DA leader John Steenhuisen File picture: African News Agency (ANA)
DA leader John Steenhuisen File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

’Nothing new’ in Ramaphosa’s reply to Sona debate

By Siyabonga Mkhwanazi Time of article published Feb 19, 2021

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Cape Town – President Cyril Ramaphosa’s reply to the State of the Nation Address has come under fire from opposition parties who said he has not responded to the issues they raised in the debate this week.

In his reply yesterday, Ramaphosa said the economy was picking up with some people regaining jobs, a study found this week.

He has tasked Minister of Higher Education and Training, Science and Technology Blade Nzimande to select a group of scientists that will work on developing a vaccine for the country to fight Covid-19 and future pandemics.

Ramaphosa said they will continue with the vaccination programme after the rollout of the Johnson & Johnson doses.

But the DA, ACDP and Cope said Ramaphosa said nothing new in his reply to the Sona debate.

Despite being criticised by opposition parties for not being able to fight corruption and grow the economy, Ramaphosa said government would deal with these issues.

“We will rebuild our economy in a manner that is more inclusive, that creates jobs and that lifts people out of poverty. We will put an end to corruption, keep our streets safe and build a state that can effectively serve the people.

’’We are undertaking these critical actions at a time of great difficulty,” said Ramaphosa.

He said he wants local scientists to develop a vaccine.

“I have asked the Minister of Higher Education and Innovation to put together a team of scientists to begin the process of developing our own vaccines to deal with this and future pandemics,” said Ramaphosa.

He said the Covid-19 relief grant has cushioned many people who had lost jobs.

The Department of Social Development has announced that the three-month extension of the R350 grant to the unemployed would provide social security to millions of people.

This is in addition to the 18 million people already on the social security system.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa said nothing new in his reply other than what he told the nation last week Thursday during the Sona. He said the president was out of touch with reality.

Steenhuisen said it was a repetition of some of the things Ramaphosa said last week, and they wanted him to raise critical issues.

ACDP leader Reverend Kenneth Meshoe said they were left disappointed that the speech did not say anything new.

“He ignored the questions we raised and continued as if he was on Chapter 2 of what he said last week,” said Meshoe, adding that this was a missed opportunity by Ramaphosa.

Cope spokesperson Dennis Bloem said they were also disappointed that there was nothing in the reply by the president.

He said the president ignored the issues raised by the opposition parties.

“The president is not responding to what the opposition parties have said,” said Bloem.

Political Bureau

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