic Alliance (DA) Leader John Steenhuisen’s “real” State of the Nation Address (SONA) on Wednesday, he said that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s SONA, the following day, would no doubt be a “masterclass in spin.” 

Steenhuisen took to the blue podium to put the record straight and assure South African’s that Ramaphosa’s SONA will simply be “a laundry list of carefully selected stats, badly disguised PR about government programmes, and plenty of vague forecasts about when and where our missing investments will start to return.”

Steenhuisen went on to say that his address would just be everything, we as South African citizens, ever dreamed of being just around the next bend.

“You will be asked to give it a little more time — our turnaround is so close you can almost touch it. As it always is, year after year,” he said. Steenhuisen referred to dodgy appointments made by Ramaphosa that he promised would not feature in the African National Congress (ANC) any longer.  

“The man who is meant to lead the ANC out of this nightmare – the darling of the media and last hope of the once-proud ANC – is himself stuck in his own quicksand of warring factions and crippling indecisiveness. The incapable head of an incapable state,” he added. 

“SONA 2020 will be an hour of downplaying the bad and inventing the good. Of cherry-picking stats to show we’ve somehow turned a corner, and of whimsical dreams of a South Africa he knows in his heart he has no hope of achieving,” he added. 

Steenhuisen lets loose on the ‘real’ state of the nation 

In a bid to discredit the president and the ANC and point out their disaster management of the country, Steenhuisen set out on what he deemed as the “Real State of the Nation” tour.  

“Over the past two weeks, I have travelled to every province and spoken to hundreds of people in dozens of communities to get their views on where we stand as a nation. Metros, to townships and to villages. I have met with residents, business owners and farmers,” he said. 

With his tour in mind, Steenhuisen said that South African citizens are suffering under the lack of basic needs. He went on to add that these needs would appear nowhere in Ramaphosa’s SONA. 

The leader of the blue party said that the people he met on his tour have two things in common; they are victims of this government — victims of its failure to deliver services, victims of load shedding, victims of unemployment and victims of the daily crime that government cannot protect them from, however, they don’t dwell in their victimhood. 

“All the people I spoke to were resilient and resourceful. They were hustling to get by in the face of indescribable obstacles, they were surviving despite this government,” he said. 

“Perhaps, instead of ‘thuma mina’ our president should have chosen this as his motto; ‘ndihamba nawe’. Because isn’t that what we need? A government that walks with us,” he added. 

“In the president’s SONA speech you will not hear of the people of Uitenhage who have to wait months and months for someone to come and fix their leaking water pipes, while thousands of litres of water run down the streets in the middle of a drought,” he added. 

Suggestions on how to govern the nation  

First up, Steenhuisen said that “red carpets and designer gowns will not reflect the real state of our nation.” Obviously referring to the opulence of SONA at Parliament.

He then went on to say that the healthcare system does not need National Health Insurance (NHI)

“By appointing capable people to run hospitals and health departments and by spending tax revenue on doctor and nursing posts, rather than failed SEOs, we can fix healthcare without the NHI,” he said. 

“Government must accept that the best role it can play in creating jobs is that of a facilitator. Beyond creating an enabling environment, it should get out of the way and let businesses do most of the heavy lifting,” he proposed as another idea. 

We all knew that the topic of embattled power utility Eskom would come up. Thinking of a way forward, Steenhuisen said it’s time the country takes “power” into its own hands. 

“We don’t need one monolithic state-run energy company. Let the private sector do what it can so that the state can focus on doing what it must. Let us open up the market to full competition. Let households, companies, mines and municipalities generate and sell power,” he said. 

In terms of equal and quality education for all, Steenhuisen suggested that teachers be properly trained, monitored and incentivised. “That will mean clipping the wings of the unions,” he added. 

Steenhuisen ended by saying that South Africa needs to hit the reset button.  

“Let’s bring the good people, across all political parties, together. Let us now do whatever it takes to find each other,” he added.