Event Reports

Unpacking #SONA2019

Discussion with political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi about the State of the Nation Address (SONA) 2019

Renowned political analyst and research fellow at the Helen Suzman Foundation, Aubrey Matshiqi led a public discussion with the civil society and citizens on the contents of the 2019 State of the Nation Address (SONA) at Elangeni Hotel in Durban on the 19th of February 2019.

As Matshiqi engaged the citizens of the eThekwini metropolis, he emphasized the meaning of languageused by politicians to citizens.
He said that, politicians use these big words or terms, thinking that citizens know what they mean.


“The president talks about the 4th industrial revolution, robotics, the internet of things, and we think we know what he is talking about, more importantly, we like what he’s talking about, we want it, we want the 4th industrial revolution even though we don’t know what it means.”


He also focused on the actual speech, its content as well as what it meant for all South Africans.


He said thatSONA is about the creation of a society that be will different, qualitatively, a society that is an improvement from where we were in the apartheid times.
According to Matshiqi, Ramaphosa’s SONA focused a lot on the economy of the country, his primary audience werenot the citizens of SA.


“He was not talking to us, his primary audience are international investors, we are a secondary audience, he believes that, if the international investors get the policy framework they want, they will invest, and when they do, our lives will become better” he added.
Sbonokuhle Ngwabe, delegate and youth activator, shared his insights on the president’s speech.


He said thatmost people,especially the youth,have reached a point where they have become desensitized.
“We no longer care about the speech, several people in my group did noteven watch the speech.
The president talked about the things they think we want to hear, trying to keep everyone happy, but no one is”, he said.


He added that the president was not elected by South African citizens, clearly this is not working for the country, SONA is not working for SA.


The forum was hosted by the Democracy Development Program (DDP) andfunded by the KAS.The DDP will behosting a post-SONA dialogue in Cape Town on the 06 March 2019 in partnership with My Vote Counts and the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation.

Contact Person

Moritz Sprenker

Moritz Sprenker

Project Manager

moritz.sprenker@kas.de +27 11 214 29 00 +27 11 214 29 13/14