Ramaphosa’s five most urgent tasks in his own words

The president highlighted the five most important tasks he believes his government needs to undertake.

President Cyril Ramaphosa took control of the situation at his first state of the nation address on Thursday evening, starting with a lighthearted joke about bumping into EFF leader Julius Malema, who seemed relaxed and was filmed chuckling while watching him speak, in what was a sign that that the EFF would not disrupt this Sona.

Ramaphosa highlighted some of the achievements of the past years, balancing that with what he considered his government’s challenges and priorities.

In a toned-down version of his recent “nine lost years” comment when referring to Zuma’s presidency at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Ramaphosa said that South Africa was “emerging from a period of uncertainty and a loss of confidence and trust”.

“We must use this time to reflect on the progress we have made, the challenges we have encountered, the setbacks we have suffered and also the mistakes we have committed,” he said.

Some of what Ramaphosa mentioned as signs his government’s success was the recent appointment of Shamila Batohi as the new National Director of Public Prosecutions, who Ramaphosa said would “strengthen our fight against crime and corruption”.

He mentioned the Nugent commission of inquiry into Sars and said he was in the process of appointing a “new commissioner to head this absolutely important and essential institution”.

Ramaphosa claimed the “reconfiguration of the state is at an advanced stage,” and said a priority for his government was to “re-establish the two arms of our intelligence service – domestic and foreign”.

“We have paid particular attention to the issue of violence against women and children,” he said, saying a summit on gender-based violence and femicide would be held.

He then moved on to what he described as his government’s “five most urgent tasks”.

“They will underpin everything we do this year,” he said.

“The task of building a better South Africa is our collective responsibility as a nation, and working together we must undertake the following tasks.

“Firstly, we must accelerate inclusive growth and job creation.”

“Secondly, our history demands that we should improve the education system and develop the skills we need to move into the future.”

As his third task, he said his government was “duty bound to improve the condition of South Africans, especially poor South Africans”.

“We have no choice but to step up the fight against corruption and state capture,” was his fourth.

His government’s fifth task was to “strengthen the capacity of the state to address the needs of our people”.

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