Opposition MPs on Eskom: 'Where were you, Mr President?'

Opposition Members of Parliament in the National Assembly on Wednesday afternoon took aim at President Cyril Ramaphosa for the challenges dogging Eskom, the economy’s lacklustre performance, and the "lost years" under former president Jacob Zuma.

On the second day of debates regarding Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address, which took place in Parliament on Thursday last week, MPs were particularly critical of the president's recent remarks that he found the crisis at Eskom - and fresh rounds of load shedding - "shocking".

Democratic Alliance Geordin Hill-Lewis told Ramphosa that "all of the sponge sugar in the world will not be enough to make the world forget what the African National Congress has done to South Africa in the past ten years".

"Expropriating the pension funds of South Africans to bail out an entity that you have bankrupted. The MPs on this side say that the ANC lives and the ANC leads. The true message of the ANC is: the ANC eats, you pay," said Hill-Lewis.

'You were complicit'

Freedom Front Plus MP Pieter Groenewald looked directly at Ramaphosa when he took to the podium, asking the president why he did not take a stand against state capture during his years as deputy president.

"Where were you during the nine years we have lost [under the previous administration]?

"You were complicit. We need to build the economy and save jobs. There is a simple solution. You only have to do two things. Take race out of the economy. The second thing that must be done is to stop expropriation without compensation," said Groenewald.

'Apologise and do better'

DA MP Jacques Julius said Ramaphosa and the ANC had no desire to hold its own heavyweights accountable for corruption, despite the promises government has made to the contrary.

"The Zondo inquiry [into state capture] has shown that Bosasa bigwigs have been allow to feed [...] with government funds.

"We asked you last year about lifestyle audits and you did not act. You would rather make a sure of fighting corruption at all Parliament seats than hold your own seats accountable," said Julius.

African Christian Democratic Party MP Kenneth Meshoe said: "The ANC would like to say that sabotage has caused the latest round of load shedding. But in reality, it is the ANC that has sabotaged South Africa.

"Honourable president, you have said you were shocked by the state of affairs with Eskom. Please apologise to the nation and do better".

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