President Cyril Ramaphosa delivers his State of the Nation Address. Picture: GCIS

Cape Town - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday night turned on the charm and humour to defuse tensions with the opposition in the opening remarks of his second State of the Nation Address.

Amid fears that the Economic Freedom Fighters would disrupt the speech, Ramaphosa joked that he had met with EFF leader Julius Malema on the eve of the SONA.

He had given him a commitment, stemming from Malema's call to him in his maiden Sona address in 2018 to sing the lyrics of the Hugh Masekela classic, Thuma Mina, that he quoted then.

"We agreed that if the EFF wins the elections and he is installed as president, he will invite me up and I will stand here and sing it," Ramaphosa said.

He added that he had also met with Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane, and recruited him to be part of the band that would perform for a president Malema.

"We will stand here and perform for him," he said.

The EFF had threatened to turn the opening into a "question and answer session" on a donation by discredited facilities management company Bosasa to his campaign to become president of the ruling ANC in late 2017.

African News Agency/ANA