Sunday, May 31, 2009

Time to walk the talk

Ray Hartley from The Times blog says: On Wednesday, Jacob Zuma will deliver his state of the nation address to Parliament.

His speeches have to date struck a tone of reconciliation and healing. He has signalled that his government will be “caring” and people-centered.

But he needs to use this speech to go further and map out the mechanics of his plan to revive South Africa.

Platitudes about caring are no longer sufficient.

South Africa is in the third quarter of a recession and there are many signs that things are going to get worse before they get better.

The public service which the Zuma government has inherited from the Mbeki years is in tatters.
Hospitals and public schools are taking a lot of strain. They do not need more funding. They need better management of their existing budgets.

More than that, our leading public institutions need to be properly managed so that they once again become centers of excellence.

The state of Chris Hani Baragwanath hospital, situated as it is in the heart of Soweto is a national scandal. Surely it was not the intention of the government to transform this world class institution into a place of fear and loathing? It along with other key public hospitals needs serious attention.

The list of schools in the townships and the suburbs where standards are way below par is also a national embarrassment. Tinkering with funding models and appointing poor quality principals has taken a massive toll.

Zuma must forget about the rhetoric and explain how he intends to make our hospitals, schools and other public institutions effective providers of services to those without the money for private institutions.

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