#SONADebate: 'Are smart cities and bullet trains achievable?'
Durban - The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) has pulled no punches in its assessment of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address last with its leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi saying Ramaphosa’s dream of a bullet train was possible to dream but questioning whether it was possible to achieve.
In his debate in the National Assembly on Tuesday Buthelezi Ramaphosa’s plea to “imagine an impossible future” and rallying cry that there was nothing the country could not achieve without working in unison was bold dream but questioned how it could be achieved if the senior leadership of the ANC was failing to work together.
“Of course we all want the country you dream of. But do we dare dream of building smart cities tomorrow, when today we can’t even get the basics right?
“The picture you painted of hardship and poverty is familiar to us. The picture of bullet trains and cities with integrated ICT is possible to imagine. But is it possible to achieve?” queried Buthelezi.
He said that with South Africa’s going through 3.2% drop in its Growth Domestic Product for the first quarter of 2019 the country was in deeper trouble now than we were then and that the country needed hope and economic growth right away.
He said that Ramaphosa’s SONA lacked the now and how.
“My difficulty is not with what you want to achieve. It is all laudable. My difficulty is whether it’s achievable. It feels as though the buck is being passed to the next administration.
“If all our goals have a timeline of 5 or 10 years, you won’t be here to answer for them, Your Excellency. So what about now? What about tomorrow?” Buthelezi asked.
He added that the country did not have 10 years to achieve Ramaphosa’s vision for a 10 year plan for economic growth.
“How do we know that things will really better, and not worse? We need solutions now.
"We know how heavily government is relying on foreign investment as a lifeline for our economy.
“So we welcome the news that 250 billion Rands worth of projects are in the implementation phase. Our enthusiasm slips, though, when we remember that R230 billion is needed by Eskom. We really are chasing our own tails,” Buthelezi said.
Meanwhile the Democratic Alliance’s Mlindi Nhanha, MP in the National Council of Provinces, said that “ANC rot” would render Ramaphosa’s SONA dreams useless.
“Mr. President, during your maiden State of the Nation address you quoted Bra Hugh Masekele’s song, asking the country to send you. South Africans indeed sent you.
“Now, with very little to show as the leader of this nation, you want South Africans to go to sleep and dream,” Nhanha said.