POLITICS
08/05/2018 17:32 SAST | Updated 08/05/2018 17:32 SAST

Ramaphosa's Parliamentary Q And A: Facts, Figures, And A Little DA Trolling

The president answered six questions in Parliament, ranging from land expropriation to the competition commission.

Sumaya Hisham / Reuters
President Cyril Ramaphosa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Tuesday faced tough questions from members of Parliament, ranging from the mechanics of implementing land expropriation without compensation to the damning allegations emerging from within the country's intelligence agencies.

Ramaphosa faced six questions from various political parties in the session, which lasted more than three hours.

Here is a summary of what the president's responses to their questions:

1) Adrian Williams (ANC): What message does the team of special envoys on investment intend to convey to potential foreign investors?

Ramaphosa said the message conveyed to investors will be that South Africa is on a path to economic revival, buoyed by a new optimism, with improving business and consumer confidence. He said the team will explain that the economy is being managed well and turnaround strategies are being put in place for embattled state-owned enterprises. Ramaphosa explained that government aims to raise R100-billion in new investment over the next five years.

2) Deidre Carter (Cope): Will Ramaphosa establish a commission of inquiry into a variety of serious allegations facing Crime Intelligence and the State Security Agency?

Ramaphosa explained that his office will "shortly" be setting up a review panel to assess the structure of the State Security Agency. The panel will focus on the agency's mandate and investigate its systems and capacity. Ramaphosa also said he has instructed state security minister Dipuo Letsatsi-Duba to attend to all governance and operational challenges that confront the agency, while police minister Bheki Cele addresses the challenges at Crime Intelligence.

3) Hope Malgas (ANC): What did Ramaphosa mean when he said that South Africa must recognise its wounds and how they affect the future?

Ramaphosa said South Africans need to first acknowledge that the wounds exist. He then took direct shots at the DA, saying the ANC would be the first to defend the opposition party's leader Mmusi Maimane and his views on white privilege. He said the ANC would "defend Maimane from his own party members".

4) Mmusi Maimane (DA): What are the details of the assurances that Ramaphosa's newly appointed envoys will give potential foreign investors in light of government's plan to expropriate land without compensation?

Ramaphosa said government will advance the three elements of land reform (redistribution, restitution and security of tenure) through inclusive dialogue. He emphasised that land expropriation without compensation is not incompatible with agricultural productivity and economic development. According to the president, thus far, foreign investors appreciate the need for South Africans to find sustainable solutions for the inequitable distribution of land and wealth in the country.

5) Nozabelo Bhengu (ANC): What is Ramaphosa's position with regard to the findings and proposals contained in the South Africa Economic Update, Jobs and Inequality report?

Ramaphosa said measures need to be taken in various sectors, including: improving investor confidence, reforming telecommunications, and supporting tourism and agriculture. He said it is not sufficient to accelerate economic growth alone; it must be accompanied by the creation of jobs, the type that supports poor people in the country.

6) Mandlenkosi Galo (AIC): How does Ramaphosa intend to reduce barriers for small businesses when the Competition Commission continues to approve mergers among large corporations?

Ramaphosa was quick to assure Parliament that it is critical to pursue measures that will open up the economy for small businesses in South Africa. He advised that in investigating whether a merger is justified, competition authorities must consider the impact on employment. He said there are a number of instances where efforts of government and the Competition Commission have led to the opening up of markets. According to Ramaphosa, 58,000 jobs were saved through conditions stipulated by competition authorities between April 2014 and 2016.