Zuma’s last state of the nation address?
IN FOUR days the President of South Africa will deliver the State of the Nation Address.
But who that will be is still up for debate as opposition party leaders and some ANC leaders push to have incumbent President Jacob Zuma removed from his post.
However, the likelihood of Zuma’s removal before Thursday is highly unlikely according to analysts. But what it is known is that this will be Zuma’s last state of the nation address and there is a lot of curiosity around what will be in his speech.
Political analyst Somadoda Fikeni said given that this will be Zuma’s last address, his speech will highlight his successes, justify some of his actions and seek forgiveness from South Africans.
“In all likelihood we can expect some fireworks, unless a surprise stepping down of the president occurs which is unlikely. But being unlikely does not mean it is not possible.
“Here is a man who is given the last chance to state his case and in his mind he will have multiple audiences, the first one, he may be working very hard to appeal to the hearts and minds of South Africans to say forgive me, whatever mistakes I may have done I also have achievements.
“He may be working towards saying to the judiciary and the commissions that are to take place, consider these as mitigating factors whatever weaknesses I might have had. He might also be trying to preempt any later impeachment or vote of no confidence by saying after all I am not as useless as you think I might have been,” he said.
And with a motion of no confidence scheduled to take place just 14 days after the address, the chances of finishing his term have become slimmer. Having survived his sixth motion of no confidence by 28 votes in his favour after a historical secret vote, Zuma’s supporters will be looking to negotiate an exit strategy through the party.
“With each one of those motions, the margins were getting narrower and now that he is no longer the president of the ANC, he no longer has the power to walk into the ANC caucus before the voting and sit there to monitor who is saying what, he may be worried that this time around, scales may be tilted,” added Fikeni.
“But of course the ANC because of its political pride may not want opposition to say we are the ones who removed, so they will prefer the inside jobs themselves. But it will not be before Thursday, it is too constrained a period. But he is not going to see 2019 in my estimation.”
With the guest list of over 1 000 guests finalised and a budget of R4 million, preparations for this year’s event are almost complete, with road closures being organised, practise sessions by the army due to take place and the deployment of SAPS throughout the city finalised, all eyes will be on the National Assembly.
It remains to be seen whether opposition party leaders will boycott the speech if it is delivered by Zuma.
Previous years have seen violent clashes on the streets of Cape Town as EFF and ANC members battle it out while inside the assembly, EFF MPs clash with security officials.