Bosasa, economy and CR17 campaign: Cyril Ramaphosa tackles tough questions
Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday addressed the National Assembly in a quarterly question-and-answer session where he answered tough questions brought forward by MPs.
The Q & A session tackled issues such as the NHI, the economy and allegations into state capture and corruption involving African Global Operations, the company formerly known as Bosasa.
We take a look at five highlights from Ramaphosa's Q and A session.
1. Inquiry into Bosasa
When asked whether he would institute a "full-scale, independent inquiry" on Bosasa, the president insisted there was no reason for it.
"There is therefore absolutely no reason to establish a new inquiry to investigate a matter that is already being investigated by a sitting Commission of Inquiry.
"As a country, and as leaders, we should direct our efforts towards supporting the Zondo Commission of Inquiry and urging all those with information relevant to its mandate to make themselves available to the Commission.
"We need also to support and equip the National Prosecuting Authority to pursue investigations and prosecutions where there is evidence of criminality.
Economy and rising unemployment were two of the key issues during the Q and A. When asked about the poor performance of the South African economy, Ramaphosa said economic growth and job creation is the apex priority of his administration.
"To support job creation an amount of R600 million has been provisionally allocated to support rural and township entrepreneurs.
"The Employee Tax Incentive has been extended to 2029 to enable more employers to take advantage of its provisions to hire more young people.
Ramaphosa announced that an e-visa system will be piloted as part of modernising the current system, in a bid to attract more tourists as well as more highly-skilled professionals.
"The African Continental Free Trade Area, which is planned to come into effect on 1 July next year, is expected to fundamentally reshape the South African economy.
3. CR17 campaign
Ramaphosa had tough questions to answer in this Q & A as the issue of the CR17 campaign reared its head. When asked on the details of the potential funders for the campaign or the people involved in the fundraising, Ramaphosa insisted the campaign was legitimate and 'necessary effort to promote the renewal' of the ANC.
"I initiated that discussion in the last NEC (of the ANC) where I said this whole matter has brought to the fore a question we need to address as a political party.
"But others have a more sinister agenda, using leaked information selectively to undermine the positive changes that have been brought about in this country since the ANC’s 54th National Conference.
"The CR17 campaign was a legitimate, forward-looking and necessary effort to promote the renewal of the governing party and broader society, undertaken under difficult conditions.
"In its funding and its activities, there was no wrongdoing, no criminality and no abuse of public funds or resources.
"Those who contributed to the campaign – whether as organisers, volunteers, as members of the ANC, as service providers or donors, including myself – did so out of a genuine concern for the future of the country.
The National Health Insurance (NHI) came under the spotlight as Ramaphosa asked about South Africa's readiness to implement the NHI Bill. The president was also questioned on the benefits of the health care system.
"The NHI Fund will contract with only those hospitals and clinics that meet international quality standards. The NHI Fund will separate the purchase of health services from the delivery of services, thereby increasing value for money.
"It will help to ensure that funds, staff, medicine and equipment are more fairly distributed. It will further enhance the quality of services delivered because all those who receive contracts must be able to provide services of a specified quality. It will help improve efficiency, transparency and accountability.
5. Land reform
Ramaphosa once again tackled the issue of land reform when asked if he intends to implement the recommendations of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture.
"The acceleration of land reform is essential for the transformation of society, for tackling poverty and growing the economy.
"Through providing poor South Africans with land on which to farm, to live and to run businesses, we will be able to break the cycle of poverty in which many people are trapped.
"The Panel has called on government to immediately identify well-located and unused or under-utilised land and buildings for the purposes of urban settlement and to prioritise poor tenants for upgrading their rights.
The Panel argues that expropriation without compensation is not, by itself, a solution to land reform, but is just one of the means of acquiring land.
Ramaphosa said progress is being made in the development of an integrated model for farmer support.IOL