All eyes on Zuma's State of the Nation address

2014-02-13 07:28
President Jacob Zuma (AP)

President Jacob Zuma (AP)

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Mazibuko's SONA expectations

2014-02-13 09:18

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko, says President Jacob Zuma has been flat in his previous SONA addresses. Watch. WATCH

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma will deliver his State of the Nation address in Parliament on Thursday evening.

The address will be his last as president of the current government, before the elections on 7 May this year.

Analysts were widely expecting Zuma to focus on the ANC government's achievements in the 20 years since the country's first democratic elections in 1994.

Expectations

Expectations for Zuma's address varied, with Cope leader Mosiuoa Lekota saying Zuma had been a "walking disaster" and would probably "piggyback" on the achievements of his predecessors.

"The president should confess in Parliament that he has failed the nation and should announce his resignation from active politics with immediate effect," Lekota said.

Meanwhile, the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) said Zuma should focus on the "critical challenges" facing the country.

These included addressing the problem of apartheid-era spatial planning.

"Twenty years since the advent of democracy in 1994, South Africa as a Rainbow Nation has made steady progress in the areas of education, health, HIV and Aids, economic growth, employment creation, income distribution, rural development, housing, access to water, sanitation and electricity. However, not much has changed in the townships where the majority of our citizens reside," said Fedusa general secretary, Dennis George.

Zuma needed to give clear direction on how government intended to deal with the economic and social impact of service delivery protests, George added.

Trade union Solidarity cautioned Zuma against making "expensive promises" on greater government spending which will put pressure on the country's taxpayers.

"The more President Zuma promises to do and spend, the greater the pressure will be on the taxpayer, a pressure that will also result in increases in government debt,"  spokesperson Piet le Roux said.

Finishing touches

On Wednesday, workers were putting the finishing touches in place for the address.

Members of the army, navy, and air force had largely completed their rehearsals for the ceremony preceding the speech.

Workers were setting up speakers and makeshift stages for the various local performers who will entertain those invited to the event.

MPs and members of Zuma's Cabinet, as well as special guests, would start arriving at 16:00. From 17:00, premiers, members of the judiciary and heads of missions, among others, would start making their way to the National Assembly up Parliament Street.

They would precede Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe and Parliament's presiding officers. Zuma would follow, before taking the national salute on the podium of the National Assembly steps while the navy band played the national anthem. There would be a 21-gun salute and a fly past by the air force before Zuma would make his way into the Assembly to deliver his speech at 19:00.

Motorists should expect delays in the Cape Town city centre as dozens of roads in the vicinity would be closed for hours. Some of the busiest roads, including Adderley, Strand, and Wale streets would be closed between 16:00 and 22:00.

Parking restrictions would also apply.

- See the list of road closures here.

Read more on:    jacob zuma  |  cape town  |  politics  |  state of the nation 2014
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