President Cyril Ramphosa dedicated parts of his budget vote speech to what the late former President Nelson Mandela stood for to encourage reconciliation.

He delivered the Presidency Budget Vote in the National Assembly.

The President faced a robust and tense debate from some opposition parties, especially the DA and the EFF.

The budget vote debate lasted for almost six hours.

The President’s budget vote speech came a day before the world celebrates International Mandela Day  He encouraged citizens to emulate Madiba.

“Nelson Mandela firmly believed that our country’s fortunes depend on the actions of a collective,- that is all of us. And he said that “none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must, therefore, act together as a united people, for National Reconciliation, for the birth of a new world.” This sixth administration is committed to maintaining the momentum for harmonious collective existence and building a social compact amongst various role players in our country to take our country forward. And so in this Mandela month, I would like to invite everyone to take a moment to commit themselves to keeping Madiba’s legacy alive in both words and in deed. The legacy of humanism, of friendship, of fellowship, of decency, of partnership and of tolerance. It is these universal and timeless values that will guide us along the part towards the South Africa that we want.”

The President told MPs that Presidency will be the nerve centre of policy co-ordination across government. He says the new unit located in the Presidency will focus on evidence-based policy making.

“Public policy must be evidence-based and effectively coordinated, and it is for this reason that we have at the centre of this government reconstituted the policy unit in the Presidency as a nerve centre of policy co-ordinations across government. The new policy unit will be leading evidence-based policy making. It will also liaise with a number of think tanks and research institutions and have line of sight of strategic policy interventions. The unit has already hit the ground running by working through the cluster system that we have in government.”

DA leader Mmusi Maimane has challenged President Cyril Ramaphosa to appear before the Zondo State Capture Commission of Inquiry to set the record straight, – following revelations made by former President Jacob Zuma…

“Mr. Zuma’s testimony is either that of a deranged individual or someone who is telling the truth. In Zuma’s own words, he says in the nine wasted years there were many who are sitting here who were party to those decisions during those nine years. In fact, he says it was the deployment committee which you headed up. So, Mr President, you sat at No.2 to No.1 (Zuma). So all I want to know,- and you were silent then, will you be silent now or will you take action and guarantee this House tomorrow (Thursday)  when you will come to respond that you will go to the commission and set the record straight for all South Africans?”

EFF leader Julius Malema told the President that he has donated the Public Investment Corporation to a capitalist faction led by Trevor Manuel and his wife Maria Ramos. Malema was critical of the appointment of Ramos to the Interim PIC Board while the Deputy Minister of Finance David Masondo has been excluded…

“With the current board appointed by you Minister of Finance, – my homeboy, – with due respect, you have effectively donated the PIC to the capitalist’s faction led by Trevor Manuel and his wife Maria Ramos, who was involved in fixing of the South African currency. She has confessed to that. Maria Ramos and Trevor Manuel are the most trusted forces of the white capitalist establishment and they unashamedly do everything in their power to please the Ruperts (Johann Rupert) and the Rothchilds (Benjamin de Rothschild). Why is the Deputy Minister of Finance not appointed to be the chairperson of the PIC Board, despite the fact that he holds a Ph.D., making him more qualified than all those capitalist stooges you appointed in the PIC board.”

COPE Leader Mosua Lekota had questions about the deployment of armed forces on the Cape Flats…

“Mr. President we had hoped that you might, –  because you are the only person with authority to deploy the armed forces, –   that you might take us into confidence as to why it became necessary at this point for our country to deploy the armed forces in our society. The reason for this is because you may have information that has not been indicated to us across the nation. This style of applying force to control society, – we have inherited from the old order of apartheid when they did not know how to control us. They put the police in, – which was the police force, and not the police service. When the police service failed they added the armed forces and they killed a lot of innocent people and we know why they failed. Because they did not know where to find the freedom fighters.”

IFP leader Prince Mangosuthu Buthelezi is worried that the Presidential summit on gender-based violence that was hosted by the Presidency last year may have been just a talk shop…

“Where is the budget to track progress on the Presidential summit on gender-based violence which the Deputy President mentioned? That summit was held seven months ago, yet government is still talking about how to implement its resolutions.”

Closing the debate was ANC MP Mondli Gungubele who slammed the DA and the EFF for their criticism of the President and the governing party…

“Now in DA, you speak about where you govern. If you look at 2017/18 and check the financial rations of Jo-burg, the ratio of Jo’burg deteriorated since DA took over. There is a list of Municipalities that have been found wanting on the wasteful expenditure, unauthorised expenditure, – number 1 is Pretoria, Tshwane. That is where DA is governing. Let me come to the self-appointed Commander in Chief. The Commander in Chief says in the ANC the centre is not holding, because he wants to build a cult in the ANC. ANC is a democratic organisation. It is led movement with independent individuals participating freely. Not up to an individual aura, because we are not a cult. We are a democratic organisation.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to reply to the Budget vote debate on Thursday afternoon.

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