President Cyril Ramaphosa answered questions in parliament on Thursday, where he told Democratic Alliance (DA) leader Mmusi Maimane that he sounded like a “broken record” after he asked a question about prescription of assets.
“The more I listen to Honourable Maimane, the more it sounds like a broken record, it really does,” the president said.
“I always try and deal with members with the greatest respect, when a member regurgitates the same issue question time after question time no matter how many answers you give him the confusion is quite big on this side.”
Maimane brought up Eskom, the state of the SA economy and what Maimane suggested was the government’s lack of clarity on its own policies, which he alleged led to Maimane giving conflicting answers on issues such as expropriation without compensation and nationalisation of the Reserve Bank when at home and when oversees. He then asked about prescription of assets.
“Your party has already come out and told the people of this country that in fact it is going to prescribe assets, in simple terms, they are going to take the people’s pension money that they’ve worked for hard all their lives,” Maimane said, before asking his question.
“In the context where investment is down, growth is down and unemployment is at a record high time can you tell us, whether you do support the prescription of assets and the stealing, the nationalisation of pension funds for South Africans?” he asked.
“The African National Congress has the most progressive policies that it has put in place, the issue of prescribed assets has been discussed over and over again,” was Ramaphosa’s answer.
He added that his government was going to “pursue policies which are going to advance the interests of our people in South Africa, and also advance the interests of the pension fund holders, the very workers of this country who are members of the trade unions, who are themselves the beneficiaries of pension funds”.
Ramaphosa also said that SA’s economic policies were “well appreciated by people in business, by people that we meet oversees, even at the World Economic Forum”.
“In ten days or so we will have the whole of the investing world coming here and we are going to have a world economic forum, the African version right in this city.
“I would like to invite [Maimane] to come walk close to me so he can hear precisely what the investing world is saying about our economic policies,” Ramaphosa said.
In response, DA chief whip John Steenhuisen called Ramaphosa’s answer “the type of response you’d expect from a loan shark, not a president”.
He accused the president of failing to answer the question on whether or not he supports prescription of assets, calling Ramaphosa’s response a “meandos“, in reference to a word invented by former president Jacob Zuma.
As Steenhuisen asked for Ramaphosa to clearly answer whether or not he supports prescription of assets, the DA caucus could be heard chanting “yes or no” in the background.