President Cyril Ramaphosa to deliver January 8 statement virtually

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President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jaco Marais
President Cyril Ramaphosa. Picture: Jaco Marais
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver the annual ANC birthday statement later on Friday. 
  • This comes as party leaders are faced with allegations of corruption. 
  • The event will be held virtually and will be hosted by national chairperson Gwede Mantashe at Luthuli House.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is set to deliver the ANC's annual January 8th birthday statement, but this time it will be delivered virtually.

The much-anticipated speech comes as ANC leaders, including secretary-general Ace Magashule, face allegations of corruption. Magashule faces charges of corruption, fraud and money laundering related to a beleaguered asbestos project in the Free State.

The president's speech is expected to deal with the country's ailing economy and the government's interventions to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The celebrations were meant to go ahead in Limpopo but the traditional rally and accompanying festivities have been cancelled amid a surge in Covid-19 cases.

This year, the president's address will be broadcast on traditional media - television and radio - and social media platforms.

READ | Ramaphosa takes charge of ANC's birthday message

Speaking to the media on Thursday, ANC head of organising Nomvula Mokonyane said January 8 has always been an important annual event for the country.

"Every year, the national executive committee (NEC) uses this moment to take stock of the political situation and the balance of forces, to articulate the vision for the forthcoming months, to identify key tasks for its members and structures and to announce the theme for the year," she said.

Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the 2020 ANC January 8 statement in Kimberley. (Charné Kemp)

The day will kick off  with a number of interviews by veterans and stalwarts, reflecting on the significance of January 8, she told the media.

Provinces and regions will engage in various social media watch parties ahead of the main address by Ramaphosa at 19:00.

ALSO READ | No hard lockdown for SA, ANC NEC resolves amid rising Covid-19 infections

The main programme will be chaired by national chairperson Gwede Mantashe from Luthuli House, with the NEC, alliance partners and other fraternal parties, including invited guests and dignitaries joining in virtually. 

Speaking during the commemoration of struggle stalwart Joe Slovo this week, SACP deputy general-secretary Solly Mapaila said the communist party expected to hear interventions on the Covid-19 vaccine and its acquisition. 

"Given that the pandemic is ongoing and lockdown levels are being strengthened, the livelihoods of the people have been affected so the effective response by government to the needs of the people during this period becomes important and therefore the broad economic questions in terms of when things should happen and the unity of movement in the midst of this pandemic and economic difficulties, how to respond to that becomes important. If the movement is divided it will not be able to fulfil its appropriate mandate in this regard," Mapaila said about the SACP's expectations of the statement.

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