DA, EFF 'trying to tear our nation apart': Fikile Mbalula
Transport minister Fikile Mbalula has lashed out at both the DA and the EFF for their criticism of President Cyril Ramaphosa's leadership, describing the two parties as "two opportunistic tendencies trying to tear our nation apart".
Mbalula was speaking in the National Assembly on Wednesday night during the conclusion of parliament's debate on the presidency's budget plans presented by Ramaphosa earlier in the day.
During the debate, several DA MPs, such as chief whip Natasha Mazzone and Solly Malatsi, slammed Ramaphosa for not taking action against his embattled health minister Zweli Mkhize over corruption allegations linked to the Digital Vibes communications tender by the health department that went to a company owned by his close associates.
They also shot down Ramaphosa's plans on the economy, his administration's management of the Covid-19 pandemic and the vaccine rollout programme.
Malema echoed similar sentiments to those of the DA, telling Ramaphosa that Covid-19 deaths would be blamed on him for his inadequate vaccine rollout.
“The minister you have entrusted with the Covid-19 rollout is allegedly looting money with unnecessary public relations while nurses and doctors do not have access to vaccines,” said Malema.
But Mbalula came out in defence of Ramaphosa.
He first aimed his guns at the DA, saying it was a party that wanted to erase the legacy of apartheid from the country's history.
"This party wants us to deny and forget the legacy of apartheid and the racial divide it created in our country.
"They do not want to see transformation, redress, or any attempt to eradicate the vestiges of apartheid from the face of our country. They call transformation 'racial nationalism'. They equate our agenda for a better South Africa with Verwoerd’s evil system of apartheid," he said.
Mbalula said the DA used black leaders to attract votes, only to discard them once they've served their purpose.
"It is this very same party that sees young African talent as stooges to be manipulated to buy votes, to fake multi-racialism in their ranks. When they are done with you, when they have the votes in the pockets, they send you an academic scholarship overseas, or just throw you out of their party.
"Where is Phumzile van Damme? Where is Mmusi Maimane? The list is endless. And who is next in line? What applies to Madikizela does not apply to Mazonne.
"This tendency is defeatist. They exaggerate our challenges and belittle our achievements. They do this because they cannot defeat the ANC on the ballot. They want to defeat us in the court of public opinion, by making our people lose faith in us and the prospects of our beautiful country," he said.
Mbalula then turned his focus on Malema's party, describing them as a danger to the country's democracy.
"Deputy speaker, the second tendency that we must defeat is the opportunism of the red berets. They speak left, but act right. This tendency is as dangerous to our country as the tendency of racial opportunism.
"Unlike the DA, the red berets are triumphalists and voluntarists. They belittle our challenges, and tell our people lies about what is possible and achievable today. They want to win in the minds of the people what they cannot achieve at the polls. They want our people to lose faith in the ANC by presenting our challenges as failure, and dismissing our gains as insignificant.
"The two tendencies may appear as polar opposites, but their agenda is the same. They want to collapse South Africa like they did, as an unholy coalition, to our metros in Tshwane, Johannesburg and Nelson Mandela Bay."
Mbalula also argued that it was disingenuous for both the DA and the EFF to ask Ramaphosa to remove Mkhize from his position "without following due process."
He said this was odd because the two parties subjected their own members facing allegations of wrongdoing to internal investigations before deciding their fate.
Mbalula challenged the DA and the EFF to follow the example of the ANC by adopting the "step-aside resolution".