Daniel Friedman
3 minute read
22 Aug 2018
4:59 pm

Ramaphosa shoots down Shivambu, Maimane in parliament

Daniel Friedman

The president was dismissive of the EFF second-in-command's and the DA leader's criticisms, in rebuttals that DA chief whip John Steenhuisen called "weak, weak, weak."

President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: ANA

The EFF deputy leader slammed president Cyril Ramaphosa’s economic policies at a parliamentary Q&A this afternoon, saying that he should not be attempting to gain outside investment and instead should be looking inward.

“How are you going to look for money from outside?” asked Shivambu. “It has never happened anywhere where you get foreign direct investment if you have not been able to deal with the job problem, where there is an inward looking job creation plan, as was implemented in South Korea, Japan, and Southeast Asia,” he continued.

“If you really want to drive investment, you must demonstrate that companies in your own country can invest in your own economy,” Shivambu added.

However, the president was quick to shoot down the EFF second-in-command, saying he was just “talking from his book.”

“We cannot deny that the economy has grown since 1994, and that was led by the ANC government. You cannot wish that away,” the president said.

“So if you want to Mr Shivambu, you can wish us luck, because we are here to stay. I thank you,” he continued before moving on to the next question.

READ MORE: Ramaphosa and his ‘hitman’ Gordhan accused of foul play – Report

Earlier in the session, Ramaphosa reacted in a similarly dismissive fashion to DA leader Mmusi Maimane, who criticised Ramaphosa’s decision to keep Malusi Gigaba in his cabinet.

“If you want to ignite growth, are you willing to change your Cabinet to promote new economic growth?” asked Maimane.

He too was shot down by the president, who accused the DA leader of putting forward criticism that lacked substance.

“I had hoped almost for a moment that I would hear something new and pearls of wisdom,” he said, going on to tell Maimane: “You are playing the men and not the substantive issues.”

“Maybe next week you may have better ideas if you wake up on the right side of the bed, bring it to me and it may be implementable.

“But for now you have disappointed me and I have not heard anything usable,” he finishes.

His comments drew cheers from the ANC section of the room, while DA chief whip John Steenhuisen shouted out that Ramaphosa’s response was “Weak, weak, weak.”

This is a very different parliamentary atmosphere to the one South Africans became used to during Jacob Zuma’s presidency, when walk-outs and disruptions from the EFF and, to a lesser extent the DA, became commonplace.

The six questions scheduled for the sitting today covered a range of matters, including expropriation of urban land and property, the reasons for the failure of government plans to reduce unemployment and create jobs, and how South Africa’s membership of BRICS will help to shield the local economy from the impact of tariffs imposed by the United States of America on our steel and aluminium exports.

It also covered the outcome of the Independent Panel of Experts’ review of current zero-rated VAT items, whether this will mitigate the costs of food and other essentials on the poor, whether government supports the African National Congress’ commitment to amend section 25 of the Constitution, and why government rushed to sign the Independent Power Producers’ agreements when Eskom has electricity supply at a cheaper price.

Additional reporting by ANA

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