Steenhuisen: Instead of a new dawn, we have new despair

accreditation

The interim leader of the DA, John Steenhuisen, has blasted President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address (SONA), describing it as a "defining moment" which he allowed to "slip away".

"You had all the cards honourable president, and then you went and blew it. You let us down," remarked Steenhuisen.

MPs are currently debating the president's SONA which was delivered last week.

Steenhuisen accused Ramaphosa of consistently choosing the ANC over the country, saying he should use his reply to the debate as an opportunity to redeem himself.

"You are not the reformer South Africa thought you are. You don't have the guts to make the tough choices our country needs. You are not brave enough to take on the unions that hold this country to ransom."

Steenhuisen recalled the spirit of hope, which he said had engulfed the country when Ramaphosa became president in 2018, saying it had since resulted in dying industries, failed municipalities, a million more people becoming unemployed, a slowdown of direct foreign investment and tax revenues decreasing, with crime increasing.

"I am not going to stand here and say this happened on your watch, Mr President … that would be far too kind, it didn't just happen on your watch, it happened by your own hand."

He accused the president of not being the reformer South Africans expected him to be, adding he did not have the necessary guts to make tough choices needed by the country nor brave enough to keep the ANC's allies at bay.

"That's why, instead of a new dawn, there's a new despair," continued Steenhuisen who said Ramaphosa lacked the courage to deal decisively with corruption.

He even questioned the presence of former eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede who is currently facing numerous charges of corruption.

"While you were telling us how you've acted decisively against state capture, the beneficiaries of state capture, some of them chairs of portfolio committees, sat in these very benches," remarked Steenhuisen.

He told the National Assembly the DA had recently learned from a document sent from Parliament to the committee on public service that there would be no arrests or prosecutions this year.

Cadre deployment is the midwife of state capture

Steenhuisen also hit out at the president for failing to do away with cadre deployment since coming to power, warning his vision of building a capable state would not come to be if the "politically connected feeding trough" remained opened.

He said ANC policy was at the heart of what was wrong with the government.

Steenhuisen, however, added there were some good proposals in the president's SONA.

He said these included adding grid capacity from renewable energy, allowing commercial and industrial users to produce their own electricity, and expediting their applications.

Steenhuisen added that letting municipalities procure their own power directly from producers was "a very good idea".

"But here's the thing: You can't claim these as your ideas. The DA has been offering you these solutions for years, and you've now left it way too late."

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For only R75 per month, you have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today.
Subscribe to News24
Lockdown For
DAYS
HRS
MINS
Voting Booth
The 2021 Matric exams have been brought forward to avoid clashing with elections. This is:
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
A disaster - kids are stressed enough
44% - 731 votes
Not the best idea, but necessary
15% - 251 votes
No big deal, it's just a few days
41% - 674 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
14.75
-1.0%
Rand - Pound
20.26
+0.1%
Rand - Euro
17.29
+0.2%
Rand - Aus dollar
10.72
+0.1%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.1%
Gold
1,754.62
0.0%
Silver
22.41
0.0%
Palladium
2,019.00
0.0%
Platinum
944.00
0.0%
Brent Crude
75.34
-0.4%
Top 40
56,605
-0.9%
All Share
62,864
-0.7%
Resource 10
56,497
-3.9%
Industrial 25
81,170
+1.0%
Financial 15
14,018
+0.5%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE