Friday, 10 February 2017

Darren Olivier

Taking credit for the good in SONA 2017

Two years ago Afro-Leo got stuck in to the SONA 2015 address by Jacob Zuma. For our international readers, SONA refers to the "State of the Nation Address" by South Africa's president. RSA's annual health check.

At the time Afro Leo lamented the lack of attention to IP in that address. Like a doctor failing to check sugar levels. The post listed five reasons why IP should have at least deserved a mention and invited JZ to reach out to the blog for some assistance with the address in future.

Despite high hopes JZ did not reach out to Afro-IP but his SONA 2017 speech last night reveals five notable clues that the Afro-IP 2015 post made it into his "SONA prep notes 2017" folder:
  1. In the first 15 odd paras of the address there is much reference to South Africa's rich and important history. The freedom fighters, the famous Hector Peterson photograph by Sam Nzima, and even Delville Wood. The focus on heritage preservation has been part of the national IP agenda, if not by JZ then by his King, Goodwill Zwelethini, for some time. Afro-IP's latest post highlights this development as did the 2015 SONA post.
  2. Addressing unemployment by focussing on creative industries and IP commercialisation suggested in the 2015 post, finds mention in the 2017 address:
    "We are also happy that musicians and actors amongst others heeded our call to unite and have formed the Creative Industries Federation of South Africa. The Presidency has established the Presidential Creative Industries Task Team to support our artists." [ed: boom]
    "The Department of Science and Technology will finalise the Sovereign Innovation fund, a Public private funding partnership aimed at commercialising innovations that are from ideas from the public and the private sectors" ..." I am also happy to announce that the state-owned pharmaceutical company, Ketlaphela, has been established."
  3. The importance of assistance in the agricultural sector using skills (hopefully those of displaced famers with knowhow suggested in the 2015 post) "We introduced the Agri-Parks programme, aimed at increasing the participation of small holder farmers in agricultural activities." [ed: nice]
  4. JZ acknowledges the need to make South Africa an attractive investment prospect by focussing on infrastructure to support business (eg the IP Office - CIPC) "We have heard the points about the need to create the correct investment support infrastructure [ed read about them on Afro-IP's SONA 2015 post]. We need to empower SMMEs to accelerate their growth. Access to high-quality, innovative business support can dramatically improve the success rate of new ventures."
  5. The address does not mention IP. Clearly that would have been too much of a giveaway. Like can feeding Afro Leo. A highly controversial idea which is, in any event, not in Afro Leo's best health interests. A lion with a boep can't hunt for IP morsels across Africa effectively and JZ gets credit for that omission.

Darren Olivier

Darren Olivier

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