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From State capture report to parliament fire — 4 issues likely to make it into Ramaphosa’s Sona

27 January 2022 - 14:02
President Cyril Ramaphosa will delivery the state of the nation address on February 10.
President Cyril Ramaphosa will delivery the state of the nation address on February 10.
Image: Esa Alexander/Sunday Times

South Africans will in two weeks’ time tune into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address.

The president will on February 10 outline the government’s plans for the year, reflect on and account for programmes set out in the previous Sona, and respond to various social, political and economic issues.

The fire that engulfed the parliamentary precinct earlier this month sparked concerns over how the president would deliver the Sona.

Parliament has since allayed these concerns, announcing the Sona will be moved to the Cape Town City Hall.

Here are some of the issues likely to make it into the president’s 2022 Sona:

Unemployment

Stats SA revealed the unemployment rate in SA had increased to 34.9% in the third quarter of 2021 — the highest since the start of the Quarterly Labour Force Survey in 2008.

The report revealed that employment in the third quarter had decreased by 660,000 to 14.3-million.

The expanded definition of unemployed people also swelled by 2.2% to 46.6% compared with the second quarter of 2021. 

The report also revealed that seven of eight formal sectors had recorded employment losses last year. 

Parliament fire

South Africans watched in shock on January 2 as parliament was engulfed by a fire that took over 70 hours and more than 300 firefighters to contain.

The New Assembly building and the third and fifth floors of the old National Assembly building were destroyed.

Authorities arrested alleged arsonist Zandile Mafe. The 49-year-old is awaiting his bail hearing while he recovers from Covid-19.

He faces charges of housebreaking with the intention to commit theft, theft, arson, malicious damage to property and contravention of the Protection of Constitutional Democracy Against Terrorism and Related Activities Act. 

State capture report

Acting chief justice and chairperson of the state capture commission Raymond Zondo handed over the damning first part of his report on the inquiry into state capture to Ramaphosa earlier this month. 

The report detailed the extent of corruption, fraud and money laundering at state-owned entities by politicians and business people. 

Companies at the centre of the investigation included SAA, the SA Revenue Service and the Government Communication and Information System. The report also investigated the extent of corruption and political influence involving the Gupta-owned The New Age newspaper.

Implicated politicians included Malusi Gigaba, Dudu Myeni, Mzwanele Manyi and former president Jacob Zuma.

SIU report on Covid-19 PPE 

The Special Investigating Unit on Tuesday released a report that detailed findings on government and private companies that were awarded contracts to provide relief at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The scathing report revealed that supply chain management rules and regulations were disregarded to award friends and families of politicians and business people with proximity to power, tenders. 

Among these is Ben Moseme, Free State businessman and ally of suspended ANC secretary-general Ace Magashule. 

According to the report, he allegedly fraudulently scored two personal protective equipment (PPE) tenders from the Free State government.

His company C-Squared Consumer Connectedness allegedly scored a R4.9m PPE tender illegally. 

The process followed was, according to the report, not in line with section 217 of the constitution as it was not fair, equitable, transparent, competitive and cost-effective. 

Controversial businessman Hamilton Ndlovu and several companies linked to him and his fiancée's company Feliham were also implicated in wrongdoing relating to a tender with the National Health Laboratory Service .

The Eastern Cape scooter ambulances tender and that given to communications company Digital Vibes were also investigated by the unit.


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