Cyril’s new dawn: Youth first, land expropriation without compensation

Change is on the way. And it includes land expropriation without compensation and efforts to reform the economy with youth at its core.

The “new dawn” philosophy was the overriding message of newly elected president Cyril Ramaphosa as he delivered his maiden State of the Nation address (SONA).

“Our task, as South Africans, is to seize this moment of hope and renewal, and to work together to ensure that it makes a meaningful difference in the lives of our people,” said Ramaphosa.

A jobs summit, investment conference, compulsory local procurement in major economic sectors with a focus on youth empowerment were among the focal points as Ramaphosa outlined a smorgasbord of initiatives- some new and others ongoing- in order to jumpstart the economy.

Many had looked to Ramaphosa’s speech for clear indications of government’s commitment to root out corruption and also address job growth.

While many were wary of Ramaphosa’s close proximity to big business, the president spoke of an intention to fulfill the recently concluded ANC Conference resolution for land expropriation without compensation.

“We are determined that expropriation without compensation should be implemented in a way that increases agricultural production, improves food security and ensure that the land is returned to those from whom it was taken under colonialism and apartheid.

”Government will undertake a process of consultation to determine the modalities of the implementation of this resolution,” Ramaphosa told the assembly.

Ramaphosa spoke of building a country that would offer everyone an opportunity, regardless of their race, birthplace or the wealth of their parents. The president made a point of repeating this point exactly in Afrikaans.

Shortly before the eagerly anticipated address, as the judiciary headed by chief justice Mogoeng Mogoeng made their way into the house, the national assembly rose almost as one to give them a standing ovation.

There was decidedly less security surrounding parliament than what South Africans had become used to in recent years, with snipers no longer visible on roofs and public order policing with armoured vehicles nowhere in sight.

Shortly before the military 21 gun salute, a visibly nervous looking Ramaphosa pursed his lips repeatedly and flashed a nervous smile.

But that’s where the visible show of nerves stopped.

Ululation and whistles erupted inside the National Assembly foyer as soon as Ramaphosa walked in and MPs rose to their feet.

“Hai! Hai!” went a cheer as the announcement was made: “President of the republic of South Africa.”

The ANC and opposition parties together welcomed Ramaphosa into the Assembly with the EFF joining in the round of applause while an Imbongi praised the new president.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Govan Whittles

Govan Whittles is a general news and political multimedia journalist at the Mail & Guardian. Born in King William's Town in the Eastern Cape, he cut his teeth as a radio journalist at Primedia Broadcasting. He produced two documentaries and one short film for the Walter Sisulu University, and enjoys writing about grassroots issues, national politics, identity, heritage and hip-hop culture.

Raeesa Pather
Raeesa Pather
Ra’eesa Pather is a Cape Town-based general news and features journalist.

High Court strikes down ‘paternalistic’ lockdown regulations

The order of unconstitutionality has been suspended for two weeks

L’Oréal workers demand a shutdown of local plant, citing Covid-19...

The French cosmetics company’s Midrand plant has recorded 16 Covid-19 cases in two weeks

Protective equipment for schools in KwaZulu-Natal goes ‘missing’

Without protective equipment, schools in uMlazi, Pinetown and Zululand won’t meet the already delayed deadline for reopening

Press Releases

Empowering his people to unleash their potential

'Being registered as an AGA(SA) means you are capable of engineering an idea and turning it into money,' says Raymond Mayekisa

What is an AGA(SA) and AT(SA) and why do they matter?

If your company has these qualified professionals it will help improve efficiencies and accelerate progress by assisting your organisation to perform better

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday