SOWETAN | Ramaphosa’s message disingenuous

12 February 2024 - 15:08
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his 2024 state of the nation address in Cape Town.
Image: REUTERS/Esa Alexander President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his 2024 state of the nation address in Cape Town.

You’ve got to give it to the presidency speech writers. They know how to craft an emotive message that seeks to capture the SA public – even if the merits of its resonance are contested. 

Like his debut Thuma Mina presidential speech in 2018, Cyril Ramaphosa’s latest state of the nation address in parliament on Thursday captured public imagination, thanks to its usage of a compelling analogical character. 

Tintswalo, who is 30years old this year, is a child of democracy, born in 1994 and has since benefited from the ANC’s transformational policies which gave access to education, healthcare and economic opportunities. 

No reasonable person can deny that many black South Africans have benefited from ANC policies which have given us a foot in doors that would otherwise be firmly shut. 

Therefore the president’s retrospective analysis of the past three decades was to be expected in an election year, where the party finds itself in the most vulnerable position in terms of electoral support. 

But the message delivered by Ramaphosa in parliament on Thursday remains disingenuous for a number of reasons. 

First, he fails to acknowledge a regression in the availability and quality of opportunities offered by his government to young Tintswalos who are desperate to better their lives. 

Second, he fails to acknowledge how much government failures have impacted on the quality of life, even for those it considers successful beneficiaries of its policies. The fact that many middle class South Africans are increasingly making use of private entities for even the most basic of services, is a demonstration of a state increasingly becoming incapable of delivering on its mandate. 

Third, he frames ANC failures as arbitrary occurrences that befell our country and from which we must collectively work to pull our nation out of. 

He failed to take responsibility for the intentional and consistent looting and mismanagement by members of his party which brought our country to where it is now. 

Ramaphosa’s disingenuity is epitomised by his promise that the government is determined to go after state capture looters when in fact many who are accused of benefiting from dodgy deals remain in his cabinet and senior positions of his party. 

It is precisely this posture that demonstrates a marked distance between the ANC and our reality.

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