Patricia de Lille's response to President's SONA's debate
25 June 2019
We may look different, have experienced apartheid differently and support different political parties, but few will disagree on the absolute priority of reigniting the economy to create jobs – especially for young people.
Few will disagree on the need for a more consultative and responsive government, with the means to accelerate service delivery – and willingness to learn from the past.
Where we are today is too far away from the country we dreamed of becoming in 1994. We must take urgent, practical steps to narrow that gap.
A State of the Nation Address does not magically melt problems away.
Realistically, SONA’s are not unlike the instructions that come with jigsaw puzzles. They don’t tell us exactly which pieces go where.
They show us a picture and sketch a framework, but it’s up to us – in our public, private and civil society sectors – to make it work.
Our performance in this regard has not been up to scratch.
Wherever the election took us, people raised similar issues…
They are tired of watching parliamentarians failing to hold government to account; tired of corruption without consequences; and tired of being poor, hungry and landless, when others are so rich…
President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address acknowledged much of what needs fixing.
It contained visionary elements, such as building a modern city, but also a welcome shift in emphasis from planning to implementation.
We already have a National Development Plan. We need hard, sensible, honest work to deliver it.
As a Minister I am wholly committed to contributing to the implementation agenda.
As the leader of an opposition party I am committed to holding government implementation to account.
Those who ask if accepting a position on the executive may compromise my role as an opposition leader should know that I would not have accepted the position if it came with a muzzle.
Weighing the SONA priorities against the GOOD plan to Fix South Africa, areas of convergence and divergence emerge.
On the economy, policy certainty is essential to create an investment climate.
Articulating a clear position on the Reserve Bank mandate was very important, as was the focus on industrial strategy.
The commitments to education, jobs, crime reduction, food security, technology, and using well located state-owned land to build houses will meet wide approval – though many will watch for actual delivery.
Energy security remains our most extreme economic and environmental hazard.
The GOOD vision for South Africa includes green jobs linked to a green economy rooted in renewable energy.
There are many of us, but only one South Africa. The longer we take to fix it, the more it’s going to cost.
Issued by Cameron Arendse on behalf of GOOD, 25 June 2019