SONA wish-list on the red carpet

Thursday, February 13, 2020

In anticipation of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) this evening, Members of Parliament have used the red carpet to make known their wish-list. 

The economy, job creation, energy and the digital economy came out top of the agenda, ahead of the President’s address which takes place at 7pm. 

Minister in the Presidency Jackson Mthembu said he expects the President to give the country hope and talk about how government is going to grow the economy and create jobs for young people.

Telecommunications, Communications and Postal Services Minister Stella Ndabeni Abraham said she looks forward to the fall of data costs and spectrum release. 

“I look forward to hearing about when data costs will fall and of course the release of the spectrum.”

Ndabeni-Abraham’s Deputy Minister Pinky Kekana backed her, adding that communication regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, is hard at work to ensure spectrum release is realised. 

“As a country, we are looking forward to the spectrum release. ICASA is putting its hands on deck to make sure that happens. Our industry is ready. As the department, we are ready and I think that in itself will be a game changer,” said Kekana.

Newly elected Nuclear Energy Corporation of South Africa (NECSA) board member, Senamile Masango, said energy was top of mind for her.

“I look forward to hearing about energy integrated systems and young people studying something that is relevant to the 4IR,” said Masango.

Member of Parliament of the official opposition and DA Youth leader Luyolo Mphithi expressed interest in hearing about government’s effort to tackle youth unemployment and also touch on the green economy. 

Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane also added to the wish-list emphasising that the SONA encapsulates a follow through of government’s achievements from the previous year. 

“I want to hear from the President about what he has done with regards to the promises he made last year - especially with issues relating to crime, basic provision of services and education,” said Mkhwebane. 

Home Affairs Minister Aaron Motsoaledi said while he looked forward to the SONA, he was encouraged by the progress made by government in as far as its borders. 

“We were able to implement the issues from the last SONA such as the e-visa, the issue of visa-free regimes there were nine that were selected to add to and the issue of border management authority. 

“The bill on this has already been passed in the NCOP [National Council of Provinces]. It's just waiting to go to the National Assembly,” said Minister Motsoaledi.

The President will deliver the SONA at 7pm to a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament. -