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'This year, we fix fundamentals': Ramaphosa's Sona puts economy, growth at fore

The president defended his consensus-building approach, saying that forging compacts were no sign of weakness but rather, the building blocks to deal with the country’s social and economic woes.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa delivering the State of the Nation Address on 13 February 2020. Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa put the economy and inclusive growth at the front and centre of his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday night, announcing steps to deal with the energy crisis and the ticking time bomb of youth unemployment.

Ramaphosa made no reference to repeated interruptions by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), who delayed his speech by more than 90 minutes. The red berets staged a walk-out after repeatedly calling for Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan’s resignation.

WATCH: 'Pravin must go!' EFF disruption forces Sona suspension

Instead of commenting on the EFF’s antics, Ramaphosa acknowledged the difficult times South Africans were in due to a stagnant economy, power cuts, and lack of jobs while also admitting to past mistakes by the African National Congress (ANC) government.

Ramaphosa defended his consensus-building approach, saying that forging compacts were no sign of weakness but rather, the building blocks to deal with the country’s social and economic woes.

“We find ourselves today at a decisive moment. We have a choice. We can succumb to the many and difficult and protracted problems that confront us, or we can confront them, with resolve and determination and with action,” the president said.

He promised action to put the economy on track to recovery.

“This year, we fix the fundamentals. We pursue critical areas of growth,” he said.

While warning load shedding was likely to continue, Ramaphosa’s committed to easing pressure on the grid by immediate steps to allow for energy to be sourced from outside Eskom – including renewables – and said financially viable municipalities would be allowed to buy their own power from independent producers.

WATCH: What you need to know about Ramaphosa's Sona 2020