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4 things the President should address during SONA

by: Sheilan Clarke - 29 January 2016

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As February, and therefore the next SONA, draws close, we will be listening closely to President Jacob Zuma’s speech, especially for solutions to the following problems.

1. Unemployment

The problem: The unemployment rate now sits at 45% for young people aged between 15 and 34 years. That figure includes those who have given up job-hunting.

What we want to hear: What the NYDA as well as the Youth Desk in the Presidency are doing to deal with our shocking unemployment figures. We want to hear concrete solutions during the president’s speech in parliament.

2. Education & Skills Development

The problem: Inequality in the quality of education is still an issue and we’re not just referring to university fees, but also to the low matric pass rate as well as schools that struggle with basic services like sanitation and textbook delivery.

What we want to hear: We need the president to tell us how the proposed new funding model will assist the “missing middle” —  those who are above the NSFAS funding threshold yet still require financial assistance. We also want to hear what concrete solutions the president has for addressing the skills shortage.

3. Health care

The problem: According to NGO Dignity Dreams, a girl loses up to 60 days of school per year due to being on her period. Worse still, many of those can’t afford pads or tampons and resort to using newspapers, old rags and toilet paper.

What we want to hear: President Zuma need not introduce another plan, as young people, like our VIP Parliament Challenge winner, Pontsho Pilane, have taken this on. She will be submitting a proposal that will ask parliament to draw up a bill that would ensure all girls have proper sanitary products.  What we need is for the president to hear her out and encourage more young people, in his SONA, to help come up with solutions to the country’s problems.

4. Economy

The problem: The Rand is tumbling down which negatively affects the price of food. The drought we’re experiencing doesn’t help the situation either.

What we want to hear: How the President plans to address the recent economic downfall and how far we’ll need to tighten our belts.

Are there other issues you want the president to address in his SONA? Tweet us @LiveMagSA.

Follow Sheilan on Twitter: @_sheilan_