DA leader Mmusi Maimane Picture: Jerome Delay/AP/African News Agency (ANA)

Parliament - President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address last week rang hollow because he is hindered by his foes in the ruling African National Congress from introducing meaningful reform, Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane argued on Tuesday.

"Doing what’s best for the country inevitably means the president will have to make decisions that will be met with resistance within his own party. That is why his SONA was devoid of any meaningful reform," Maimane said during debate in parliament on the president's speech.

He said to be effective, Ramaphosa would have to stand up to powerful allies, disable a network of patronage and rethink policy "that hasn’t worked in decades".

It would also mean ditching desperately outdated ideology, he added.

"None of this is easy, which is why it hasn’t happened."

Maimane's eight-page long speech drove home the point that South Africa is a nation in deep crisis, with expanded unemployment at a record 38 percent and the latest economic data showing the economy contracted by 3.2 percent in the first quarter.

He said in response Ramaphosa needed to introduce bold reforms to the energy sector and state-owned enterprises - in particular electricity utility Eskom - as well as to education, health care and labour.

Instead, he said, the president had promised nothing more than to do what the government was already doing slightly better.

African News Agency/ANA