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The real SONA, the real state of the nation, can be found just outside Parliament on the other side of the fence.  There you will find broken and unmaintained benches; filth and squalor; and destitute and vulnerable members of our society eking out an existence on the pavement day to day.

Today they have been removed from sight – so as not to soil and sully SONA and show the true state of the nation. 

A few meters away are a political elite living a high life of pomp and ceremony, more interested in abusing power and state resources for gluttonous self-enrichment – at the expense of the nation. 

Is there really any difference between those Pastors (like Omotoso, Bushiri and the ‘Snake’ and ‘Doom’ pastors) who trade in religious quackery and those that govern our Country? 

Both are (in the words of Ramaphosa himself) ‘hope merchants’, delivering false hope and promises at the people’s expense.

The Pastors are arrested for their quackery and deceit, but the political elite are not!

The State of the Nation presented by President Ramphosa today cannot be seen in isolation (firstly ) of the ANC, (secondly) of its destruction of all that was done to build a better South Africa for all during the Mandela and Mbeki era’s, and (thirdly) of Ramaphosa’s personal complicity herein.

It is the ANC that presided over and facilitated the near collapse of State. They broke our Country.

It is the ANC that dictates what the President may or may not proffer to remedy our parlous state.

And it is the ANC (its factions and corrupt groupings) that will frustrate, thwart and sabotage any attempts to claw back the state; the creation of conditions for growth; the halting of wide-scale looting of the state; and ensuring the prosecution of those complicit in grand corruption.

The ANC has morphed into mafia. It is corruption, greed and self-interest that is the glue that keeps the organisation together.

The real extent of the betrayal and damage done becomes clearer as the Zuma “Tsunami’ recedes (a phrase then coined in support of Zuma by Vavi).

It becomes clearer that the rot centered around the ANC.

Can you imagine how many ANC members – elected into office; deployed into government; and tenderpreneurs, are complicit in the heist of our state (in all spheres and organs of the state where they govern).

If Ramaphosa were to try to earnestly ‘clean’ to any meaningful extent, the ANC would simply shatter, or he would fall.

All the reformist measures proffered by Ramaphosa today are offered in an attempt to reverse the wanton damage wrought on our Nation and its People by the ruling party over the past 10 years.

Will we wake up tomorrow to find:

• That we have returned to Constitutionalism and the Rule of Law;
• That government is transparent and accountable;
• That our SOE’s are fostering development and no longer stopping it
• Investors clambering over one another to build mines and industries
• A growing economy;
• Reducing levels of unemployment;
• A reduction in our deficit and public debt;
• An affordable and guaranteed supply of electricity;
• A basic education system that skills our youth to be globally competitive and employable;
• That stability has return to our Universities and places of higher education;
• That our healthcare needs are being met – and done so with dignity;
• That the chains of poverty and inequality have been broken;
• That the state has been re-captured and our administration professionalised?

The fact is that we have condemned a whole generation (our youth in particular) to a life without hope: of unemployment and un-employability; of growing poverty and inequality – and the buying power of our pensioners continues to fall.

The President can speak until he’s blue in the face. He can proffer his words of HOPE. The real solution lies at the ballot box. The solution lies in the electorate removing the ANC from power and electing good and trustworthy men and women to public office

All like-minded political parties, civil society and trade union formations, and fellow citizens need to rally together and constitute that body of human beings that the late President Mandela once referred to as ‘good men and good women of our society’!

We need a fresh start!

We note that the President posed a rhetorical question: ‘have we succeeded in realising the vision espoused in our Constitution’. The answer is to be found in Parliament’s High Level Panel Report: ‘government has failed to realise the transformative and socio-economic goals enshrined in our Constitution’.

In respect of his words on corruption, we ask: where is the arrest of members of his cabinet and senior office-bearers of his party.

His speech confirmed what we all have known: that the rot and betrayal was deep and has hurt our prospects. If only the Country had heeded COPE’s concerns.

His speech was full of double-speak: talking hard on corruption and big on growth whilst his cabinet remains filled with members complicit in corruption and in the damage of our economic prospects.

We note his desire to essentially re-establish a Scorpions-like entity but note that it was at the insistence of his party that the Scorpions were disbanded.

Essentially, the President’s speech set out a sad tale of a decade of corruption and betrayal and the beginning of an attempt to reverse this damage. But will the ANC allow him to?

In the final analysis, the President’s speech was wide-ranging – more like an election manifesto than a State of the Nation.

Statement Issued by President of COPE, Mosiuoa Lekota.

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