Last week’s State of the Nation Address was a decidedly dull affair.
Not because President Ramaphosa addressed dull issues, but rather because of the sombre circumstances we find ourselves in.
While not everyone was happy with his speech, Ramaphosa addressed all the issues relevant to the nation at the moment, with varying degrees of satisfaction.
It is reasonable for us to expect each Sona to be better than the last, but in all fairness, if we are going to compare to last year, then Ramaphosa had an impossible task on his hands.
At last year’s speech, we were weeks away from a pandemic lockdown, the severity of which nobody saw coming.
It is now almost a full year of what started out as a 21-day lockdown.
And so much has happened in the past 11 months, that there was no way Ramaphosa was going to be able to up the ante.
Never mind moving forward, he had to manage the status quo successfully, as he got hit with one unique and overwhelming crisis after another.
So unsurprisingly, the opposition political parties were as unhappy with the president’s speech as they are likely to be with Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s upcoming budget speech.
And, of course, it is part of their job to be critical of the ruling party, but I can’t help but wonder how any of them would have fared if they were faced with leading the nation in the face of a global public health crisis like Covid-19.
Vigilance and criticism is an important part of a democracy, but not merely for the sake of it.
Yes, the expectations are high from our government, but the fact is, they are doing extremely well under the circumstances.
As I watch how the rest of the world is dealing with the Covid challenges, I realise how we as a country feature strongly in how well we are managing our own situation.
Yes, there is a lot to object to and feel disappointed about, but we need to keep in mind that none of us have ever been through something like this before, so there will be mistakes.
But ultimately the big picture results are looking good.
We must not confuse government’s handling of the crisis with our own frustrations and borderline depression.
And we must be aware of those wanting to politicise our frustrations for their own benefit.