EM­BAR­RASS­MENT

Par­ties call for strong ac­tion to be taken against the red berets af­ter they hold up the pres­i­dent’s ad­dress for an hour

The Star Early Edition - - FRONT PAGE - SIYABONGA MKHWANAZI

PO­LIT­I­CAL par­ties have called for stern ac­tion against the EFF af­ter it dis­rupted the State of the Na­tion ad­dress (Sona) last night.

This af­ter Na­tional As­sem­bly Speaker Thandi Modise de­scribed the dis­rup­tion of the ad­dress by the EFF as hold­ing the coun­try to ran­som.

Modise said it was un­ac­cept­able for the EFF to de­lay the House for more than an hour be­fore Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa could ad­dress it.

The ANC, DA, IFP, UDM and NFP and other par­ties called for dis­ci­plinary ac­tion against the EFF. They also de­manded that the rules of the joint sit­ting be tight­ened.

Modise was forced to sus­pend pro­ceed­ings with the Speaker lash­ing out at the EFF for hold­ing the House hostage.

This was be­fore the ses­sion re­sumed and the EFF walked out with­out be­ing forcibly ejected by the pro­tec­tion of­fi­cers.

Modise said the con­duct of the EFF in de­lay­ing pro­ceed­ings was in­fring­ing on the rights of other par­ties in Par­lia­ment, who made up the ma­jor­ity.

EFF leader Julius Malema first ob­jected to the pres­ence of for­mer pres­i­dent FW de Klerk in the House, say­ing he was a mur­derer and had de­nied that apartheid was a crime against hu­man­ity.

Other EFF MPs joined in and de­manded that De Klerk be ejected from the House.

But Modise said De Klerk had a right to be in the Cham­ber as he was a for­mer leader of the coun­try.

Malema later de­manded that Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa fire Pub­lic En­ter­prises Min­is­ter Pravin Gord­han for mis­lead­ing him over Eskom.

Modise said Par­lia­ment was not the right plat­form to raise is­sues re­lat­ing to the Cab­i­net.

She said if Malema wanted to raise the mat­ter he could do so us­ing an­other plat­form.

Modise said she ob­jected to the de­lay caused by the EFF.

“Honourable mem­bers, I am sure South Africa is not proud of us tonight. I am sure none of you are proud of what you are do­ing.

“You are not an­gels be­cause you in­fringe on other mem­bers to pro­ceed. No honourable mem­bers, you are not going to hold us to ran­som,” said Modise.

PRES­I­DENT Cyril Ramaphosa yes­ter­day un­veiled a list of mea­sures that would in­clude the pri­ori­ti­sa­tion of gen­er­a­tional ca­pac­ity out­side of Eskom, mod­ernising the coun­try’s rail net­work and pri­ori­tise in­fras­truc­tural de­vel­op­ment to kick­start the econ­omy.

Ramaphosa told the par­lia­ment dur­ing the State of the Na­tion Ad­dress (Sona) yes­ter­day that the gov­ern­ment would in­tro­duce a wide range of struc­tural re­forms aimed at re­duc­ing the pub­lic sec­tor wage bill, gov­ern­ment spend­ing and the re­siz­ing of sta­te­owned en­ter­prises.

He said that the Na­tional Trea­sury and the SA Re­serve Bank were work­ing on mea­sures to re­duce gov­ern­ment spend­ing.

Ramaphosa said the gov­ern­ment could not af­ford to spend more money than the fis­cus could af­ford.

He said the gov­ern­ment had en­gaged so­cial part­ners, in­clud­ing labour, to con­tain the pub­lic wage bill and to re­duce wastage.

“Ef­forts to re­duce gov­ern­ment spend­ing, pri­ori­tise re­sources more ef­fec­tively, and im­prove the ef­fi­ciency of our tax sys­tem are important – but in­suf­fi­cient – con­tri­bu­tions to­wards sta­bil­is­ing our pub­lic fi­nances,” Ramaphosa said.

“Achiev­ing sus­tain­abil­ity will ul­ti­mately re­quire us to ad­dress struc­tural chal­lenges in the econ­omy that raise the cost of liv­ing and do­ing business.”

Last year Fi­nance Min­is­ter Tito Mboweni said that the Trea­sury had iden­ti­fied spend­ing re­duc­tions of R21 bil­lion in 2020/21 and R29bn in 2021/22.

Mboweni said the gov­ern­ment needed to find ad­di­tional mea­sures in ex­cess of R150bn over the next three years to achieve its tar­gets.

Ramaphosa yes­ter­day said that ex­ist­ing low lev­els of growth and rev­enue short­falls had forced the gov­ern­ment to review its pub­lic fi­nances.

“Low lev­els of growth mean that we are not gen­er­at­ing enough rev­enue to meet our ex­penses, our debt is head­ing to­wards un­sus­tain­able lev­els, in Au­gust last year.

He said that the gov­ern­ment would is­sue a Sec­tion 34 Min­is­te­rial De­ter­mi­na­tion to de­velop ad­di­tional grid ca­pac­ity from re­new­able en­ergy, nat­u­ral gas, hy­dro power, bat­tery stor­age and coal.

“We will ini­ti­ate the pro­cure­ment of emergency power from projects that can de­liver elec­tric­ity into the grid within 3 to 12 months from ap­proval,” Ramaphosa said.

“The Na­tional En­ergy Reg­u­la­tor will con­tinue to regis­ter small scale dis­trib­uted gen­er­a­tion for own use of un­der 1MW, for which no li­cence is re­quired.”

He said the gov­ern­ment would also open a bid win­dow 5 of re­new­able en­ergy from in­de­pen­dent power pro­duc­ers and ne­go­ti­ate sup­ple­men­tary power pur­chase agree­ments to ac­quire ad­di­tional ca­pac­ity from ex­ist­ing wind and so­lar plants.

“We will also put in place mea­sures to en­able mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties in good fi­nan­cial stand­ing to pro­cure their own power from in­de­pen­dent power pro­duc­ers.”

DIS­RUP­TIONS by the red berets left Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa look­ing frus­trated as he waited to give his State of the Na­tion Ad­dress last night. | PHANDO JIKELO African News Agency (ANA)

GCISD

PRES­I­DENT Cyril Ramaphosa de­liv­er­ing the State of the Na­tion Ad­dress at the joint sit­ting of the Par­lia­ment last night. | JAIRUS MMUTLE and spend­ing is mis­di­rected to­wards con­sump­tion and debt-ser­vic­ing rather than in­fra­struc­ture and pro­duc­tive ac­tiv­ity,” he said. “We can­not con­tinue along this path. Nor can we af­ford to stand still.” Ramaphosa said Mboweni would out­line the ex­act mea­sures when he de­liv­ered his Bud­get Speech in two weeks. Ramaphosa re­it­er­ated his sup­port for Mboweni’s growth plan pub­lished

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