WATCH | 'Watch this space': 6 memorable moments from #Sona2019

08 February 2019 - 06:12 By TimesLIVE

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday night had its fair share of memorable moments.

We look back at some the heavier – and lighter moments – that highlighted the president’s second Sona speech.

1. The red carpet

As always, the Sona red carpet was a smorgasbord of stunning designs and epic failures. While some revelled in their “unique” designs, other politicians were caught flaunting very familiar looks.

2. Cyril in the house

Ramaphosa’s arrival heralded the start of Sona, as did the gun salute. Meanwhile, inside parliament the president struck an early blow, leaving the opposition in stitches with his “declaration”.  He told of a chance meeting he had with EFF leader Julius Malema on Wednesday, where he claimed the pair agreed that he would sing the Thuma Mina song only if Malema became state president.

3. Watch this space

The merriment over, Ramaphosa got down to business. He said that tackling crime and corruption within the public sector will remain a top priority in his government clean-up.

Ramaphosa said work was under way to reconstitute key state security institutions such as the National Prosecuting Authority, the SA Police Service, the SA Revenue Service and the State Security Agency.

“You watch the space,” he said, using the phrase twice in his speech.

4. State capture culprits beware

The National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) will set up a special unit to deal with state capture prosecutions. Ramaphosa said he had agreed with the new National Director of Public Prosecutions, Shamila Batohi, to set up an investigating directorate to deal with serious corruption and associated offences.

It will exclusively focus on investigations and prosecutions based on revelations made at the state capture commission and other related inquiries that are currently under way.

The directorate in the NPA, insiders say, will take a form similar to the now disbanded Scorpions unit.

5. Eskom splits

Ramaphosa announced that troubled power utility Eskom would be broken up into three separate entities. This while the government would seek “strategic equity partnerships” to help ailing state-owned entities. The president said the government would immediately embark on a process of establishing three separate entities at Eskom, made up of “generation“, “transmission” and “distribution”, under Eskom Holdings.

“To ensure the credibility of the turnaround plan and avoid a similar financial crisis in a few years’ time, Eskom will need to develop a new business model,” Ramaphosa said.

6. Time to vote

SA’s sixth democratic national and provincial elections will be held on May 8.

“In a few months’ time, South Africans will go to the polls for the sixth time in our democracy to vote for national and provincial governments. This is an opportunity for our people to exercise their hard-won right to determine the direction of this country,” Ramaphosa said.

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