For the second year, the State of the Nation Address is not being delivered in the National Assembly. It feels like yesterday that a fire swept through parliament 375 days ago. This is why we have not yet repaired the damage. When you are a public servant, everything feels like it happened yesterday. Government time is not the same as civilian time.
Recently my office said the country was gripped by a crisis of confidence. My office often says things I don’t agree with, and when I get to the bottom of this, I can assure you something will be done. However, I would rather have an office speak for me if it means never having to hold a press conference.
In this case, though, I agree with my office. There is indeed a crisis of confidence in this country. Yes, the government has lost confidence in the people. Not all of them. I am referring to those who complain about everything. In any relationship, excessive criticising can lead to tears. The ANC is beginning to feel like an abused spouse.
This year, I call on you to focus on all the great things that do work. Like sunsets. We have some of the best sunsets. Also trees. Our trees compare very favourably with trees in developed countries like China and France. Our infrastructure, mountains and gorges and so on, is in perfect working order and shows no signs of neglect.
This government has identified many problems and we have many plans. Well, outlines of plans. Outlines are important. There can be no plans without outlines. Everything needs an outline. Even those gorgeous dresses the ladies are wearing today started off as outlines. It’s the same with government. Can you see a pattern emerging? (pause for laughter).
In last year’s Sona, I mentioned Eskom by name only once. This year I was considering not mentioning them at all because we no longer have an Eskom problem. Yes, I heard the power still goes on and off, but this is to be expected in a country where everybody thinks they have a right to electricity. Imagine if everyone demanded a car. Our roads would not be able to cope. This is no different.
Load shedding is nature’s way of reminding us to be grateful for what we have. We should not be ungrateful for what we don’t have. Lao Tzu said, “The flame that burns twice as bright burns half as long.” It is difficult to know what he meant, but they are wise words and we should pay them heed.
This year I can again safely say we all agree that the level of unemployment and inequality is unacceptable. The important point here is that we all agree. I have seen what happens to a country where the government and the people do not agree on things. As long as we keep agreeing, nothing needs to change. Especially the government. This is not something that needs to change. Ever.
This time last year, I promised that within 100 days we would finalise a social compact to grow our economy, create jobs and combat hunger. This was obviously a typographical error. That should have read 10 000 days. I apologise. That typist now works for the DA.
There is still too much poverty. Given that our police service is broken, nobody in this country needs to be poor. You may rest assured that non-violent acts of criminality committed in order to improve one’s living standards will go unpunished.
There are 960 KFC branches in South Africa. There is no excuse to go hungry. My advice is that you walk to your nearest outlet. The exercise will do you good. Health is important.
The priorities I identified in last year’s Sona and the Sona before that, and the two before that, remain the same and there is no need to repeat them.
Ten months ago I ended the Covid state of disaster. South Africa is now ready for a fresh state of disaster. This one will help us deal with the general situation of whatever comrade Nkosazana tells me it is (delete if I reshuffle her).
Last year I said government does not create jobs. However, it has come to my attention that we have 1.3 million people on our payroll. If we didn’t create these jobs, I would like to know who did. This will be investigated by a task team appointed by a joint subcommittee that reports to a high-level panel overseen by a commission of inquiry
Cannabis continues to have huge potential for job creation. Last year I said we were streamlining the regulatory process. This year, drug testing will weed out those who are delaying things. This is what happens when people zol.
Bureaucracy continues to stifle business. A year ago, I appointed Sipho Nkosi to head up a team to cut red tape in government. That was the last I heard. I hope he is okay.
I am extending the R350 social relief of distress grant. This means families will be able to live well for another year. With careful budgeting, some will even be able to go on holiday. Phuket is lovely at this time of year.
While we failed to strengthen the protection of whistle-blowers, we might well succeed this year. In the meantime, we urge those who struggle to turn a blind eye to malfeasance in their workplace to keep watching their backs.
Those responsible for state capture will be held to account as soon as we find out where they live. The same goes for those who did the looting and murdering in KZN.
The fusion centre we set up to deal with corruption has since been converted into a fusion restaurant that serves culturally relevant cuisines, mostly Asian. We applaud this move.
Finally, if none of my promises come to fruition, we must hold the private sector responsible. Yes, my fellow South Africans, I am once again blaming you.