Sona disruption a disregard of the people: Cyril Ramaphosa

President Cyril Ramaphosa during his state of the nation address (Sona) in Cape Town on Thursday, February 13 2020.
President Cyril Ramaphosa during his state of the nation address (Sona) in Cape Town on Thursday, February 13 2020.
Image: Esa Alexander

President Cyril Ramaphosa has described the events of Thursday night in parliament as “unfortunate” after his state of the nation address (Sona) was disrupted by an hour-and-a-half by EFF MPs.

Speaking to journalists at the presidential golf challenge in Melkbosstrand on the Cape west coast on Friday, Ramaphosa said it was regrettable EFF MPs chose to disregard the people of SA by attempting to block him from delivering the Sona.

EFF MPs and party leader Julius Malema delayed Sona proceedings by, among other things, demanding that former president FW de Klerk leave parliament. They said De Klerk had no right to be present in a democratic parliament as he was refusing to acknowledge that apartheid was a crime against humanity.

Malema and his MPs also demanded that Ramaphosa  fire public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan. The EFF caucus argued the minister had run state-owned firms such as power utility Eskom and SA Airways into the ground.

They staged a walkout after 90 minutes of filibustering as National Assembly speaker Thandi Modise and National Council of Provinces chairperson Amos Masondo dismissed their proposals.

At the post-Sona fundraising golf challenge, Ramaphosa said the conduct of Malema and his MPs had been disappointing.

“For me it was a delay that was imposed not only on the MPs but on the people of SA. The people of SA in their homes and wherever they were, were waiting to hear the Sona.

“It was most unfortunate as far as I'm concerned that we as parliamentarians displayed such disregard for the ordinary people who wanted to hear the message rather than getting involved in squabbles of MPs and that should've been taken into account by those members who wanted their issues to be addressed,” the president said.

“Ordinary people wanted to know how we are going to drive the economy forward. Young people wanted to hear more about what's in store for them in terms of jobs.

“But in the end, I think we came out with a very good message, particularly for young people and those driving the economy of our country. We also addressed the issue of energy.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the state of the nation address (Sona) in parliament on February 13 2020. Ramaphosa addressed the issues of SA's embattled state-owned entities (SOEs), such as Eskom and SAA, and unemployment.