In his second opening address to Parliament, President Cyril Ramaphosa set out the government’s five main priorities, with accelerating inclusive growth and job creation topping the list.

“These are tasks that will underpin everything that we do this year,” Ramaphosa said in the speech, delivered three months before the first national elections of the post Zuma era.

“Firstly, we must accelerate inclusive economic growth and create jobs.”

He listed the second imperative as improving the education system to ensure that the country could develop the skills it needed.

“Thirdly, we are duty bound to improve the conditions of life for all South Africans, especially the poor. Fourthly, we have no choice but to step up the fight against corruption and state capture.”

He said the fifth priority was to strengthen the capacity of the state to address the needs of the people.

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The beginning of Ramaphosa’s address was notably free of disruption as he announced that he’d struck a deal with leaders of the country’s two biggest opposition parties to lend a hand.

Ramaphosa said he had been asked by Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema whether he would sing the late Hugh Masekela’s Thuma Mina (lend a hand), lyrics of which he cited in his 2018 Sona.

The president said when he ran into Malema on Wednesday, they struck another deal.
“We agreed that if the EFF wins the elections and he is installed as the president of South Africa then he will invite me to come up on stage and sing for him.”

“By sheer accident”, said Ramaphosa, he had also encountered DA leader Mmusi Maimane.
“I also recruited him [Maimane] to become a member of the band we are going to form.”

The EFF last month said it would turn the Sona into a question-and-answer session if Ramaphosa did not address his relationship with Bosasa.

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This followed Ramaphosa’s disclosure in Parliament in November last year that his son had business dealings with Bosasa and had benefitted to the tune of at least R500,000. In an about turn just days later, the president said he had provided inaccurate information and that the half a million rand was actually paid by Bosasa, now African Global Operations, to trust account used to fund his election campaign for ANC presidency.

Ramaphosa had said the money had been returned to Bosasa.

– African News Agency

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