President Cyril Ramaphosa has delivered the final State of the Nation Address (SONA) of the 6th democratic administration ahead of the 7th national and provincial elections later this year. However, he has told the Members of Parliament, all the dignitaries in attendance at the Cape Town City Hall as well as South Africans following the address on various media platforms that “Sizobuya (We will be back)!”
Ramaphosa, who assumed the highest office in the land embarking on the much-publicised Thuma Mina (Send Me) campaign and the promise of a new dawn, described the last five years as “a time of recovery, rebuilding and renewal”.
In his famous first State of the Nation Address in 2018, Ramaphosa famously quoted late Jazz musician, Hugh Masekela’s Thuma Mina hit song, saying, “I wanna be there when the people start to turn it around. When they triumph over poverty. I wanna be there when the people win the battle against AIDS. I wanna lend a hand. I wanna be there for the alcoholic. I wanna be there for the drug addict. I wanna be there for the victims of violence and abuse. I wanna lend a hand. Send me.”
Six years later, ahead of what many predict will be watershed elections, Ramaphosa says, while this may be the last SONA of the 6th administration, the ANC will remain in power.
Delivering his eighth SONA, Ramaphosa says the ruling party has done enough for South Africans to remain in power.
“We have had to revitalize our economy after more than a decade of poor economic performance. We have had to rebuild our public institutions after the era of state capture. We have had to recover from a devastating global pandemic that caused great misery and hardship, that closed businesses and cost jobs,” says Ramaphosa.
“And we have had to confront and overcome a debilitating electricity crisis that, despite significant improvement in recent months, continues to hold back our economy. We have come a long way in the last five years. We have built on the achievements of the last three decades and we have taken decisive measures to address the immediate challenges facing South Africans,” he adds.
Ramaphosa has highlighted the “restoration” of the independence of the law enforcement agencies as well as the “advancement” of the rights of people living with disability as some of the government’s achievements.
“We took great pride in making South African Sign Language the 12th official language of our country,” he says.
Ramaphosa has likened South Africa’s story of the last 30 years of democracy to the metaphorical Tintswalo who was born in 1994 and lived through the formation of the post-apartheid era to the democracy South Africans experience it today.
He has described Tintswalo “as a democracy’s child, who grew up in a society that was worlds apart from the South Africa of her parents, grandparents and great-grandparents”.
He says Tintswalo and many others born at the same time as her, benefited from the first policies of the democratic state to provide free healthcare for pregnant women and children under the age of six.
“Tintswalo’s formative years were spent in a house provided by the state, one of millions of houses built to shelter the poor. Tintswalo grew up in a household provided with basic water and electricity, in a house where her parents were likely to have lived without electricity before 1994,” says Ramaphosa.
“Tintswalo was enrolled in a school in which her parents did not have to pay school fees, and each school day she received a nutritious meal as part of a programme that today supports 9 million learners from poor families.”
Ramaphosa says the employment equity and the Black Economic Empowerment policies were some of the blueprints, the metaphorical figure benefited from.
“With the income she earned, she was able to save, to start a family, to move into a better house, and to live a better life. This is the story of millions of people who have been born since the dawn of our democracy,” he says.
Source: SABC News