Ramaphosa dreams big, but MPs scoff 'nightmare' - SONA AS IT HAPPENED

2019-06-20 22:00

President Cyril Ramaphosa has delivered his second State of the Nation Address of the year before both Houses of Parliament. Read on for more on the President's 7 priorities, and ambitious 5 goals.


President Cyril Ramaphosa
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Last Updated at 12:11
20 Jun 22:21
And that's it for News24's Live Update from the Parliamentary precinct.

Follow News24 for more stories and coverage on President Cyril Ramaphosa's latest SONA, and get the best reaction and analysis into the evening and in the morning.

20 Jun 22:08
ANC secertary general Ace Magashule adds that the "details" that so many MPs crave following President Cyril Ramaphosa's SONA will come from the Ministers in the Cabinet.

20 Jun 22:07
The IFP's Narend Singh says SONA2019 had some good and some bad aspects to it.

20 Jun 22:07
EFF leader Julius Malema reacts after SONA, and talks about the Public Protector.

20 Jun 22:06
ANC secretary general Ace Magashule reacts following SONA.

20 Jun 21:53
That's it for News24's live Polotiki analysis following the State of the Nation Address.

Follow News24 for more stories and coverage from the Parliamentary precinct on President Cyril Ramaphosa's latest SONA.

20 Jun 21:52
Eskom's three problems, according to Maimane

Maimane says Ramaphosa has three fundamental problems in turning around Eskom.

"The first is money. His party has stolen enough money, that we are running out of money. What we're effectively doing is borrowing just to keep the lights on," says Maimane.

"The second is that his party cannot agree on policy. Whilst on one end, his supporting unbundling, other people in his party and unions are simply not supporting him.

"Third, ultimately, there is a leadership deficit. When you talk about leadership across all SOEs, you're dealing with a bloated state, which makes the state incapable of doing anything. You can't deploy cadres to the state and hope that by some off miracle they'll be able to do the things that need to be done.

"So against those constraints, the president can talk all he likes, he simply is not going to be able to achieve the objectives he has set out to do."

20 Jun 21:40
DA leader Mmusi Maimane speaks on Eskom, and the "conflicting" messages coming from Ramaphosa's government.

"We must take it in context. In February, the president spoke about unbundling Eskom. In June, he talks about giving it more money. Which is it exactly?

"What is more worrying, we're one of the last few countries who are not only heavily co-dependent, but we have this national grid without reform. We need deliberate reform."

20 Jun 21:30
First Khoisan praise-singer at SONA gets tongues wagging and clicking

First a rapper and then a heritage activist, praise singer Bradley van Sitters had South Africans gripped to their television sets on Thursday night when he spoke the endangered Khoekhoegowab language at SONA.

20 Jun 21:25

FIRST TAKE: Ramaphosa's SONA was high on dreams, low on detail

"Pardon them, but the daily users of the Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa's dilapidated, burnt and never-on-time Metrorail trains may not be thrilled about President Cyril Ramaphosa's dreams of a high-speed train ferrying tourists from Cape Town to Musina."

Ramaphosa's third State of the Nation Address was high on dreams but low on detail. He touched on important issues but provided very little detail about how this would be achieved.

News editor-in-chief Adriaan Basson gives his First Take on President Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address.


20 Jun 21:20

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Groenewald was not overly impressed with President Ramaphosa's lofty ambitions during his SONA speech.

"The president has got a very nice dream, but unfortunately when he wakes up he'll find out it's a nightmare," says Groenewald.

"It's a very good wishlist, but it's not something new."

Elsewhere on the precinct, DA leader Mmusi Maimane also told eNCA that many of Ramaphosa's intended ambitions for certain projects was currently a nightmare for ordinary South Africans.


20 Jun 21:11
De Lille says she doesn't foresee any problems in her being an opposition party member while also holding down a Cabinet position.

"I love my country. I can serve my country in any capacity," De Lille tells News24 Polotiki.

"This is a new venture for me, we are building the GOOD party as we speak, because there is a need to build a multi-party democracy.

"But I can assure the people that I will never sacrifice our principles."

20 Jun 21:08
Minister of Public Works Patricia de Lille speaks on being pleased on bringing the SONA costs down.

"The request for austerity measures was out there for some time. The only thing I had to do is ensure [my department] were listening and gettinng the message. I must thank the department because we were able to bring it down," De Lille tells News24.

"We still have the infrastructure, we have all the flowers and the red carpet, so we've been able to do it."

