How The Beatles were caught in John Steenhuisen's jab at Ramaphosa

17 February 2021 - 12:00
DA leader John Steenhuisen used lyrics from a song by The Beatles to mock President Cyril Ramaphosa during a joint sitting of parliament on Tuesday to debate the president's recent state of the nation address. File photo.
DA leader John Steenhuisen used lyrics from a song by The Beatles to mock President Cyril Ramaphosa during a joint sitting of parliament on Tuesday to debate the president's recent state of the nation address. File photo.
Image: ESA ALEXANDER/SUNDAY TIMES

English rock band The Beatles got a mention in the National Assembly on Tuesday, thanks to DA leader John Steenhuisen, who in his effort to demonstrate what he called President Cyril Ramaphosa's “empty promises”, referenced the lyrics of their 1965 song Nowhere Man.

Steenhuisen was reacting to Ramaphosa's state of the nation address last week.

Tearing into the president, Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa's speech, decorated with motivational quotes, figures of speech and US poet Maya Angelou's poem Still I Rise, failed to address the real issues. He said it was more or less a repeat of his previous speeches.

Steenhuisen said: “People cannot rise with the boot of government on their neck. That Maya Angelou quote used by the president was perhaps not the right quote for the occasion. I found something more appropriate and it's a song by The Beatles: He's a real nowhere man, sitting in his nowhere land, making all his nowhere plans for nobody.”

He said Ramaphosa must count on ANC members who “want to do the right thing” and members of the opposition who are able and willing to steer SA forward.

Nowhere man, don't worry. Take your time, don't hurry. Leave it all till somebody else lends you a hand,” he said, quoting the lyrics.

This was not the end of Steenhuisen's jabs.

He also quoted Angelou: “When someone shows you who they are the first time, believe them," referring to Ramaphosa and his many "broken promises".