By Yul Derek Davids, Ben Roberts, Narnia Bohler-Muller and Gary Pienaar• 21 February 2020
President Cyril Ramaphosa was confronted with a country facing numerous pressing challenges when he delivered his State of the Nation Address (SONA) on 13 February. These include struggling state-owned enterprises, poor economic performance and outlook, high levels of corruption, regular disruptive and violent protest action, and unacceptably high levels of unemployment, inequality and poverty.
This unfavourable situation has resulted in widespread public protest action across South Africa. Protest action is not new and scholars have argued that these protests are a result of institutional failure to provide satisfactory basic services, while others maintain that citizen satisfaction is also a function of expectations of government’s performance. The government must, therefore, address the concerns of citizens to prevent escalating protest action and maintain and restore the trust of citizens in government and our constitutional democracy.
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