South Africa: Searching for National Inspiration, Ramaphosa Protects Eskom, Preserves the SARB's Mandate and Dreams of a Futuristic City


In a workman-like State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday listed his administration's priorities -- from economic growth, job creation, cutting poverty, boosting education to rescuing Eskom with a R230bn bailout and creating 'an ethical state'. But the call for hope and aspiration -- and for South Africa to dream boldly amid challenges -- fell short.

The enormous television screen erected in Parliament Avenue on the parliamentary precinct boomed out President Cyril Ramaphosa's State of the Nation Address (SONA) -- to more or less no one. With the streets around Parliament closed off for most of the day by steel fences and groups of police officials on guard, the military marching bands, the cavalcade and the presidential motorcade drove past security service personnel and the occasional inner-city worker and resident.

Into this bubble stepped a tired-sounding Ramaphosa, trying to turn tough times into opportunity at the podium of the National Assembly.

"Working together, we have laid a firm foundation on which we can build a country in which all may know peace and comfort and contentment. Yet, we also meet at a time when our country is confronted by severe challenges. Our economy is not growing. Not...

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