Pros and cons in Ramaphosa's SONA: Saftu

The South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has reacted to President Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address (SONA). Photo: Twitter / @SAFTU_media

JOHANNESBURG  - Certain aspects of President Cyril Ramaphosa's state-of-the-nation address (Sona) are to be welcomed, but the rest was mainly "business as usual", the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) said on Sunday.

"We welcome his commitment to decisively deal with corruption, inefficiencies, and the backward culture of the government, which is not geared towards servicing the people," Saftu said in a statement.

In particular, Saftu was very pleased by certain steps announced by Ramaphosa. These included complying with the Constitutional Court's decisions and lower court decisions - an essential part of the hard won constitutional order that would help fight against a predatory state.

READ: Zuma ruling will help bring him to justice: Saftu

"Reviewing the size of the executive. [Former] president [Jacob] Zuma had used the Cabinet as a weapon to distribute patronage and hence it kept on expanding to the current unmanageable inefficient elephant that cannot deliver any coherent programme," Saftu said.

"Reviewing the management of the tax authorities. In our view the starting point must be the immediate dismissal and the arrest of SARS [South African Revenue Service] commissioner Tom Moyane and his cronies, including ruthless pursuance of tobacco smugglers, those moving an estimated US23 billion annually and trade transfers.

"We offer to be partners of President Ramaphosa in this fight so that we can help root out corruption from the face of society. Will will give him praise when he implements what he promised, but will be his critics should he fail to act decisively against the scourge of corruption."

Saftu was, however, not pleased at all about the economic programme Ramaphosa articulated. "In fact the Sona represents the old wine in new bottles. It’s the old neoliberal programme that has spectacularly failed to deliver a better life for all for 24 years now".

Apart from the the announcement about expropriation of land without compensation, which was warmly welcomed, and that free education would be rolled out in the next five years, also welcomed, "the speech as a whole is business as usual", Saftu said.

African News Agency

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