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Wednesday, 10 February, 2016
Quote of the week
"While economic development is not a panacea for all the problems a country faces, South Africa cannot prosper under the current weak economic conditions. "
- Bheki Mngomezulu, Political Scientist.
Comment of the week
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#SONA, Accountability, Newsflashes…
On 11 February 2016, President Jacob Zuma will present the State of the Nation Address (SONA) to a joint sitting of Parliament. During his speech, the President will talk about government’s achievements in the past year and look to the future by presenting a programme for the coming year.
Thabo Leshilo, politics and society editor at the Conversation Africa, shares the views of three political scientists - Andre Duvenhage, Leon Schreiber and Bheki Mngomezulu - in relation to this year’s SONA. Duvenhage expects Zuma to focus on the economy and economic growth, social cohesion, land reform and preparing the terrain for the 2016 local government elections. He argues that economic growth is necessary to prevent international rating agencies to downgrade South Africa’s sovereign rating to junk status, to create jobs and to attain all the government’s big strategic goals. Another political scientist, Mngomezulu, believes that the president should address the situation at higher education institutions. He adds: “The call for free education by students and their dissatisfaction with the way in which government has responded to their demands should feature significantly.”
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SANGONeT would therefore like to invite nonprofit organisations (NPOs) throughout South Africa to contribute a short article (a few paragraphs / 1 000 words maximum) or press release focussing on a specific issue in the speech relevant to their core work and areas of interest, or their observations about the President’s speech in general. We would like to receive all inputs by no later than 14h00 on Monday, 15 February 2016. All contributions should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
South Africa should invest in promoting the independence of the state institutions created to support its democracy.
In another article, the Helen Suzman Foundation, a non-governmental organisation, is of the view that there are a number of institutions which need a considerable degree of independence from day-to-day political pressures if they are to serve and protect the public. The organisation states that, “The promotion of liberal constitutional democracy is maintained by strong constitutional institutions,” adding that these institutions require adequate independence and protection to safeguard our rights.
“We continue to witness these infringements extending beyond the Bill of Rights and into the very constitutional institutions that ultimately regulate interactions between government and citizens.”
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The South African Institute of Race Relations says that South Africa saw its economic freedom score slip from 62.6 to 61.9 in the latest Index of Economic Freedom. The report, released by the Heritage Foundation, is contrary to the overall trend for Southern Africa, which saw the regional freedom score improve from 54.9 to 55.5. South Africa is rated as the seventh most free economy in Africa and as one of only 10 African economies rated as ‘mostly free’ or ‘moderately free’.
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