State of the Nation: what South Africans are looking for

13 June 2014

Youth development, jobs, housing and small business support are among the things that ordinary South African will be looking for when President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation address in Parliament in Cape Town on Tuesday.

SAnews took to the streets of Cape Town this week to ask people what they hoped to hear in the first State of the Nation address of President Zuma’s new administration.

Martin Dirk, from Mitchells Plain, said he would like to hear Zuma outline how jobless and unskilled youth with matric would be helped.

“Our children have passed matric and are still struggling to find jobs for years,” Dirk said. ‘My son and daughter both have their matric. My daughter passed matric when she was 18 and she is now 27, still struggling to find a decent job.”

Earlier this month, Statistics South Africa released a trends survey that found that the young people of today were likely to struggle to find employment despite being more educated than the older generation.

Sakhile Malinga, a local entrepreneur, said he would like to hear the President talking about how the government was going to make it easier to do business.

When Zuma named his new Cabinet a few weeks ago, he announced the formation of a new Department of Small Business Development to focus on ensuring that small businesses are given a better chance of survival.

“As an entrepreneur, I would like to see what the benefits are for small business,” Malinga said. “I think there are tax benefits and initiatives on receiving contracts. I think the biggest support we would require would be for government to make it easy to do business – proper business, not tender business.”

Nwabisa Lindi, a young professional, said housing had in recent weeks dominated the news headlines, and she felt the government needed to ensure that enough was done to scrap housing list corruption and to allow older citizens to be given houses before young people.

“I would actually like the President to look into human settlements, because we find that in most cases, in each and every province there will be youngsters getting houses,” Lindi said. “From my experiences, what I know based on recent media reports, in Vukani – an area in Gugulethu in Cape Town – you will find that the identity numbers written there were those of young people born in 1991 to 1986.

“My issue is that there are older people who don’t have houses”, Lindi said. “I would like the President or the Department of Human Settlements to prioritise old people. Now that we are experiencing this kind of weather, it is very hard and it is traumatising to wonder how old people live in these conditions.”

Nondumiso Matuntuta, a teacher from Khayelitsha, said she would like to hear the President announce new projects around schooling. She said she wanted to hear what Zuma would say about supporting struggling independent schools, as the ones from her area were struggling.

The President’s State of the Nation address will be broadcast live on national radio and television from 7pm on Tuesday.