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.

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

The Facebook group taking on South Africa’s white right

Online battle over the ‘white genocide’ narrative on social media has dangerous real-world consequences

Unions slam move to cut wage bill

Cosatu rejects job losses and a wage freeze for public servants, calling this ‘a declaration of war’

Press Releases

Scatec Solar begins another Upington project

SPONSORED Scatec Solar and partners have once again grid connected in the ZF Mgcawu District, and started early...

Over R400-m given to businesses since launch of three-minute overdraft

The 3-minute overdraft radically reduces the time it takes for businesses to have their working capital needs met

Tourism can push Africa onto a new path – minister

The continent is fast becoming a dynamic sought-after tourist destination

South Africa’s education system is broken and unequal, and must be fixed without further delay

The Amnesty International report found that the South African government continues to miss its own education upgrading targets

Business travel industry generates billions

Meetings Africa is ready to take advantage of this lucrative opportunity

Conferences connect people to ideas

The World Expo and Meetings Africa are all about stimulating innovation – and income