Comrades and compatriots,
People of South Africa,
We gather here today in Mangaung, the cradle of our birth, inspired by … hold on, this is last year’s speech. Nobody wrote me a new one? It doesn’t matter. After all, I’m making a January 8 speech on January 13. And it’s not as if anyone cares what I say, anyway. Am I right, comrades? Thank you. Viva ANC, viva.
I am pleased to report that some very good things will happen in our beautiful country in 2024. At the same time, some terrible things will also happen. In other words, it will be a year of good things and bad things. It is up to every one of us to embrace the good things and reject the bad things.
In this modern age, it is not always easy to tell the two apart. Sometimes bad things turn out to be good while good things are actually bad.
For instance, if I am voted out of the presidency in this year’s elections, it will be bad for the country but it will be good for me because I can move back to my beloved Phala Phala and be among real friends. I am talking about my Ankole cattle. When you have been in politics as long as I have, there is no such thing as human friends.
Our glorious movement is 112 years old today. Almost as old as Nkosazana Dlamini-etc. I am aware that most people think I have done a poor job as president and that I am weak and a liar and quite possibly corrupt. On the positive side, and it is important to focus on the positives, I have not killed anyone. Yet.
Last year, I said that decisive action must be taken to correct our course and put the interests of the people first. This year I am making the same promise but rephrasing it to to say, put the people’s interests first. If I am elected president for a second term, I promise to make this promise in slightly different ways every year until 2029.
As far as the energy crisis goes, I ask you to think back to a time when there was no electricity in this country. When there was no Eskom. Put yourself in the shoes of those who lived here in the 1800s. People were happy to use candles and oil lamps. Then electricity arrived and they were even happier. But they didn’t expect to have power all the time. One lightbulb would be shared among many and they were grateful for it. There is a valuable lesson to be learned here.
We are all going through tough times. Just this morning, my Malawian manservant Kingsley snapped a lace while doing up my favourite pair of shoes. And then my chef undercooked the bacon and overcooked the eggs, knowing it should be the other way around. What I am saying is that we all have our crosses to bear and must unite, separately but equally, to emerge stronger in 2024.
This time last year, I said my government had to fundamentally transform the living conditions of all citizens. I am pleased to say that we are making great strides in this regard. Much of the middle class now exists in reduced circumstances. Our people are steadily moving out of the suburbs and back to the townships. We promised transformation and we delivered.
Crime remains a serious problem. Even senior members of the ANC are complaining that they are running out of things to steal. As many of you know, I was the victim of a house robbery on my farm in 2020. I can’t speak more about it, mostly for fear of contradicting myself, but suffice it to say that I lost a lot of money that might or might not have been mine to start with.
As poverty becomes entrenched, more of our young people are turning to drugs and alcohol. This is a positive sign because it means they are not completely destitute. We only need to become concerned when the youth can no longer afford whiskey and cocaine.
It appears the Fourth Industrial Revolution has passed us by. To get ahead of the curve, we will begin with the Fifth Industrial Revolution right away. Or as soon as we work out what it is.
Fears have been expressed about an embryonic rebel movement forming under that man whose name I shall not speak. Let me assure you that the followers of this so-called MK Party are in far worse shape than our soldiers in the SANDF. The same goes for the Teletubbies in the EFF.
I encourage all of you to contribute to the national effort. Grow your own food. Make your own petrol. And, above all, stop complaining. This isn’t Gaza. You should get down on your knees and thank my faction of the ANC for doing whatever it is we do.
The NEC has decided to roll out a nationwide programme of shifting blame and avoiding accountability. With this in mind, departmental spokesmen will be issued with gagging orders and telephones will be disconnected. Instead of performance agreements, ministers will sign non-disclosure agreements. In accordance with my policy of transparency, I will continue to not hold press conferences.
We will keep giving indigent families R350 a month and I urge beneficiaries not to spend it all in one place. By saving a little each month, grant recipients should easily be able to afford a new widescreen television every 10 years.
As far as the priorities for 2024 are concerned, I urge you to refer to the priorities for 2023.
Let the Year of Indecisive Action begin!