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'People want results': Analysts weigh in ahead of Sona

President Cyril Ramaphosa will be delivering his speech against a grim backdrop of a stagnant economy, mass unemployment and power cuts.

President Cyril Ramaphosa speaking on Cape Town's City Hall balcony at the 30th-anniversary parade of the release of former president Nelson Mandela who was jailed for 27 years. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/EWN

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Analysts said President Cyril Ramaphosa had little room to move in when he delivers his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday.

Ramaphosa will be delivering his speech against a grim backdrop of a stagnant economy, mass unemployment and power cuts.

The Institute for Security Studies’ Judith February said the complete meltdown in some state-owned entities, like Eskom and South African Airways, made this an especially difficult Sona for Ramaphosa.

“The president comes to Parliament with his back against the wall and pressure from his party and citizens, who while thinking that he’s the best option as a leader, are still feeling the pinch economically. They want to see results, reform and less rhetoric. They want to see action in 2020.”

Independent analyst Ralph Mathekga said he was not expecting any surprises.

“The issue with Sona is that everything is urgent. It’s very difficult for him to come out and to say which options will be prioritised.”

Unisa’s Dr Somadoda Fikeni said Ramaphosa needed to present a coherent vision but was hamstrung by divisions within his own party.

Meanwhile, Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said youth unemployment and the economy would be two key issues on the president’s agenda on Thursday evening.

Mthembu was in Mitchells Plain ahead of the address and he urged residents to listen to the president’s address which starts at 7 pm.

He also listened to some grievances raised by community members.

Mthembu said government delivered on some of the promises made during the past Sona addresses, like fixing Sars and cutting the fat in his Cabinet.

"He said he’d reduce the number of national departments. We had 47 before the 2019 elections and now we have 42.”