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Opposition plans surprise for ANC at elections, Ramaphosa extends olive branch

President Cyril Ramaphosa finally revealed the date for this year's elections during his 2019 State of the Nation Address.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane talks to the media outside Parliament ahead of the State of the Nation Address on 7 February 2019. Picture: @Our_DA/Twitter.

CAPE TOWN – Political parties couldn't resist doing some electioneering at Thursday night’s opening of Parliament where President Cyril Ramaphosa finally revealed the date for this year's elections as 8 May.

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) say the African National Congress (ANC) is in for a surprise at the polls.

The DA and the EFF say they are poised to give the ANC a run for its money.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane says their focus will be on job creation.

“South Africa’s biggest crisis is the fact that four out of 10 adults cannot find work, 50% of our young people are unemployed. We don’t have any other debate. The debate this year is to create jobs for our people.”

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu claims the EFF is the only growing part.

“Even political polls say we’re the only political party that is growing. The rest are declining.”

Shivambu also says land expropriation without compensation remains a key policy.

President Ramaphosa, however, has extended an olive branch to the opposition, challenging them to join his mission to rebuild the country.

“Our efforts may have been uneven and we still have much work to do, but we have demonstrated over the last year our shared determination to work together to confront our common challenges.”

The EFF had threatened to disrupt Ramaphosa’s address if he failed to account for the money Bosasa donated to a trust fund run by people who supported his ANC presidential campaign.

But in the opening moments of his address, the president turned on the charm, disarming opposition leaders with an impish anecdote.

“When I invoked Hugh Masekela’s song, Thuma Mina, mister Julius Malema whispered and said: ‘Sing it.’ If the EFF wins the elections and he is restored as the president of South Africa, then he will invite me to come up to the stage and sing for him.”

He encouraged the opposition leaders to join his Thuma Mina campaign, even if it was just in song.

Ramaphosa's olive branch is not his first. On several occasions during his first year in office, he's employed humour and gentle teasing to take the sting out of opposition party jibes.

WATCH: Top 5 moments from Sona 2019

(Edited by Shimoney Regter)

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