Idealistic mission to get SA back on track

EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu.
EFF leaders Julius Malema and Floyd Shivambu.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER / SUNDAY TIMES

The EFF once again disrupted the annual state of the nation address on Thursday — this time gunning for former president FW De Klerk and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan.

They demanded De Klerk be forced out of the National Assembly chamber, saying he was an apartheid apologist for his denial that the system was a crime against humanity.

What De Klerk said in a television interview was vile and must be condemned as it undermines any claim that he ended the deplorable apartheid regime voluntarily.

But the EFF’s theatrics were tedious and demonstrated that the party has little more to offer in a constitutional democracy other than politics of disruption.

For those who pushed through and kept your TVs on after the EFF’s disruption, you would have heard Ramaphosa announce steps to increase the capacity of energy generation outside of Eskom.

In the first demonstrable step that the government realises it can no longer rely on Eskom as the only source of power for the country, Ramaphosa said financially viable municipalities may now procure their own power from independent power producers.

This would, in effect, leave companies and households less reliant on Eskom, and effectively create competition for the troubled public utility.

Though this idea is likely to receive a pushback from the unions which have vehemently opposed renewable energy contracts, fearing it would cost thousands of jobs at Eskom, it would no doubt make big business happy as they have continuously complained that load-shedding is crippling their activities.

Among the other notable announcements by Ramaphosa is that the government will establish a sovereign wealth fund as a means to preserve and grow the country, and that government is pushing forward with the plan to establish a state bank.

The details of exactly how these plans will unfold will be thrashed out by finance minister Tito Mboweni in his budget speech in two weeks’ time.

Ramaphosa’s speech demonstrated to some degree what needs to be done to get the country back on a good path, but it was idealistic for a country that is effectively broke.

Most importantly, it is unlikely to be believable to many South Africans because ultimately Ramaphosa’s government suffers from a crisis of credibility which can only be restored when the thieves who landed us in this crisis are jailed.

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