Democratic Alliance (DA) leader John Steenhuisen tore into President Cyril Ramaphosa’s response to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate on Thursday 18 February 2021. In an interview with eNCA just outside Parliament, he said the president should talk less and spring to action.
Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa’s response was simply a repetition of some of the things he already addressed.
RAMAPHOSA OUT OF TOUCH WITH THE REALITY OF SOUTH AFRICANS
Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa spoke of a state pharmaceutical company that could create vaccines.
“We’ve got a state pharmaceutical company, it was set up in 2012 and it has been nowhere in this COVID-19 pandemic so clearly more talk from nowhere land. I’m the first person to look for the positives in any situation but today the president just failed fundamentally to deal with the critical issues that are holding us back from filling that glass all the way to the top,” said Steenhuisen.
“Things like corruption, things like a determined time frame on Eskom and electricity. He said we must smell the coffee but we cannot even put the kettle on often because the electricity is off so really I think even more out of touch speech today with what the lived reality is for most South Africans,” he added.
‘NO PROGRESS THERE’ – STEENHUISEN
When asked if there was any progress, Steenhuisen said we are yet to see a big politician in jail, therefore there has been no progress on corruption.
“We’ve got rolling blackouts around the country that is killing our industry and killing jobs – no progress. Jobs have gone backward, we’ve lost millions more jobs so there’s no progress there. Crime is up, gender-based violence is up, no progress there,” he said.
“It’s gotta be about less waffle from the podium in Parliament and more concrete plans. That’s how things change. Not from talk in the Union Buildings, by bringing your reform agenda to the floor of Parliament and getting it passed. I’ve shown them a path to achieve this reform agenda, it’s up to him now to take the offer up,” he added.
Steenhuisen went on to say that the DA would proactively table an agenda of reform.
“Those private members bills have already started going in and more will be tabled and we’re going to use the first five months of this year to table those private members bills that will actually see concrete reforms taking place, not the talk we’ve heard in the house because I can guarantee you that most of the stuff we’ve heard from the president’s SONA last week and again today, we’re going to talking about again next year.”
Ramaphosa wasn’t too bothered by the critics though;
“Much of what we heard from the opposition benches over the last two days was little more than name-calling and mud-slinging. It is the business of Parliament to engage not in insults, but on what is needed to restore confidence and to bring stability to our nation. We are undertaking critical actions at a time of great difficulty,” he said.