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President Cyril Ramaphosa / Image by GCIS

‘Empty promises’ – DA, EFF lay into Ramaphosa’s Sona 2021

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced key measures in his Sona, namely handling the COVID-19 pandemic, fighting corruption and fixing the economy

ANC door-to-door coronavirus

President Cyril Ramaphosa / Image by GCIS

As expected, opposition parties have reacted sceptically to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) – with both the Democratic Alliance (DA) and Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) accusing him of not giving an accurate account of how things are.

Ramaphosa delivered the Sona in Parliament on Thursday, 11 February 2021. The president laid out government’s main plans for the year, including the COVID-19 vaccination rollout, economic recovery as well as corruption.

DA: Ramaphosa’s Sona full of ‘unworkable plans’

The DA’s leader John Steenhuisen said this year’s Sona did not reflect the reality – that the country is in deep trouble, as a result of the pandemic and the economy.

“We’re a bus accelerating toward a cliff. People are suffering terribly and much more suffering is on the horizon. Lives are at stake. The situation is truly urgent,” Steenhuisen said.

“We needed to hear the practical steps that are being taken to roll out vaccines, get our economy growing, and restore the political accountability that is essential in a democracy. Yet, President Ramaphosa remains a spectator president looking on with dismay as if he has no personal agency to alter the tragic course of events unfolding in our beloved country”

Steenhuisen said Ramaphosa’s address failed to focus on three crises (the economy, democracy and COVID-19).

“These three central crises will not be resolved. The South African bus will continue accelerating toward the cliff. The unnecessary suffering will continue and worsen. Youth unemployment will grow even higher than 70%. Our debt will grow. Cities will crumble. Shops will shutter. Inequality will widen. Our democratic protections will continue to erode. ANC cronies will grow fatter. Instead of a new dawn we have old nightmares,” he said.

EFF: There’s nothing different in Ramaphosa’s address

Similarly, the EFF has said there was nothing fundamental about what Ramaphosa had to say.

“There is nothing different that he has said and hasn’t been said before and that amounts to insanity because insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result,” the EFF’s Floyd Shivambu said in an interview with SABC News.

Shivambu further said that Ramaphosa’s address didn’t point to anything which would essentially help bring South Africans out of poverty.

Ramaphosa announced that in the third quarter of 2020, the economy was 6% lower than the previous quarter and there were 1.6 million fewer people employed than in the first – painting a dire picture of the state of affairs in the country.