CAPE TOWN – A number of newcomers have made their maiden speeches in the National Assembly during the debate of the State of the Nation Address (Sona).
On Tuesday, Members of Parliament debated President Cyril Ramaphosa’s speech in a marathon 10-hour joint sitting of both Houses of Parliament.
They took Ramaphosa to task and tore into his speech for being weak on detail.
Newly elected MPs who made their maiden speeches included two former Fees Must Fall student activists as well as a member of new political party – the African Transformation Movement.
Former Wits University SRC president and Fees Must Fall leader Nompendulo Mkhatshwa was one such member who addressed Parliament for the first time, calling for greater participation of women in society.
“Taking into consideration the demographics of this country and who the life expectancy of many is reliant on, women are a very fundamental part of building this nation.”
She was not the only former student activist to take to the podium and was joined in the opposition benches by the Economic Freedom Fighters’ Naledi Chirwa who had some harsh words for President Ramaphosa.
“President, I stand here on behalf of the EFF for the very first time to respond to your stale, empty and meaningless State of the Nation Address. Today, 25 years after the attainment of political freedom, the face of poverty, landlessness, and unemployment is still largely black.”
Ramaphosa would respond to the debate on Wednesday afternoon.