PARLIAMENT, February 17 – President Cyril Ramaphosa’s maiden state-of-the-nation address on Friday won fulsome praise from South African Communist Party general secretary Blade Nzimande.
“It was very good, very strong,” said Nzimande, the former higher education minister who became a political enemy of former president Jacob Zuma and was fired by him late last year.
“He was clearly looking for a social compact, where everybody contributes. And he sent the very clear signal that you cannot do so much, without dismantling the parasitic networks,” he added of large-scale corruption at public enterprises.
Ramaphosa, in a bold speech delivered the day after he became president, announced that the government would push ahead with the introduction of free higher education for students from poor families and the implementation of a long-awaited national health service.
The SACP, an alliance partner of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), helped Zuma to power but eventually became one of his most vocal critics.