By Genevieve Quintal, News24
Parliament – President Jacob Zuma’s highly anticipated reply to the State of the Nation Address (SONA) debate lasted just over an hour, with no sign of the disruptions and heckling which characterised proceedings earlier this week.
The Economic Freedom Fighters, who have become synonymous with disrupting the president when he addresses the National Assembly, were missing from proceedings.
EFF leader Julius Malema addressed the debate on Tuesday, saying his party would not participate in a debate on an “illegitimate” president’s SONA.
Malema delivered a scathing speech in which he listed a number of so-called errors in judgement made by Zuma in his role as president, and in his personal life.
The entire EFF caucus left the House after Malema’s speech and have not returned since.
In his reply on Thursday, Zuma took the opportunity to chastise MPs, focusing more on the opposition and their behaviour in the House, saying they were damaging the image of the country.
Most of the president’s reply focused on the economy and plans that the government had in place.
He assured South Africans that, this time around, the National Development Plan (NDP) would be implemented – some four years after it was initially introduced.
Zuma emphasised that the implementation of the NDP remained the “cornerstone” of the economy.
The president further acknowledged that a possible ratings downgrade was a very real threat and that government should leave no stone unturned to prevent this from happening.
He said that with about 2.7 million households affected, the drought was a problem that needed everyone to work together.
Zuma called on South Africans to stop emphasising colour and stand up against racism. – News24