Umm Abdillah, Radio Islam Programming, 2016.02.08 | 28 Rabi'ul Aakhir 1437 AH
The State of the Nation address dawns upon us this week. Radio Islam will be in Cape Town to broadcast the speech live and deliver related analysis, insha Allah. Here, Umm Abdillah sketches an outline - SONA 101: a beginners guide on what to expect on Thursday evening.
President Jacob Zuma will deliver his speech to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament: the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP) on Thursday, 11 February 2016 at 19h00. The President will address the South African nation in his capacity as Head of State, not only as Head of Government.
The 2016 theme is: “Following up on our commitments to the people”.
The State of the Nation speech focuses on the current political and socio-economic state of our nation.
Below, a part of the agenda:
- The President sets out government’s key policy objectives and deliverables for the year ahead.
- He highlights the achievements and challenges experienced over the past year and maps the year ahead and beyond.
- He deliberates South Africa’s domestic affairs as well as its continental and international relations.
What happens after the State of The Nation Address?
After the SONA, political parties have an opportunity to debate, comment and raise questions on matters addressed in the President’s speech during a debate on the President’s State of the Nation Address. This debate usually takes place over two days in a joint sitting. This year the debate is scheduled for 16 to 17 February.
The President will have the opportunity to reply to the debate on 18 February 2016.
The SONA will be followed by Finance Minister, Pravin Gordhan’s presentation of the National Budget to Parliament on February, 24, 2016.
EFF MP’s were thrown out of the National Assembly last year for raising points of order to demand that President Zuma ''pay back the money''.
On Friday, EFF leader Julius Malema said that this year (2016) they would not let President Zuma speak without interruption, as they wanted him to explain why he dismissed Finance Minister, Nhlanhla Nene in December.
Journalists have submitted 800 applications for accreditation to cover the SONA. So far, 727 have been granted. Last year, 600 journalists covered the event.
Economists have expressed little optimism of meaningful improvement in the Rand value for the year ahead. They’ve predicted that State of the Nation Address will deliver a message of fiscal responsibility.
Message to leaders and constituents
The Holy Quran describes good governance as the law of justice, a just and principled order, and compliance of rights and responsibilities in a society.
“O you who believe stand up as a witness for Allah in all fairness, and do not let the hatred of people deviate you from justice (‘adl). Be just, this is closest to piety. (Quran, Al-Maidah, 5:8)
The Islamic view of good governance is qualitative and not mechanical. In making appointments of public officials, merit matters. The Islamic perspective of merit to rule is one that is based on the rule of law, submission to an Almighty power, empathetic justice, trust, integrity and promise keeping.
Muslims are reminded that we sometimes have to choose between a strong Muslim with weak leadership skills, or, a strong leader with moderate or weak Islamic understanding.
The example cited of this is Amr ibn al ‘Aas (ra). He had been a Muslim for only four months when he was appointed by the Prophet (pbuh) to lead the Muslims at the battle of Dhat al Salasil. A leader with weak or inadequate expertise can bring disaster to an organisation whereas a skilled leader may advance and help the same organisation. Even if the skilled leader is deficient in Islamic practice, his shortcomings can be made up through the “shura process” of decision-making.
In the case of our country where Muslims make up a tiny minority of fewer than 2%, we at Radio Islam encourage the Muslim community of South Africa to remain a working part of elective and good governance processes. We cannot become apathetic to being part of good governance, even at a consultative level.
The roots of Islam in South Africa go back 365 years when Muslim slaves from the Indian subcontinent and Indonesia and political exiles from Dutch colonies, many of them learned Muslim scholars, were brought to the Cape. South African Muslims became one, completely integrated into South African society. We have influenced the politics, freedom, languages, education, economy, and vibrant cultures of our society right from the beginning.
We are them, and they are us. Together, let’s move South Africa forward.
Watch a live-stream of the #Sona2016 adddress here.
Umm Abdillah is part of development and strategy at Radio Islam's Programming department. Catch her on air hosting The Reminders Programme on Wednesdays between 10-11 am. She can be contacted at email@example.com or @zanah_za on Twitter.