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Ramaphosa 'unfazed' by EFF threats to disrupt Sona

The red berets issued President Cyril Ramaphosa with an ultimatum over the weekend to fire Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan or face chaos.

President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking on Cape Town's City Hall balcony at the 30th-anniversary parade of the release of former president Nelson Mandela who was jailed for 27 years. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa said he was unfazed by threats from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) to disrupt his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday night.

The red berets issued Ramaphosa with an ultimatum over the weekend to fire Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan or face chaos.

The EFF said it wouldn’t allow Ramaphosa to speak as long as Gordhan remained a minister.

But Presidency spokesperson Khusela Diko insists Ramaphosa was not worried.

Ramaphosa is taking threats by the EFF to cause chaos in the National Assembly on Thursday evening in his stride.

Diko said: “I can assure you, the president is not losing any sleep over the threat of disruption. He fully believes in free political expression. It would be a lot more ideal, though, if such political expression would yield some sort of results. We don’t understand what disrupting Sona is going to achieve.”

Diko had some advice for the party led by Julius Malema: "The EFF may be better placed, for example, to use the energy they have to go on the ground, win elections and then set up the Cabinet that they would want."

She was speaking during a briefing at Parliament earlier on Wednesday. Ramaphosa’s address will be broadcast live and is set to start at 7 pm.

DA WON't SUPPORT DISRUPTIONS AT SONA

The Democratic Alliance (DA) said it would not support any disruption of Ramaphosa’s address on Thursday.

After delivering his Alternative State of the Nation Address in Cape Town on Wednesday, the party’s interim leader John Steenhuisen stated that a disruptive Sona would not benefit anyone.

Steenhuisen has accused the EFF trying to create a distraction because of its own historical issues with Gordhan.

He said preventing the legislature from doing its work was on its own an act of undermining democracy.

“But I also think the EFF has become masters of subterfuge and changing the narrative, and of course, to distract from VBS. It’s very easy for them to make Pravin Gordhan and others as scapegoats.”

On the attendance of Jacob Zuma, who failed to appear before the state capture commission, Steenhuisen said the former president had shown disdain for the justice system.

“…And sorry to say, I think it is a disgrace. As a former president, he should be submitting himself absolutely to the process of the Zondo commission.”

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