Ramaphosa crosses swords with DA in his final campaign speech

President Cyril Ramaphosa sharpened the differences between the governing party and the main opposition DA on policies for economic empowerment and healthcare services.

While some of the ANC’s top brass, including Ramaphosa, have been described as champions of a coalition between the ANC and DA in the event no party got an outright majority during Wednesday’s polls, his speech during the Siyanqoba rally at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg suggested a degree of pushback.

For its part, the DA promised to scrap Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment and the national minimum wage if it came to power, and the party has described Ramaphosa’s enactment of the National Health Insurance (NHI) as a move that will plunge the country into a crisis.

But Ramaphosa’s election speech, prepared together with members of the party’s national executive committee, stood at odds with the DA’s posture.

“As we work to make our economy more inclusive, it is deeply disturbing that some parties want to scrap Broad-Based Black Economic Empowerment,” said Ramaphosa, adding that “in one particular province, I heard from many African, coloured, and Indian business people how they are effectively shut out of access to contracts to provide any public or private service.”

He did not specifically name the province, even though the Western Cape is the only one governed by the DA. The ANC, according to Ramaphosa, will keep promoting and monitoring employment equity to guarantee the representation of black people, women and people with disabilities in all sectors of the economy, all industries, all professions and all institutions.

He continued: “The ANC will staunchly defend the national minimum wage, ensure that it continues to increase in line with inflation, and work to ensure that all employers comply with it.

“In these times of hardship, it is outrageous that some parties plan to scrap the national minimum wage if they get elected. This is an attack on workers and our efforts to build a fairer society.”

He said those opposed to the national minimum wage were “the same reactionary forces that see nothing wrong in paying slave wages to illegal migrants while depriving law-abiding workers of the right to a living wage.”

Ramaphosa said the ANC will continue to ensure South Africans live long and healthy lives and that all people, regardless of their income, receive quality healthcare. He defended the NHI’s enactment, asserting that its implementation will provide free healthcare in both the public and private sectors at the point of care.

“The NHI will be implemented in phases to ensure that it is affordable, sustainable and directs resources to where they are most needed.
“It is unacceptable that some privileged members of our society want us to continue with a deeply uneven healthcare system that deprives the poor and vulnerable of the right to equal access to quality healthcare.”

He said it was equally wrong for them to claim that the NHI would mean the end of private healthcare.
“The NHI will harness the strengths of both the private and public health sectors to build a single, quality health system for all.”

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