President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the 2019 state of the nation address. Photo: Supplied by GCIS.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the 2019 state of the nation address. Photo: Supplied by GCIS.

What Durban's civil society expects from Cyril Ramaphosa's SONA address

By Mphathi Nxumalo Time of article published Feb 13, 2020

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Durban - Civil society organisations have called for a clear plan of action from President Cyril Ramaphosa, when he delivers his State Of The Nation Address (SONA) on Thursday.

The calls were made as Ramaphosa has had to deal with numerous challenges, such as rescuing failing state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and a high unemployment rate among other issues.

Ben Madokwe, chairperson of the Active Citizens Movements, said they wanted Ramaphosa to come down hard on corruption, state capture and theft from municipalities.

Madokwe said they wanted a clear plan from the president on how he would deal with these challenges facing the country. “There has to be a clear plan from government when it comes to SOEs,” he said.

Cabinet ministers, who were not performing, he said, should be dealt with and people in positions of power needed to lead by example.

Madokwe said this as the EFF declared they planned to disrupt SONA because they wanted the president to fire Minister of Public Enterprise Pravin Gordhan. IOL reported yesterday that Parliament’s presiding officers - National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise and Amos Masondo, the chairperson of the National Council of Provinces - said they planned to clamp down on any unruly behaviour that occurred from Members of Parliament.

Environmental activist and co-ordinator of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, Desmond D’Sa said they were happy the president had acknowledged that climate change was real.

They expected Ramaphosa to say, during SONA, that fracking, oil-drilling and coal-powered stations would be brought to an end, and that there should be more investment in renewable energy. “We would also like to hear how Cyril will deal with corruption,” D’Sa said. They also wanted to hear how Ramaphosa would deal with poverty and get the poor out of the plight they were in.

Sbu Zikode, chairperson of Abahlali baseMjondolo, said he expected nothing new from the president. He said previous presidents did not touch on matters that affected the poor. “I have no confidence that he will touch on these issues. The State of the Nation Address is for the elite,” he said.

Zikode said they had written numerous times to the president, hoping he would deal with some of the challenges they faced as an organisation, but without any success.

Daily News

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