Mid-Term Budget Speech, or State of the Nation Address?
With the current situation (or should that be plural) going on in South Africa, this was always going to be a very difficult mid-term Budget Speech for Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan.
Not only is he caught in a legal battle to prove his innocence in a fraud case against his name, he’s also trying to put out multiple fires in different areas of government.
The minister needs to find money to fund our crippling higher education system and he needs to instill confidence in investors to avoid another credit downgrade, which will see South Africa declared as a “junk” state. All this, while trying to stop Jacob Zuma from emptying Treasury’s coffers for money to enrich his friends and family.
I most certainly don’t envy the man’s job – but someone has to do it.
Looking back at the reports from today’s mid-term Budget Speech, I could not help but think: When everything that happened at Parliament today is taken into consideration, this was not simply a budget speech, but an inside look at the state of our nation.
When Jacob Zuma steps up for his annual State of the Nation address, the country takes no interest. He might as well get up there and read an excerpt from Little Red Ridinghood, as that holds the same value as the blabber that protrudes from his mouth during these addresses.
Today, inside Parliament, we got a better glimpse of our country’s health.
While the economic growth estimate for 2016 once stood at a laughable 0.9%, it was today announced that even that figure was too high. Today, National Treasury has revised South Africa’s growth forecast for 2016 from 0.9% to 0.5% as part of its medium-term budget. To put this in perspective, the National Development Plan stipulates that South Africa’s economy needs to grow by at least 5% annually to make a meaningful dent in inequality, unemployment and poverty.
The World Bank has meanwhile adjusted the necessary growth rate upwards to more than 7% in order for the country to make significant strides in poverty reduction.
Now, we ask ourselves: Why are South Africans struggling to make ends meet? Struggling to pay for food? Struggling to pay for universities?
Outside of Parliament, things looked even worse. Perhaps the best way to illustrate this, is by showing these photos by Sullivan Photography.
Despite what Jacob Zuma would have us believe, all is not well in South Africa. This Budget Speech showed exactly that. The people are fed up with an incompetent government, led by a corrupt individual that is so protected that he still holds office while all of this is going down.
Next time, Mr. Zuma, save us the speech – get Pravin Gordhan to show us exactly what the state of our nation is.
They say all is well, that ends ok. So I will end this with: “Fuck you, Mr. Zuma, but have a nice day”.
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