Cyril Ramaphosa says the future of SA politics is coalition governments

28 November 2021 - 16:00
By Cebelihle Bhengu
President Cyril Ramaphosa answered questions in parliament on Thursday.
Image: GCIS President Cyril Ramaphosa answered questions in parliament on Thursday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has called on leaders of political parties to put aside their differences and prioritise service delivery.

Ramaphosa was responding to questions from MPs on Thursday, saying coalition governments were the future in SA after the recent local government elections. 

The president congratulated leaders of opposition parties which won metros previously governed by the ANC, and pledged the support of national government to promote service delivery.

He said he hoped the coalition governments in place lasted for the intended period of five years without major challenges that may threaten service delivery.

He said corruption and incapable leaders in local government should be done away with to ensure efficient governance. 

Electricity supply 

Ramaphosa said the government was making progress to ensure independent generation of electricity by private companies and municipalities. He said this would reduce the burden on Eskom, which is the sole power producer.

“You must be filled with concern that all this is being done by one company. When that company falters, it basically means the entire country is at risk. What we have done is to say ‘let us allow local electricity generation’.”

Saving communities as the country moves away from fossil fuels

Ramaphosa said moving away from fossil fuels, including coal, in response to the climate change crisis requires government to ensure communities who work at coal mines do not lose their livelihoods in the process.

“There is a project plan focusing on that. But it needs to go beyond the technical part. It needs to look at the human part, the workers and communities. It also has to look at opportunities that will come with renewable energy future.”

Monitoring local government

The president called on newly elected municipal leaders to deliver services efficiently.

He announced that government will introduce committees that will review the performance of government at municipal levels. 

“I intend to set up a unit to focus on our work as a nation in local government, so we bring more attention to the work being done and how money is spent. I often get concerned that money is returned to the fiscus without having been spent on local entities,” he said. 

Boosting local economies 

Ramaphosa said leaders at local governments must find ways to attract investments by running clean governments free of corruption.

“Investors want conducive environments and they want certainty, they want regulations. The rules and incentives must be such that they attract investors to come to the town, city or metro. If they can do that, we would have a local government that would uplift the economy,” he said. 

Coalitions are the future, but they will have challenges 

Ramaphosa said SA was heading towards coalition governments. He said political parties must learn to put aside their differences and put the people and service delivery first.

“We must embrace that type of future we see in more developed countries. We are traversing new terrain and sometimes it will be stable and sometimes it will have challenges.”

Service delivery must not be affected, he said.