In his latest newsletter published today Family Policy Institute director Errol Naidoo responds to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address
Two of the most tumultuous weeks in SA’s young democracy concluded with the election of Cyril Ramaphosa as President of SA followed by his maiden State of the Nation Address (SONA).
Most opposition parties hailed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech as optimistic and positive — despite a lack of detail. The atmosphere in parliament was uncharacteristically cordial.
I received an invitation from Rev Kenneth Meshoe to attend SONA. Inexplicably however, I was not seated in the public gallery but in the National Assembly itself behind the ConCourt justices.
From this panoramic view of the house, I sensed South Africa and its politics had entered a new and exciting era. Mr Ramaphosa optimistically emphasised a “new dawn” and “new beginning” for South Africa several times during his speech as if to signal his intentions.
Year of new beginnings
During Arlene and my annual prayer and fast at the beginning of this year, God gave us a word found in Isaiah 43:19. We both sensed 2018 is the year of new beginnings.
Mr Ramaphosa concluded his speech by quoting from a Hugh Masakela song, Thuma Mina. He said, “Now is the time to lend a hand, now is the time for each of us to say, send me.”
I was sitting a few metres away from the president and just behind Chief Justice Mogoeng. The scripture that immediately came to mind was Isaiah 6:8 — Here am I, (Lord) send me.
I believe God is giving the body of Christ a unique window of opportunity to take the initiative in the transformation process of this “new beginning” for the nation by “lending a hand.”
We can choose to remain negative. Or we can choose to provide hope for the nation by praying earnestly for our president and government and asking God to “send me” to be the change.
Proclaiming life and hope
Although I believe the ANC is irredeemably corrupt and must be removed from power at the general elections in 2019, we must not miss the opportunity to lift the nation out of the gloom and despondency of the Zuma era by prophetically proclaiming life and hope for South Africa.
President Ramaphosa said he would deal decisively with state corruption, the rot at state-owned enterprises and the leadership crisis at the NPA and other law-enforcement agencies.
He also committed to reduce the bloated and mostly incompetent cabinet by overhauling government departments and hopefully axing corrupt and inept ministers.
Business confidence improved significantly since Zuma’s resignation and Mr Ramaphosa’s election.
SA’s economy will undoubtedly improve as optimism spreads in the country.
The budget speech on February 21 will lay out the new administration’s economic plan for South Africa. Tough decisions will have to be made. But SA has been resilient in tougher times.
As Christian citizens, we must resist the urge to prejudge President Ramaphosa’s motives. We must take him at his word and give him a chance to fulfil his vision for the nation.
Christians have earnestly prayed for a stable, peaceful and prosperous South Africa. God has given us the opportunity to be the change we hope for. You and I can be the answer to our prayers.
As President Ramaphosa said at his first SONA, It is time for each of us to lend a hand to realise South Africa’s great potential. But it starts with you and me. My prayer is: “Lord send me.”