20 Jun 20:59
ANC secretary general Ace Magashule is answering questions on eNCA on who will take the vacant Scopa chair position.

This after the ANC's signed form hinted at an "IFP" member taking the post, but with no name.

"It will go to an opposition member. We haven't decided yet and we will announce," he says, also refusing to answer whether it will go to the DA.

Scopa is Parliament's "watchdog" committee that probes all ministries and entities that use public money.

20 Jun 20:55
Justice minister Ronald Lamola tells News24 that he thinks Ramaphosa's speech was "inspirational".

"What stood out for me is the clear commitment and support to the NPA to do their job without fear or favour.

"[Also], the following of the money through the SIU Special Tribunal, the money that has been stolen from the ficus, the estimated R14bn. The Tribunal will kickoff in the next few months."

20 Jun 20:52
Presidential council will straighten out SOEs - Ramaphosa

The Presidential State-owned Enterprise Council will work to create better coherence between government's ailing entities to fine-tune each one's mandate and sharpen efficiencies, President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Thursday evening.

20 Jun 20:48
Pandor tells News24: "I'm particularly pleased at the president's attention to innovation. There's been a battle for many years to say to South Africa, please give attention to research, development and innovation. This will lead us to a very exciting future.

"We have really excellent research establishments in the country. We should be using the talents there to help us create new products and institutions..."

20 Jun 20:45
Pandor tells News24: "I felt there was real attention to the problems confronting South Africa, the very deep structural problems that confront us.

"The focus on the economy is extremely important, particularly job creation, and not just that, but company formation, and the role of government in creating a platform in increasing business activity."

20 Jun 20:41
News24 Polotiki is chatting to International Relations Minister Naledi Pandor for her reactions following the SONA.

20 Jun 20:33
MPs applaud and clap as President Ramaphosa walks off the podium and takes his seat to his right, at the front of the ANC caucus.

National Council of Provinces Chairperson Amos Masondo ends the proceedings.

20 Jun 20:32

20 Jun 20:29
The News24 Polotiki team will be taking you through their first take analysis following the conclusion of President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address.

You can tune into our coverage in the live stream above.

20 Jun 20:27
Ramaphosa finishes his formal speech and goes off script.

"It is this that we have got to start imagining. We have got to look beyond the horizon, and see our South Africa, with our young people employed.

"A South Africa that is willing, and is determined to move forward.

"I want to end, by saying this is the South Africa that all South Africans have said they want."

20 Jun 20:22
Signing off with a poem

Ramaphosa ends off his speech with a poem after some heckling from opposition parties following the announcement of his grand dream of a smart city.

"Working together there is nothing we cannot be, nothing we cannot do, and nothing we cannot achieve.  

"As we enter this new era, let us take to heart the words of Ben Okri, when he says:  

"Will you be at the harvest,
Among the gatherers of new fruits?
Then you must begin today to remake
Your mental and spiritual world,
And join the warriors and celebrants
Of freedom, realizers of great dreams.
You can’t remake the world Without remaking yourself.
Each new era begins within.
It is an inward event,
With unsuspected possibilities
For inner liberation.
We could use it to turn on
Our inward lights.
We could use it to use even the dark
And negative things positively.
We could use the new era
To clean our eyes,
To see the world differently,
To see ourselves more clearly.
Only free people can make a free world.
Infect the world with your light.
Help fulfill the golden prophecies.
Press forward the human genius.
Our future is greater than our past."

20 Jun 20:18

20 Jun 20:18

20 Jun 20:17
Some MPs start applauding, while some opposition MPs can be heard heckling at the announcement on smart city plans.

"We are the South African nation that with its Constitution gives hope to the hopeless, rights to the dispossessed and marginalised, and comfort and security to its men, women and children.  

"Though we may have faltered, we have not forgotten who we are, and what we stand for. We are still that nation.   You may ask how I can be hopeful at such a difficult time.  

"I am hopeful because I have walked with the people of this country – the nurses and health care workers, our men and women in uniform, the teachers in our schools, the students who despite their family’s hardship are determined to succeed, and the youth who are trying to start their own businesses, to invent and create, and to rise above their circumstances.  

"It is you who give me courage, and to whom I offer courage in return."

20 Jun 20:15
And that dream is a new, 'smart city'

"This is a dream we can all share and participate in building," Ramaphosa continues.

"We have not built a new city in 25 years of democracy.  

