“That speech [SONA] made it clear that the ANC’s “tripartite alliance” with COSATU and the South African Communist Party no longer takes precedence over the need to attract investment”.

“That speech was remarkable not for what it said, but for whom it addressed.  There was a complete shift in its audience.   When I got home, I switched on the television to follow the comments on the speech and there was Gwede Mantashe, the ANC Secretary General, explaining why there had been hardly any mention of labour.  Gwede’s core message was: “we have to worry about the unemployed”.   Hallelujah.  Unions, he argued, could not claim to represent the unemployed.  It was unrealistic to focus exclusively on “decent” jobs when millions of people had no job at all.  Economic inclusion was the first priority.   I think there has been a fundamental shift in government that says: our core constituency has to be the unemployed, not the unions.   So, in the past week there has been a great leap forward in our progress towards entrenching the rule of law and accountability”.

Read the complete version of Helen Zille’s latest weekly commentary: Helen Zille’s optimistic – SA made 300 years of progress in a week published by BizNews.com yesterday

Helen Zille’s weekly commentary is fast becoming a must read.  The Western Cape Premier holds no punches and this week is punching a good news story.  Following what many dubbed a ‘damp squid’ of a State of the Nation by President Jacob Zuma, Zille counter-intuitively is rather optimistic, going as far as saying it’s the best she’s felt since 1996.  She says the speech was remarkable not for what it said, but for whom it addressed, there was a complete shift in its audience.  It’s another great read, and is the good news story we’ve been looking for, hopefully it’ll lead to a few more.  – Stuart Lowman