The REAL State of the Nation: 20 years on…

Robyn Frost

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You may be all for mindless entertainment, but an hour and a half of it disguised as something important leaves one reaching for the TV remote. For those that boycotted staring at the presidents’ face for 90 minutes while he regurgitated most of last year’s speech, we won’t waste your time. This is the real […]

You may be all for mindless entertainment, but an hour and a half of it disguised as something important leaves one reaching for the TV remote. For those that boycotted staring at the presidents’ face for 90 minutes while he regurgitated most of last year’s speech, we won’t waste your time. This is the real ‘state of the nation’.

“South Africans have a good story to tell.” said President Jacob Zuma

…Yes perhaps if you ignore or skim through the bad parts of the story as he did last night in his State of the Nation Address. Talking about only the good stuff unfortunately doesn’t erase the bad. We all knew it would be that way in an election year though; Zuma was bound to focus on the successes of his government. Whether you believe our JZee lives in a parallel universe of fairytales, the SONA is still important as it is a report back on the Nations’ health. In reality though, the country sure does need a doctor.


Zuma started his speech by paying homage to anti- Apartheid heroes. The president said the country has produced people of distinction that has provided leadership during trying times. A special tribute was given to Nelson Mandela. This once again called attention to Zuma’s failure to enter the top class of previous leaders.

What Zuma said last night, what he actually should have said and our reactions:

zuma_01 (2)

What he should have said: Sorry I wasted 90 minutes of it, with this speech.


How many of those learners who start grade R make it to grade 12? And are more children going to school because there are simply just more children in South Africa? Reports have shown that 500 000 of  learners  who started school in 2002 never quite made it to Matric. The president doesn’t mention the Limpopo textbook crisis, the lack of resources, violence and bad conditions in schools.


Eish JZee, that is bound to happen when you lower the grade to 30 percent, making it harder to fail Matric than it is to pass it.


What he shoulda said: However on ground level, demands are not met and this increase is not felt. Oh yes, there was that mass student protests at UJ and TUT- sorry I am suffering from short term memory loss.

 “The youth of our country are the valued possession of the nation. Without them there can be no future. Their needs are immense and urgent. They are at the center of our reconstruction and development plan.” Nelson Mandela, SONA , 1994. Yesterday all Zuma had to say was the “Youth unemployment remains a concern.”

Thank you Zuma for stating the obvious. The unemployment rate is at 25 percent -one of the highest  in the world and half of SA youth are fruitlessly searching for employment. The president also says that 15 million people have jobs in the country – the highest it has ever been. But doesn’t say that the population has grown since 1994. About 3 and half million people have gotten jobs in the last three years. However there is probably someone out there just waiting to dispute that, but we don’t want to burst the presidents’ bubble, do we? And PS. Zuma, job ‘opportunities’,  doesn’t mean actual jobs.


Zuma should have added: This is the pot calling the kettle black as I too have been investigated for corruption. However, I am the president and therefore I am above the law (well at least I think I am).


POWA(people opposing woman abuse) says that while there may be a drop, the organisation itself does not feel it. They are also uncertain about where Zuma is getting his information from. He needs to take in to account that many women do not report abuse. The organisation admits that government is doing something, but it is not enough. However, at the same time partnership is important as government can not win the war against women abuse on their own.

While Zuma reported the decrease in crime, Riah Phiyega announced last year that there has been a rise in murder and attempted murder. Despite this, Phiyega was pleased with the crime stats. To put it in perspective 16 259 people were murdered in the 2012-2013 financial year. So tell that to the families of the 93 people that will be murdered in South Africa by the end of today.


What he should have said: yes, government is only doing this now, sorry it’s so late but we only care about your dignity now. I thought I should throw that in there to make you vote for me. I mean I did spend the countries’ money on upgrades to my house(which is awesome by the way)so the least I can do is make sure you have proper toilets.

The president didn’t say much about the homeless. Although he did make time to congratulate the makers of the song, Lady Smith Black Mambazo, for winning another Grammy. Of course that is understandable as the guy does own a house valued at enough to finance about a few thousand RDP houses.

“The problem of politically motivated violence is still with us” said Nelson Mandela, SONA 1994. Twenty years on it STILL continues.


Zuma should add : except when it’s the ANC  as we did threatened to make the Western Cape ungovernable just last year. I contradict  nearly everything I say.

Perhaps the most laughable thing to come out of the president’s mouth yesterday was that protests due to ‘ alleged’ failures of government (‘alleged’ WTF ?)is actually because of the success of government. Yes, you read correctly, JZee says 95 percent of the country receives their basic needs so the 5 percent that don’t – feel they cannot wait a moment longer. Success raises the expectations of the people. (Where did Zuma get that number anyway?)

The bad thing is that the ANC actually believes that they are providing people with basic services. Are they smoking crack? Probably, and it must be some A grade stuff.

If you take the speech at face value and not look at it critically you might think that South Africa is a better place to live in, and in many ways it is, but the true question is could South Africa of been an even better place ?

During his speech Zuma said “ South Africa is indeed a better place to live” four  times – seems like he was trying to convince himself !

With the fifth election just around the corner you will soon start to think about who has your vote. As we prepare “We must seize the time to define for ourselves, and what we want to make of our shared destiny”. Nelson Mandela, SONA 1994

report card of Jacob

Final mark for SONA: 3/5, as for Jacob Zuma’s performance as a president – we leave that for you to decide.

“Zuma Quote”  and South African heart design: Shihaam Allie


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