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Ramaphosa to deliver Sona in the absence of staunchest foes

High court dismisses EFF application for leaders' suspension to be set aside

Parliament bosses are hoping for order at this year’s Sona thanks to strict new rules which will be implemented for the first time on Thursday. File photo.
Parliament bosses are hoping for order at this year’s Sona thanks to strict new rules which will be implemented for the first time on Thursday. File photo.
Image: Anton Scholtz

President Cyril Ramaphosa will on Thursday evening deliver his eighth state of the nation address (Sona), which will also be his final one under the sixth administration.

Ramaphosa will for the first time since his incumbency in February 2018 deliver his Sona in the absence of the leadership of probably his most vocal opposition in the national assembly, the EFF.

The Western Cape High Court on Thursday morning dismissed an EFF application for the suspension from parliament of its leader Julius Malema, deputy leader Floyd Shivambu and others, to be set aside.

The party filed a motion challenging the decision by parliament to suspend them after they were found guilty of contempt of parliament for storming the stage while Ramaphosa was delivering his Sona last year.

Ramaphosa will deliver his Sona under new rules parliament adopted, which prohibit raising points of order while the president is delivering his speech.

In previous Sonas, points of order have been used spuriously to delay and deter presidents from delivering their speech, sometimes leading to some MPs being thrown out.

Sona gives the incumbent an opportunity to reflect on the past year and table plans for the year ahead.

This Sona also takes place as South Africa celebrates 30 years of democracy, which is likely to feature prominently in Ramaphosa’s speech.

He is expected to outline what the country has achieved under the ANC.

Ramaphosa is expected to speak about social welfare, which now covers almost half the population, free housing, healthcare and details on the introduction of National Health Insurance and the basic income grant.

It is also expected that he will highlight efforts to deal with corruption by agencies such as the Special Investigating Unit, the National Prosecuting Authority's Investigative Directorate and others. 

He is likely to highlight how Covid-19 set back gains his government was making and how it has been able to rebuild, especially regarding jobs. The pandemic lockdowns cost about 2-millions jobs, which according to statistics have been recovered, but unemployment remains high at 31.9%.

The Sona comes months before the national and provincial elections in which the ANC hopes to be re-elected.

Ramaphosa will deliver the Sona in the Cape Town City Hall.

TimesLIVE


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