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All eyes on Ramaphosa and SONA


President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his fourth state of the nation address (SONA) on Thursday evening amid a deepening crisis at Eskom, a stalled economy and high unemployment, and nothing suggests there is a fresh, consensual corrective to any of these, a fortnight shy of another Moody's review.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) on Wednesday said it had hoped the president would be in a position to announce an accord on its proposal for the Public Investment Corporation to avail funds to reduce Eskom's debt by R250 billion.

In the absence of that, it expects him to "highlight progress government has made with regards to halting the crisis at Eskom and what measures are being undertaken to save it".

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has picked up the ball in the run-up to SONA by stepping-up its campaign against Public Enterprises Minister Pravin Gordhan and demanding Ramaphosa fire him or contend with the second biggest opposition party disrupting his address in the National Assembly.

It pinned the crisis at Eskom on Gordhan and accused him of pushing the electricity utility, along with SAA, Denel and Transnet to the brink to allow the "looting" of the state's assets by facilitating privatisation.

Academic and political analyst Steven Friedman said the EFF was misreading public sentiment, because even if in respectable corners there was grudging approval of its disruption of former president Jacob Zuma's speeches - because much of the nation felt he had abused state funds - it would not get the same sympathy for targeting Gordhan and Ramaphosa. - ANA

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