Sona: Less rhetoric, more sub­stance

CityPress - - Voices & Careers -

Hav­ing “paid back the money”, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma will be hop­ing that he can de­liver his state of the na­tion ad­dress (Sona) on Thurs­day with­out in­ter­rup­tion.

His past few Sonas have been re­mark­able only for the drama pro­vided by the the­atrics of the Eco­nomic Free­dom Fight­ers (EFF), a party which has con­sis­tently sought to em­bar­rass Zuma by shout­ing him down wher­ever he speaks and de­mand­ing that he pay back the Nkandla money.

Now that Zuma has fi­nally done so, it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how the oc­ca­sion plays out.

Par­lia­ment is over­prepar­ing by de­ploy­ing po­lice in their thou­sands, when the only threat we know of is of just over two dozen EFF par­lia­men­tar­i­ans.

Zuma has been in of­fice for more than seven years, but it is hard to re­call any mem­o­rable speech that he has de­liv­ered. All have been shal­low in sub­stance and lacked style in de­liv­ery.

But as he heads for the sun­set of his pres­i­dency, Zuma ap­pears wor­ried that he may have no le­gacy to point to. Per­haps this is why he used his De­cem­ber speeches to start be­moan­ing the evil called “white mo­nop­oly cap­i­tal” and its role in frus­trat­ing transformation. He is now at the fore­front of call­ing for “rad­i­cal eco­nomic transformation”, but pre­dictably, is thin on de­tail.

In an­other vain ef­fort to se­cure his le­gacy, Zuma seems to have taken a hard line to­wards the ANC’s eco­nomic transformation sub­com­mit­tee and his eco­nomic min­istries, ac­cus­ing them of not de­liv­er­ing on the ANC man­date. So, will he lead the charge that he was the man who pushed for eco­nomic transformation, but was failed by his min­is­ters?

He may even claim to de­ploy min­is­ters who will more read­ily im­ple­ment his pro­gramme, to chop his crit­ics within Cab­i­net. We hope, per­haps naively, that Sona will not be a plat­form for empty pop­ulist rhetoric, but an oc­ca­sion where a solid, in­formed plan of ac­tion is out­lined.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.