South Africa: President - SONA Delays Regrettable

14 February 2020

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the disruptions that delayed the State of the Nation Address (SONA) by over an hour on Thursday night, were "regrettable".

He said the disruptions, which had played out for 90 minutes due to various points of order from the EFF, delayed South Africans their opportunity to hear what SONA had in store for them in terms of government's response to the country's economic and other challenges.

The President said this when he interacted with the media after he teed off at the Presidential Golf Challenge on Friday morning.

"It is regrettable that we had to wait for an hour and a half waiting to start the State of the Nation [Address].

"And for me, it was a delay that was imposed on not only the Members of Parliament, but on the people of South Africa in their homes and wherever they were, were waiting to hear the State of the Nation Address.

"So it was most unfortunate as far as I am concerned that we as Parliamentarians displayed such disregard for the ordinary people who wanted to hear the message rather than get involved in squabbles with Members of Parliament and that should have been taken into account by those members who wanted their issues to be addressed," he said.

The President said ordinary citizens wanted to know how government was going to drive the economy forward.

"There were quite a number of important messages and announcements that the people of South Africa wanted to hear and I regret to say that the delay was the most unfortunate and it was imposed on people who were desperately in need of hearing what the government wants to do this year."

He said young people wanted to hear what was in store for them with regard to jobs.

"But in the end, I think we came up with a very good message, particularly for young people, and particularly for those who are driving the economy of our country."

He said the issue of energy had been addressed in his speech.

"Energy, while it is a challenge, we did in a very honest way tell South Africans that while we are correcting the challenges that Eskom is facing, we should bear in mind that the load shedding will continue to happen and the executives at Eskom are going to try everything they can to stabilise Eskom and the electricity generation."

Walking the greens

Before interacting with the media, the President arrived at the Atlantic Beach Golf Estate to play with his play partner Simthandile "SimTiger" Tshabalala, a 7-year-old astute young golfer, who has represented the country in various international tournaments.

Most recently, he played in the Canadian Invitational Golf tournament in September 2019.

SimTiger, who started playing golf at the age of four, only started competing eight months ago and has thus far won more than 20 trophies.

The youngster stole the show with an impressive drive after his entertaining warm-up routine.

UDM leader Bantu Holomisa said after he had a swing at his ball: "Sim is the future. I mean you could see the drive that he demonstrated here. I could never get close to him so he is going to beat me. I am sure that I am going to lose my money today."

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