Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech came under fire in Parliament on Monday during the debate on the State of the Nation Address.
EFF leader Julius Malema launched an attack on Ramaphosa's speech, saying he was off the mark when he said government does not create jobs, but the private sector is doing it.
This was after Ramaphosa last Thursday said 80% of jobs in the country were created by the private sector. He said the government creates an enabling environment for jobs.
ANC ministers and senior MPs came to Ramaphosa’s defence during the debate on the Sona on Monday.
ANC chief whip Pemmy Majodina said Ramaphosa’s speech was not a diversion to the ANC’s programme.
Minister in the Presidency Mondli Gungubele hit back and said Ramaphosa’s speech was not what opposition parties were interpreting it to be.
Malema had accused the president of a pro-business speech.
“When faced with the problem of white poverty and crisis, the apartheid government used the state to create opportunities and almost completely eradicated joblessness and poverty amongst white people. Today, they say government can’t create jobs. It must be the private sector,” said Malema.
“But we know during apartheid, they established state-owned institutions with the aim and purposes of employing white people,” he said.
“The poverty and joblessness is getting worse under the current administration, with more than 1.7 million people who were previously employed losing jobs and the majority if not all these jobs were in the private sector, which we are told can create jobs. Despite this basic verifiable statistic, the president of the former liberation movement comes here and say that government does not create jobs and the hopeless people of our people must wait for the private sector to create jobs for them. Sending our people to the private sector for jobs is like sending cattle to the slaughter,” said Malema.
But Gungubele said they did not want to be diverted from the main message of what Ramaphosa said on Thursday.
“We stand to be diverted to spend time facts from ideas. We have known our philosophy of a mixed economy. We won’t repeat it here,” said Gungubele.