Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Sona 2019: Thuma mina, again. Please?

In the streets around Parliament, a frenetic energy of last minute rehearsals, jets screeching across the sky and officials dressed in carefully prepared uniforms beckon the official curtain raiser of government business in 2019: the State of the Nation address (Sona).

On Thursday evening at 7pm, President Cyril Ramaphosa will stand before representatives of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces. He will smile in acknowledgement of the applause. And then his voice will be heard in many, many streets far away from the flurry of activity in Cape Town. The president’s real audience, are the millions of South Africans who will be watching him, willing him to explain the state of the nation.

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) in their signature red, will watch him closely too.

They have threatened to disrupt the speech. Jacob Zuma state of the nation addresses have been good practice. Indeed, in Ramaphosa’s world, it may be a New Dawn, but the EFF have to assert their relevance to the electorate.

Meanwhile, Mmusi Maimane, the Democratic Alliance leader, will also be listening. And disagreeing. He described the ANC a “broken bus” on Wednesday in his annual alternative State of the Nation address. “Broken”, is how Maimane has previously described much of the ANC, including former president Zuma.

Ramaphosa is expected to focus much of his address on jobs and investment into the economy. Any inclination he may have to talk about the commission of inquiry into state capture will be assisted by the knowledge that former President Jacob Zuma has already sent his apologies for the evening. Ramaphosa will also dole out statistics on successes in education and the work that needs to be done to improve the education system. Land may also take centre stage in his speech as expectation remains that the constitutional amendment to further the expropriation of land without compensation will be passed.

Outside on the streets, Capetonians will likely sit in the nearby bars of Long Street, where the speech will blare out above the din of post-work chatter and glasses clinking in the summer evening heat.

Car guards wearing bright yellow vests will likely lose business on the day with the annual road closures set up around Parliament.

Outside the gates of the Parliamentary precinct, homeless people who usually sit on the steps and ledges below and near the entrances will be absent. In the pomp and ceremony, they will have been told — or perhaps some of them know by now — that they have to find somewhere else to sit.

READ MORE: Down and out in the Mother City

The VIPs on the day, a coterie of members of the diplomatic corps, cabinet ministers and some others, are expected to begin driving through the gates from 4pm after which their sartorial choices will be studied with great enthusiasm.

They will head inside the National Assembly and Ramaphosa will deliver his speech. Promises will be made. But this year, is a little different than last. It’s an election year. And Ramaphosa knows he’s standing there, effectively asking the nation to trust him to lead the nation again. 

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

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

Related stories

WELCOME TO YOUR M&G

If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here

Advertising

Subscribers only

South Africa’s mothballed ‘supermall-ification’ sets strip malls up for success

Analysts agree that the country has enough malls and that, post-Covid, the convenience of local centres lure customers

Mabuza’s Russian jaunts and the slippery consequences of medical tourism

For more than five years the deputy president has remained steadfast in his right to travel abroad to receive medical treatment

More top stories

Deputy president Mabuza begs Tshwane voters: ‘Don’t abandon the ANC’

Angry Atteridgeville residents hurl insults at ‘dysfunctional’ ANC full of ‘corrupt individuals’ as Mabuza fails to placate them with party T-shirts and doeks

Taxi operators clash with cops over disputed Route B97 in...

Three suspects remain in custody following their arrest on charges of attempted murder and assault after eight taxis were impounded

SA teens, you’re next in the queue for a vaccine...

Teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17 will be able to register to receive their Covid-19 jab from 20 October. This group will be given only one dose of the Pfizer vaccine, for now

Former US secretary of state Colin Powell dies aged 84

The 84-year-old died as a result of complications from Covid-19
Advertising

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…
×