Sona a ‘failed attempt’ to launch ANC election manifesto, says opposition
Political leaders say Ramaphosa merely repeated what he has been saying since he took office in 2018
Opposition parties have decried President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address (Sona), saying it was a failed attempt to launch the ANC’s general election manifesto.
Several surveys indicate the ANC electoral support will fall below 50% for the first time since 1994 as SA continues to be blighted by socioeconomic crises resulted in a rising cost of living, poor service delivery, high unemployment, low economic growth, high rates of violent crime, crumbling infrastructure and systemic corruption.
Delivering the last Sona of the ANC’s sixth administration at the Cape Town City Hall on Thursday, Ramaphosa sought to highlight the achievements of the past three decades, saying SA was a much better place than it was during apartheid.
He said state capture was defeated, corruption and load-shedding were being addressed and that roads and potholes were being repaired across SA.
But opposition political leaders were not impressed, saying Ramaphosa merely repeated what he has been saying in the years since he took office in 2018.
IFP president Velenkosini Hlabisa said: “The Sona was not inspiring. It was a repetition of what he has been saying in the last five years. It was an admission of failure if you look at it in totality.”
DA leader John Steenhuisen said the Sona sounded like “Alice in Wonderland [rather] than what’s happening on the ground”. The address was a “laundry list of projects” that were promised but never materialised.
South Africans were that promised power cuts, crime and corruption would come to an end, but that has not happened, said Steenhuisen.
Al Jama-ah leader Ganief Hendricks said Ramaphosa does not know the socioeconomic crises people experienced.
“It’s sad that the president doesn’t know the situation on the ground, people compete with dogs and animals to get access to water. How can the president expect SA to have sound water supply and systems for people if money is being looted? The only positive thing he said is that he is looking for a pen to sign the National Health Insurance bill into law,” said Hendricks.
UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said there was “absolutely nothing” inspiring about the Sona. “It was a campaign speech that went wrong. Everything we heard today we’ve heard before. He tried to officially launch the campaign of the ANC ... We didn’t walk out with a feeling the ANC is taking responsibility for the mess it has created,” said Kwankwa.
ANC national chair and minerals resources minister Gwede Mantashe said: “All that has been happening this evening, the president was reporting back, which is called accountability. I’m looking forward to the [Sona] debate next week. The president was accounting blow by blow on what has been done and what we are planning to do.”
International relations and co-operation minister Naledi Pandor said: “The Sona had many important points. The president put facts on the table on progress made in the country. He also dealt with the challenges. He said there’s much more that still needs to be done.”
ANC treasurer-general Gwen Ramokgopa commended the president for highlighting in the Sona that “we have achieved a lot”, in terms of opening up the economy and dealing with youth unemployment scourge.
GOOD secretary-general Brett Herron criticised Ramaphosa’s lack of a coherent plan to get the country “out of the doldrums of low economic growth”.
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