South African president to give State of Nation address


JOHANNESBURG (AP) — South African President Cyril Ramaphosa was set to give his second State of the Nation address to parliament in Cape Town on Thursday, just months before national elections seen by many as a referendum on his ruling African National Congress party.

Ramaphosa, who came to power a year ago after former President Jacob Zuma was ousted by the party, has promised to revive South Africa’s flagging economy and tackle deep-seated corruption.

After he took office, South Africans experienced a rare wave of optimism after an era of bruising national politics, sometimes referred to as “Ramaphoria,” but many have once again grown weary of the nation’s rampant unemployment, crime and corruption. This disillusionment with Ramaphosa’s ANC party may be a crucial factor in the upcoming national elections in May.

“We need to recognize that things are getting progressively worse for us, and we have to acknowledge that the reason they’re getting worse is the ANC,” Mmusi Maimane, leader of the Democratic Alliance, the country’s main opposition party, said in his “alternate” State of the Nation address.

The left-wing Economic Freedom Fighters, a small but influential opposition party that has disrupted the speech in past years, has threatened to interrupt the address again on Thursday unless Ramaphosa addresses a political donation he received from a company embroiled in a corruption scandal.

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