SONA 2019: From 'Thuma Mina' to 'New Dawn Fades' as Bosasa casts a shadow

2019-02-08 15:28
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa looks on as he delivers his annual State of the Nation address, in the South African Parliament, on February 7, 2019, in Cape Town. (RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa looks on as he delivers his annual State of the Nation address, in the South African Parliament, on February 7, 2019, in Cape Town. (RODGER BOSCH/AFP/Getty Images)

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The 2018 State of the Nation Address had the nation jiving to the jaunty jazz of Hugh Masekela's "Thuma Mina", and President Cyril Ramaphosa tried to reprise this at the 2019 edition, but the pall of the gloomy post-punk of Joy Division's "New Dawn Fades" was cast over the event instead.

The tension accompanying the last days of the Zuma-presidency was the precursor to 2018's unprecedented postponed SONA (postPONA), with then freshly elected President Cyril Ramaphosa releasing that tension with the promise of a new dawn when he delivered his first SONA.

last, if a rather hopeful DA leader Mmusi Maimane is to be believed – had a shadow cast over it: devastating allegations of graft involving several ministers and members of his party and a company – Bosasa – who gave R500 000 to his campaign to become president of the ANC. This, after a year in which the economy wasn't kickstarted, not enough jobs were created and racial tension simmered.

As the other MPs entered, some posed with comrades for selfies, while others crossed the aisle for some inter-party caucuses. Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom had a long chat with the IFP's Narend Singh, while IFP MP Mkhuleko Hlengwa had an animated conversation with Police Minister Bheki Cele, who sported his trademark Fedora.

As the processions entered the chamber, the EFF continued singing and dancing, while the ANC applauded (the processions, not the EFF's entertainment).

At the back of the procession of premiers was acting Western Cape premier Alan Winde, who also happens to be the DA's premier candidate for the Western Cape in the upcoming elections. He gave a little side hug to Cape Town mayoral committee member Xanthea Limberg, who attended proceedings as part the SA Local Government (SALGA) delegation. As Winde took his seat, DA MPs stood up and applauded loudly.

Dennis George, suspended general secretary of the Federation of Unions of South Africa. One can only conclude that the invitations for the SONA were sent out before news of a probe into his acquisition of shares in AYO Technology Solutions broke.

Also in the public gallery, but not in the Presidential box, was Iqbal Survé, seated two rows behind the row where Motlanthe and former president Thabo Mbeki was seated.

After greeting the dignitaries, Ramaphosa announced that he first had to make a disclaimer.

sing it when he quoted the song. He said he had a "chance meeting" with Malema the day before, and promised he would sing it if the EFF wins the election. Not only did he have a "chance meeting" with Malema, he also happened to have a "chance meeting" with DA leader Mmusi Maimane, and convinced him that they shall sing it together if the EFF wins.

Nomvula Mokonyane, who didn't have a Louis Vuitton handbag as part of her ensemble.    

Gwede Mantahse.

Read more on:    da  |  anc  |  eff  |  sona 2019  |  cyril ramaphosa
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