Opposition parties react to Zuma speech
BusinessTech.co.za - Feb 12th 2016, 09:26
While African National Congress members were quick to praise President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address, opposition parties were underwhelmed.
Zuma delivered his SONA in the National Assembly on Thursday (11 Feb), but the Congress of the People and Economic Freedom Fighters’ theatrics threatened to overshadow the address.
Both parties walked out after various requests to leave from Speaker Baleka Mbete and National Council of Provinces chair Tlhandi Modise.
Official opposition leader Democratic Alliance Mmusi Maimane questioned how the “drama” helped the country.
“The question before us is 8.3 million South Africans are at home unemployed. That’s what we need to debate, that’s what we need to address.”
He said he had already tabled a request to remove Zuma from office, but that would be debated at a later state.
“We should focus on serving the people’s business, not the EFF’s business.”
Maimane said the president’s speech was more of the same, especially regarding jobs.
“He wasn’t bold enough on certain things. When he speaks about budget cuts, literally cutting food and travel, those are small in the fact the president should have announced the privatisation of SAA, and selling off of some of the state assets so we can recoup the capital to finance the development objectives going forward.”
ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe was unfazed by the EFF departure.
He said if anybody chose to walk out, they were “opting out”.
Mantashe said the EFF was not raising concerns about the Constitutional Court case. They were just disrupting and depriving the constituency the opportunity to be informed when the speech is debated.
Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi described the walk out by EFF and Cope as theatrics.
He said he was too old to be in the job for such theatrics, even if he felt aggrieved by some issues.
He praised Zuma’s speech, and said he would have tackled it the same way.
National Freedom Party secretary General Nhlanhla Khubisa said the party did not feel as if Zuma had answered the questions on how he would turn around the economy.
“There is an economic meltdown in our country, and our country being [threatened with] downgraded to junk status. There is unemployment; there is poverty. We facing a huge debt, and the president just skimmed those. Without delving into details.”
On the EFF, Khubisa said next week during the debate would have been the perfect time for them to raise their concerns.
Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor praised the president’s address.
She said the president was committed to high levels of growth and reported improvements on the nine-point plan.
Pandor said while he announced plans last year, he used this time to report on progress.
Cope and the EFF were not in the precinct following the address.
Shortly after the address ANC MPs and Cabinet ministers sang and danced around the bust of late president Nelson Mandela.From 2016 Copyright, BusinessTech. All right reserved.
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