President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his state of the nation address at parliament in Cape Town on February 7. Picture: RODGER BOSCH/POOL via REUTERS
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his state of the nation address at parliament in Cape Town on February 7. Picture: RODGER BOSCH/POOL via REUTERS

I am totally puzzled by the positive reaction to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address (Sona) by so many local “experts”. Delivery was very professional but besides one or two positives, the content was vague and inaccurate.

The future of Eskom, which has the capacity to bring this country to its knees, is now as clear as mud. It will be broken up into three entities, which will probably increase costs, while we are told that costs will be cut. Where and how when Ramaphosa and public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan undermined and embarrassed the current board by overruling them on the 0% wage increase they offered in 2018 ? This was the height of irresponsibility. What is to be done about the non payers? There exists a  huge boycott. No answers or even suggestions.

We were told that foreign direct investment (FDI) had increased very significantly in 2018. This is very encouraging, but then we know that this is dwarfed by huge amounts of money moving offshore, legally and illegally. Then there is the fact that emigration of high earners is taking place. Not only is this a loss of skills and investment but it probably contributes more to the SA Revenue Service’s big tax hole than tax evasion.

What about job creation? The promise of 275,000 new jobs a year, even if achieved, will hardly make a dent. We need to create millions of jobs. This surely must be our  top priority.

With destructive, violent and militant unions inciting havoc while the government is openly anti-business and mocks capitalist endeavours, why should scared and reluctant investors and employers not go elsewhere? There are not enough businesses being opened or expanded to create these jobs. This is a huge  tragedy.

Crime is out of control, which is also chasing people away. If our president mentioned this, I didn’t hear it.

As I am writing this, Eskom has just announced the return of loadshedding. This after an investment summit, a jobs summit, the deployment of investment envoys and a positive (despite my cynicism) Sona. 

No need to say more other than “watch this space”.

David WolpertRivonia