/ 20 June 2019

ANC chief whip to Ramaphosa for Sona: No new plans, just implement manifesto

(David Harrisson/M&G)
(David Harrisson/M&G)

The ANC’s chief whip in Parliament does not want President Cyril Ramaphosa to introduce anything new during his State of the Nation address (Sona), but give time frames on the implementation of the ANC’s election manifesto.

Ramaphosa is set to deliver Sona in Cape Town on Thursday.

It will be his first following the 2019 general elections and his third address since coming into office in February 2018.

Ramaphosa is likely to address the country’s ailing economy and crippled state-owned enterprises.

He’s also likely to set out his plan to create jobs, especially for unemployed youth.

South Africa’s youth unemployment rate was recorded at 55.2% in the first quarter of 2019 and with an election campaign built on the back of creating the environment to deliver jobs, Ramaphosa is going to have to get working.

“It’s an important address taking into account where we are as a country, particularly the economy, where we did not perform well,” Ramaphosa told journalists while on a walkabout in the parliamentary precinct on Wednesday.

“ I’ll be speaking to all South Africans, and I’ll be addressing a number of issues… Out of this, we hope we will be able to dream big as South Africans,” he told journalists.

But Pemmy Majodina, the ANC’s new chief whip in Parliament, said she is not expecting the President to not introduce new policies and plans.

“The President’s job is to time frame service delivery. We can talk about water, sanitation, road infrastructure, those are the key points we want the president to emphasise. But also how to grow the economy but at a much faster pace. The president will also be bringing a message of hope in our to deal with SOEs [state-owned enterprises],” Majodina said.

But ANC secretary general Ace Magashule says the president’s speech is his own prerogative.

“We can’t be prophets, we don’t know what the president is going to say. We have to give the President to have his own space. We can only comment fully after (the SONA speech) the President has spoken,” Magashule said.

The senior ANC leader further dismissed speculation why the party’s traditional pre-Sona national executive committee (NEC) meeting was cancelled.

The party’s top decision-making body traditionally meets in the days before the President addresses the nation.

Magashule said there is nothing untoward about not having an NEC meeting.

“We wanted the president to focus on Sona, and that he’s not distracted. Because that NEC was not only just going to focus on one time we have many things to discuss,” he said.

The secretary general also denied media reports of a rift between him and the party leader and that he is filling the parliamentary committee chairperson position with anti-Ramaphosa ANC members.

“We read in the media, the SG is going this way, the president is going that way. We don’t know where you going to hear it from. Even if you hear it from us, the horse’s mouth. There’s no way the ANC officials will never, ever work as a collective,” Magashule said.