We need you to talk to us, Mr President
Afew things are easy to predict about next weekend’s ANC statement. President Jacob Zuma will reflect on the achievements and challenges of local government in the past 20 years. He will then talk about discipline – his favourite subject – as well as unity in the ANC and the alliance.
Next will be a government report on service delivery since 1994. And then a recycling of old policy proposals that failed to take off. It will be a long and dry speech, and by the time he is done, no one will really remember what Zuma said.
Alternatively, Zuma could surprise us and deliver a speech filled with refreshing ideas and policy proposals to respond to the current economic crisis and increasing unemployment. He could restore confidence in his and the ANC’s leadership, and affirm that the country is in good hands.
He could assure us that the interests of the country come before those of the ANC and its leaders. He could tell those who last month marched for his resignation that he has heard their cry and will try to become a better leader for the remainder of his presidential term.
He could acknowledge that he made a mistake by appointing Des van Rooyen as finance minister, that he has learnt from this mistake and that such questionable appointments in public institutions are a thing of the past.
He could draw a line in the sand in the battle against corruption in all three spheres of government and declare consequences against government officials who waste public resources.
He could give a commitment that government will not spend money it does not have, whether on nuclear power or luxury travel.
Here’s hoping that Saturday will deliver a speech that speaks to us. Here’s hoping hard.