Ramaphosa 'not losing sleep' over EFF's threat to disrupt Sona

The EFF's threat is of no consequence to President Cyril Ramaphosa, says his office.
The EFF's threat is of no consequence to President Cyril Ramaphosa, says his office.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa is unfazed by the EFF's threats to disrupt his state of the nation address (Sona) on Thursday evening.

It will be Ramaphosa’s fourth Sona – and the first to be disrupted, if the EFF makes good on its threat to disrupt him should he not fire public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan.

“I can assure you the president is not losing any sleep over the threat of a disruption. He fully believes in free political expression,” said Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko on Wednesday.

“It would be a lot more ideal though if such political expression would yield some sort of results. We don't understand what disrupting Sona is going to achieve.”

Asked whether the president had expressed any sentiments about the threats to disrupt the address, Diko responded: “That is not a concern for the president.”

Ramaphosa's policy chief Busani Ngcaweni said the main downside of the promised disruption as a form of political expression was that if there was any delay in the delivery of the speech, it may disadvantage the people who are watching from home, who may end up missing the address or switching to other TV programmes.

Ramaphosa’s team revealed that the president was very hands-on in the writing of the Sona speech and that he often makes changes to it until just before delivery.

“We are probably sitting at about version five,” said Diko. “The final version comes in as the president gets into the convoy.”

“The disadvantages of having a political principal who is too computer literate is that he spends too much time on the text – amending it, changing it – because he wants his voice to come out. [Ramaphosa changes] the language and formulations ... and puts his own quotes there and so on,” added Ngcaweni.

He said Ramaphosa would use the speech to give direction and respond to key issues such as gender-based violence and concerns from investors.

Ngcaweni said Ramaphosa had been engaging a number of stakeholders over the past month, getting feedback on various issues. “He also receives petitions and letters every day from ordinary South Africans so you expect some kind of response on the burning issues.”


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