The 2021 State of the Nation Address (SONA) was a disappointment for the agriculture sector. According to Free State Agriculture (FSA), South Africa, like a commercial farm, cannot achieve success with policies that will lead to bankruptcy. President Ramaphosa only paid lip service to the private sector’s role in the economy.

During the President’s speech it was clear that government is mired down in ideological mud. The same failed policies that have brought South Africa to its knees and on the brink of financial ruin, will continue.

These include:
• a stubborn approach undermining property rights through the new expropriation bill which will not create an environment for economic growth;
• continued support for failed BBBEE policies that, besides enriching a few elites, has done nothing for the creation of jobs and new sustainable business, yet costing the country billions; and
• the continued use of policy to extend government’s role in society that has failed in the past which provides no solutions to address the current challenges.

The President said little to address the problems of bad governance and the incapacity of the state.

“You cannot build new cities if you are not able to maintain or improve current infrastructure, such as
roads,”

said Francois Wilken, President of Free State Agriculture.

President Ramaphosa held government expenditure of 2020 as an achievement, not realising that the only way to alleviate the plight of the unemployed is to allow the creation of sustainable jobs. Infrastructure expenditure, financial support stimulus and racial policies are not sustainable solutions to the country’s economic woes.

“As farmers and job creators we are more concerned after SONA 2021. Policies needed to support food security and property rights have been ignored. Instead, political ideology holds sway. The state has been weakened by looting and corruption. Clearly, we can expect this trajectory to continue.

This means that the agriculture community will have to increase its leadership role in rural areas of South Africa.”, Wilken said.

FULL SPEECH | President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers SONA 2021