Wednesday, September 14, 2016

President Jacob Zuma is answering questions in the National Assembly this afternoon.

Tough session: President Jacob Zuma's question and answer session on 13 September 2016 was disrupted when members of Cope and the EFF walked out of the National Assembly. Picture:
Natalie Malgas & Ray White

JOHANNESBURG/CAPE TOWN – President Jacob Zuma has jumped to defend the African National Congress’ (ANC) performance during the 2016 local government elections, saying it’s not true that people have lost confidence in ruling party.

Zuma was answering questions in the National Assembly this afternoon.

He says of all the political parties that took part in the highly contested elections in August, none of them won and that “in this last election – the ruling party is leading.”

The President added that, “The economy is picking up, I don't see why rating agencies will move against facts.”

Zuma addressed the ANC’s loss of support in the local government elections.

He says the governing party did well and the outcome of the local government elections showed that democracy is merely maturing in the country.

“What has happened in three metros – there is no party that won, of all the parties that were contesting, there is not a single party one that won.”

He also announced a number of key projects aimed at boosting the local economy, with Transnet taking over the procurement of locomotives, while a plan is being drafted to address the country’s power needs and water supply is being given special attention.

Zuma says municipalities will receive assistance to save water.

“This will be done to facilitate the placement of water agents that government is training.”

He says municipal infrastructure will be taken care of.

“An action plan to ensure greater expenditure on municipal infrastructure maintenance and to enforce proper financial asset management will be developed and implemented.”

Zuma also says plans are underway to address the country’s energy needs, with an integrated plan to be completed by the end of the year.


At the same time, President Zuma says government is not at war with itself and the state is dealing with issues to prevent such perceptions.

Reports surfaced that an elite police unit was investigating Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane asked Zuma for an explanation following reports of tensions involving the treasury.

“I want to know from you whether you agree with the Deputy President [Cyril Ramaphosa] and what actions are you going to take to stop this war or does it benefit you politically?”

Some analysts say Zuma's allies are behind the investigation in a bid to remove Gordhan, but Zuma denied this was the case.

"There is no war between the Presidency and the Treasury. I am clarifying that point. It must be as clear as anything - there is no war between the Presidency and the Treasury.”

He also responded to questions over a statement made by Mineral Resources Minister Mosebenzi Zwane, who claimed that Cabinet had endorsed an inquiry into the banks and the Gupta family.

The President says he wants an explanation.

“This one matter, I am attending to, of minister Zwane and I’m engaging him on what he said.”


President Zuma also addressed concerns over state owned enterprises (SOEs), saying there are 13 specific interventions underway.

Earlier this month, asset manager Futuregrowth announced that it was withdrawing funding for SOEs, citing poor management.

Zuma said attention was being given by Cabinet to state companies.

“The Lekgotla also reflected on progress made and the next steps in the reform of state owned companies.”

He says reform is being implemented.

“The inter-ministerial committee SOEs led by Ramaphosa will continue to oversee 13 specific interventions.”


Proceedings got off to a rocky start with the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and Congress of the People walking out earlier this afternoon.

EFF leader Julius Malema refused to allow Zuma to speak and then announced the party was leaving.

“We are going to leave this House because we are not prepared to listen to this criminal.”

However, the EFF returned later.

“We are just going to the loo because we are avoiding the criminal, we will come back when the criminal is gone. Thank you.”

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