It’s amazing how much change can occur in seven days.
This time last week the country was playing the ‘will he / won’t he’ game with regards Jacob Zuma’s resignation, and now everyone is jogging on Sea Point promenade in the hopes of snapping a selfie with Cyril.
Nowhere is that change more evident than in Parliament, where the incumbent president delivered a speech that wasn’t filled with derisive laughter aimed towards the people he represents.
Yesterday afternoon was Ramaphosa’s chance to respond to the SONA debate, and he spoke for over an hour. That means there were plenty of talking points, but City Press have highlighted a few that stood out:
“The return of the land to the people from whom it was taken speaks to precisely how we can heal the divisions of the past … For it to serve this purpose, we will need to locate this measure within a broad and comprehensive land redistribution and agricultural development programme … This is a profound responsibility that has been given to our generation.
We owe it to our ancestors and to our children to ensure that we fulfil it. In dealing with this complex matter, we will not make the mistakes that others have made. We will not allow smash and grab interventions. We will handle this matter in the same way we have handled all difficult issues our country has had to handle. We will always seek to do what is in the interests of our people.”
“The Marikana tragedy stands out as the darkest moment in the life of our young democracy … Notwithstanding the findings of the Farlam Commission on my responsibility for the events that unfolded, I am determined to play whatever role I can play in the process of healing and atonement. In this, I am guided by the needs and wishes of the families of the 44 workers who lost their lives.”
“Yesterday, there was a concern raised about black economic empowerment and affirmative action.
There was a suggestion that young white people are excluded from jobs, bursaries and opportunities based on the colour of their skin. We must not ignore such concerns, nor must we dismiss them. Rather we must engage with them, for the statement that young white South Africans are unfairly disadvantaged by our affirmative action policies is not borne out by reality.”
“I have noted during the course of the debate several comments about members of the executive. Whatever views one might hold about members of Cabinet, this does not justify in any way the kind of character assassination and insults we have heard. On the matter of the composition of Cabinet, an announcement will be made by the president at the appropriate time.”
The real VIPs
“The most important people in this country are not those who walk the red carpet in Parliament, but those who spend their nights on the benches outside its gates … The most important people in this country are those whose shacks are flooded with every rainfall and whose taps run dry whether there is a drought or not …
It is those who have been looking for work their entire adult lives, who have had to drop out of school, who are suffering from preventable diseases, who have been orphaned or abandoned, who rely on an old age pension to feed their families, who do not have the seed or the implements to work their small piece of land.”
Makes a nice change from this, right?
Even the rand responds well to his speeches, dubbed ‘the Ramaphosa Rally’, although that might not be the case when Gigaba delivers the Budget Speech later today.
If those five Cyril quotes don’t do it for you, then you can head here for five more.
Alternatively, you can settle in and watch his speech in its entirety:
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