Parliament to debate Ramaphosa’s SONA address

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Political parties in Parliament will on Tuesday debate President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA).

Last week, Ramaphosa outlined key priorities that his government would focus on this year. They include fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, accelerating economic recovery, fighting corruption and strengthening state institutions.

However, opposition parties say it is regrettable that Ramaphosa didn’t say anything new in his address. Some parties criticised the President, saying his speech lacked details on the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine while others said he failed to outline concrete plans to turn around Eskom.

The sitting will observe COVID-19 regulations where some members of Parliament will be in the House while others will follow it via virtual platforms.

The parties will debate the speech over two days and Ramaphosa will reply on Thursday. There will also be other committee meetings sitting.

Political parties react to President Ramaphosa’s address:

ISANCO welcomes government’s key priority areas to sustain the economy:

The Independent South African National Civic Organisation (ISANCO) says it welcomes the four key priority areas to help sustain the economy of the country, as pointed out by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his State-of-the-Nation-Address.

As part of the recovery plan, the government is also prioritising an increase in local production to make South African exports globally competitive.

However, ISANCO secretary-general Bakoena Ramosie says they fear that the billions meant to facilitate growth are not protected from corruption, as it happened with the R500 billion initially set to help COVID-19 challenges.

He says President Ramaphosa failed to present radical approaches to deal with the culprits of COVID-19 scandals and the Commission of Inquiry into State Capture.

“The distribution nightmare of a special grant of R350 COVID-19 extension is faced with further unbearable stress for beneficiaries. ISANCO applauds him for understanding that 2021 is the year for local government elections to take place and no manga business. Although he has presented his usual boring promises to the poor without implementation plans remain a challenge,” Ramosie says.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s outlined four key priorities for 2021:

Key priorities

President Ramaphosa said government will this year focus on defeating COVID-19, accelerating economic recovery, implementing economic reforms and fighting corruption.

Ramaphosa said there’s light at the end of the tunnel in the fight against COVID-19.

“We have secured nine million doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Further consignments will arrive over the next four weeks. In addition, we have secured 12 million vaccines from the COVAX facility. This will be other vaccines that are available to SA, Pfizer has committed 20 million vaccine doses commencing with deliveries at the end of the first quarter.”

He said the implementation of economic reforms to create jobs and clamping down on corruption will also take priority, adding that the government will soon appoint members of the National Anti-Corruption Advisory Council that will oversee the establishment of an independent statutory anti-corruption body that will report to Parliament.

SONA 2021 In Numbers: