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[LIVE BLOG] #Sona2019: 8 May set as general elections date

President Cyril Ramaphosa is delivering his second State of the Nation Address on Thursday evening.

And *BOOM* that's us signing out for Sona 2019.

As ANC MPs sing Phakama Ramaphosa, EFF MPs interject with 'Agrizzi' instead of Ramaphosa.

And with a reflection of the thuma mina slogan, Ramaphosa ends his speech.

"This task – of building a better South Africa - is our collective task as a nation, as the people of South Africa. 

"Let us grasp our collective future with both hands, in the immortal words of the Freedom Charter: side by side, sparing neither strength nor courage."

"As government, as business, as labour and as citizens, let us unite to embrace tomorrow. "



"Because when we succeed – and of this we are certain – it is the entire nation that will benefit.

"Above everything else, we must get our economy working again. I call upon every South African to make this cause your own."

"Above all, it is a South Africa of which we are all proud, of what we have achieved and of where we hope to be. The task before us is formidable."

"It is a South Africa that acknowledges the problems of the past, but looks firmly to the future."

 

"It is a South Africa whose leaders are bold and courageous, leaders who remain servants of the people – and for whom fulfilling their duty is the highest, and the only, reward."

It is a South Africa in which every man, woman and child is provided with the opportunity and means to make a better life for themselves. 

"It was the eternal optimism of the human spirit that kept hopes alive during our darkest time."

 

"It is this optimism that will carry us forward as we face a brave new future.

"They told us building a non-racial South Africa was impossible, and that we would never be able to truly heal from our bitter past."

 

"Yet we weathered the storm, and we are prevailing."

"Our society is anchored in the roots of tolerance and co-existence, and we stand firm, resolute and united against all and everything that seeks to divide us or destroy our hard-won gains.

"At times it has seemed that the milk of human kindness that allowed us to reconcile in 1994, had gone sour."

 

"But we will not surrender to the forces of pessimism and defeatism. 

"But the road towards true freedom is a long one, and we have seen divisions in our society grow."

"Our democracy has blossomed and flourished, nurtured by the goodwill of the men and women of this great land, who understand only too well at what cost it was attained."

"We are a people of resilience, of determination and of optimism."

 

"Despite the worst excesses of apartheid, we did not descend into vengeance when our freedom was won. 

"We wish to remind all eligible South Africans who have not yet registered as voters that they still have until the proclamation of the election date to register."

 

BREAKING NEWS: 

8 May 2019 has been set as the date for the SA general elections. It will fall on a Wednesday.

Ramaphosa now talks about this year's general elections.

"Building on the work we have done over the last year, we will focus on further strengthening the capacity of the state."

 

"We have made progress in examining the size and structure of the state, and will complete this work by the end of this administration."

A presidential commission into the 4th industrial revolution has been appointed.

"In doing so, we are building on a platform of extraordinary scientific achievement.

"Today, we choose to be a nation that is reaching into the future."

 

In doing so, we are building on a platform of extraordinary
scientific achievement.

"It is a choice between entrenching inequality or creating shared prosperity through innovation

"It is a choice between being overtaken by technological change or harnessing it to serve our developmental aspirations."

 

It is a choice between entrenching inequality or creating shared
prosperity through innovation

"As a young nation, only 25 years into our democracy, we are faced with a stark choice."

 

.

"The devastating effects of global warming on our climate are already being felt, with extreme weather conditions damaging livelihoods, communities and economies."

"Revolutionary advances in technology are reshaping the way people work and live."

 

"They are transforming the way people relate to each other, the way societies function and the way they are governed."

"The world we now inhabit is changing at a pace and in a manner that is unprecedented in human history.

Now on the subject of the future...

"In the longer term, we will work with the NPA and other agencies of law enforcement to develop a more enduring solution that will strengthen the capacity of the criminal justice system to deal with corruption."

"The Directorate will bring together a range of investigatory and prosecutorial capacity from within government and in the private sector under an investigating director reporting to the NDPP."

