South Africans are still waiting for tangible promises from their president. With each year’s State of the Nation Address, there is hope that things will change for the best.

As we go to print, the President Jacob Zuma will most likely be in the midst of his 2012 address, but let’s reflect on the previous years:

The State of the Nation Address provides the president with a platform to communicate with the Parliament – and, as importantly, with the people of South Africa.

Opposition parties have criticised Zuma for making empty promises every year. Even though he failed to keep his promise of making 2011 “the year of jobs”, our president does keep some of his promises.

In his address at the ANC’s 99th anniversary celebration in Polokwane last year, Zuma introduced a scheme which entailed students having their NSFAS (National Students Financial Aid Scheme) loans converted into a bursary that wouldn’t need to be repaid.

Yes, he kept his promise as most  students that passed all their courses didn’t have to repay their loans in their final year.

Education is the key to success; government should therefore ensure that our children get quality education. Pupils worked hard to pass their matric but they couldn’t enrol at most universities as there was limited space.

The example of the the mother of a prospective University of Johannesburg student who died in a stampede that saw 20 other people injured is symbolic of the limited access to higher education.

The State of the Nation Address coincides with that part of the academic calendar when first years are still finding their feet at varsity.

These students will soon be looking for employment but their chances of finding it are still slim. Unemployment is still a problem in South Africa; our president must ensure that he puts job creation strategies in place.

Converting a loan into a bursary is pointless if a graduate is unable to find employment after leaving the university.