By: Gabi Khumalo
Pretoria: As the country awaits President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address this evening, South Africans have said they have high hopes that his speech will talk to a number of social issues affecting the country.
Ntombifuthi Msomi (33), from Garsfontein in Pretoria, asked the President to address the rape “catastrophe that has engulfed this country”.
“If it means the Constitution must be amended in order to address or limit the rights of perpetrators, which seem to be superior right now, so be it,” said Msomi.
She said the youth lacked role models because there was a high incidence of absent fathers and broken families. She also was concerned about the number of children dropping out of school.
“This results in a dependence on government grants. Government should really look into this dependence it has created in order for our country to develop. We got our freedom, the generation that suffered apartheid is senior now and our youth must not hide under that shadow.”
Angel Mokoena (25), from Soshanguve, said he hoped that Zuma would say more about government’s response to crime, especially the rape of children and the elderly, in his speech tonight.
“No bail should be allowed for suspected rapists,” he said.
“Education is one of government’s priorities but what is the point of getting your degree only to realise you can’t find employment? Zuma must announce plans or programmes for unemployed undergraduates,” said Mokoena.
Pumpkin Mthombeni, 30, from Malelane in Mpumalanga, said he hoped the President would touch on the issue of small emerging businesses, which are willing to grow and generate employment and make a difference in the country.
“Government should ask big business how they are helping small businesses. It must ask them each and every year what assistance did you give to small black-owned companies. That can help small companies make something and improve the economy of the country,” said Mthombeni.