/ 15 February 2019

Letters to the editor: February 15 to 21

Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a State of the Nation address that was well thought-out.
Cyril Ramaphosa delivered a State of the Nation address that was well thought-out. (David Harrison)

Cyril will steer SA to safety

I thought our president executed himself brilliantly at the State of the Nation address — far better than any of his predecessors.

Cyril Ramaphosa stepped in at a time when our country’s resources were shamelessly looted by Jacob Zuma and his son, supported by his band of corrupt ministers. The government was run remotely by the Gupta brothers from Saxonwold, who treated this country like their personal property.

The common accusation by Ramaphosa’s critics is that he was in government when Zuma was looting the state and did nothing about it.

What his critics fail to understand is that a deputy president is merely a figurehead with no power at all.

In the ANC’s national executive committee under Zuma, Ramaphosa was outnumbered by Zuma’s powerful, corrupt lackeys. If he took a chance and went against Zuma, he would have been fired by Zuma, just as he did Pravin Gordhan.

Ramaphosa spoke about the future when he mentioned the fourth industrial revolution.

He stated clearly that half our schools would become technical schools, a painful but unheeded cry of many educators for over a decade.

He stressed that our youth must be given jobs through mentorship without the strangling requirement of experience. He has taken the brave step of breaking Eskom into three units to cut costs and produce electricity more efficiently. This was suggested in 1998 by the ANC but the all-powerful unions kept opposing it.

He spoke to big businesses to include small businesses as their suppliers. For poor income earners he proposed a special loan system to make it easy to access loans to purchase property without going to the profit-making commercial banks.

He is going to make available huge tracts of farmable land to new young entrepreneurs to get into farming.

His appointment of Shamila Batohi as head of the National Prosecuting Authority is another indication that the days of the corrupt are over.

He treated the main opposition leaders with respect and charm, rendering both the Democratic Alliance’s Mmusi Maimane and the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Julius Malema totally insignificant.

Ramaphosa’s speech went off so well and so slickly that some of the ignorant in Parliament, dressed for a fashion parade, fell asleep. His speech was above many of their mental faculties.

Ramaphosa has ushered in a strong element of hope and the next few months before our election will determine how serious he is about combating corruption.

If he can get a few top scalps, he will earn the respect of the country and the confidence of international investors — something that the country desperately needs. — Ellapen Rapiti, Cape Town

Citrus farmers are on board

The agricultural industry’s potential to create jobs and increase revenue was identified by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State of the Nation address, but we need more than magnanimous commitments if we’re to realise our opportunities in a constructive and sustainable manner.

For nearly 20 years, the Grower Development Company of the Citrus Growers’ Association has participated in government initiatives, including building the capacity of black farmers with meaningful mentorship and training across the spectrum of thriving citrus farms.

We will continue to work with government to ensure that black citrus growers can participate in a modern agricultural economy, contributing to domestic food security, securing their livelihoods and helping to realise our industry’s export capabilities.

The president’s positive tone was heartening and we commit to working with government to reach this year’s five top goals: more jobs and inclusive growth, better education, improving the lives of the poor, eradicating corruption and improving service delivery. — Lukhanyo Nkombisa, Citrus Growers’ Association Grower Development Company

Eskom needs a new crew

The romance of candle-lit dinners forced upon me by the sheer incompetence and outright criminality of Eskom is now over.

The utility’s staff and its patrons in the government and the ANC must take responsibility for the catastrophic state we find ourselves in. The ANC has gerrymandered the once-functional utility into a rusted shell of neglect and mismanagement.

In the past 10 or so years the utility has been ransacked from a company making a profit to one well over R400-billion in debt. It can’t even service the interest on its debt.

Eskom can’t be saved with its present management in place. A separation of the sinking ship into three lifeboats is not the answer because they are going to be commanded by the captain of the mother ship (HMS Eskom Holdings), which hasn’t a clue.

Get a crew of smart, honest and experienced sailors. — Peter Baker, Parktown North

Clover must prepare for a boycott

It is good to see that Brimstone has withdrawn from the joint bid with the Israeli company, the privately held Central Bottling Company, to buy out Clover.

The management and shareholders of Clover should also take note that, should the Israeli company find other partners and in any way get involved in the buyout or takeover of Clover, boycotts of Clover products will inevitably start. Public pressure will be placed on retailers and distributors to desist from marketing and stocking Clover products.

Black South Africans depended on the world to boycott South Africa to force the hand of the apartheid regime. Similarly, the Palestinians have the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign as a nonviolent way to force Israel into a just and peaceful settlement.

Years after Israel occupied the West Bank and Gaza Strip, it controls these areas with repression, institutionalised discrimination and systematic abuses of the Palestinian population’s rights.

Any country and company dealing with Israel is a promoter and supporter of terror, racism, apartheid and injustice and must face the consequences of a public boycott. — Yunus Soomar, Durban