President Cyril Ramaphosa’s calls to “watch this space”, as his government gets to work on fixing the economy and rooting out corruption, appeared to have failed to convince the opposition, who instead laid into him for being complicit in the collapse of the state. Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi’s reaction to Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) summarised the general perception of opposition parliamentarians.
He asked why the president’s promises of renewal should be believed. “Disastrous leadership, corruption and state capture created a technical recession,” he said during yesterday’s Sona debate. “It wasn’t unexpected or unforeseeable.
It was completely self-inflicted. “So we appreciate your admission that under the leadership of the ANC, things went severely wrong. There has indeed been a loss of trust between the people and their government and the needs of the poor, unemployed, marginalised and dispossessed have indeed been forgotten.
” Buthelezi questioned how, after 25 years in power, Ramaphosa could hope to convince citizens that the ANC could deliver on some of the promises in his address, if they have failed to get the basics right. The veteran politician called for an end to summits and talk shops which did nothing but deliver more promises. This was echoed by Mmusi Maimane, leader of the official opposition, the DA, who suggested that Sona now stands for “state of no action”.
“We are a state of big promises.