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Ramaphosa primed to respond to Sona debate

This afternoon President Cyril Ramaphosa will be the only person to speak in Parliament when he gets the chance to reply to the compliments and criticism his State of the Nation Address has provoked.

President Cyril Ramaphosa waits to deliver his State of the Nation address at Parliament in Cape Town on 13 February 2020. Picture: AFP

CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramphosa will be back in Parliament on Thursday afternoon to reply to the debate on his State of the Nation Address (Sona).

The two days of debate have seen gender-based violence used for political points scoring and insults flying between the African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF).

Ramaphosa’s been accused by the Democratic Alliance (DA) of putting his party ahead of the country, and has drawn flak from some other opposition parties.

But he’s also been stoutly defended by ANC speakers as a reformer who must painstakingly put the building blocks in place in order to get the country and its economy back on track.

For the past two days, Ramaphosa has sat through the debate on his speech – sometimes making notes, sometimes rubbing his face with his hands, sometimes showing signs of fatigue.

This afternoon he will be the only person to speak in Parliament when he gets the chance to reply to the compliments and criticism his State of the Nation Address has provoked.

His party has condemned the use of gender-based violence as a political football, warning its own members that this hampered the ANC government’s efforts to deal with the scourge.

Ramaphosa might refer to this when he delivers his reply this afternoon. Last Thursday, he delivered his address 90 minutes late due to the EFF’s delaying tactics. He made no reference to it then. Today, he may or may not respond to their conduct.

Much will depend on whether or not the EFF will continue with its pledge to make life difficult for him as long as Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan remains in his Cabinet.

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