"I will soon be promulgating a Proclamation that will set out the specific terms of reference of the Directorate.

"To this end, we have agreed with the new National Director of Public Prosecutions, that there is an urgent need to establish in the office of the NDPP an investigating directorate dealing with serious corruption and
associated offences, in accordance with section 7 of the NPA Act."

"Where there is a basis to prosecute, prosecutions must follow swiftly and stolen public funds must be recovered urgently."

 

"While these Commissions will in time make findings and recommendations in line with their mandates, evidence of criminal activity that emerges must be evaluated by the criminal justice system.

"These commissions need to be able to do their work without any hindrance, and we call on all those people who are in a position to assist them in their investigations to make themselves available.

"We commend these commissions for the work they are doing, often under challenging circumstances, to uncover the truth."

"The revelations emerging from the Zondo Commission of Inquiry into state capture and other commissions are deeply disturbing, for they reveal a breadth and depth of criminal wrongdoing that challenges the very foundation of our democratic state.

Ramaphosa addresses state capture and the Zondo commission, with heckles from some MPs.

"We are resolute that all taverns, shebeens and liquour outlets near school premises must be shut down."

"As government we continue to roll-out interventions to address social ills tearing our communities apart such as alcoholism and substance abuse."

"South Africa has extremely high levels of substance abuse, which feeds crime and violence against women and children, it deepens poverty and causes great hardship and pain for families."

"Ending gender-based violence is an urgent national priority that requires the mobilisation of all South Africans and the involvement of all institutions."

"We have listened to the call to make funds available to combat gender-based violence, and have allocated funding in the current budget to support the decisions taken at the Summit."

"We are expanding and dedicating more funds to places of support, such as the Thuthuzela Care Centres and Khuseleka Care Centres."

 

"We have been working to ensure the better functioning of Sexual Offences Courts."

"This year, we will work with our partners in civil society to implement the decisions of the National Summit on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide."

"Work is underway to implement the decisions of the Summit, including preparing the National Strategic Plan on Gender- Based Violence."

"Every day, South African women are faced with discrimination, abuse, violence and even death, often by those they are closest to."

 

"Over the last year, we have started to address this scourge in a more serious and coordinated way.

"Violence against women and children has reached epidemic proportions.

 

"The SAPS has embarked on a restructuring process to shift more policing resources to the local level."

"In addition, we are strengthening the functioning of various specialised units such as the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences Units and improving our administrative and record keeping capacity at all levels."

"The strategy focuses on building partnerships between communities and the police; making more resources available for policing and better communication between the police and communities about crime prevention strategies."

"As part of our concerted effort to make our country safer and more secure, the Community Policing Strategy was launched in October last year. 

Now onto the subject of crime...

"We have a funded national quality health improvement plan to improve every clinic and hospital that will be contracted by the NHI."

"By applying the principle of social solidarity and cross-subsidisation, we aim to reduce inequality in access to health care."

"The NHI will enable South Africans to receive free services at the point of care in public and private quality-accredited health facilities.

"This year, we will take a significant step towards universal access to quality health care for all South Africans."

 

"After extensive consultation, the NHI Bill will soon be ready for submission to Parliament.

Ramaphosa moves to health now...

"With the assistance of the National Planning Commission, we reached consensus on reforms that include the National Social Security Fund, institutional arrangements, regulatory reforms, improved unemployment benefits, improved social assistance coverage, and active labour market policies for citizens between 18 and 59 years. "

"To date the majority of grant beneficiaries have been successfully migrated to the South African Post Office, and the old SASSA cards replaced by new ones."

 

"The Department of Social Development is to be commended for having honoured Constitutional Court’s directive for phasing out the services of Cash Paymaster Services."

"South Africa has one of the most comprehensive and far-reaching social security nets in the world, providing a buffer between poor households and abject poverty. 

Now onto social grants...

"We will also be expanding the People’s Housing Programme, where households are allocated serviced stands tp build their own houses, either individually or through community-led housing cooperatives. 

