South Africans have high expectations from SONA

Thursday, February 11, 2010
By: 
Gabi Khumalo

Pretoria - Ordinary South Africans have high expectations for President Jacob Zuma's second State of the Nation Address to be delivered later today.

Many of the people BuaNews interviewed on Thursday said they were hoping that the President would put more focus on health, education and rural development - areas which they feel are in a state of crisis.

Thenjiwe Mbatha, 17, said she expected Zuma to outline government's plan to improve the education system.

"In rural areas, schools are still lacking infrastructure. A lot of money has been allocated to education but some schools are not benefiting and I'm hoping he will look at this issue, otherwise the pass rate will continue to drop," said Mbatha.

Vincent Mokoena, a petrol attendant at one of the garages in Pretoria East said he wanted to hear Zuma's plans for job creation.

"He promised us 500 000 jobs last year and we are still waiting for those jobs. I'm interested to know how much has been achieved with regards to job creation," Mokoena said.

Pretty Tsotetsi, who has been living with HIV for 13 years, acknowledged government's efforts to fight HIV and AIDS, although she hoped Zuma would announce more initiatives to strengthen these programmes.

"Government has ensured that treatment is available for people like us. I wish that the President will share with us the government plans to strengthen HIV and AIDS programmes and put more resources in health institutions," Tsotetsi said.

Unemployed Bhekani Xulu, from Mtubatuba in KwaZulu-Natal noted that during last year's SONA the President listed rural development as one of the government's priorities.

"Some people are still having to fetch wood and water from the river due to lack of electricity and running water. We don't want him to make any more promises this year but rather deliver on his promises from last year. It's time for people in rural areas to get service delivery," Xulu said.

Tshepo Mofokeng from Mabopane said he was hoping that Zuma would tell the nation what government would do to address violent service delivery protests.

"People want to see service delivery. He should tell us what the government is going to do to ensure that this happens," said Mofokeng.

Zuma will deliver his second SONA at 7pm to a joint sitting of Parliament.

The President will use the opportunity to reflect on how far the country has come and focus on what still needs to be done in order to speed up service delivery while articulating what measurables government will use to gauge the progress it is making.

The day is also being used to pay tribute to former President Nelson Mandela for the role he played in building a free and democratic South Africa as the day marks the 20th anniversary of his release from prison.