The State of the Nation Address (SONA) normally follows a predictable pattern. This year was no different. It kicks off with a distasteful display of female politicians trying to outdo each other in the mutton dressed as ham stakes. Someone should tell them the address part is about a speech, not a fashion parade. Someone should also tell all the ANC politicians that the walk up the red carpet is not like the Grammys or the Oscars but, for them, a walk of shame and, for some, a perp walk. Then it was on to the address itself.
Well, not quite. Proceedings would not be complete over the past number of years without the EFF creating chaos and pandemonium with their endless and pointless points of disorder. It’s all rather childish and quite ho-hum. This is not robust parliamentary debate or even political theatre. It’s just an immature dick-swinging animal aggression display with lots of shouting, manufactured outrage and victimhood by a party that has no coherent or workable ideas. After they were (wo)manhandled out of the theatre, it was on to the main course, the meat and potatoes of the evening personally delivered by that supine chef who knows how to boil frogs – slowly. Squirrel did not disappoint and seemed intent on boiling the House slowly. His delivery, as is his norm, was as exciting as watching matt black paint dry at night when Eskom is loadshedding.
After 29 years of the ANC in charge, we have a country teetering on the verge of collapse under the weight of ANC’s policies, corruption and mismanagement. Unemployment is shooting the lights out, at least those that the criminals haven’t stolen or Eskom hasn’t loadshed. Transnet, which once commanded more railway line than the rest of Africa, is in a R80 billion hole. They plan to shrink their remaining 20000km rail network by 7000km. Meanwhile, PRASA is effectively no more. Two years after ‘selling off’ our national airline, SAA has been reduced to a husk of its former self and its low-cost carrier has seen its mango. From a fleet of 62 aircraft, it now flies nine of which two are long range – not enough to run a scheduled international service. Maybe it was a cunning plan, as Baldrick would say – downsize the company to reach your employment equity targets. Hospitals are a joke and only way out of that hole is to ‘steal’ from the established medical aids to fund the state system because they’ve run out of tax base. The list of departmental dysfunctionality is dismal and endless. Very little of this was addressed except that they’re grovelling to the private sector help to sort out the 10111 emergency number. That’s fine, but have they got a functional patrol van to send out? There were still more platitudes than a platypus could handle.
The electrifying part of the evening proceedings was the declaration of a State of Disaster (SOD) because of Eskom and we know how that turned out during COVID. They tried a war room (with Squirrel in charge) previously which didn’t work out. Now they’re getting desperate and put the Glum Grinch, Dlamini-Zuma, in charge. To crown it, he appointed a Minister of Electricity – I ask you. This must be a unique ministerial post worldwide The announcement of the SOD must have had a lot of tenderpreneurs, who were nodding off, choke on the ice blocks in their Johnnie Walker Blue. They would have immediately jumped on their phones to ring their connections in various procurement departments while simultaneously trying to find suppliers of generators, batteries, panels, inverters etc.
All I can say is SOD it all and, as in all previous years, SONA se moer!