Zuma to make modest promises

2009-06-02 13:05
President Jacob Zuma (Themba Hadebe, AP)

President Jacob Zuma (Themba Hadebe, AP) (Themba Hadebe)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma's maiden State of the Nation address is likely to see him make modest promises of better delivery, and reassure the poor his government will help them weather the recession, analysts say.

"He has a lot to prove; he has come in on a back foot and it is a tricky speech for him to navigate in tough economic times, under intense scrutiny. There are high expectations and he will try to temper those," Institute for Democracy in SA analyst Judith February said.

"But he will have to focus on the recession and its impact on the social fabric. I think what one wants to see is some recognition of the impact on ordinary people."

Election manifesto

February and others expect Zuma to return to the ANC's election manifesto on Wednesday, as he names his top priorities - job creation, crime, education, health and rural development. But, they say, the first of these may take precedence, given the bleak economic outlook.

"The jobs issue is huge. He cannot but refer to it, and it is the most complex issue he has to address," said University of the Witwatersrand political analyst Susan Booysen.

Zuma's expected call to business to preserve jobs, and his dance with the ANC's alliance partners on labour issues, would provide clear clues on the president's philosophy.

"It will be very interesting how he will... hopefully persuade the private sector to go slow on retrenchment," Booysen said.

But Zuma's "most intricate balancing act" would be keeping labour on his side, as South Africa navigates its first recession in 17 years, she said.

Labour demands

Economist Abedian Iraj said failure to resolve escalating wage disputes, which has seen the Congress of SA Trade Unions threaten paralysing strikes, would undermine whatever blueprint Zuma chooses for the next five years.

"I have no doubt that the whole issue of labour demands will have to be dealt with very carefully because it could derail a whole lot of processes," he said.

February pointed out that Zuma will have to address mounting social delivery protests, threats from the taxi industry and a hospital system in disarray.

But analysts agree that, faced with a shrinking economy and declining fiscal revenues, the president could not hope to deal with service delivery backlogs by throwing money at the problem.

Iraj said Zuma would have to go back to the basics of good governance, improving service delivery without extra spending.

This would mean vowing to eliminate "waste, corruption, abuse and delays", which would in itself increase efficiency in many areas of government.

Coupled with that promise would likely come a call on the public to show more patience, and an explanation by Zuma of the reasoning behind his restructuring the Cabinet, and the role of the new planning unit headed by Trevor Manuel.


"It will be about communication and packaging. There will be an appeal for patience," said Iraj.

Booysen thought the long-suffering electorate was likely to show understanding because the April elections had proved voters still overwhelmingly trusted the ANC.

At the same time, the party also understood it had to set out time-frames, albeit modest, for improved delivery.

"The ANC has a good idea that this is make or break time, in challenging circumstances. It will go back to basics on democratic governance, on being accountable to the people.

"There is a lot of forbearance. The ANC knows it has that level of trust, but it also knows that we are no longer in post-liberation euphoria," she said.

February said Zuma was sure to make a rallying call to South Africans to get behind his administration, and not lose hope in hard times.

But, she warned, the man whose long battle to become president had exposed abuse of the National Prosecuting Authority needed to reassure the public he will respect and rebuild scarred democratic institutions.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.


Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
More traffic reports...

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Canon EOS 600D

The Canon EOS 600D Digital Camera puts the widely respected...

From R5389.95

I'm shopping for:


Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.