"It is for this reason that we are establishing a Human Settlements Development Bank that will leverage both public and private sector financing to aid in housing delivery."

"However, if we are to effectively address the substantial housing backlog in our country, we need to develop different models of financing for human settlements.

"The Housing Development Agency will construct an additional
500,000 housing units in the next five years, and an amount of R30 billion will
be provided to municipalities and provinces to enable them to fulfil their respective
mandates.

Now onto housing...

"We extend our deepest condolences to his family and call on law enforcement agencies to thoroughly investigate the incident."

"Of particular concern, is the tragic death of Mlungisi Madonsela, a student at the Durban University of Technology."

"We are concerned about developments on some campuses this week, especially reports of violence and intimidation. "


"Stabilising the business processes of the National Student Financial Aid Scheme will also be a priority in the coming year so that it is properly capacitated to carry out its critical role in supporting eligible
students."

"Thanks to this initiative, links have been re-established with all institutions, and institution heads and student leaders have played a critical role in communicating with students.

"In line with government’s commitment to the right of access to higher education for the poor, last year we introduced free higher education for qualifying first year students."

"To expand participation in the technical streams, several ordinary public schools will be transformed into technical high schools.

"Several new technology subjects and specialisations will be introduced, including technical mathematics and technical sciences, maritime sciences, aviation studies, mining sciences, and aquaponics."

"In line with our Framework for Skills for a Changing World, we are expanding the training of both educators and learners to respond to emerging technologies including the internet of things, robotics and artificial
intelligence."

"Already, 90% of textbooks in high enrolment subjects across all grades and all workbooks have been digitised."

"We will start with those schools that have been historically most disadvantaged and are located in the poorest communities, including multigrade, multiphase, farm and rural schools."

EFF's Floyd Shivambu rises and says "we are just concerned about plagiarism" but doens't explain what he means.

"We will be substantially expanding the availability of these early reading resources across the foundation phase of schooling. "

"Over the next six years, we will provide every school child in South Africa with digital workbooks and textbooks on a tablet device ."

"This year, we will migrate responsibility for ECD centres from Social Development to Basic Education, and proceed with the process towards two years of compulsory ECD for all children before they enter grade 1.

"With over 700,000 children accessing early childhood education in the last financial year, we have established a firm foundation for a comprehensive ECD programme that is an integral part of the education system.

"At the centre of all our efforts to achieve higher and more equitable growth, to draw young people into employment and to prepare our country for the digital age, must be the prioritisation of education and the
development of skills.

Onto to education now...

"It is imperative that we undertake these measures without delay to stabilise Eskom’s finances, ensure security of electricity supply, and establish the basis for long-term sustainability.

"Of particular and immediate importance is the entity to manage an independent state-owned transmission grid combined with the systems operator and power planning, procurement and buying functions."

"This will ensure that we isolate cost and give responsibility to each appropriate entity."

 

"This will also enable Eskom to be able to raise funding for its various operations much easily from funders and the market."

BREAKING NEWS:

"To bring credibility to the turnaround and to position South Africa’s power sector for the future, we shall immediately embark on a process of establishing three separate entities – Generation, Transmission and Distribution – under Eskom Holdings."

Ramaphosa announces Eskom to be unbundled into 3 entities

The three separate entities will deal with generation, transmission and distribution under Eskom Holdings.

"This business model needs to take into account the root causes of its current crisis and the profound international and local changes in the relative costs, and market penetration of energy resources, especially clean technologies.

"To ensure the credibility of the turnaround plan and avoid a similar financial crisis in a few years’ time, Eskom will need to develop a new business model."

"It is imperative that all those who use electricity – over and above the free basic electricity provided – should pay for it.

"We need to take steps to reduce municipal non-payment and confront the culture of non-payment that exists in some communities.

 

"Eskom has come up with the nine-point turnaround plan which we support and want to see implemented."

 

"In line with this plan, Eskom will need to take urgent steps to significantly reduce its costs."

