Parly wrap: A calm Zuma fires back at his critics

President Jacob Zuma has called for cool heads to prevail in Parliament.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: Thomas Holder/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Land, black economic empowerment and Jan van Riebeeck were some of the main issues President Jacob Zuma touched on in his response to the debate on the State of the Nation Address on Thursday.

Zuma spent the afternoon responding to Members of Parliament (MPs) in the National Assembly following two days of (Sona) debates.

The president called for cool heads to prevail in Parliament, saying it was everyone's responsibility to make Parliament work.

"I see no reason for us to get angry. What for? This is not war."

Zuma even thanked some MPs, including Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema, for their contribution to the debate earlier this week.

Malema stared coldly ahead as the president extended an olive branch to him.

"I commend honourable Malema for really dealing with Sona as he did."

During the two days of heated debates, Zuma was labelled a "broken man" and was accused of using "hooligan tactics" against opposition MPs.

Meanwhile, Zuma also reassured South Africans that the country was in good hands.

He acknowledged the current challenges but said its democracy and its institutions were strong and that South Africa was getting many things right.

"Improvements must be made in various areas within the public service."

Zuma also said the government was dealing with economic logjams and the energy crisis.

The president also condemned attacks on foreigners and reiterated that Jan van Riebeeck would always be a historical fact, but insisted South Africa was a rainbow nation for all.

ZUMA CALLS FOR ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION

Zuma said, while the country has taken steps to improve the economy, not enough has been done for transformation.

"Honourable Godrich [Gardee] correctly pointed out that we haven't touched on the structure of the economy in order to construct true economic transformation."

He also highlighted the fact that the income of white households was still much higher than black homes and business ownership is still a problem.

"The black majority still owns only 3 percent of the JSE, pointing to the need to move faster to economic emancipation."

The president says a commission will be set up to ensure faster economic transformation.

"A broad black based economic transformation commission will be appointed this year to overview economic transformation."

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