Key quotes from Ramaphosa's 2020 Sona

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers the State of the Nation Address in Parliament.

Twitter / @ParliamentofRSA

JOHANNESBURG - President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered the State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday night.

Ramaphosa highlighted a number of issues during his speech, including load shedding, inclusive growth, student accommodation, corruption and climate change.

Below are the top quotes from the president's address:


"At its core, load-shedding is the inevitable consequence of Eskom’s inability over many years – due to debt, lack of capacity and state capture – to service its power plants.

The reality that we will need to accept is that in order for Eskom to undertake the fundamental maintenance necessary to improve the reliability of supply, load-shedding will remain a possibility for the immediate future."

Climate change

"Through these immediate measures and the work underway to fundamentally restructure our electricity industry, we will achieve a secure supply of reliable, affordable and, ultimately, sustainable energy.

We undertake this decisive shift in our energy trajectory at a time when humankind faces its greatest existential threat in the form of climate change."

Digital future for children and new university

"This year, we will be introducing coding and robotics in grades R to 3 in 200 schools, with a plan to implement it fully by 2022.

We have decided to establish a new University of Science and Innovation in Ekurhuleni."

Gender-based violence

"We will amend the Domestic Violence Act to better protect victims in violent domestic relationships and the Sexual Offences Act to broaden the categories of sex offenders whose names must be included in the National Register for Sex Offenders, and we will pass a law to tighten bail and sentencing condition in cases that involve gender-based violence."


"We will not let up in the fight against corruption and state capture. We need to work together to root out corruption and strengthen the rule of law. 

We should not solicit or pay bribes or engage in corrupt acts. We should upgrade our culture of reporting crime when we see it being committed."

PIC inquiry report to be made public

"I have received a detailed and voluminous report on the Commission of Inquiry into the Public Investment Corporation. 

I will make it available to the public together with a plan on taking the findings and recommendations forward in a few days."

Student accommodation 

"The young people who are at university and TVET Colleges face serious accommodation challenges. Some don’t even have places to sleep after lectures and resort to sleeping in libraries. 

We are going to spend R64 billion over the next years in student accommodation and will leverage at least another R64 billion in private investment. 

These building projects are ready to start."

A new smart-city to be established in Lanseria

"Last year, I asked the nation to join me in imagining a new smart-city, a truly post-apartheid city that would rise to change the social and economic apartheid spatial architecture. 

 A new smart-city is taking shape in Lanseria, which 350,000 to 500,000 people will call home within the next decade."

Spotlight on youth unemployment

"On youth employment, as from today, we begin the implementation of the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention – six priority actions over the next five years to reduce youth unemployment."

Data prices

"The competition authorities are now working towards a resolution with the large mobile operators to secure deep cuts to data prices across pre-paid monthly bundles, additional discounts targeted at low income households, a free daily allocation of data and free access to educational and other public interest websites."

Regulation of the use of hemp products 

"This year we will open up and regulate the commercial use of hemp products, providing opportunities for small-scale farmers; and formulate policy on the use of cannabis products for medicinal purposes, to build this industry in line with global trends."

Empowerment of persons with disabilities

"I have established the Presidential Working Group on Disability to advise my office on measures to advance the empowerment of persons with disabilities as government plans, budgets, and implements programmes.

Following the recognition by the Department of Basic Education in 2018 of South African Sign Language as a home language and the recommendation by the Parliamentary Constitutional Review Committee that it be the 12th official language, we are now poised to finalise the matter."

Ministers to sign performance agreements

"To strengthen the capacity of the state and increase accountability, I will be signing performance agreements with all Ministers before the end of this month.

These agreements – which are based on the targets contained in the Medium-Term Strategic Framework – will be made public so that the people of South Africa can hold those who they elected into office to account."

Ramaphosa remembers late Ladysmith Black Mambazo founder Joseph Shabalala

"As we do so, we will recall the inspired lyrics of one of South Africa’s most treasured musicians, uBab Joseph Shabalala, the founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo, whose passing we mourn this week.

Written in a different era, his words still ring true:

“We may face high mountains,

Must cross rough seas,

We must take our place in history, 

And live with dignity,

As we climb to reach our destiny

A new age has begun."


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