"As we address the challenges that face Eskom, we also need to safeguard our national fiscal framework, achieve a positive impact on our sovereign credit rating, and pay attention to the rights and obligations of Eskom’s
funders.

"As we address the challenges that face Eskom we will ensure that there is meaningful consultation and dialogue with all key stakeholders.

"In responding to this crisis, we are informed by the need to minimise any adverse economic cost to the consumer and taxpayer."

"The consequences may be painful, but they will be even more devastating if we delay."

"We need to take bold decisions and decisive action."

"It could severely damage our economic and social development ambitions.

"Eskom is in crisis and the risks it poses to South Africa are great."

 


 

Security of energy supply is an absolute imperative.

We have established the Presidential SOE Council, which will provide political oversight and strategic management in order to reform, reposition and revitalise state owned enterprises, so they play their role as catalysts of economic growth and development.

"To restore proper corporate governance, new boards with credible, appropriately experienced and ethical directors, have been appointed at Eskom, Denel, Transnet, SAFCOL, PRASA and SA Express.

 

"We are making important progress in restoring the integrity and capacity of our strategic state owned enterprises.

Now onto SOEs...

"We are determined to eradicate unsafe and inappropriate sanitation facilities within the next three years

"Since we launched the initiative, 699 schools have been provided with safe and appropriate sanitation facilities and projects in a further 1,150 schools are either in planning, design or construction stages.

"Given the scale and urgency of the problem, we launched the SAFE Initiative in August last year, through which we mobilised all available resources, including pledges from business, strategic partners, and the
building industry to replace all unsafe toilets in public schools

"We conducted an audit last year and found that nearly 4,000 schools still have inappropriate sanitation facilities.

"We recall with deep sadness the tragic deaths of Michael Komape, who drowned in a pit toilet at Mahlodumela Primary School in Limpopo in 2014, and Lumka Mkethwa, from Luna Junior Primary School
in the Eastern Cape, who lost her life in March last year."

"The safety of our learners in school is critical for creating a healthy, learning environment."

"The telecommunications sector represents vast potential for boosting economic growth."

 

"The Minister of Communications will shortly be issuing policy direction to ICASA for the licensing of the high demand radio frequency spectrum."

"We will strengthen the technical capacity in government to ensure that projects move faster, building a pool of engineers, project managers, spatial planners and quantity surveyors – an action team that can make things happen faster on the ground."

"Just as we did with the Vaal River, where the SANDF intervened to address a sewage crisis, we will call on all the capabilities of the state and the private sector to address infrastructure challenges."

"As a first step, we will expand projects underway already, such as student accommodation."

 

"We plan to do things differently, starting with a deeper partnership with our communities in the planning, building and maintenance of infrastructure."

"Government has committed to contribute R100 billion into the Infrastructure Fund over a 10 year period and use this to leverage financing from the private sector and development finance institutions."

"More than R1.3 trillion has been invested to build hundreds of schools and two new universities, to build hundreds of thousands of new houses, to electrify more than a million homes, generate new electricity and to expand public transport."

"Government will continue to develop legislation for the sector so that it is properly regulated for the interests of all concerned."

 

"Over the past five years, we made significant progress with the provision of infrastructure."

"Last night I received a call from Minister Gwede Mantashe when he told me that the oil giant Total would be making a big announcement today about a new “world-class” oil and gas discovery off the coast of South Africa."

Opposition MPs boo Mantahse at the mention of his name.

"These investments are expected to create over 100,000 direct jobs and more than 250,000 indirect
jobs."

"Expected investment in the Oceans Economy over the next five years is estimated at R3.8 billion by government and R65 billion by the private sector."

"The investments have been mainly in infrastructure development, marine manufacturing, aquaculture, and the oil and gas sector.

"Since the Operation Phakisa on the Oceans Economy in 2014, we have secured investments of nearly R30 billion and created over 7,000 direct jobs.

"Our highest priority this year will be on the introduction of a world class eVisa regime."

