Five key topics to expect from President Cyril Ramaphosa's 2019 Sona

07 February 2019 - 09:29 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Thursday's State of the Nation Address will be President Cyril Ramaphosa's second.
Thursday's State of the Nation Address will be President Cyril Ramaphosa's second.
Image: TimesLIVE

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his 2019 State of the Nation Address (Sona) from parliament at 7pm on Thursday.

This will be Ramaphosa’s second address since he was elected president of the ANC.

Here are five key issues that are likely to dominate this year’s SONA:

ANC renewal

After months of damning corruption and thuggery allegations at the Zondo Commission into State Capture, the public has demanded to know what measures Ramaphosa will take to ensure justice.

Implementation of free education

Students from universities across the country have been boycotting classes and protesting over financial exclusion, non-provision of accommodation and not being cleared to register for the start of the 2019 academic year due to outstanding fees from 2018.

Ramaphosa is expected to discuss the free education implementation plan to ensure a smooth academic year for students.

In his 2018 Sona, the president committed to phasing in full government-subsidised higher education.

Former finance minister Malusi Gigaba said in his budget speech that R57bn would be rolled out over three years, from 2018.

Unemployment

Ramaphosa said during the party’s election manifesto launch in January 2019 that unemployment was one of his top priorities. How he plans to generate more jobs for millions of poverty-stricken South Africans will likely be a key focus area during his Sona address.

Economy revival 

The damage caused by state capture cost the country billions and almost collapsed government SOEs like Eskom and SAA.

In January 2019, Ramaphosa and some members of his cabinet attended the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to attract potential investors and find long-term solutions to boost South Africa’s ailing economy.

During his WEF address, Ramaphosa said he and his team had, in 2018, embarked on a mission to raise up to $100bn in investments in the next five years.

Land

Since land expropriation without compensation was proposed, there has been uncertainty among investors and potential investors, despite Ramaphosa’s assurances that the return of land will not equate to assets and investments taken away.

The president is expected to provide clarity on how to balance keeping investors and dealing with land reform.


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