President Cyril Ramaphosa will deliver his sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA) from the Cape Town City Hall at 19h00 on Thursday evening.
The address will be streamed and broadcast across various channels, including news channels, radio stations, DStv, and live-streaming sources like YouTube.
You can watch the SONA from the following sources:
The SONA will also be streamed live below:
What to expect
President Ramaphosa is widely expected to retread many talking points from past SONAs, including troubles with unemployment, economic reforms, the ongoing power crisis, and widespread corruption.
He is also expected to provide updates on the Covid-19 pandemic, the national state of disaster, and the country’s vaccination strategy.
The president will be under pressure to confront several key reports and analyses released in recent weeks, including two reports from the State Capture Commission, which outlined and named many high-profile persons of interest allegedly involved in the looting of the state.
It is also speculated that he will address ongoing calls for the introduction of a basic income grant for the country – a topic that has been underpinned with many viewpoints, both social and economic, speaking for and against such a move.
According to Bloomberg analysts, there are five key things to look out for in the address this evening, including:
1. Income grants: South Africa’s social distress relief grant is set to expire next month and Ramaphosa is facing calls to extend it or introduce an indefinite monthly stipend for the poor. There are economic risks with going the way of a BIG, but analysts anticipate the relief grant being extended for at least another year.
2. Pandemic response: South Africa has now exited a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections and scrapped almost all pandemic-related restrictions. While there is some pushback against getting rid of the regulations altogether, the government is under mounting pressure to end the State of Disaster. The health department disagrees, and Ramaphosa is expected to give direction here.
3. Energy crisis: Ramaphosa has been promising to address an energy crisis that’s been hobbling the economy since he took office in early 2018, yet the country is still contending with rolling blackouts. The president may outline plans to accelerate and streamline the procurement of more electricity from independent producers and elaborate on the tortuous process of turning around embattled state power utility Eskom.
4. Law and order: Ramaphosa has identified the fight against graft, which became endemic during his predecessor Jacob Zuma’s nine-year rule, as a top priority. Efforts are underway to try and recoup the more than R500 billion he estimates was stolen from state coffers, with only a fraction recovered so far and not a single high-profile official successfully prosecuted. The president may also respond to the findings of a panel that castigated the security services for their handling of riots that erupted last year and claimed 354 lives.
5. Work permits for foreigners: South Africa has long been a magnet for millions of economic migrants from the rest of the continent. Their presence has sparked resentment among many locals, who see them as competitors for jobs, housing and other resources, and there have been intermittent outbreaks of xenophobic violence. Ramaphosa may announce further measures to try and preserve jobs for locals and reduce a 35% unemployment rate, but will need to ensure any measures don’t stoke undue tension with his peers elsewhere on the continent.