MPs to tackle Ramaphosa Sona speech

Members of Parliament will from Tuesday have a chance to question President Cyril Ramaphosa on his State of the Nation address (Sona).

Two days have been set aside for legislators to either critique or applaud President Cyril Ramaphosa, with the first citizen expected to deliver his response on Thursday.

And while some political parties may secretly harbour plaudits for president and his speech, the announcement of May 8 as the general election date means that all political parties are now only interested in campaigning and electioneering.

While the Democratic Alliance (DA) has welcomed President Ramaphosa’s announcing the unbundling of Eskom — which the DA put forward a similar proposal in the public domain last year — the party’s leader Mmusi Maimane said the president’s speech was a “state of no action with more promises, and no immediate action”.

READ MORE: President pulls out all the stops

The Economic Freedom Fighters’ leader Julius Malema said on Thursday night that Ramaphosa has nothing to new to offer South Africans.


“The president has abandoned the ANC manifesto and decided to plagiarise the EFF manifesto,” Malema said.

During the debate, opposition political parties will put forward MPs to interrogate the state of the nation address. While ANC MPs will undoubtedly be deployed to praise Ramaphosa and the ANC’s tenure in government.

Usually, parties put forward a mix of party whips and backbenchers. But with the last SONA debate before elections, only the best and brightest will be sent to the podium.

The Mail and Guardian understands ANC Chief Whip Jackson Mthembu will open the debate, while Higher Education Minister Naledi Pandor will close the proceedings on day one.

National Council of Provinces (NCOP) Chief Whip Seiso Mohai will open the debate on day two, with Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel sweeping for the ANC.

READ MORE: ‘You watch this space!’ — Ramaphosa

After the State of the Nation debate, MPs will look forward to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s budget speech, scheduled for February 20. This will be the opportunity to put the money where Ramaphosa’s mouth is.

The president returns to the National Assembly in March, where he will take part in his final question and answer session of his current term.

At a meeting of Parliament’s programming committee two weeks ago, it was announced that the legislature would rise on March 21. MPs will then be officially relieved to go do election campaigning work for their political parties.

There’s no plan yet for the National Assembly or NCOP to debate and vote on any major legislation for the rest of the term. Instead, parliamentary committees will spend much of their time putting the final touches on handover reports for the next Parliament. The new term starts 10 days after the next election, scheduled for sometime in May.

With the rest of their time, MPs in the National Assembly and the NCOP will undoubtedly go out of their way to heckle each other and use the parliamentary podium as an election stump.

Subscribe to the M&G

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years, and we’ve survived right from day one thanks to the support of readers who value fiercely independent journalism that is beholden to no-one. To help us continue for another 35 future years with the same proud values, please consider taking out a subscription.

Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit
Lester Kiewit is a Reporter, Journalist, and Broadcaster.

Related stories

This is how the SIU catches crooks

Athandiwe Saba talked to the Special Investigating Unit’s Andy Mothibi about its caseload, including 1 000 Covid contracts

Richard Calland: Not much has shuffled in the political pack

Stocktake at the end of a momentous year shows that the ruling party holds all the cards but has little room for manoeuvre

Tighter Covid restrictions for N. Mandela Bay — other hotspots may follow

With the number of cases spiralling out of control in hotspots in the Eastern Cape and Western Cape, longer curfews and restrictions on alcohol sales are being implemented

Watch it again: Ramaphosa addresses the nation

The president's address follows a special sitting of Cabinet, which considered recommendations of the National Coronavirus Command Council

ATM withdrawal halts no-confidence vote against the president

The party wants the court to rule on the secret ballot issue first, with the case set to be heard in early February

Andile Lungisa: Early parole for the house of truth

Disgraced Nelson Mandela Bay councillor Andile Lungisa calls for a change of leadership in the ANC immediately after being released on parole
Advertising

Subscribers only

FNB dragged into bribery claims

Allegations of bribery against the bank’s chief executive, Jacques Celliers, thrown up in a separate court case

Dozens of birds and bats perish in extreme heat in...

In a single day, temperatures in northern KwaZulu-Natal climbed to a lethal 45°C, causing a mass die-off of birds and bats

More top stories

ConCourt asked to rule that Zuma must testify for 10...

It is Zondo's legal end game and will leave the former president, his supporters and those implicated in state capture to increasingly play fast and loose at imputing political motive to the commission

Carlos on Oozymandias’ goodbye grift

"Look on my works ye Mighty, and gimme 50 bucks!"

This is how the SIU catches crooks

Athandiwe Saba talked to the Special Investigating Unit’s Andy Mothibi about its caseload, including 1 000 Covid contracts

Richard Calland: Not much has shuffled in the political pack

Stocktake at the end of a momentous year shows that the ruling party holds all the cards but has little room for manoeuvre
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…