Ramaphosa's Sona speech crucial for his political future - analysts
President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament on Thursday evening against a grim backdrop of a staggering economy, deepening unemployment and a stalled vaccine rollout.
CAPE TOWN - President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his fifth State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament this evening against a grim backdrop of a staggering economy, deepening unemployment and a stalled vaccine rollout.
He will honour the more than 46,000 lives lost to COVID-19 in a candle-lighting ceremony before he speaks.
Ramaphosa’s speech will reflect on the past year and set out the strategic goals of his government for the year ahead.
It comes as he marks his third year as head of state. But it is less than two years before the African National Congress (ANC) holds its next elective conference to choose a new leader.
Will thoughts of a second term help shape his speech?
Given the situation the country is in, the stakes are high for this year’s State of the Nation Address. For President Cyril Ramaphosa’s political future, they could be even higher.
Political commentator, Richard Calland: “Even though Sona has to be assessed in terms of the president leading the government, he will be very conscious of the fact that it is less than two years now before the next national elective conference of the ANC, at the end of 2022.
“That national elective conference will determine whether the president gets a second term both as president of the ANC and, more importantly, as president of the country. He’ll be mindful of that.”
Calland said that Ramaphosa would likely begin to line up his strategic goals according to his need to secure a second term.
“I think that most people who are concerned about reforming government, rebuilding institutions and the economy, will want to know that he is going to get another five years in office.”
Political scientist, Dr Sthembile Mbete, said that it was a crucial speech for Ramaphosa.
“I think it is hugely critical for him, let’s remember the (ANC’s) national general council is still scheduled to take place this year and there are many in the president’s party wanting to use the NGC as a way to weaken his power.”
Mbete said that with the ANC’s elective conference looming in December next year, both this year and next year will be telling in terms of Ramaphosa’s leadership and credibility.
“President Ramaphosa is already over his mid-term as president of the ANC and so there is a lot at stake for him.”