 

"This, combined with enhanced destination marketing and measures to strengthen tourism safety, will create the conditions for the growth we envisage, and the jobs and opportunities that will follow.

"In addition to direct jobs, this export industry could generate as many as 2 million more jobs in food and agriculture, construction, transport, retail, and the creative and cultural industries by 2030."

"We intend to raise this to 21 million by 2030, targeting, among others, the largest and fastest growing markets of India and China, as well as strong markets on our continent.

"During SONA last year, we spoke at length about the huge potential that exists for the expansion of the tourism sector."

 

"Our concerted efforts to market South Africa as a prime destination for tourists has yielded positive results, with significant annual growth in the number of foreign visitors."

"As part of the stimulus package in agriculture, we have invested significantly in comprehensive farmer development support to ensure that restituted and communal land is productively utilised."

"An advisory panel of experts headed by Dr Vuyo Mahlathi, established to advise government on its land reform programme, is expected to table its report by the end of March 2019."

 

"As part of accelerating land reform, we have identified land parcels owned by the state for redistribution.

"Alongside this constitutional review process we tasked the Deputy President to lead the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Land Reform to fast-track land reform.

"We will support the work of the Constitutional Review Committee tasked with the review of Section 25 of the Constitution to unambiguously set out provisions for expropriation of land without compensation. 

 

"We intend to use it as a solid foundation to help develop agriculture in our country for the benefit of all."

 

"Through an accelerated programme of land reform, we will work to expand our agricultural output and promote economic inclusion."

"There are around 250,000 small emerging farmers who are working the land and need support in fully developing their businesses."

 

"Agricultural exports are an important source of revenue for our economy, and developing our agricultural sector is key to enhancing our food security and for attracting investment. 

"The potential of agriculture in South Africa for job creation and economic growth still remains largely underdeveloped."

 

"South Africa still has large areas of underutilised or unproductive land."

"They should not face barriers and hindrances as they seek to find work."

 

"As government, we have decided that the requirement for work experience at entry-level in state institutions will be done away with. 

 

"Our young people need to be given a real head start in the world of work."

 

EFF MPs are still sitting quietly and attentively. Even the DA MPs have stopped interjecting.

"In addition, we have launched the Youth Employment Service, which is placing unemployed youth in paid internships in companies across the economy."

 

"We call on all companies, both big and small, to participate in this initiative and thereby contribute not only to building their business but also to building the economy and fostering social cohesion."

"We have come up with great plans, platforms and initiatives through which we continue to draw young people in far greater numbers into productive economic activity through initiatives like the Employment Tax Incentive."

 

"This incentive will be extended for another 10 years."

"We are on the cusp of more job creation."

"The Presidential Jobs Summit last year resulted in concrete agreements between organised labour, business, community and government.  These agreements, which are now being implemented by social partners,

aim to create 275,000 additional direct jobs every year.

"We expect these hubs to provide most needed entrepreneurial service to small and medium enterprises in the rural areas and townships but more especially to young people who want to start their businesses.


"As part of the expansion of this programme, township digital hubs will be established, initially in four provinces, with more to follow.

"The incubation programme currently consists of a network of 51 technology business incubators, 10 enterprise supplier development incubators and 14 rapid youth incubators."

"The incubation programme provides budding entrepreneurs with physical space, infrastructure and shared services, access to specialised knowledge, market linkages, training in the use of new technologies and access to finance.

"Given the key role that small businesses play in stimulating economic activity and employment – and in advancing broad-based empowerment – we are focusing this year on significantly expanding our small business incubation programme."

"Increasing local demand, and reducing the consumption of imports, is important because it increases the opportunities for producers within South Africa to serve a growing market. "

"Through this we will intensify the “buy South Africa” programme.

"Alongside a focus on exports, we will pursue measures to increase local demand through, among other things, increasing the proportion of local goods and services procured both by government and the private sector."

"The agreement will see the creation of a market of over a billion people with a combined GDP of approximately $3.3 trillion."

