South Africa: Ramaphosa Swaps Bullet Trains for Bullet Points in Rapid-Fire SONA Response


President Cyril Ramaphosa faced criticism from opposition politicians that his latest State of the Nation Address was full of unrealistic dreams. But responding to the post-SONA debate, Ramaphosa shot down his critics with a deluge of more practical detail on what his administration has planned - while placating the unions by affirming the importance of SOEs, and silencing the EFF with an assurance that land expropriation without compensation will go ahead.

President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his response to Parliament's post-SONA debate on the 64th anniversary of the Kliptown drafting of the Freedom Charter - and he took advantage of the symbolism of the date to hit back at criticism of his SONA.

A day previously, Ramaphosa had come in for a drubbing from opposition politicians who claimed that his second SONA of 2019 had put the emphasis on fantasies of new smart cities and bullet trains when his focus should be on more immediate problems.

At the time when the Freedom Charter was drafted, Ramaphosa pointed out, it was a statement of "extraordinary ambition", looking beyond the "dire conditions to a country fundamentally different".

The implication was that his SONA should be viewed in the same light: as projecting an...

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