"Seventy percent of South Africans are going to be living in the urban areas by 2030.  

"The cities of Johannesburg, Tshwane, Cape Town and Ethekwini are running out of space to accommodate all those who throng to the cities.  

"Has the time not arrived for us to be bold and reach beyond ourselves and do what may seem impossible?  

"Has the time not arrived to build a new smart city founded on the technologies of the 4th Industrial Revolution?   I would like to invite South Africans to begin imaging this prospect."

20 Jun 20:14
'I have a dream'

"We want a South Africa with a high-tech economy where advances in e-health, robotics and remote medicine are applied as we roll out the National Health Insurance.  

"We want a South Africa that doesn’t simply export its raw materials but has become a manufacturing hub for key components used in electronics, in automobiles and in computers.  

"We must be a country that can feed itself and that harnesses the latest advances in smart agriculture.  

"I dream of a South Africa where the first entirely new city built in the democratic era rises, with skyscrapers, schools, universities, hospitals and factories.  

"This dream has been fueled by my conversations with four people: Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Dr Naledi Pandor, Ms Jessie Duarte and President Xi Jinping, whose account of how China is building a new Beijing has helped to consolidate my dream." 

20 Jun 20:12
'What type of South Africa do we want?'

Ramaphosa: "We want a South Africa wherein all enjoy comfort and prosperity.  

"But we also want a South Africa where we stretch our capacities to the fullest as we advance along the superhighway of progress.  

"We want a South Africa that has prioritised its rail networks, and is producing high-speed trains connecting our megacities and the remotest areas of our country.  

"We should imagine a country where bullet trains pass through Johannesburg as they travel from here to Musina, and they stop in Buffalo City on their way from Ethekwini back here."

20 Jun 20:11

20 Jun 20:10
International commitments

Ramaphosa: "South Africa will continue to play an active role in international relations in the quest for global peace and security, people-centered development and prosperity for all.  

"We renew our determination to work in concert with the international community to preserve and protect the rules-based multilateral system with the United Nations at its head.  

"We will use our membership of the UN Security Council to promote the peaceful resolution of disputes particularly on the African countries."

20 Jun 20:08

New SIU tribunal eyeing R14.7bn

"We need to ensure that public money stolen is returned and used to deliver services and much needed basic infrastructure to the poorest communities.  

"We expect that the new SIU Special Tribunal will start its work within the next few months to fast track civil claims arising from SIU investigations, which are currently estimated to be around R14.7bn."

There are murmurs in the chamber when he mentions the amount.


20 Jun 20:07
NPA, SARS and ability to seize assets...

Ramaphosa: "The decisive steps we have taken to end state capture and fight corruption, including measures to strengthen the NPA, SIU, SARS and State Security, are achieving important results.  

"But there is still much more work to do.  

"We have asked the National Director of Public Prosecutions to develop a plan to significantly increase the capacity and effectiveness of the NPA, including to ensure effective asset forfeiture."

20 Jun 20:05
Reconfiguration of Cabinet

Ramaphosa: "Earlier this month we announced the reconfiguration of a number of government departments to enable them to deliver on their mandates.  

"Our decision was premised on efficiency, cost-containment, cooperative governance and strategic alignment.  

"This is the start of a wider process of arresting the decline in state capacity and restructuring our model of service delivery so it best serves our citizens.  

"We will be adopting a district-based approach – focusing on the 44 districts and 8 metros – to speed up service delivery, ensuring that municipalities are properly supported and adequately resourced."

20 Jun 20:04
Safety and crime

Ramaphosa: "We are working to improve success rates in investigating and prosecuting crimes, and to ensure better training and professionalisation throughout the criminal justice system.  

"Violent crime is a societal problem that requires a society-wide response.  

"We are working with civil society organisations on strategies to end gender based violence and femicide.  

"Following intensive consultations and engagements, we are working towards the establishment of the Gender Based Violence and Femicide Council and a National Strategic Plan that will guide all of us, wherever we are, in our efforts to eradicate this national scourge."

20 Jun 20:03
Safety and crime

Ramaphosa: "Fellow South Africans.

"The South Africa we want is a country where all people are safe and feel safe.  

"Let us therefore work together to ensure that violent crime is at least halved over the next decade.  

"The first step is to increase police visibility by employing more policewomen and men, and to create a more active role for citizens through effective community policing forums.  

"Currently, there are over 5 000 students registered for basic training in our police training colleges and we envisage that this number will be increased to 7 000 per cycle over the next two intakes." 

