Steenhuisen SANDF deployment

DA leader John Steenhuisen.

Photo by Gallo Images/Ziyaad Douglas)

Steenhuisen slams Ramaphosa, ANC in ‘True State of the Nation’ address

DA Federal leader John Steenhuisen said his True State of the Nation address is not a sugar-coated version but simply the facts.

Steenhuisen SANDF deployment

DA leader John Steenhuisen.

Photo by Gallo Images/Ziyaad Douglas)

Democratic Alliance (DA) federal leader John Steenhuisen has lambasted the African National Congress (ANC) and President Cyril Ramaphosa for the current state of the nation and the way in which the COVID-19 pandemic has been handled. 

Delivering his “True State of the Nation” address on Monday 8 February 2021 — just days before Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation address — he said his would not be a sugar-coated version.

“Not vague rhetoric or spin to conceal the harsh truth. Not lies to cover up wrongdoing. Just the facts. Which is why we’re calling this address the True State of the Nation,” he said. 

“Now more than ever, we need an honest assessment of the state of our nation. And you will almost certainly not get this from the President on 11 February. He will underplay our economic crisis, he will overplay government’s Covid response and he will outright lie about our vaccine plan,” he added. 

Steenhuisen went on to say that we are a nation in crisis on three fronts; a COVID-19 crisis, an economic crisis and a crisis of democracy regarding the recent testimony at the Zondo Commission.


Steenhuisen said the only way out of the COVID-19 crisis is the immediate rollout of a massive vaccination programme.

“While we’re still waiting for a full, detailed vaccination plan from the president, we do know that we won’t have nearly enough vaccines in time to prevent a third and possibly a fourth wave of the virus from running through our country. This leaves the prospect of further lockdowns looming over our already shattered economy. That will most certainly bring on a sovereign debt crisis, along with another wave of job losses, and extraordinary human suffering and deprivation,” he said. 

He went on to say that almost everything Ramaphosa said about his government’s efforts to procure vaccines was a distortion of the truth. Steenhuisen claimed that he tried to create the impression that government was busy for the past six months, while in reality they “only woke up in January”.

“We already knew this from statements made by the vaccine suppliers themselves, but this was confirmed in a letter from the Department of Health to Treasury in which it requested a deviation from normal procurement procedures in order to acquire vaccines. That letter was only sent on 7 January this year,” he added. 


Steenhuisen went on to say that we’re in an economic crisis and the only way out is a raft of urgent and bold economic reforms.

“We are projected, according to the borrowing figures in last year’s budget, to reach a national debt of R4.5 trillion in two years’ time, and some call that a best-case-scenario estimate. And a broad unemployment rate of over 40% and climbing every day is a powder keg waiting for a spark,” he said. 

Steenhuisen said the only thing to do is to immediately open up our entire economy, keeping people as safe as is humanly possible, and then start with a programme of aggressive economic reform.

“This is where the likes of Cyril Ramaphosa and Tito Mboweni are going to have to make a big choice between the unity of their party and the progress of their country. It’s one or the other. But we dare not lose hope. We simply have to keep plugging away with what we know are the sensible and achievable solutions to reform our economy, and then hope that our message finds fertile soil among a critical mass of South Africans, including some of those in the ruling party,” he said. 

“So let us go out and find each other before our country has suffered too much damage for us to be able to fix it. Let us discover who the reformers are in our country, no matter what political party they currently call home,” he added. 


Steenhuisen labelled the third crisis one of democracy following the recent bombshell testimony at the Zondo Commission. 

“The only immediate way out of this crisis, if we’re brutally honest, is for our government to resign in shame,” he said.

“In a properly functioning democracy, this would’ve prompted the resignation of a government. Using taxpayer funds to secretly pay for propaganda news reporting, to sway the judiciary, to destabilise the government of the opposition and to carry on enriching the disgraced former president is a scandal so large that for any government other than the ANC it would have spelled the end,” he added. 

Steenhuisen said that what went on over the course of a decade at the State Security Agency is nothing short of treason. He added that if a revelation of this nature and magnitude does not trigger resignations, or at the very least dismissals, then we have a fundamental flaw in our democracy.

“There is no good and bad ANC. There is only one ANC, and it does not want you to know what it’s been up to with your money because it reeks of treason,” he added.