Zuma's SONA speech 'timely, appropriate and poignant' - Radebe

2017-02-14 15:54
Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe  (Screengrab, YouTube)

Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe (Screengrab, YouTube)

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Cape Town - Minister in the Presidency Jeff Radebe on Tuesday defended President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (SONA) as "timely, appropriate and poignant", saying the ANC fully supported it.

Radebe was speaking at a joint sitting of Parliament during the State of the Nation debate.

He said radical transformation would not be mere rhetoric.

Radebe also bemoaned the events of Thursday, where the EFF was violently thrown out and a powdery substance let off in the public gallery.

"Our Parliament must return to its former glory," he said.

He also said the government was deeply saddened by the deaths of the Life Esidimeni 94 and empathised with the families.

He said the DA had been "disingenuous" to use their deaths as a rallying cry for political expediency.

- Follow out live updates of the debate here

Radebe said the ANC was unapologetic over its stance to prioritise the black majority in its new policy to radically transform the economy.

He said two decades of transformation in the country had been too slow to benefit the poor.

"As the ANC, we are unapologetic for our stance to prioritise the black majority in our transformative programmes," he said.

"We must accelerate the radical socio-economic transformation to ensure black people benefit after suffering a lifetime of economic inequality.

"We are a responsive government that puts the needs of the people at the apex of its agenda."

He was referring to Zuma's announcement during his address that the government would pursue "radical economic transformation".

"It is clear, freedom is not always synonymous with equality," Radebe said.

"The gross inequalities in our socio-economic conditions stifle growth in South Africa.

He said a recent government survey showed that white households still earned five times more than black households.

Despite more than R600bn being transferred in BEE schemes since 1995, the majority of black South Africans had still not benefitted, he said.

DA MPs could be heard shouting, "Only the Guptas have!" and "Do something about it!" 

Read more on:    parliament  |  anc  |  jeff radebe  |  cape town  |  sona 2017
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