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SA has come a long way despite impediments – IJR reflects on 2024 SoNA


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SA has come a long way despite impediments – IJR reflects on 2024 SoNA

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9th February 2024

By: Thabi Shomolekae
Creamer Media Senior Writer


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Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) research and policy programme head Jan Hofmeyer noted on Friday that regardless of impediments experienced, South Africa had come a significant way, moving from an era of pessimism, division, limited opportunities, turmoil and conflict, to a new era of hope, reconciliation and nation building.

Hofmeyer was speaking during IJR‘s webinar on 'National politics and South Africa’s role as global peacemaker: the dynamics of the 2024 elections', where he unpacked President Cyril Ramaphosa’s Thursday night State of the Nation Address (SoNA).


Hofmeyer pointed out that 2024 was an important year as South Africa celebrated 30 years of democracy and as voters headed to the polls later this year.

He noted that in his SoNA, Ramaphosa used the story of Tintswalo, South Africa’s child of democracy, to describe some of the interventions that government had made over the 30 preceding years, since the end of Apartheid.


Hofmeyer said Ramaphosa was right in that people now had the freedom to express their opinions and to make their own choices.

However, he noted that Ramaphosa had made factual errors in his speech, around the country’s developmental statistics.

Ramaphosa highlighted that by 2010, the poverty rate had dropped to 60.9%, and it continued to decrease, reaching 55.5% in 2020, as reported by the World Bank.

“Unfortunately there are no funds at the moment to replicate these statistics where we are now, but we know we have had an economic slowdown, Covid-19 in between - mostly that figure is much higher than 55%,” Hofmeyer said.

He said, in fact, the World Bank, which Ramaphosa quoted, estimated 62%. He said South Africa was where it was in 2009.

Meanwhile, he noted that there was still conflict between government and business and no social compact.

He said it was quite ironic for Ramaphosa to say that he noted how South Africans stood up against State capture and that it was overcome.

“…And how our society has been resilient - for me it was somehow ironic because if your measure of progress has been how you are able to push back on a process that was started by your own party, I think that does not signify progress,” Hofmeyer said.


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