DA asks Ramaphosa why there was no cabinet reshuffle, while IFP urges consultation

26 July 2021 - 08:32 By nivashni nair
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night.
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night.
Image: GCIS / Elmond Jiyane

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Sunday night was not received without criticism.

The DA’s John Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa should have reassured the nation by announcing a cabinet clean-up.

“Confidence in SA is at an all-time low and only a wholesale cabinet clean-up is going to get people to believe in this country again.

“For starters, SA needs a full-time health minister to manage a full-time pandemic response. It beggars belief that Zweli Mkhize is still on fully-paid leave more than six weeks after his suspension. Ramaphosa should have released the Digital Vibes report by now, and we call on him to do this.”

Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa should also have announced “competent replacements for police minister Bheki Cele and state security minister Ayanda Dlodlo, both of whom have completely failed SA”.

“Energy minister Gwede Mantashe must be replaced with someone who understands the urgency to bring down the cost and increase the supply of electricity by opening SA’s energy market. Structural reform has never been more urgent. Any minister standing in the way of progress must be summarily replaced,” he said.

The party welcomed the social relief grants.

“They are desperately needed. However, these relief measures are not going to be sustainable over the longer term without swift and decisive structural reform. The best and most sustainable way to help the poor and vulnerable is to create jobs.”

The DA also welcomed the relaxation of some restrictions, but said Ramaphosa should have gone further and removed all restrictions that were costing jobs.

“Specifically, the curfew and the ban on alcohol sales should have been fully lifted. The curfew is doing irreparable damage to restaurants, small towns and tourism. There is so much illicit alcohol available that it frankly makes no difference to transmission, but a big difference to tax receipts and jobs. Enough with irrational, arbitrary regulations such as forcing restaurants to stop serving alcohol at 8pm but food at 9pm. Has anyone in government ever run a business?”

The IFP said it remained concerned that the president, together with the executive, had forgotten parliament is a sphere of the state.

“We find the lack of transparency and consultation with the leaders of political parties in parliament worrying. We therefore call for greater consultation in decision-making processes as there has been no consultation of late with leaders of political parties who represent the people of SA,” said acting spokesperson Narend Singh.

The party welcomed the announcement by the president of the implementation of many economic reconstruction and recovery plan measures.

“We note the reinstatement of the social relief of distress grant which will help millions of South Africans worst affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The financial relief for small, medium and micro enterprises, including Ters relief for businesses and the reduction in pay-as-you-earn tax levies for companies, is much welcomed. Furthermore, the additional support to low-income earners below the threshold of R6,500 per month  is welcomed. The hospitality and retail sectors were severely affected by the lockdown and recent protest action in the country,” said Singh.

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