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Political parties want chance to debate govt's COVID-19 economic recovery plan

Political parties have expressed their unhappiness about not being able to respond to what the president says when President Ramaphosa unveils the plan during this afternoon’s joint sitting of Parliament.

The National Assembly of South Africa on 22 May 2019. Picture: @GovernmentZA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN - Political parties say they must be allowed to debate what President Cyril Ramaphosa tells the country on Thursday afternoon.

Ramaphosa is set to address a joint sitting of Parliament on the government’s economic reconstruction and recovery plan at 2pm.

He’s expected to spell out how the country can emerge from the economic slump caused by the COVID-19 lockdown as well as structural reforms.

But parties said that Parliament must be afforded the opportunity to interrogate what the president says.

National Assembly Speaker Thandi Modise is expected to report back to political parties today on a date for them to debate the government’s economic recovery plan.

This, after parties expressed their unhappiness about not being able to respond to what the president says when he unveils the plan during this afternoon’s joint sitting of Parliament.

United Democratic Movement (UDM) chief whip Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said that the President could not come and deliver a sermon and then leave when Parliament was supposed to be the place where ideas were contested.

Democratic Alliance (DA) chief whip Natasha Mazzone: “The matter is too urgent and is of too much public importance for Parliament not to give it the necessary consideration.”

Parties are pushing for the debate to be scheduled for next Wednesday, when Finance Minister Tito Mboweni was to have delivered his medium-term budget review. That will now happen the following week on 28 October, as agreed by the National Assembly’s Programming Committee this morning.

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