Cabinet focuses on Zuma speech, service delivery and Eskom

2015-02-03 12:38

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Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe has reiterated the government’s call for Parliament and other state institutions to be respected ahead of the state of the nation address amid fears of the Economic Freedom Fighters’ plan to disrupt President Jacob Zuma’s speech next week.

Radebe was today briefing the media at the Sefako Makgatho presidential guest house in Pretoria as ministers, deputy ministers and directors general met to discuss government’s programme of action for 2015.

Radebe said the community protests in Malamulele, Limpopo, where residents have gone on a rampage demanding their own municipality would also be on the agenda.

Other issues up for discussion, said Radebe, would be the state of the nation address, Eskom’s load shedding crisis, the economy and critical state policies that would direct the government’s work in 2015.

Radebe criticised the Malamulele protests for disrupting schooling as residents have barred pupils from going to school until the government accedes to their demand to have their own municipality.

“This has to be condemned because schools opened a month ago but our children are not attending school. There’s no amount of protest or grievance that warrants the [shutting] down [of] services and schools,” said Radebe.

He said service-delivery programmes will be up for discussion as well as the medium term expenditure framework which would be dealing with critical service delivery issues.

On speculation that the EFF would disrupt Zuma’s address and demand that he “pay back the money” spent on controversial security upgrades to his private Nkandla home, Radebe said that Cabinet would remind opposition parties in Parliament to respect democratic institutions.

“Parliament is a very good establishment and we need to respect it. The president is not a member of Parliament but as a member of the executive and head of state he calls a special sitting of Parliament for the address,” said Radebe, adding that questions regarding how Parliament would respond to fears about disrupting Zuma’s speech should be directed to Parliament speaker Baleka Mbete because the executive could not respond on behalf of Parliament.

He reiterated the presidency’s request that the public make suggestions on what Zuma should focus on during his address and asked members of the public to send their ideas to the presidency ahead of the February 12 address in the National Assembly.

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