South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa is Thursday evening expected to deliver the nation’s 2021 State of The Nation Address (SONA) to the first-ever Hybrid Joint Sitting of the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces on Thursday, the event will for the first time be held virtually, due to the coronavirus restrictions. The address will take place on the 31st anniversary of former president Nelson Mandela’s release from prison.
Political analyst Ralph Mathekga said: “Don’t expect anything new. What is important now is for the president to talk about implementation of priority projects.
“When the government is in the middle of major problems, as it is now, it tends to defer major decisions. I think the president will react by kicking the can down the road to the Budget. This is not because the government is necessarily inefficient, but because it probably needs more time.”
The president is set to talk about COVID-19 vaccines as a pressing priority as the cost of COVID-19 lockdown restrictions wreak havoc, with South Africa’s economy in the doldrums.
He’s also likely to spell out what’s being done to secure additional electricity supply from independent producers, and improve Eskom’s performance, reorganize its operations and tackle its unsustainable debt.
The government has been promising for years to release additional broadband spectrum and could finally deliver this year. The telecommunications regulator has received six applications in response to the invitation to apply for access to the high-demand spectrum and intends concluding the process of auctioning by the end of next month.
While MTN Group Ltd, Africa’s largest wireless carrier, complained that it was being shut out of the bidding and asked the High Court to correct or set aside elements of the process, Ramaphosa may give assurances that the auction remains on track.
Only 50 people will be allowed inside the National Assembly, Parliamentary spokesperson Moloto Mothapo says other MPs and guests will be expected to follow the proceedings virtually.
“Various categories of guests, including members of the public, who cannot be accommodated will link up through a webinar that has a capacity for 1,000 guests. The platform will be non-interactive, with no chat capabilities.”