 

"The agreement on the establishment of African Continental Free Trade Area offers great opportunities to place South Africa on a path of investment-led trade, and to work with other African countries to develop their own industrial capacity. "

"To improve the competitiveness of our exports, we will complete the studies that have begun on reducing the costs of electricity, trade, communications, transport and other costs. We will focus on raising the sophistication of our exports.

We will also be looking at establishing special economic zones that are dedicated to producing specific types of products, such as clothing and textiles, for example.

"We will therefore be focusing greater attention on expanding exports. In line with Jobs Summit commitments, we will focus on the export of manufactured goods and trade in services such as business process outsourcing and the remote delivery of medical services.

"To stimulate growth in the economy, to build more businesses and employ more people, we need to find new and larger markets for our goods and services.

"The World Bank’s annual Doing Business Report currently ranks South Africa 82 out of 190 countries tracked. We have set ourselves the target of being among the top 50 global performers within the next 3 years."

"This is an important aspect of our work to improve the ease of doing business in South Africa, which is essential to attracting investment. "

"This team will report progress to Cabinet on a monthly basis. "

"As part of our ongoing work to remove constraints to greater investment, we have established a team from the Presidency, Invest SA, National Treasury and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation that will address the policy, legal, regulatory and administrative barriers that frustrate investors.

"Following our successful Investment Conference, a group of South African business leaders
moved by the spirit of Thuma Mina initiated the Public-Private Growth Initiative to facilitate focused investment plans of leading companies across 19 sectors of the economy, from mining to renewable energy, from manufacturing to agriculture."

The Thuma Mina theme is still clearly very strong this year.

"It is our intention that the investment we generate should be spread out in projects throughout the country."

"Based on our experiences over the past year, and to build on the momentum achieved, we will host the South Africa Investment Conference again this year."

 

It is our intention that the investment we generate should be spread out
in projects throughout the country.

"To prove that our investment conference was not just a talk shop where empty promises were made, as we speak, projects to the value of R187 billion are being implemented, and projects worth another R26 billion are in pre-implementation phase."

"In 2017, we recorded an inflow of foreign direct investment amounting to R17 billion."

 

"Official data shows that just in the first three quarters of 2018, there was an inflow of R70 billion."


"The inaugural South Africa Investment Conference in October last year provided great impetus to our drive to mobilise R1.2 trillion in investment  over five years."

 

"The Investment Conference attracted around R300 billion in investment pledges from South African and international companies."

"The focus we have placed on revamping industrial parks in townships and rural areas has brought about discernible change, as industrial parks that have been lying idle are becoming productive again."

 

"We have so far completed the revitalisation of 10 out of 16 identified industrial parks, in places such as Botshabelo, Phuthaditjhaba, Garankuwa, Isithebe, Komani and Seshego.

"We also began the process of stabilising and supporting 57 municipalities, where over 10,000 municipal infrastructure projects are being implemented."

"We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made in restoring policy certainty on mining regulation and the visa regime, crafting the path towards mobile spectrum allocation, and reviewing port, rail and electricity prices.

These 5 areas are:

  • Job creation
  • Improving education
  • Improving the conditions of the lives of South Africans, especially the poor
  • Step up the fight against corruption
  • Addressing the needs of the people

Ramaphosa says he want to focus on 5 major tasks that are of urgency.

he state security agency will be reconfigured - it will comprise two arms - one for foreign and one for domestic intelligence. 

Ramaphosa now reflects back on some of the things his administration did in the previous year in jobs, health etc.

"We have appointed a new director of prosecutions to lead the revival of the NPA and to strengthen our fight against crime and corruption. You watch this space," Ramaphosa warns.

"We have taken decisive measure to improve government, strengthen leadership... We've also had to deal with the effects of state capture on vital institutions include our law enforcement, whose mandate has been eroded over the past years."

"We are restoring the paths of dialogue and conversation."

Ramaphosa says SA is much more hopeful about a better tomorrow.

