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Buthelezi on Ramaphosa’s Sona: 'Only two words out of 8,000 spoke volumes'

Sona 'lists all the things that would be nice to have – yet year after year, the commitments made during Sona are delayed, changed or unfulfilled'

IFP founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi says of the more than 8,000 words spoken by Cyril Ramaphosa, pictured, in his Sona, only two spoke volumes - 'properly managed'.
IFP founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi says of the more than 8,000 words spoken by Cyril Ramaphosa, pictured, in his Sona, only two spoke volumes - 'properly managed'.
Image: GCIS

It is impossible to believe many of the commitments made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in his state of the nation address (Sona) because “year after year they are delayed, changed or unfulfilled”.

This is according to IFP founder Mangosuthu Buthelezi in response to last week's Sona in Cape Town. But Buthelezi didn't make the comments himself. Instead, his remarks were delivered by party chief whip Narend Singh on Monday because of technical difficulties. 

Buthelezi said of the more than 8,000-word speech by Ramaphosa, only two spoke volumes.

“Those two words are 'properly managed'. If properly managed, the many plans and programmes presented could work. But is our country being properly managed?” he asked.

Buthelezi said there had been a strong precedent to suggest that no matter what the president said during Sona, it was not a blueprint but a wish list.

“It lists all the things that would be nice to have. Yet, year after year, the commitments made during Sona are delayed, changed or unfulfilled,” he said.

Buthelezi said when Ramaphosa spoke about the Lanseria Smart City last year, he never mentioned that it would take 25 years to complete.  

“When you told us about the Mokolo-Crocodile River water project, you never explained that actual delivery is scheduled for 2026.

“When you said that the student housing infrastructure programme would provide 300,000 student beds, you never said ‘over the span of 10 years’. In fact, you said it was an approved project for 2021.”

He accused the government of talking as though tomorrow’s solutions would fix today’s problems.

“Where are the solutions for today that were started yesterday? Tragically, the answer to that question is likely to become the shocking finding of yet another special investigation.”

Commenting on the report of the expert panel that investigated the July 2021 civil unrest which left more than 300 dead, Buthelezi said it left a deep wound in the nation — and it could have been avoided.

We need to make one thing very clear: there is no split between the government and a criminal network that infiltrated it.
Mangosuthu Buthelezi

He was critical given that the SIU had uncovered R2.1bn worth of irregular contracts in January.   

“Again, there is a single, clear message about what is happening. But why is it happening, Mr President? How has this level of corruption been allowed to establish itself within a government that is meant to be for the people?

“It’s not as if we weren’t warned. In September 2020 the auditor-general warned of the risk of abuse of the social relief grant to channel money away from where it was intended to go. Again in March 2021, the AG highlighted the lack of co-ordination and weak controls that left the relief fund vulnerable to fraud and looting.

“We need to make one thing very clear: there is no split between the government and a criminal network that infiltrated it. When you say, Honourable President, that there was state capture, you imply that it is behind us. But we are still living with its effects. That criminal network, just like those individuals who conspired to defraud the government, was enabled and assisted by officials and leaders in government. Our own government became part of a criminal network. Unless we admit to this fact and stop playing semantics, the solution will evade us.”

Despite its criticism of the Sona, the IFP said it welcomed the extension of the R350 grant announced by Ramaphosa.

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TimesLIVE


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