As President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the State of the Nation address in Parliament last night, NAPTOSA listened eagerly, looking forward to hearing about the revolutionary measures that are going to be enacted to ensure that South Africa and its citizens regains its dominant, and respected position on the African continent and in the global sphere. NAPTOSA welcomes the comments President Ramaphosa made in especially the reinforced commitment to ethical behaviour and ethical leadership; promising to turn the tide on corruption. ‘This infuses the nation with hope for a governing leadership that values decency and integrity’ said NAPTOSA president, Mr Nkosiphendule Ntantala.
NAPTOSA supports President Ramaphosa’s statement that ‘A person’s prospects are determined by their own initiative and hard work; not by the colour of their skin, gender, birth place, language or income of parents’. We look forward to seeing how an individual’s prospects are supported and encouraged through the many initiatives the government plans to embark on within the next few months, said Mr Ntantala
NAPTOSA furthermore supports President Ramaphosa’s statement that ‘No nation can be free till its women are also free’. This has long been the view of NAPTOSA who has its own gender campaign.
However, NAPTOSA was left wanting when President Ramaphosa failed to commit to government’s plans for a revitalised public education system that addresses the ongoing plight of educators who have the enormous responsibility to educate the nations’ future business entrepreneurs in less than ideal environments. President Ramaphosa’s remarks about Early Childhood Education (ECD), seemingly boasting about one million children who participate in ECD facilities appears to be a diversionary tactic preying on the ignorance of the public who have no idea that there are thousands of children who still do not have access to such facilities; and that most of these facilities are not run by the government. What is needed is a decisive way forward in formally recognising ECD facilitators, and giving said ECD facilitators the necessary skills, training and salaries that are crucial in imparting fundamental educational basics to the youngest of our nation’s children.
Furthermore, President Ramaphosa’s comments about the improved matric pass rate, labelling it as ‘phenomenal progress’ clouds the real state of our countries lost youth.
While there may indeed be one million students registered for higher education in 2018, which, according to President Ramaphosa is up from 500 000 in 1994, NAPTOSA questions whether the number of university graduates mirrors the increase in initial registration.
NAPTOSA notes with interest the many conferences and summits that President Ramaphosa has planned for this year, including a job summit and a social sector summit amongst others. NAPTOSA welcomes the job summit as long overdue and hopes that Education and the Public Service will feature prominently here.
While not enough was said about government’s plans for education, much of what was said was sugar-coating a bigger problem. This does not bode well for the dawn of a new era in governance. It is with this in mind that NAPTOSA looks forward to seeing how government intends to ‘Continue to invest in expanding access to quality basic education and improving the outcomes of our public schools.’
President Ramaphosa also made reference to the fact that all public schools have begun offering an African language this year. NAPTOSA supports this initiative but points to the fact that implementation of this initiative has been largely hampered by lack of funding, poor resourcing and a poor commitment by Provincial Education Departments.
President Ramaphosa’s acknowledgement and plans to include and increase economic opportunities for people living with disabilities is welcomed, said Mr Ntantala
NAPTOSA welcomes government’s poverty alleviation programmes that are currently running in the form of the social grants that benefits 17 million people, which includes the nutrition programmes at schools, said Mr Ntantala. The introduction of the minimum wage of R3500 is encouraging, but NAPTOSA would have liked to see this “minimum” raised, said Mr Ntantala.
NAPTOSA wishes to remind President Ramaphosa that many promises have been made during the past SONA’s, but not delivered, NAPTOSA is reminded of the Presidential Remuneration Review Commission promised in 2013 SONA, which was expected to positively impact the socio-economic conditions of public servants. Although established, this Commission has failed to produce anything in five years. Teachers and other civil servants remain marginalised. Home ownership will not be a reality in the lives of many public servants, despite the Government Employees Housing Scheme (GEHS) said Mr Ntantala.
NAPTOSA concludes that ‘If 2018 is indeed the year of change, renewal and hope, that President Ramaphosa honours his commitments to the nation, not only in word but in deed; and that decisive and immediate action is taken towards the improvement of our society.’
End of Statement