Sona 2022: Ramaphosa must make ‘decisive statements’ — opposition parties

Opposition party members that gathered at the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday evening were in agreement that President Cyril Ramaphosa should be “decisive” in his 2022 State of the Nation address (Sona), and that national security — or the lack thereof — had to be tackled. 

Natasha Mazzone, Democratic Alliance MP and the party’s chief whip, said she wanted Ramaphosa to “make some decisive statements”. 

“I want to hear tonight that the president is going to have heads roll for their lack of duty in securing our country,” said Mazonne. Were it the DA guiding the ship there would not be  “the massive rift we have in the security agencies, where police departments aren’t talking to each other”.

She added that there were people trying to undermine South Africa’s democracy, referring to several recent alleged “attacks” on national key points. It is one such “attack”, in January, on the National Assembly precinct that led to the address being shifted to the hall. 

Mazzone also placed emphasis on economic growth. The employment that was promised during last year’s address had not materialised, she said.  

Earlier this week, Ramaphosa’s office released a presidential panel report on the violence that rocked KwaZulu-Natal, and to a lesser extent Gauteng in July 2021, and wiped R50-billion from the country’s economy. 

The report found that infighting within the ANC was detrimental to the safety of South Africa, and that law enforcement agencies were poorly skilled, under-resourced and divided by factionalism. Ramaphosa has said he will address the report and its recommendations in his speech. 

The leader of the United Democratic Movement, Bantu Holomisa, said the president needed to “account and report back” on exactly what had been achieved since his last Sona

Holomisa also referred to infighting in the governing party, and the need to “change the trajectory” in funding of law enforcement agencies. 

Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela, chief of the Mvezo Traditional Council, told the Mail & Guardian that the time for talk was over, and that the president should “take the nation into his confidence as to what are the decisive actions that will be implemented. Many South Africans are frustrated with just talk and no action taken: we want to see results”.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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