Covid-19 forces Cyril Ramaphosa to reveal the State of the Nation without bells and whistles
Cape Town - All eyes will be on President Cyril Ramaphosa when he delivers the State of the Nation Address in a half-empty House on Thursday, and without the usual pomp and ceremony.
But the security cluster said on Wednesday parts of the Cape Town CBD would be on lockdown, with restrictions in certain areas and some of the roads close to Parliament closed off.
Speaker Thandi Modise said due to Covid-19 safety protocols they would only have a total of 50 people inside the Chamber, and this would include 30 MPs from different political parties.
The EFF has chosen not to send any of its members to the Chamber, but will join the virtual session.
The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) confirmed that some of the roads would be closed off in Cape Town.
“There is a no-fly zone over the Parliament precinct and the areas surrounding it, and this restriction will also apply on the day of the event. No civilian aircraft or remotely piloted aircraft system (drones) are permitted in the restricted area,” said police spokesperson Brenda Muridili.
The SONA happens as political parties called on Ramaphosa to fix the economy, fight Covid-19 and stop corruption.
The DA, SACP and Cope say they want more from Ramaphosa.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa must take decisive action against the economic crisis and the pandemic.
“This has to be a SONA of detailed, meaningful and measurable plans to protect the people from the virus that looks to be part of our lives for the foreseeable future; to protect our economy and set it on a path of growth, and to protect our democracy from those who have subverted it to gain power and wealth. If he cannot do this, then 2021 will be a very dark year for our country,” said Steenhuisen.
Cope also said Ramaphosa had to act against corruption, create jobs and provide a social security net for the unemployed.
Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said if no action was taken about these things, the country would be in serious danger.
“Firstly, we want the president to answer the question of this vaccine, because this is a crisis now. The president must tell us what went wrong when they were purchasing the vaccines,” said Bloem.
He said Ramaphosa should also deal with the rising unemployment figures in the country.
Bloem said his party was concerned that there was no money in the fiscus to extend the R350 grant to provide relief to millions of unemployed people.
The SACP also called on Ramaphosa to fix the state of the economy and fight the scourge of gender-based violence.
The party also said Ramaphosa should consider extending the R350 grant to the unemployed as a relief measure.
“The continuation of the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant will go a long way in mitigating the impact of the pandemic forcing more people into destitution, in the context of the absence of a comprehensive social security system. The continuation of the Covid-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant should be institutionalised as a step towards establishing a minimum income guarantee, and building a comprehensive social security system,” said the SACP in a statement.