While Julius Malema is adamant that the president avoided chaos by addressing the EFF's demands, there was still a huge chance the party would disrupt the event regardless. Briefly.co.za explores how Cyril Ramaphosa kept the red berets at bay.
People who had tuned in for this years State of the Nation Address for the anticipated EFF disruption were left disappointed last night
President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his speech with minimal interruption and expertly negotiated one of the most peaceful State of the Nation addresses in recent years.
His carefully crafted words had managed to keep Julius Malema and the EFF in their seats for most of the two-hour delivery.
Although Floyd Shivambu had been speaking about the possibility of a disruption during the red carpet event, Ramaphosa didn't give them a chance.
But how did Ramaphosa keep a usually volatile situation calm? Here's what the president got right last night:
Acknowledging Malema and the EFF early on
Within the first few minutes of his speech, Ramaphosa had given Julius Malema and the EFF the nod. Using humour as his weapon of choice, Cyril referred to an incident after Hugh Masekela's passing, where Malema had asked him to sing one of the legend's songs.
Cyril went on to promise that he would join Malema in song during Parliament- but only if he won the elections and joined in. Ramaphosa even invited Mmusi Maimane to join in the festivities.
This break from the usual protocol acknowledged Malema and his party almost immediately and had the effect of potentially diffusing the situation. If the intention of the EFF had been to disrupt the address, it would have happened early.
The deviation from the usual put the odds in Cyril's favor and established a more jovial atmosphere in the chambers.
Slow and steady wins the race
The structure of his speech saw the hits and misses dispersed in such a way that it was difficult to vex the crowd for an extended period of time.
Ramaphosa confronted many of the ANC's failures over the years, including admitting that 4 000 schools remain without proper sanitation facilities and this was 'not good enough'.
Briefly.co.za reported last night that Ramaphosa acknowledged corruption within the ruling party existed and proposed stricter measures not only to correct this but to prevent it moving forward.
This self-reflection took the wind out of the sails of any nay-sayers, beating any potential disruptors to the punch.
Leaving talk of corruption for last
By the time the president began addressing corruption the nation had sat through more than an hour of the speech. The president had implored people to come forward to admit any wrongdoings to the state capture inquiry.
While this did raise a few remarks, nothing qualifying as disruption occurred. In fact, Parliament had been quiet content to let the president have his say.
In conclusion there is no doubt that Cyril Ramaphosa enjoyed a successful SONA last night. However, the promises actioned here only count for so much, with scrutiny at an all-time peak.
Ramaphosa may have avoided the scorn of the EFF and South African for now, but chances are that his charm will soon wear thin.
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