NATIONAL NEWS - President Cyril Ramaphosa was almost interrupted during his state of the nation address (Sona) Thursday by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, but managed to avert a disruption to his speech.
When Malema heckled the president, saying “Land! Land!”, Ramaphosa cut him short, saying: “”I will come to that part Malema, the issue of land”.
Moments later, Ramaphosa was applauded by ANC MPs after Ramaphosa made a commitment to providing land for the poor, while a silent Malema looked on.
“While we have made great progress in providing housing, many South Africans still need land to build homes and earn livelihoods,” Ramaphosa said.
“In the next five years, we will accelerate the provision of well-located housing and land to poor South Africans,” he continued.
Later on Ramaphosa returned to the topic of land.
“Faster economic growth … requires accelerated land reform in rural and urban areas and a clear property rights regime,” he said.
“We have received the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, which will now be presented to Cabinet for consideration.
“The panel’s recommendations will inform the finalisation of a comprehensive, far-reaching and transformative land reform programme.
“In the immediate term, government will accelerate efforts to identify and release public land that is suitable for smart, urban settlements and for farming.”
Ramaphosa also mentioned his government’s promise to helping emerging farmers.
“In the stimulus and recovery package announced last year, we promised to prioritise funding for emerging farmers.
“Over the medium term budget period, R3.9 billion has been allocated to the Land Bank to support black commercial farmers,” he said.
Ramaphosa managed to make it through his last Sona in February without any of the drama which has characterised those delivered by his predecessor, Jacob Zuma.
Hours before that address, the EFF still hadn’t decided whether or not they would be disrupting it.
They had threatened to turn proceedings into a “question-and-answer” session if Ramaphosa didn’t bring up the R500,000 donation hugely controversial facilities management company Bosasa made to his campaign to become leader of the ANC. In the end, they let the president off the hook.