Friday saw the opening of parliament and the President; Thabo Mbeki’s State of the Nation speech.
Traffic in the Mother City was at a complete standstill, with many roads in the city centre being closed for the parade and brouhaha. Add to that a very unseasonal rain shower, and we have a bunch of seething motorists listening to Thabo Mbeki’s opening speech on the radio. Whoever goes to the opening of parliament anyway deserves to be rained on. I would only turn up if they were having a closing down sale. Get me some chairs.
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It is not often that anyone actually hears Thabo Mbeki say anything, so I guess that is what all the excitement was about. The reaction to his speech however was tepid, as he failed again to rally the country around CRime (with a Capital CR) and Corruption. These are the two topics on everyone’s minds, what with the recent murder of David “The white Zulu” Rattray and the Shenanigans of Zuma, Yengeni, Shaik etc. Nothing was said about the arms deal and nothing emotive about the crime situation. Positive notes abounded, about the economy and job creation, Mbeki also targeting the fight on HIV and AIDS.
Crime in South Africa (In case you didn’t know) is a big problem. It dominates the news like, say (Incoming bad example) Cheese might in Holland. I must add though that the HUGE majority of crime occurs in the disadvantaged areas, which is not where tourists visit. I myself have never been affected by violent crime in all my years here, and neither has anyone in my family, thank God. We have had a car stolen, and a few cell phones, but that’s just third world tax really. It would be very nice though to have the head of state at least pretend to mirror the concerns of the public, instead of being big Daddy letting the little people know it’s OK. Elsewhere in the world parties fight tooth and nail to defend their position, each vying to be the champion of the public cause. Hmm.. There is always next year.