South African President Cyril Ramaphosa stands next to a sculpture of former President Nelson Mandela, as he addresses supporters from the balcony at the city hall in Cape Town. Picture: AP Photo/Nasief Manie

Cape Town - The poor state of the economy, high levels of unemployment and the social ills such as corruption are some of the topics President Cyril Ramaphosa will cover in Thursday”s state of the nation (SONA).

Speaking at the 30th anniversary of the release of Nelson Mandela from prison, Ramaphosa said: “The stench of corruption and abuse of public funds have led to a trust deficit with our citizens. This threatens to reverse our democratic gains.” 

Ramaphosa said on Thursday he would be telling the nation in his speech about what the government “has done, and what we have not succeeded in doing over the past year. We should talk frankly about how we should chart a new course for the year ahead.”

Ramaphosa said South Africa faces many challenges including and can not wait any longer for change. 

Ramaphosa received the loudest cheer from the crowd, when he paid tribute to Winnie Mandela and “the mothers and fathers of the young South Africans who gathered at the Cape Town City Hall 30 years ago to hear Mandela’s first words as a free man.”

“All they knew of his was his name whispered by their parents. Throughout those 27 years when he was the prisoner of a heartless regime. It was the mothers and fathers of this country who kept his name and memory alive,” said Ramaphosa

Ramaphosa said: “Mama Winnie Mandela kept Nelson Mandela’s name alive every day. She and many others kept the fires of resistance burning in the breasts of the people of this country. We recall the mothers and fathers of Khayelitsha, Manenberg, Gugulethu, Bonteheuwel and so many other towns and villages who ensured that the name Nelson Mandela was never forgotten.”


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Cape Argus