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Military will march to Ramaphosa’s Sona beat

After two days of intense rehearsals, the South African National Defence Force (SANDF) is ready to march at the opening of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of The Nation Address (Sona) tonight.

The SANDF started practising on 6 February to ensure their public display of military order, sequence and precision goes off flawlessly.

Today’s Sona marks 30 years since Nelson Mandela led the country out of a potential civil war on a democratic path prioritising human rights and justice.

No president in the new South Africa has relied on help from the military more than Ramaphosa, the commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

Ramaphosa ordered the biggest domestic deployment of the military during the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 with over 2,500 soldiers ordered to assist the SAPS, while the army’s health wing was also deployed in hospitals.

Ramaphosa also relied on the army to end an attempt by former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters and other looters and rioters to destabilise the country during the so-called July Riots in 2021 that claimed more than 300 lives and cost the economy over R50-billion.

Nurses and doctors from the SANDF stepped in during last year’s Nehawu strike that threatened to collapse the public health system.

The military also protected businesses and communities during the EFF’s so-called “shutdown” in March last year.

Currently, the SANDF is building and repairing dozens of bridges in Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape that were damaged by devastating floods in the past two years.

Ramaphosa delivers his Sona while Eskom’s load-shedding fluctuates between Stage 1 and Stage 3, and remains a clear reminder that his promise to end load-shedding when he took office has not been realised.

In an important election year, millions of young people are choosing not to register to vote as youth unemployment has reached 70% in some rural areas.

At least 28-million people in South Africa live on social grants, a travesty that Ramaphosa presents as an achievement of the ANC government.

In his address tonight, the president is expected to steer clear of admitting his and the government’s failure to rescue the nation from state capture, corruption, cronyism and tenderpreneurs.

However, the Springboks’ victory at the Rugby World Cup, Bafana reaching the Afcon semi-finals, Tyla winning a Grammy, and Trevor Noah and Black Coffee’s massive achievements abroad are all good news stories that should spice up Ramaphosa’s speech tonight.

Pictured above: Soldiers of the South African National Defence Force.

Image source: X