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‘Ramaphosa has taken us down the path of failure’ — opposition parties blast President ahead of State of the Nation Address

‘Ramaphosa has taken us down the path of failure’ — opposition parties blast President ahead of State of the Nation Address
South African Defence Force (SANDF) members parade during a dress rehearsal ahead of the State of the Nation Address on 8 February 2017 in Cape Town. (Photo: Gallo Images / Beeld / Jaco Marais)

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the State of the Nation Address (Sona) when Parliament reopens on Thursday. He faces immense criticism from opposition parties and threats from the EFF to disrupt the occasion.

The Democratic Alliance and ActionSA have hosted their own Sona events which look at how the government should be dealing with the ongoing problems faced by South Africans. They also looked at the shortcomings of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s administration.

DA leader John Steenhuisen delivered his speech on Tuesday morning in Cape Town, urging citizens to save South Africa. Steenhuisen said that as long as the ANC-led government is at the helm, rolling blackouts would continue, poverty and inequality would deepen and accelerating capital flight would turn the South African economy into an isolated basket case.

“The people have a binary choice to make that will irrevocably shape South Africa for generations to come,” Steenhuisen said.

“Nothing that President Ramaphosa says on Thursday will change this reality. In fact, Ramaphosa is the one who has taken us down this path of failure over the last five wasted years, during which time this country has rapidly gone backwards on every conceivable metric. The truth is that he has had his chance, and spectacularly blew it. The future of this country is no longer up to him, or to his party.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Here’s the State of the Nation Address you want to hear (but don’t hold your breath 

‘Lies to simply lure the voters’

In an open letter, African Transformation Movement leader Vuyo Zungula said Ramaphosa had failed to deliver a new dawn to South Africans as he had promised in his Sona of 2018.

“Some of the empty promises that were made in the February 2018 Sona, included Radical Economic Transformation where he said women and communities would be owners, managers and even financiers. He said land distribution programmes would be accelerated.

“It is now clear that these were all lies to simply lure the voters to vote for his party in the 2019 national elections… the ANC caucus in Parliament twisted the promised land expropriation without compensation, which was part of Mr Ramaphosa’s rhetoric in the February 2018 Sona.

“To the disgust of the left-leaning opposition parties, including the ATM, we discovered that the bill to amend [section] 25 of the Constitution to enable expropriation without compensation was now using a new phrase: ‘expropriation with nil compensation’… which in fact has the opposite effect. It’s not clear why Mr Ramaphosa and his party undermined the intelligence of the nation through such failed primary school trickery”, the letter reads.

Zungula said Ramaphosa had been found to be a part of an “embarrassingly unethical” situation — the Phala Phala forex theft saga.  

“The Independent Panel, comprised of a former Chief Justice, a judge and a senior counsel, was unanimous that Mr Ramaphosa has a prima facie case to answer in terms of violating his oath of office, flouting of [SA Reserve Bank] laws and regulations governing various aspects pertaining to foreign currency, probable tax evasion, failure to report a crime in his Phala Phala farm and violating the Constitution by engaging in other paid work.

“Mr Ramaphosa has rendered himself a constitutional delinquent who should respect the people of South Africa by announcing his resignation on the 9th of February 2023 instead of  peddling more lies under the guise of the State of the Nation Address.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: “Hundreds march demanding Ramaphosa address Basic Income Grant at State of the Nation Address

EFF makes threats

The EFF has already said it will interrupt Ramaphosa’s Sona yet again. Speaking at the party’s Gauteng Plenum at Emperors Palace over the weekend, party leader Julius Malema said: “We are going to show him what we are made of there in Parliament. We will never be addressed by a constitutional delinquent; we will be there and we are going to take him head-on and that is our relationship with him.”

Al Jama-ah’s Ganief Hendricks said he wanted Ramaphosa to zoom in on the country’s manufacturing industry as well as the high unemployment rate.

“His Excellency Cyril Ramaphosa should be giving top priority in his State of the Nation Address on the progress made on the locational programme he made that 1,000 products will be identified that will only be manufactured by businesses in townships, villages and the precincts, like the Cape Flats. The Al Jama-ah constituency wants to know which products have been localised, like peanut butter, and whether all previous brands are banned from being manufactured in South Africa, or imported.”

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The party also wanted the President to give “an undertaking that there will be universal free land ownership and that every South African from the age of 25 will be allocated a piece of land with a title deed. Al Jama-ah is looking forward to an announcement that every matriculant not pursuing further studies will be guaranteed a job as the first step to full employment in South Africa and also that plans are in place that the City of Johannesburg Metro will be digitised so it’s on its way to being a smart city.”

Read more in Daily Maverick: “The other side of Sona – Suffering Nation, Seething Nation

ActionSA hosted its own State of the Nation Address at the Ga-Rankuwa Industrial Park in the City of Tshwane. Party leader Herman Mashaba tried to convince attendees that ActionSA was a viable option to lead the country:

“The crises in South Africa are a long time in the making by an uncaring and corrupt government that has deprived South Africans of the hope for a better life for all.”

Ramaphosa will deliver his Sona on Thursday at the Cape Town City Hall.

The speech comes amid several issues facing South Africa, including high unemployment, rolling blackouts, poverty, increasing gender-based violence and lawlessness.

Ramaphosa also has to contend with the Section 89 Independent Panel report on the Phala Phala saga, which pointed out that he could be guilty of breaching the Preventing and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act 12 of 2004.

The panel stated that Ramaphosa should have reported the Phala Phala burglary and there was a suggestion that he deliberately intended not to investigate the crimes committed at the farm. DM


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