DA, EFF urge Ramaphosa to make tough choices, testify at Zondo inquiry

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his budget vote speech in parliament on Wednesday.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his budget vote speech in parliament on Wednesday.
Image: Anton Scholtz. File photo

The DA and EFF have criticised President Cyril Ramaphosa's budget vote speech.

In his address to parliament on Wednesday, Ramaphosa said the government was not afraid to act and is re-engaging with the intellectual community to harvest ideas that will take the country forward.

He outlined how his government would be different from former president Jacob Zuma's, adding that his administration  will speak with one voice.

Maimane takes aim

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Ramaphosa needed to make some difficult decisions to reignite the economy.

"To achieve this we will need to make tough choices on everything from labour legislation and SOEs to policies on the National Health Insurance (NHI), the national minimum wage and the Reserve Bank," Maimane said. "If the buck does stop at your desk, Mr President, then it is you who will need to make those choices."

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Maimane said sectors like manufacturing need to be revived through tax incentives.

"Let us streamline red tape for business owners, and let us revive sectors like manufacturing through tax incentives. Let us deal decisively with our SOEs.

"Regardless of how it gets resolved, our economy is suffering and we cannot sit idly by," he added.

Maimane called on Ramaphosa to confirm that he will testify before the Zondo commission of inquiry into state capture, which has this week been hearing testimony from Zuma.

“So, Mr President, you sat at number two to number one (Zuma) and you were silent then. Will you be silent now or will you take action and guarantee this house tomorrow, when you come to respond, that you will go to the commission and set the record straight for all South Africans?”

Malema fires ahead

EFF leader Julius Malema said since Ramaphosa rose to power, the country has been  heading in different directions politically and there was no evidence there would be improvement in the near future.

"Under Ramaphosa, things are falling apart and South Africa is being auctioned off to a very dangerous minority. 

"Mr President, since you rose to power, the country’s political direction is heading into different destinations and the evidence is seen in key states that are not showing any improvement at all, and there is no evidence, whatsoever, that they will improve in the near future," said Malema.

He added that the crisis at Eskom was getting worse, despite a board and management chosen by Ramaphosa to stabilise the institution. This, Malema said, "creates the greatest economic uncertainly", because energy is central to modern industrial development.

Malema said his party found it difficult to support the budget, adding that Ramaphosa was sidelining talented young people.

"These tendencies that are coming from your side, in defiance of Chapter 9 institutions, in protecting corrupt individuals, in isolating young people with talent, it means you are canvassing the same grounds that Zuma canvassed before.

"We did not fight Zuma because he was ugly, we fought with Zuma because, firstly, he outsourced his powers in the ANC to a family and, secondly, he undermined institutions of the state. You are doing the same," he said.