“We can succumb to the many and difficult and protracted problems that confront us, or we can confront them, with resolve and determination and with action. Because we choose to confront our challenges, our immediate, vital and overarching task is to place our economy on a path of inclusive growth. Without growth there will be no jobs, and without jobs there will be no meaningful improvement in the lives of our people. This SoNA is, therefore, about inclusive growth. It is about the critical actions we take this year to build a capable state and place our economy on the path to recovery. This year, we fix the fundamentals.” – President Cyril Ramaphosa
As reflected in the president’s statement above, this year’s State of the Nation Address focused on inclusivity. The speech mentions all the ‘big’ debates in South Africa – energy, just transition, climate change, economic growth and femicide. What links all these together is the idea of inclusive growth that requires a fixing of the fundamentals.
President Ramaphosa, previously in his addresses made his government’s ultimate objective clear – through the concept of social compacting. The concept is a voluntary agreement among individuals, which organized society is brought into being and invested with the right to secure mutual protection and welfare or to regulate the relations among its members. Concepts like social compacting or social cohesion can only be achieved once the socio-economic condition of the poor and black majority have changed. The notion of fixing the fundamentals thus becomes important. The question then becomes, who defines these fundamentals? Click here to continue reading.