President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa Picture: Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

MPs set to grill Ramaphosa after 'lukewarm' SONA

By SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI Time of article published Feb 17, 2020

Share this article:

Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa faces more tough questions in the National Assembly when the debate on the State of the Nation Address gets under way on Tuesday.

Opposition parties had already slammed Ramaphosa’s speech last Thursday as lukewarm and not offering answers to SA's challenges.

Parties have said Ramaphosa had not dealt with the economy, the energy crisis or real issues facing cash-strapped State-Owned Entities. There were also no tangible solutions to rising crime levels and gender-based violence.

On some issues Ramaphosa indicated that Finance Minister Tito Mboweni will give details in his Budget speech next week. Ramaphosa had among other things announced that financially strong municipalities would be able to procure energy.

Opposition parties said the president had not given details on effective measures to rein in those implicated in corruption and state capture. Civil society and opposition parties have called for law enforcement agencies to act on some of the issues arising out of the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture.

Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, who chairs the commission, has asked for a 10-month extension in the High Court to conclude his work.

Opposition parties also said Ramaphosa failed to make bold decisions on the economy, unemployment and rampant crime. The economy has been stagnant for some time now, and Stats SA released figures that unemployment has remained unchanged.

Several companies have since the beginning of the year announced thousands of job cuts.

SOEs remained a key focus for the government. Even Mboweni was on Twitter on Sunday asking the public how to fix SOEs. A number of users said no bailouts should be given to them. The government has over the years pumped billions of rand into bailouts of the struggling state entities.

It is not the first time that Mboweni has spoken out against SOEs. When he assumed office in October 2018 he called for the privatisation of SAA.

But the ANC has remained firm that no state entity should be sold. It said everything should be done to keep the entities under government control.

Ramaphosa is also to face questions on crime. Most parties warned that if the government failed to deal with crime it would impact on stability.

In his Sona, Ramaphosa announced extra training measures for police to improve the work of detectives.

National Prosecuting Authority boss Shamila Batohi had last year complained that budget cuts were impacting on the functioning of the NPA. In the mini budget the National Treasury injected an extra R1.3billion into the NPA to fight crime and corruption.

Political Bureau

Share this article:

Related Articles