Will Ramaphosa's SONA put ANC squabbles to bed?

2019-06-21 13:21

President Cyril Ramaphosa used his third State of the Nation Address (SONA) to reaffirm the independence of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB).

The president delivered his SONA on Thursday evening - which also marked the official opening of the 6th Parliament.

His speech was set against a background of squabbles within the governing party about a 2017 national conference resolution on the mandate of the SARB.

Several senior leaders in the party have been publicly butting heads with its secretary general Ace Magashule over the party's position on the resolution.

WATCH: 'Ramaphosa is a master at mesmerising people’ - FF+ leader Pieter Groenewald

This was after Magashule addressed the media on the ANC national executive committee's supposed decision to explore several options, including quantitative easing, to achieve its goal of reducing unemployment and boosting the economy.

Constitutional mandate

In reaffirming the bank's constitutional mandate, the president said the bank's focus was to protect the value of the rand in the interests of balanced and sustainable growth.

"Today we reaffirm this constitutional mandate, which the reserve bank must pursue independently, without fear, favour or prejudice," Ramaphosa said in the National Assembly.

READ: 'It's not his dream, it's the people's dream' - Magashule defends Ramaphosa's SONA high hopes

Ramaphosa reminded the country that the bank was a critical institution of South Africa's democracy and it enjoyed wide credibility and standing within the country and internationally.

"Rising prices of goods and services erode the purchasing power of all South Africans, but especially that of the poor. Inflation further undermines the competitiveness of our exports and our import-competing firms, putting industries and jobs at risk."

While he did not delve deeply into all of the country's state-owned enterprises, he focused on Eskom, which has been limping from one crisis to another.

Ramaphosa told the nation it would receive funding through an urgent special appropriation Bill, which is to be tabled in Parliament.

The president did not spend too much time on the issue of the unbundling of Eskom, which he proposed during his last SONA.

READ MORE: Did Ramaphosa bite off more than he can chew with his 5 goals? Here are the numbers staring him down

The unbundling is yet to be done.

Ramaphosa reassured the country that he would appoint a chief restructuring officer and a CEO to replace outgoing executive Phakamani Hadebe.

He tried to deliver a youth friendly speech, which not only placed young people at the centre of his plans for job creation, but also in an integral position in fourth industrial revolution plans.

The president said the government was ready to create pathways into work for young people and make sure it empowers youth, particularly young women.

The national youth service is also set to expand to take on 50 000 young people.

"If there is one thing we've learnt from our engagements with the country's youth is that we cannot impose our solutions: everything we have to must be led by them," remarked the president.

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Read more on:    parliament  |  cyril ramaphosa  |  ace maga­shule  |  cape town  |  politics  |  sona 2019

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