Economic Freedom Fighters sing on their way to the National Assemly for the State of the Nation Address, delivered by president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)
Economic Freedom Fighters sing on their way to the National Assemly for the State of the Nation Address, delivered by president Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Phando Jikelo / African News Agency (ANA)

#SONA2019: Ramaphosa dreams while SA lives a nightmare - opposition

By Chantall Presence, Getrude Makhafola and Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Jun 20, 2019

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Parliament -  Leader of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), Julius Malema, on Thursday slammed President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address (SONA) as having abandoned the National Development Plan (NDP) and the commitment to expropriate land.

Delivering his SONA, Ramaphosa reminded the country that it was on this day 106 years ago when the apartheid government implemented the Natives Land Act which dispossessed black people of their land.

Ramaphosa's party, the governing African National Congress (ANC), in 2017 adopted a policy to expropriate land without compensation in a bid to address the injustices of the past.   

Reacting to the speech outside Parliament, Malema said that the ANC has abandoned the agenda to expropriate land without compensation.

"The president said nothing about the land. That which the president said is going to happen is what has been happening and has not delivered land to our people. The ANC has abandoned the agenda to expropriate land without compensation because they make black people stupid," Malema said.

"They used it during elections, the elections are over. Instead of expropriating land without compensation, the president is daydreaming. The days of dreaming are over, he must be woken up. The man wanted to be president for the last 30 years, he still doesn't know what he wants to do for South Africa."

Ramaphosa said that youth unemployment, which sits at 50 percent, was a national crisis, saying that government will proceed without delay to implement a comprehensive plan to create no fewer than two million new jobs for young people within the next decade.

But Malema slammed this, saying that it was a departure from the figures of jobs earmarked to be created by 2030 in the NDP. 

"If you look at jobs, he says two million jobs over the next 10 years, 200 000 jobs a year. That is what the National Development Plan says. The NDP speaks about 11 million jobs in 2030, so he will create two million jobs by 2029, meaning he has abandoned the NDP," Malema said. 

"The man spoke about one million youth employment initiatives, but according to their own website, only 6,000 of those initiatives were created. The 11 million jobs of the NDP has been abandoned and we have a new plan called dreams. He must be honest that the economy is not growing at the rate we want, therefore I have no idea what to do."

EFF leader Julius Malema reacts to President Cyril Ramaphosa's SONA. Video: Lubabalo Poswa/African News Agency (ANA)

Ramaphosa's SONA was nothing but a re-affirmation of what is in the country's Constitution and without bold plans, said Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane.

"He made statements about a dream while South Africans are living in a nightmare... a complete wishlist of things he said before with more rhetoric and no substance," Maimane said. 

"I felt that the president didn't put forward bold plans or reforms, he simply affirmed things that are already in the Constitution ... of course we want education to work. 

"But is he going to stand up to unions such as Sadtu and his own party that wants to nationalise the Reserve Bank ... these are the questions he left South Africans wondering about. 

DA leader Mmusi Maimane. Video: Lubabalo Poswa/African News Agency (ANA)

"For many South Africans at home tonight, they do not see an immediate plan for their future," Maimane said.

However, GOOD party leader Patricia De Lille agreed with Ramaphosa that a new 'smart city' would be a successful venture. De Lille was appointed Minister of Public Works after the 8 May general elections. De Lille said she had already mulled about a new city when she was mayor of Cape Town.

"I am very excited about it ... we failed to integrate our cities. You can build a new city to deal with Apartheid spatial planning and bring spatial justice. The emphasis of president is on partnerships ... government cannot do this alone. 

"We need public and private partnerships and civil society to conceive this new idea ... we must just agree on where to build this new city ... it is exciting, it (is) happening all over the world," she said.

Ramaphosa said it was time South Africa built a new 'smart city' with bullet trains and smart ways of doing things to coincide with the fourth industrial revolution.

Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewald has said Ramaphosa's statements on land expropriation during his SONA indicated he was dreaming. 

Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewald Video: Lubabalo Poswa/African News Agency (ANA)

"What [Ramaphosa] said tonight is that they are going to continue with expropriation without compensation. It is quite clear. And we reject that," Groenewald said. 

He was speaking to the media outside Parliament in Cape Town following Ramaphosa's address. 

Land expropriation without compensation would be detrimental to the economic growth of the country, Groenewald said. 

"I want to say that the president has got a nice dream, but unfortunately when he wakes up, he will find he is living in a nightmare. He said quite a lot of things - it's a wish list, and of course everybody would like to have that. But we want to know how is he going to do it?"

Groenewald said that Ramaphosa's take on users paying their Eskom bill was an example of poor implementation. 

"He said people must realise that if they want to use electricity, they have to pay for it. My question is, if people do not pay - they don't pay at this moment - are they going to cut off the electricity? 

"We want practical reasons and practical proposals on how he is going to solve the problem," Groenewald said. 

Ramaphosa said during his address that a "significant portion" of the bailout for the cash-strapped power supplier would be fast-tracked. 

"We agree that Eskom plays a vitally important role in the economy, but now we are going to speed up the R230 billion [bailout] to ensure that Eskom gets the money earlier than it expects," said Groenewald. 

"Eskom is not at this moment on a profitable basis. Is this only temporary? What is going to happen in the end? We are worried about Eskom and it is quite clear that it is emergency procedures and measures that the government [is using] to try and save Eskom at this moment. 

Groenewald agreed with Ramaphosa that Eskom was vital to the South African economy, "but the FF+ believes [Eskom is overstaffed] and must get back people who have the competency to do the job".

"And if they do not do that, I am afraid it won't be able to survive,"  Groenewald said. 

African News Agency/ANA

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