Zuma’s last state of the na­tion ad­dress?

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - TSHEGO LEPULE

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.

Ja­cob Zuma

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