SONA LIVE: Ramaphosa declares national state of disaster with immediate effect
Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address is taking place in Cape Town. Stay up to date with these live updates.
Sona 2023 will take place at the Cape Town City Hall. Photo: GCIS
President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that a state of disaster has been declared with immediate effect, while delivering his State of the Nation Address (Sona) at the Cape Town City Hall.
The president indicated that his speech would be one of hope, focusing on the most immediate priority, which is energy security, and that a “single line of command and a single line of march” is needed a time of crisis.
To this end, he continued to announce several plans, including the state of disaster, as well as the appointment of a minister of electricity in the presidency, to “focus full-time” on ensuring the end of the energy crisis.
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Ramaphosa started much later than expected, since the EFF was removed from the chamber after first to raising multiple points of order in attempts to prevent the president from speaking, and then rushing the stage after being asked to leave. This led to members of the parliamentary security service and the president’s protection service bundling them out of the house.
The president is also expected to address what has been achieved since Sona 2022, although some believe there is not much to list in this regard.
Many have called on Ramaphosa to use the 2023 Sona to focus on what is actually achievable rather than delivering empty promises.
“Empty promises by ANC heads of state have formed a pattern where the same plans are rehashed, tweaked a little, every year to try and fool the public,” said Freedom Front Plus (FF+) leader Pieter Groenewald.
SA Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) spokesperson Trevor Shaku implored Ramaphosa to alleviate the plight of the poor through electricity subsidies after prices were recently hiked.
“Saftu expects President Ramaphosa to wholly subsidise the recently announced tariff increase of 18.56%,” he said.
Load shedding solution
Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said Ramaphosa needs to deliver a solution to load shedding.
“The economy needs reliable and affordable electricity. Government needs to move with much greater speed to resolve the electricity crisis,” said Pamla.
“The progress we have made will be lost if load shedding is not urgently brought under control. The economy cannot grow without reliable and affordable electricity.”
EFF expected to disrupt Sona
Meanwhile, the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) are expected to disrupt proceedings while the president speaks.
EFF leader Julius Malema had previously said the party will not allow Ramaphosa to deliver his speech.
African National Congress (ANC) Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula, however, said the party will not be intimidated by the red berets.
“The EFF thrives on anarchy.”
“They don’t believe in stability and doing things properly. So, we already know that they will do all the gimmicks, but at the end of the day the State of the Nation Address is awaited by the nation,” said Mbalula.