Cool and calm Ramaphosa delivers Sona without EFF distraction

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his 2024 state of the nation address in Cape Town on February 8 2024.
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his 2024 state of the nation address in Cape Town on February 8 2024.
Image: REUTERS/Esa Alexander

In the absence of the EFF, a relaxed President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the last Sona of the sixth administration.

His mood may have also been improved by Senziwe Maliba, the 24-year-old imbongi from Mpumalanga who sang Ramaphosa’s praises as he prepared to move to the podium.

In her praise-singing, Maliba spoke about South Africa’s resistance and how the country overcame its challenges, including Covid-19 but also the exploits of its sports teams, from Banyana Banyana to the four-time record-holding world champion Springboks and Bafana Bafana.

She credited Ramaphosa’s leadership for all these successes.

Ramaphosa’s speech reflected the government’s achievements over the past 30 years of democracy.

“Over the past three decades, we have been on a journey, striving together to achieve a new society — a national democratic society,” he said. “We have cast off the tyranny of apartheid and built a democratic state based on the will of the people. 

“We have established strong institutions to protect the fundamental freedoms and human rights of all people. We have transformed the lives of millions of South Africans, providing the necessities of life and creating opportunities that never existed before,” he said.

His reflection on the damage caused by state capture drew applause from ANC MPs but he was heckled by the opposition. “Perhaps the greatest damage was caused during the era of state capture,” he said.

“For a decade, individuals at the highest levels of the state conspired with private individuals to take over and repurpose state-owned companies, law enforcement agencies and other public institutions,” said Ramaphosa.

“What has changed? Where were you?” retorted DA back benchers.

Six of the EFF’s senior leaders were suspended by parliament after they stormed the stage during the 2023 Sona.

The high court in Cape Town upheld parliament’s decision and the party decided none of its MPs would attend the event.



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