Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa is facing a threat of another EFF disruption in Parliament - with the party demanding that he act against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan.
Ramaphosa was expected to respond on Thursday to EFF leader Julius Malema’s threat to make his life difficult in Parliament, until he has acted against Gordhan.
Malema told Ramaphosa on Thursday the EFF did not disrupt former president Jacob Zuma’s appearances in Parliament because they did not like him, but because he had outsourced his functions as head of state to the Guptas, and undermined institutions.
But Ramaphosa said he was fixing the state-owned entities, and warned against those who were corrupt.
“To those who use the public service and our SOEs to line their pockets we say goodbye to you, our law-enforcement authorities will accompany you to the dock,” Ramaphosa warned.
Malema, who spoke after the president, said they want him to act against Gordhan, and implement the public protector’s findings against the minister.
“You can appoint him (Gordhan) any time after he has cleared his name,” said Malema of Gordhan. Gordhan must step aside until he had cleared his name, but as things stood the findings of the public protector remained in place, the EFF leader said.
DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Ramaphosa had not been bold in his decisions on the economy, the failing SOEs or against those implicated in the Zondo commission.
He said while the economy was faltering the president has been indecisive. The SOEs were in a mess and did not need billions of rand to get them out of financial trouble, Maimane said.
“Let us deal decisively with our SOEs: rather than bailing them out, split Eskom in two, bring in an equity partner for SAA, and let us review the mandates of the other SOEs,” he suggested.
The president announced a number of interventions in the troubled SOEs. Ramaphosa said his office was not afraid to act against anyone.
“This is a Presidency that is not afraid to act,” he added.
The president also told Parliament he was going ahead with the implementation of the National Health Insurance, saying it would allow the poor to get quality health care.
He said when he was at the G20 Summit in Osaka, Japan a few weeks ago, many countries were implementing universal health coverage.
This was the same message expressed by Health Minister Zweli Mkhize in Parliament last week in his department’s budget vote, that they would be sending 30 district managers to Japan, France, the UK and the other EU countries to be trained in the NHI.
Mkhize added that the National Treasury was working on the costing of the programme.