Naafi about Cyril’s ad­dress

The Citizen (KZN) - - Opinion - Martin Wil­liams DA city coun­cil­lor in Jo­han­nes­burg

Fig­ures are open to ma­nip­u­la­tion but we are un­de­ni­ably in a down­ward spi­ral of low eco­nomic growth, high unem­ploy­ment and ris­ing debt.

Acoun­try in cri­sis de­serves a spell-bind­ing, in­spi­ra­tional State of the Na­tion ad­dress (Sona). Give us hope, Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa. Show us that you have the vi­sion, courage and po­lit­i­cal sup­port to turn South Africa’s for­tunes around. Lead us to the promised land of a bet­ter life for all.

Fat chance. Ramaphosa is so hob­bled by the rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion (RET) wing within the ANC that he can­not an­nounce the nec­es­sary steps, even if he wanted to do so. Which he doesn’t.

Sona an­nu­ally spawns “real” or “al­ter­na­tive” state of the na­tion as­sess­ments, each with its own slant. Fig­ures are open to ma­nip­u­la­tion but we are un­de­ni­ably in a down­ward spi­ral of low eco­nomic growth, high unem­ploy­ment and ris­ing debt.

Rolling elec­tric­ity black­outs re­mind us the lights are go­ing out at Eskom. In­creas­ing flight can­cel­la­tions tell us South African Air­ways (SAA) is los­ing al­ti­tude. The num­ber of mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in fi­nan­cial dis­tress keeps climb­ing. The South African Broad­cast­ing Cor­po­ra­tion is in trou­ble, as is the Pas­sen­ger Rail Agency of SA, and so on.

Peo­ple who can af­ford to are em­i­grat­ing. Prop­erty for sale signs abound in Joburg’s north­ern sub­urbs. The num­ber of in­di­vid­ual tax­pay­ers ca­pa­ble of sup­port­ing state-owned en­tity bailouts and so­cial grants is shrink­ing. Yet the spend­thrift mad­ness con­tin­ues.

For ex­am­ple, the un­af­ford­able Na­tional Health In­sur­ance (NHI) scheme is still punted. SAA is still re­ceiv­ing hand­outs, and pen­sion funds are about to be raided to sup­port Eskom. You have to won­der whether union mem­bers re­alise their re­tire­ment funds are be­ing gam­bled away.

In a fur­ther ero­sion of wealth, the ANC is set to change the con­sti­tu­tion to make ex­pro­pri­a­tion with­out com­pen­sa­tion (EWC) eas­ier. Prop­erty that can be taken away on a whim loses value, mak­ing in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies, com­pa­nies and banks poorer.

But EWC is what the RET fac­tion and the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers want. Ramaphosa lacks the po­lit­i­cal will and clout to stop it. His gov­ern­ment is also show­ing weak­ness by in­ter­fer­ing in SAA’s busi­ness res­cue pro­gramme.

All the above is merely a par­tial snap­shot of the state of this na­tion, one month be­fore Moody’s are due to an­nounce whether SA’s sov­er­eign credit rat­ing will be re­duced to junk sta­tus.

Hold­ing off the Moody blues will not re­quire rocket sci­ence. Just com­mon sense.

With­draw the ex­pro­pri­a­tion Bill (con­sti­tu­tion 18th Amend­ment Bill) and the Na­tional Health In­sur­ance Bill. Pri­va­tise Eskom. Sell off SAA.

Cru­cially, scrap black eco­nomic em­pow­er­ment in all its forms. Racial pref­er­enc­ing is an im­ped­i­ment to eco­nomic growth. There must be re­dress for past in­jus­tices. But this high-moral cause has been hi­jacked by a cor­rupt elite. Jobs for cadre-pals and rig­ging of in­flated ten­ders are de­stroy­ing the na­tion’s wealth.

Will Ramaphosa an­nounce any of these bold steps? No. So un­less you en­joy watch­ing faux fight­ers’ kinder­garten an­tics, Sona live on TV is a waste of time.

Not ev­ery­one who uses the word Naf (or Naff, or Naafi) un­der­stands the ori­gins. These are vari­a­tions of Nafi (No Am­bi­tion, F***ll In­ter­est). Naafi is an un­der­stand­able at­ti­tude to­wards to­mor­row night’s ad­dress.

So, too, is meh “an ex­pres­sion of in­dif­fer­ence or bore­dom”, and its cousin neh, “no”.

So there, Sona, so neh, and so Naafi.

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