President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation this evening where he will outline his vision for the country and announce the government’s programme of action for the next five years.

The State of the Nation Address (SONA) marks the start of the work for the sixth administration as well as the democratic Parliament after the successful conclusion of the country’s National and Provincial Elections in May.

President Ramaphosa is expected to reflect on the country’s political, social and economic welfare and chart the new path the country will take.

In his inauguration, President Ramaphosa said: “Yes, South Africa, Thuma Mina!” as he pledged to serve the country and build a South Africa we all want and deserve.

He indicated that his administration will work with business, labour as well as South African citizens, to mobilise all resources to address the challenges the country faces.

As the country embarks on a new era of hope and renewal, President Ramaphosa said one of his key missions would be to forge an ethical state, free of corruption.

With this foundation, the President said it will be a compact for growth and economic opportunity, for productive lands and viable communities, for knowledge, for innovation, and for services that are affordable, accessible and sustainable that generate social value and propel human development.

In this regard, President Ramaphosa is expected to outline this vision as well as give timeframes as to how his administration will achieve this vision.

This SONA takes place as the country commemorates 25 years of freedom and democracy – which is an opportunity to reflect on the country’s successes and challenges, as well as find ways to improve the lives of people.

While much has been achieved over the past 25 years, more still needs to be done in areas such as tackling the challenges of poverty, inequality, unemployment that affects almost half of the young people in the country.

Another task President Ramaphosa faces is reigniting economic growth, infrastructure planning and development, agricultural development, government service delivery, the implementation of the National Development Plan (NDP), ending state capture as well as inspiring South Africans’ hope for a better tomorrow.

Faced with these challenges, the President has chosen 28 Ministers and 34 Deputy Ministers to form part of his Cabinet to help him drive the programme of action for the next five years.

For the first time, the Cabinet features a 50/50 gender representation and youthful faces. It is a strike between experience, continuity, competence, generational mix and demographic and regional diversity.

The President had indicated that this “A team” will be guided by the need to build a modern developmental state that has the means to embrace innovation and to direct effort and resources towards where they will have the greatest impact.

Their performance – individually and collectively – will be closely monitored against specific outcomes. Where implementation is unsatisfactory, action will be taken.

More on the President’s plans and the path that the new dawn will take will be announced at the SONA which starts at 7 pm. The address will be broadcast live across a number of television and radio stations.

Due to economic constraints, various features that have traditionally characterised the preparations and the actual SONA ceremony have been modified for the occasion.

It will, however, still preserve the decorum and solemnity of a key State event of such magnitudes, such as the military parade.

After SONA, Parliament will converge again in a joint sitting of both Houses on 25 June to debate the content of the President’s address and on 26 June for the President’s reply. –

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