State of the Nation Address 2020 in a nutshell.

This year, just as expected, a specific political party stole the show and held Parliament to ransom. From one “acknowledge me speaker” to the next, President Cyril Ramaphosa sat in anticipation to address the nation on issues such as Eskom and Expropriation Without Compensation. One hour into the evening, and after having to go into recces, President Ramaphosa could start his speech in peace.

The following issues were addressed and clarity was given on Government’s plans to fix it:

 

Eskom

Ramaphosa acknowledged that Eskom is having a debilitating effect on the economy and Load Shedding has come as a consequence of it. He said that for proper maintenance to be done, Load Shedding will have to remain a possibility in the near future. The more positive points are that Government will be developing an action plan to increase grid capacity by means of renewable energy and natural gas.

Government will be procuring emergency power from projects that can deliver electricity into the grid 3-12 months from approval. These incentives will most definitely take pressure of Eskom and open up private energy generation, but is all of this a little to late?

Land Reform

Ramaphosa emphasised that land expropriation would be done with caution as agriculture is one of the industries with the greatest potential for growth.

“Government stands ready – following the completion of the parliamentary process to amend section 25 of the constitution – to table an expropriation bill that outlines the circumstances under which expropriation of land without compensation would be possible. To date, we have released 44 000 hectares of state land for the settlement of land restitution claims, and will this year release around 700 000 hectares of state land for agricultural production,” Ramaphosa said.

“We are prioritising youth, women, people with disabilities and those who have been farming on communal land and are ready to expand their operations for training and allocation of land. A new beneficiary selection policy includes compulsory training for potential beneficiaries before land can be allocated to them,” he said.

SOE’s

“After years of state capture, corruption and mismanagement, we are working to ensure that all SOEs are able to fulfil their developmental mandate and be financially sustainable,” the president said.

“In consultation with the Presidential SOE Council, we will undertake a process of rationalisation of our state-owned enterprises and ensure that they serve strategic economic or developmental purposes.

The extent of capture, corruption and mismanagement in SOEs is best demonstrated at South African Airways, which was placed in business rescue late last year. The business rescue practitioners are expected to unveil their plans for restructuring the airline in the next few weeks.”.

In Conclusion
In conclusion, Government has an immense task ahead of them, just like every other year. This year however it seems as we are at a crossroads where Rating Agencies are scrutinising our every move. The President has addressed and acknowledged the lack of Economic growth and the reasons behind it. Hopefully these words will become actions which will save us from another harmful downgrade.
Ruvan J Grobler

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