20/02/2018 07:14 SAST | Updated 20/02/2018 07:14 SAST

Cautious Optimism From Opposition At Sona Debate

Political parties responded positively to Ramaphosa's first Sona, but warned that they want to see action.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is hugged by DA leader Mmusi Maimane after Ramaphosa was elected president in Parliament in Cape Town.
Mike Hutchings / Reuters
President Cyril Ramaphosa is hugged by DA leader Mmusi Maimane after Ramaphosa was elected president in Parliament in Cape Town.

President Cyril Ramaphosa's state of the nation address (Sona) has received cautious optimism from parties, who have also called for him to be firm on the land question and to tackle corruption.

ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu hailed Ramaphosa's election as the dawn of a new era, according to the Mail & Guardian. However, he called for a review of the funding model of the three arms of state to protect Parliament's independence

"Parliament cannot continue to be treated as a government department, while it is an arm of the state. We are thus calling for a review of the funding methodology for all three arms of the state, wherein funding for parliament is not dependent on the very same executive arm of the state it ought to be conducting oversight on."

He reportedly called on MPs to make sure that government monies are not wasted.

"These monies wasted by careless and corrupt people in government could have gone towards funding free higher education for the poor. Parliament must finalise legislation to give the Auditor-General motive to decisively deal with those who waste our government money," he said.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane said Ramaphosa should trim Cabinet by firing "compromised ministers", according to Eyewitness News (EWN).

"Show South Africa that you're really serious about fighting corruption in your party and fire Bathabile Dlamini, Faith Muthambi, Mosebenzi Zwane, Malusi Gigaba, Des van Rooyen, David Mahlobo, Lynne Brown and Mr R7,000-a-night Bongani Bongo; [get them] out of your Cabinet," he reportedly said.

But Science and Technology Minister Naledi Pandor responded, saying parties should leave Cabinet decisions to Ramaphosa.

According to News24, she also assured the EFF that Ramaphosa would be addressing the land question.

"I should also assure [EFF leader Julius] Malema that we are resolute in introducing land expropriation without compensation, on the basis agreed upon and set out by our national party at its 54th elective conference," she reportedly said.

EWN reported that Malema reportedly assured Ramaphosa that his party would give Ramaphosa a fair chance.

"We only give you a chance because you have not personally been found guilty of being a constitutional delinquent," he said.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi reportedly said that Ramaphosa's greatest test would be the land question. This after Ramaphosa reportedly promised to implement the ANC's resolution of expropriating land without compensation.

United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa cautioned against promises made by Ramaphosa not turning into action. "We must caution him that we have heard these promises before. We need to see action and I hope that he has an administration that will implement these plans," he said, according to News24.