There was a noticeably lighter mood than usual in the National Assembly on Friday night, when President Cyril Ramaphosa gave his maiden state of the nation address. The address ended in song from both ends of the House — but where the ANC sang “ixesha lifikile, phakama Ramaphosa (the time has come, rise Ramaphosa)”, the EFF sang “ixesha lifikile, babophe Ramaphosa (the time has come, arrest them Ramaphosa)”. As it had promised before Sona, the EFF toned down its heckling compared with the barbs the party flung at former president Jacob Zuma during his National Assembly appearances. As Ramaphosa eased into his address, Malema shouted “feel free, feel free” from the floor, encouraging Ramaphosa to continue. The president walked a fine line between promising shake-ups in the Cabinet and ailing state-owned enterprises for the investor class, and pledging to advance radical economic transformation for the most disenfranchised South Africans. His address elicited applause throughout the h...

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