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The red berets tone down the drama, say Ramaphosa’s s...

South Africa

SONA 2019

The red berets tone down the drama, say Ramaphosa’s speech was that of a ‘dreamer’

EFF leader Julius Malema and his deputy Floyd Shivambu among dancing and singing party members on the red carpet before the State of the Nation Address at Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday 20 June 2019. (Photo: Leila Dougan)

Despite a few ‘outstanding issues’ since the last Parliament, the EFF chose not to disrupt the State of the Nation Address this time. Instead, they opted to raise their grievances with the media after the proceedings.

We need a president who is awake, not a dreamer,” said EFF leader Julius Malema on the steps of Parliament after the first State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the 6th Parliament on 20 June 2019.

The EFF, infamous for its parliamentary disruptions, opted to keep things tame this time, waiting until after the speech to voice their disappointment. The party held a caucus before the event to discuss plans for SONA.

EFF deputy president and chief whip Floyd Shivambu, who was accompanied by new EFF MP Kenny Motsamai, said the party would not disrupt proceedings for no reason.

We always use the parliamentary rules to raise urgent questions,” said Shivambu.

Shivambu said that there were several “outstanding issues” from the last Parliament which caused the EFF concern, with land expropriation and the mandate of the Reserve Bank at the top of the list.

But, he warned, the EFF did not want to hear “fictional stories” from Ramaphosa.

Yet it seems the EFF feels that is exactly what they got from the president’s speech.

The days of dreaming are over!” exclaimed Malema.

The EFF leader said it appeared that Ramaphosa had abandoned the agenda to expropriate land without compensation. “(He) has not delivered the land to our people,” Malema said.

Ramaphosa referred to the land issue in his address, saying that “in the next five years, (the government) will accelerate the provision of well-located housing and land to poor South Africans”. He also said The Presidency had received a report from the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture which would inform the finalisation of a land reform programme — which includes releasing public land for urban settlements and farming. R3.9-billion had also been set aside to support black commercial farmers.

South Africans were waiting with bated breath for the red berets to turn Parliament on its head, especially after their festive entrance on the red carpet. Clothed in their signature red workers’ uniforms, they danced and sang struggle songs as Malema, Mbuyiseni Ndlozi and Shivambu led the charge.

Time will tell if the revolutionaries will shake up Parliament once again. DM


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