Sona: Less rhetoric, more substance
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.