The Economic Freedom Fighters allowed President Cyril Ramaphosa to complete his state of the nation address unharassed, but that does not mean they agreed with everything in President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address (SONA 2019).
Arriving with a song and a dance
The EFF arrived at SONA 2019 with much fanfare, dancing, and singing providing a bright, festival-like atmosphere to proceedings before the commencement of Ramaphosa’s speech.
— Tom (@WiggumCharm) June 20, 2019
There had been some concerns the firebrand political party might interrupt the address because of disagreements over the appointment of Pravin Gordhan as public enterprises minister despite a damning report released by Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Ramaphosa’s SONA speech
Ramaphosa did not hide from the fact that South Africa finds itself in a precarious position and perhaps his forthrightness stayed the EFF’s hand on the night.
However, following the conclusion of the speech, EFF president Julius Malema did not hold back his opinion, saying Ramaphosa did not speak about anything except dreams and dreams would not fix the country.
“The President said nothing about the land,” Malema told the SABC.
“That which the president has said is going to happen is what has been happening and has not delivered the land to our people.
“The ANC has abandoned their agenda to expropriate land without compensation because they make black people stupid. They used it during the election and elections are over.
“The president is daydreaming.”
Parliament promises no disruptions
Parliament addressed the issue in the lead up to SONA 2019 2nd edition, stating categorically that there would be no disruptions and so it turned out to be.
Perhaps the EFF and government engaged before the speech in order to make sure proceedings were not interrupted.
During his speech, Ramaphosa addressed EFF leader Julius Malema directly saying, “Honourable Malema, I’m coming to land”. However, as it turns out he never really addressed the land issue at all.