President Jacob Zuma’s speech got off to a reconciliatory start but he did not develop an overall strategic thrust or an inspiring vision that can galvanise the nation.
His reference to the role that all political leaders played in contributing to the new South Africa is an important part of nation building which is a key legacy left to us by Nelson Mandela.
However, to take South Africa forward we need an inspiring vision that will unite the nation around a common purpose. His reference to setting key delivery targets for cabinet ministers is positive and hopefully premiers will do the same for their provincial counter parts.
Without being cynical one has heard this kind of talk before and these words will only have meaning if there are consequences for non performance. This is the Achilles heel of the ANC administration throughout the country. There is simply no accountability for shoddy work.
The adoption of the Democratic Alliance’s idea of wage subsidies as an incentive to employ young people shows the importance of an opposition with practical solutions. However, he needs to go one step further and implement our idea of opportunity vouchers as well. This will assist young people financially to improve their skills or provide seed capital to start a small business.
South Africa is at a crossroads. What we need is a delivery state and not rhetoric about a developmental state which is impractical in South Africa given the failure of state services. IF this is going to be the year of action as promised by President Zuma, then he had better move quickly because there is a lot to be done.
BOBBY STEVENSON, MPL
LEADER IN THE LEGISLATURE