The Citizen reported on Thursday that Sona began with President Cyril Ramaphosa telling a joke about bumping into Julius Malema, who is seen laughing at the joke and smiling.
This was an indication that the EFF would not be disrupting the address. They had said they would still be deliberating on whether or not to do so hours before the speech began.
After the speech, it was reported that they decided to leave the speech in peace because Ramaphosa played ball when it came to demands that he be held accountable for a R500,000 donation Bosasa made to his party election campaign.
“The president went to the public protector and if that was not enough, the president also released his submission to the public protector,” Malema said.
The speech almost went the way of ones Zuma had delivered during the last few years of his presidency, though, when EFF deputy president Floyd Shivambu stood up to complain that Ramaphosa was “plagiarising” ideas from the EFF.
He said he was just “concerned” about plagiarism but, before things got too out of hand, appeared to remember the decision the party had made not to interrupt the address and said he would confront the matter at a later stage, after which proceedings returned to normal.
Speaking to eNCA after the speech, Malema explained what Shivambu was complaining about when he brought up plagiarism.
According to the EFF commander-in-chief, Ramaphosa “abandoned the ANC manifesto, and plagiarised the EFF manifesto”. He claimed Ramaphosa stole his ideas on early childhood development, human settlements, and others, from the red berets.
In the speech, Ramaphosa said the government wants to institute a comprehensive early childhood development programme, citing over 700,000 children he said had gained access to early childhood education in the past year as evidence his government was already prioritising this.
He also highlighted the need to address human settlement needs, saying “strategically located land will be released” for this purpose in “urban and peri-urban areas”.