President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS

Parliament - The DA says the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday could not be simply be talk, but required action.

Briefing the media on their SONA expectations in Parliament on Wednesday, DA leader Mmusi Maimane said SONA required bold decisions if the future of South Africa was to be safeguarded.

"SONA gives an opportunity so that post-2019 elections we can look at building an economy that is not only sustainable and future-looking but inclusive for all South Africans.

"The only question that must be on tomorrow's (Thursday's) agenda is how we ensure that 10 million citizens who are unemployed have opportunities to find work and that requires us more than anything to focus on how we build better partnerships with business but improve on the livelihoods of South Africans," he said.

Maimane added that the country needed to build a capable state.

"We can't go tomorrow as if it is business as usual. We need reforms. We need deliberate and intentional reforms to get South African economy in the right direction."

He insisted that Ramaphosa should table real reforms.

"He can't behave like a magician who Ace Magashule uses to reveal his tricks."

Geordin Hill-Lewis, DA shadow minister on finance, said Ramaphosa's greatest challenge on Thursday would be to try and return the country's economy to a growth trajectory.

"We can't possible continue in this no growth as we saw in the first quarter negative growth environment because that adds to unemployment woes, poverty woes and gives Treasury no additional budget with which to work. We have to grow," Hill-Lewis said.

He also said the biggest impediments to growth were terrible business and investment sentiments particularly in mining and manufacturing sector.

Hill-Lewis also spoke about electricity supply problems and bailouts to Eskom and SAA.

"It is clear that there are no cards left to play with. Any further financial support, which has to be enormous, has to be contingent on real progress in fundamental restructuring of energy sector in order to be competitive."

He added that they wanted to see an end to all speculation about the mandate of SARB and nationalisation of the central bank as well as self-defeating discussion around expropriation of private property in South Africa.

Hill-Lewis also said there was need for a clear turnaround plan for SOEs.

"We believe strongly President Ramaphosa should announce and make clear that SAA will receive no further bail out from the state and will be placed in business rescue as soon as possible."

DA chief John Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa should come up with a plan to addres the spike in rural safety attacks, murder and gang activity.

"It's time we have a plan to address these. The president has to set out specific plans," Steenhsen.

"We need a clear specific plan to deal with crime and criminality," he said, adding that policing powers should be given to provinces in order to overcome provincial policing dynamics.

"We believe this will allow SAPS to tackle crime more effectively than at the moment," Steenhuisen said.

Political Bureau