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