Ramaphosa stares down MPs blaming ANC - not Covid-19 - for economic ructions

President Cyril Ramaphosa at SONA 2020. (Twitter, @PresidencyZA)
President Cyril Ramaphosa at SONA 2020. (Twitter, @PresidencyZA)
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa said all parties in Parliament agreed that the national lockdown was necessary to save lives at the beginning of the pandemic.
  • Ramaphosa said even countries that did not impose a strict lockdown were in economic trouble.
  • The president urged support for this Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.


President Cyril Ramaphosa took exception to Members of Parliament from opposition parties blaming South Africa's economic troubles on decades of African National Congress leadership instead of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Ramaphosa was responding to a debate on the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan, which he tabled in Parliament last week Thursday. The plan seeks to guide South Africa's recovery from the pandemic.

The pandemic and the subsequent national lockdown aimed at curbing its spread through the country has seen over 2 million jobs lost in the second quarter of this year, and a 16.4% contraction in the economy.

During the debate, Democratic Alliance MP and leader of the opposition John Steenhuisen said the ANC and the "longest, hardest and most unscientific lockdown" in the era of the Covid-19 world were to blame for South Africa's economic troubles.

'Covid-19 did not destroy our economy'

"We are not trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. Covid-19 did not destroy our economy. We are trying to recover from decades of bad governance by the ANC. It is disingenuous to suggest otherwise," said Steenhuisen.

Ramaphosa addressed Steenhuisen directly in his response to the debate, saying the DA MP did not object to the lockdown when it was introduced in March, with everyone agreeing it was imposed to save lives. Ramaphosa said even countries that did not lock down for the pandemic had economic troubles.

"Had we not taken the measures that we did, which you supported, many more lives, as you admitted then, would have been lost. The economic impact would have been worse, and we would not have even been in a position to talk about any kind of economic recovery," said Ramaphosa.

United Democratic Movement MP Bantu Holomisa said it was unacceptable and immoral that the Public Investment Corporation is made to continue investing pension monies while those investments fail to bring about much needed economic development and job creation.

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