WATCH | 'Tintswalo' deserves better: Parties slam Ramaphosa's Sona

08 February 2024 - 22:01
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President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the last Sona of the sixth administration. File photo.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the last Sona of the sixth administration. File photo.
Image: Anton Scholtz

Opposition parties wasted no time in punching holes in President Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address (Sona), saying it was an elections speech filled with empty promises.

Ramaphosa delivered the last Sona of the sixth administration and reflected on the strides made by the ruling party in government using the anecdote of a “Tintswalo” — dubbed a child of democracy born in 1994.

However, Ramaphosa's success story did not land as intended on the opposition benches with many accusing him of dishonesty about “Tintswalo's” reality.

DA leader John Steenhuisen said the president made “glaring omissions” of the ANC-created struggles that many in her generation now face.

“In South Africa today, there is a 70% chance that Tintswalo will be unemployed. There is a 50% chance that she is one of the 30-million people who live below the poverty line. Any day, Tintswalo could become one of the 75 people murdered, or one of the 115 women who are raped or subjected to gender-based violence each and every day.

“Should she get sick, Tintswalo may die in a state hospital that has no electricity due to load-shedding. And when she opens her taps, there is no longer any water coming out. The fact is that Tintswalo’s hopes and dreams as a child of democracy have been stolen by the ANC.”

The leader of the opposition party said the country has regressed, across every metric, into a state of decay and decline that has only worsened inequality, placed millions more in the unemployment queue, and taken the country backward.

“For all President Ramaphosa’s populist posturing and policy proposals this evening, including the doubling down on state-centric policy and legislation and the arrogance of a president who is completely out of touch with ordinary South Africans, the reality is that none of these offerings are workable in the financial framework of a 6% budget deficit.”

IFP President Velenkosini Hlabisa said the address fell flat and was not inspiring, as it was repetition of what has been said over the past five years.

“In its entirety, it was an admission of failure. At some stage, the president himself gave up when he saw the whole house laughing to show that what he was saying is not true, particularly around the potholes and roads he claimed were being fixed. 

“It's a joke. We all know that potholes are a common problem in our country. He spoke of state capture, that they are doing all they can to deal with, but we have not seen a single senior leader of the ANC implicated being taken to task. He avoided Phala-Phala completely.”

UDM deputy president Nqabayomzi Nkwankwa said this was a failed campaign speech that was indicative of the ANC's fate post-elections.

“We are glad it was his last one. This was a campaign speech that went completely wrong. Firstly it was extremely long — and to put it mildly, it was idea-rich but lacked coherence and detail. He speaks of random bridges and random infrastructure that is going to be built but doesn't tell us how and where the money is going to come from, considering that we are broke. He doesn't even frame it in a way that one would understand that this is part of their growth strategy of some kind, and how the nuts and bolts of that strategy can be put together.

“The president made yet another long list of promises, but the ANC government has failed to take responsibility for the mess it has created for the country. All indicators point downward, there is no growth. They are refusing to take responsibility for their actions and what they are not doing is explaining in detail how, if they were to come back, how they would rescue the country from this quagmire. Thankfully they are not going to come back.”

Rise Mzansi leader Songezo Zibi criticised the president for failing to rise to the occasion and address issues faced in the current South African reality. 

“He failed by not speaking to the issues that face the people today, and the kind of future they deserve. Instead, South Africans were subjected to a lesson in history, which we know very well.

“According to the outgoing president, all of the country’s problems are due to external factors rather than the political negligence of the ANC. Ramaphosa is equally responsible for the dire state of the country because of his proximity to former president Jacob Zuma as his lieutenant, and during his six wasted years as the occupant of the west wing of the Union Buildings.


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