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During the years of President Jacob Zuma’s leadership, the country experienced many great governance challenges which played out in the courts and the public domain. The Public Protector at the time - Ms. Thuli Madonsela - appeared to be winning the battle against corruption, notwithstanding the great odds that she was facing.
When the minister of finance delivered Budget 2020/21 on 26 February 2020, COVID-19 was mostly contained to China (with other countries registering few cases). The budget therefore made virtually no provision for what was to become one of the largest health and economic meltdowns in the past 90 years. As such, except for the growing fiscal deficit, the main and consolidated budgets contained no earth-shattering announcements.
Whereas there might be many faces to Jacob Zuma, most of them can be condensed into two primary themes. He is either the villain, ominous and threatening and openly defiant of the law, the NEC and of the wishes of the country; or he is the victim: wide eyed, picked on and singled out for very little reason.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently told the World Economic Forum he intended to break up Eskom’s monopoly over energy. Eskom’s reputation, around the world is one of corruption and mismanagement, so something must be done.
President Ramaphosa delivered the Nation Address on Thursday evening as the country struggles with an ailing economy and the impact of the corona virus.
Over the past few weeks, the world stood witness to the spectacle of American politics in the twilight of Donald Trump’s presidency. Many in South Africa joined as keen observers. This episode, like many before it, again highlighted the importance of institutions and the ideas that underlie them – a reality often neglected in the realm of the politics of personality.
The best was left for last. If what is promised in the end really happens, we will have a real prospect of desperately needed prosperity and jobs. If we really get reductions in spending and debt, market barriers down by 50%, a seriously reprioritised Budget, release of superfluous air waves spectrum, unbundling of Eskom, private power generation and the like, we will be a freer economy. Freer economies – as measured by the Economic Freedom of the World Index – always and everywhere prosper.
Address by President Cyril Ramaphosa to the Joint Sitting of Parliament on South Africa's Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.