20 Jun 20:02
Coding, data analysis to be taught at primary schools

"All foundation and intermediate phase teachers are to be trained to teach reading in English and the African languages, and we are training and deploying a cohort of experienced coaches to provide high quality on-site support to teachers.  

"We are implementing the Early Grade Reading Programme, which consists of an integrated package of lesson plans, additional reading materials and professional support to Foundation Phase teachers."

"....We also have to prepare our young people for the jobs of the future. This is why we are introducing subjects like coding and data analytics at a primary school level."

20 Jun 20:01
"Early reading is the basic foundation that determines a child’s educational progress, through school, through higher education and into the work place.  

"All other interventions – from the work being done to improve the quality of basic education to the provision of free higher education for the poor, from our investment in TVET colleges to the expansion of workplace learning – will not produce the results we need unless we first ensure that children can read."

20 Jun 20:01
Nationwide reading campaign

"If we are to ensure that within the next decade, every 10-year old will be able to read for meaning, we will need to mobilise the entire nation behind a massive reading campaign.  

"Early reading is the basic foundation that determines a child’s educational progress, through school, through higher education and into the work place."

20 Jun 20:00
Ramaphosa on youth

"They have told us what they want, and what they need," Ramaphosa says.

"They want to be employed, yes, but they also want to become employers.  

"They are brimming with ideas, they are at the forefront of innovation, and they want to do things for themselves.

"We have to support the fire of entrepreneurship, because the fortunes of this country depend on the energies and creative talent of our young people."

20 Jun 19:59
"Yesterday, I had the great privilege to meet and engage in dialogue with several young South Africans who are doing amazing work to build our country and develop our people," Ramaphosa says.

"They are entrepreneurs and community builders, activists and artists.  

"If there is one thing we have learned from our engagements with this country’s youth is that we cannot impose our solutions: everything we have to do must be led by them."

20 Jun 19:58
50 000 more spots for National Youth Service

"Government will also ensure that young people are employed in social economy jobs such as early childhood development and health care.  

"We will expand the National Youth Service to take on 50 000 young people a year."

20 Jun 19:58
Unemployment

"Ramaphosa continues: "These are networks that allow young people who opt in increased visibility, network support and opportunities to signal their availability for jobs and self-employment.  

"They make sure that youth from poorer households – and young women in particular – are empowered to take up the new opportunities.  

"Government will continue to provide employment through the Expanded Public Works Programme, especially in labour intensive areas like maintenance, clearing vegetation, plugging water leaks and constructing roads."

20 Jun 19:56
Back to Ramaphosa's comments on Unemployment

"The brutal reality is that when it comes to youth unemployment, we have to run just to remain in the same place," Ramaphosa says.

It is therefore essential that we proceed without delay to implement a comprehensive plan – driven and coordinated from the Presidency – to create no fewer than two million new jobs for young people within the next decade.  

"This plan will work across government departments and all three tiers of government, in partnership with the private sector.  

"We are already working with the private sector to create pathways into work for young people through scaling up existing pathway management networks."

20 Jun 19:55
Ramaphosa comes out against expanding Reserve Bank mandate

Ramaphosa was speaking two weeks after ANC secretary general Ace Magashule said the NEC had agreed that the central bank's mandate should be expanded.

20 Jun 19:55
Unemployment

"The growth of our economy will have little value unless it creates employment on a far greater scale.  

"The fact that the unemployment rate among young South Africans is more than 50% is a national crisis that demands urgent, innovative and coordinated solutions.  

"And because more young people are entering the labour force every year, the economy needs to create far more jobs for youth than it currently does merely to keep the youth unemployment rate steady."

20 Jun 19:54

20 Jun 19:54
Land

Ramaphosa: "In the stimulus and recovery package announced last year, we promised to prioritise funding for emerging farmers.  

"Over the medium term budget period, R3.9bn has been allocated to the Land Bank to support black commercial farmers.  

"An essential part of South Africa’s growth strategy is the integration of our economy with those of our neighbours and the rest of our continent."

20 Jun 19:53
Ramaphosa now moves on to Land

"We have received the report of the Presidential Advisory Panel on Land Reform and Agriculture, which will now be presented to Cabinet for consideration.  

"The panel’s recommendations will inform the finalisation of a comprehensive, far-reaching and transformative land reform programme.  

"In the immediate term, government will accelerate efforts to identify and release public land that is suitable for smart, urban settlements and for farming."

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