Four stand-out moments from President Cyril Ramaphosa's question-and-answer session

23 August 2019 - 09:48 By Unathi Nkanjeni
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President Cyril Ramaphosa kept his cool, answering probing questions with witty responses in parliament on Thursday.

Here are four standout moments:

EFF payment was 'generosity'

Ramaphosa admitted to giving two EFF members money as an act of “generosity”, with no strings attached.

While answering Julius Malema's “one last question”, he said the EFF put him in a “very embarrassing position”.

“The EFF put me in a very embarrassing position. These two NCOP colleagues were my most vociferous critics in the house. But where there is humanity, and we interact with each other beyond party lines, and when these two members needed help we gave it to them.

“It’s not connected with anything. It was out of deep generosity, but clearly not from your side, honourable Malema,” said Ramaphosa.

EFF members Tebogo Mokwele and Nkagisang Mokgosi resigned from parliament and the party's central command team, after saying they had received money from Ramaphosa's CR17 ANC presidential campaign.

Probe into Bosasa

Ramaphosa dismissed suggestions that a separate commission of inquiry be established to probe allegations of state capture, corruption and fraud involving Bosasa.

Answering DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who asked whether he would institute a “full-scale, independent inquiry” on Bosasa, Ramaphosa said there was “absolutely no reason to”.

“There is absolutely no reason to establish a new inquiry to investigate a matter that is already being investigated by a sitting commission of inquiry,” he said.

“As a country, and as leaders, we should direct our efforts towards supporting the Zondo commission of inquiry and urging all with information relevant to its mandate to make themselves available to the commission.”

Government appointments

The president denied that “factors of people being paid”, came into account when he appointed them to the executive.

He told Malema he did not “operate like that”.

“A number of them [executives] were active participants in the campaign, and they were meant to utilise the money for purely legitimate purposes of making sure the campaign moves forward.

“And with all the colleagues that you referred [to], there was no expectation whatsoever, for any recognition, any return, and the decision to appoint members into the executive is a process that the leadership of the ANC gets involved in. People are appointed in terms of their own capability, their own merit, and no other reason,” he said.

National Health Insurance 

Speaking on the rolling out of National Health Insurance (NHI), Ramaphosa told MPs the government would not change its mind.

Despite widespread criticism, he said the government believed its plan would bring an end to healthcare inequality, adding that the ANC was “irrevocably committed” to making it happen.

“We are called upon to retain an unjust system that deprives the majority of South Africans access to doctors, specialists and health professionals ... and to this [we] have to say a unanimous no.

“This is unfair, it is inefficient, it is unsustainable. We have enough resources in this country to give every man, every woman, every child healthcare, but we refuse because we want to promote the interests of a few to the detriment of the rest. We shall change this and we are irrevocably committed to do this,” he said.

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