Zuma’s power fails to prevail

2013-02-17 10:00

Never before has President Jacob Zuma been as powerful as he is right now.

Coming from Mangaung with three-quarters of the conference vote, he is at the top of his game.

But still Zuma declined to capitalise on this power and opted to dither in his state of the nation address on issues that we expected him to make bold announcements on.

We expected a bold announcement on the youth wage subsidy, over which the ANC hoped to put its foot down, as well as declaring teaching an essential service.

On both these issues, he baulked.

Zuma had a to-do list as long as his arm, but there was no over-arching vision to bring it all together.

The National Development Plan was a slogan throughout the speech, but he declined to mention the difficult decisions that will need to be taken to make this plan work.

Instead he went for broad brush strokes, talking about the successes of the infrastructure plan and saying proudly how government spent R860 billion on roads, railways and ports since he came into power.

But Zuma has always been a pragmatist.

The party is in election mode and alienating Cosatu will not help the ANC at the ballot box in 2014.

But it is not as if Cosatu hit the jackpot either.

Nothing about labour broking was mentioned in the speech and Zuma fudged the issue of whether or not teaching will become an essential service – leaving it up to people to read into it what they see fit.

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