Some opposition parties have mixed expectations from President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address during a Joint Sitting of Parliament on Thursday. These include how government will intervene to avoid the collapse of the SABC, Eskom and to address the unemployment crisis.
The President has written to National Assembly Speaker – Thandi Modise – calling for the joint sitting to outline the country’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan.
In the letter, President Cyril Ramaphosa says the country has to take extraordinary measures to ensure a speedy and sustainable economic recovery.
Political parties weigh in on the upcoming sitting
Democratic Alliance (DA) Spokesperson on Finance – Geordin Hill-Lewis – says what the country needs, is an economic recovery tracker to hold government accountable instead of more economic promises from the President.
He says the DA officially launched its economic reform tracker on Tuesday.
“The purpose of the tracker is to hold government accountable to the many promises that they have made over the last two years since President Ramaphosa’s election as President, to wide-ranging economic reform and yet very little progress has been made on any of those promises. So, instead of more plans and more promises, we are going to hold the government to account for the promises that they have already made to reform the economy and our country to get South Africa growing again,” says Hill-Lewis.
Inkatha Freedom Party
Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) MP and Spokesperson on Finance and Public Enterprises – Inkosi Mzamo Buthelezi – says one of the main issues in the president’s address should focus on how the government will address corruption.
“As the IFP we honestly don’t expect much that will change anything from the president on Thursday. Reason being the fact that there are many recovery plans that have been introduced but still, the problems are getting worse. For example, billions were allocated for COVID-19. The President himself promised people of South Africa that monies won’t be embezzled. But guess what happened? Monies were stolen. The only plan that we expect from the President is a plan to deal with corruption,” says Buthelezi.
Congress of the People
The Congress of the People (COPE) wants the president to speak about SABC, Eskom, unemployment, and how current racial tensions will be addressed in the country.
“We want President Cyril Ramaphosa to address in his economic recovery plan the unemployment crisis, the SOEs that are falling apart, especially Eskom and the SABC. We want him to tell us how he is going to address the corruption crisis in the country. The racial tension that is building up in the country needs urgent attention. We want him to come clear, what is he going to do about all these things happening in the country,” says Dennis Bloem, COPE Spokesperson.
United Democratic Movement
United Democratic Movement (UDM) Chief Whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa and member of Parliament’s Finance and Public Enterprises Committees, says the President should also touch on the restoration of investment from the private sector, the energy crisis, and unemployment.
“Any recovery plan that is worth itself should speak to first and foremost job creation. It should seek to address job creation as millions of South Africans and millions more have lost hope about ever being able to find a job. You would recall that more than four million South Africans have lost their jobs during the lockdown. So, it’s important for the government to talk about how it intends to re-ignite economic growth and to create jobs for South Africans. The President’s recovery plan should also contain ways in which this government is going to ensure that it encourages the private sector to do away with its investment strike so that they can start investing in the economy. The third issue for us which is of critical importance is that you cannot even dream of re-igniting the South African economy if you have not addressed the energy constraints that continue to beset the South African economy,” says Kwankwa.
Both members of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces will come together during the extraordinary joint hybrid sitting of Parliament.