Things are going very smooth so far, it looks like the EFF will not be disrupting Sona after all.

"South Africans from all walks of life reached out to build a better nation."

Ramaphosa says despite our differences, SA responded to the call of Thuma Mina to ask what they can do for their country.

"We agreed that we would devote our every action to the vision of Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela and mama Albertina Sisulu."

Ramaphosa says a year ago we resolved to break away from years of uncertainty and resolved to focus on what matters.

Ramaphosa says we will need to ask ourselves if we have realised the promise of what SA wanted to be when we attained freedom.

"We will also remember with relief and exhilaration the day of our freedom. The day we became a nation... During the course of this year we will reflect on the journey of the past 25 years."

"We will all of us as South Africans celebrate the truimph of freedom over subjucation... the triumph of hope over despair."

Ramaphosa says he wants to start off with a disclaimer when he invoked Hugh Masekela's song "Thuma Mina" when Julius Malema challenged him to sing it. "I hesitated for a while... but I thought it wise not to do so." Ramaphosa says he met with Malema on how best the song could be sung. He says they agreed that if EFF wins elections and Malema is president, then Ramaphosa will come on stage and sing. MPs have a laugh at this. Maimane will apparently be a member of this 'band'.

Ramaphosa begins with observing protocol.

Ramaphosa now steps up to the podium, loud applause from ANC MPs.

A silent prayer is now being held.

The imbongi is doing his praises in Setswana.

While Ramaphosa walks into the National Assembly, the imbongi will do his praises.

The national anthem is now being played by the brass band, while the gun salute is performed.

First to step out are Deputy Pres David Mabuza. He is accompanied inside by Deputy speaker Lechesa Tsenoli.

The President's motorcade is pulling up now.

Thabo Mbeki is here. Looks like former president Jacob Zuma is not here.

The EFF says it will decide at a caucus meeting at 18.30pm whether it will follow through with threats to disrupt proceedings at this evening's State of the Nation Address (Sona).

EFF to hold caucus meeting over plan to disrupt Sona

EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu is playing his cards close to his chest on whether his party will cause ructions in the National Assembly tonight.

DCJ Raymond Zondo and his wife have arrived.

President Ramaphosa's motorcade has just arrived.

South African National Defence Force soldiers marching through the streets of Cape Town en route to Parliament.

And that's it for the red carpet. Official procession now up.

Good party leader Patricia 'Aunty Pat' de Lille says her outfit was inspired by the rights of Ethiopian women. De Lille says she’s hoping Ramaphosa has some “good news for a change.” 

Beauty queen, Mrs Africa Globe 2019 Lucia Ochan

EWN’s Clement Manyathela speaks to Zizi Kodwa about the ANC's expectations of Sona.

Maimane hopes that the President will focus on job creation during his address.

We all know what EFF MPs wear to Sona... Floyd Shivambu tells the media what he expects from tonights sona address.

DA leader Mmusi Maimane and his wife Natalie on the red carpet.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address will be a unifying one, which will attempt to bring all sectors of society together, says ANC chief whip Jackson Mthembu.

Jackson Mthembu says Ramaphosa’s Sona will focus on unity

The ANC chief whip says the country is facing elections, and Ramaphosa must be able to tell South Africans what challenges it is facing.

Opposition parties say even though President Cyril Ramaphosa will, in all likelihood, deliver two State of the Nation Addresses this year, the first one is still important for taking stock of the year that’s been and setting the tone for the one ahead.

Opposition parties offer mixed expectations for #Sona2019

Opposition parties say the president needs to make bold and decisive announcements about what he plans to do about those implicated in corruption.

Here's a look at what he's achieved (or not) as outlined in last year's address.

#Sona2019: How has President Ramaphosa fared so far?

In his maiden address in 2018, President Ramaphosa made bold promises to clean up the corruption that had plagued the Zuma administration and to stimulate the economy.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his second State of the Nation Address tonight. Unlike last year when he had no results to look back on, this time around, he will have a year of rule to reflect on.