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FRIDAY BRIEFING | So now or so far?

friday briefing

So now or so far? 

Under the auspices of former president Jacob Zuma, it was decided that instead of the State of Nation Address (SONA) taking place in the afternoon, the speech would happen in the evening, so that everyone would have the opportunity to watch it.

On Thursday night, even though most people were home from work, probably not many were watching because, like me, they were sitting in the dark with load shedding stage 4 in place.

Despite the EFF’s intention to disrupt SONA and the myriad of challenges the country is facing, in part because of continuous load shedding, President Cyril Ramaphosa cut a confident figure. This year he didn’t make mention of smart cities but instead announced that a state of disaster to deal with the Eskom crisis would be implemented “to prevent a looming blackout”. When the suggestion was made earlier this month, concerns were raised that we would see similar incidences of corruption that took place under a state of disaster during the Covid pandemic. Ramaphosa is also expanding his super Presidency, under which already falls State Security. He told us that we are getting a new minister under the Presidency to deal with electricity. No further communication was given on what Ramaphosa wanted to do with his Cabinet.

In this week’s edition of Friday Briefing, News24’s assistant editor of investigations, Pieter du Toit, writes that Ramaphosa addressed the biggest infrastructure crisis in modern South African history – the country’s failing electricity grid – and revealed a head of state clearly at his wit’s end, while News24’s assistant editor of politics and opinions, Qaanitah Hunter, reflects on the violence in Parliament when the EFF tried to disrupt Cyril Ramaphosa and prevent him from speaking. She writes that at a time when country is dealing with many challenges, the action was inappropriate. 

Finally, News24 columnist and analyst, Ebrahim Harvey, takes an overarching view of what we can expect from Ramaphosa as president of the country, following his second-term victory at the ANC elective conference in December last year.

Hope you enjoy the read. 


Vanessa Banton

Opinions editor.

Parliament anarchy replay: New game plan needed, Mr Malema

In 2023, when our problems as a country are too significant to innumerate, elected members of Parliament charging at a sitting president to prevent him from addressing the nation is as vile as it is juvenile, writes Qaanitah Hunter.

Expect more of the same with Ramaphosa at the helm

Despite all the challenges facing the country at the moment, Ebrahim Harvey writes that he expects President Cyril Ramaphosa to continue along the same neoliberal political, ideological and programmatic trajectory of his time in office since 2018.

cartoon by carlos

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