Sona: 10 ways Jacob Zuma tried to win hearts

2014-02-14 09:09

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President Jacob Zuma delivered his sixth state of the nation address on the eve of Valentine’s Day. This is how he tried to win hearts ahead of the May 7 election.

1. Relatives of various struggle heroes were invited to attend, including 102-year-old Rebecca Kotane, widow of ANC treasurer-general and SACP general secretary Moses Kotane.

2. Zuma emphasised that South Africans have overcome the pain of the past to build a new society that is unitary, non-racial, non-sexist and democratic.

3. But he said the country still faced the triple challenge of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

4. He spoke confidently and delivered a well-written speech smoothly without it sounding like a grocery list.

Read: Should Jacob Zuma do a Beyoncé?

5. Zuma was honest that the weakening of the rand will be a blow to the economy, but outlined ways in which this will be handled.

6. He deviated from the script, without blundering, to urge mineworkers and bosses to reach a truce.

Read: Jacob Zuma goes off script to call for mining truce

7. When he promised that sign language will be added as a subject to the school curriculum, and the MPs laughed, remembering the “fake” interpreter at former president Nelson Mandela’s memorial service, Zuma paused to laugh too.

Read: Tamsanqa Jantjie debacle prompts light moment at Sona

8. Zuma evaluated government performance over the last five years, emphasised areas where it went well, but urged that more work be done in areas where things weren’t going well.

9. He addressed the burning issue of violent government protests and police killings in a sympathetic but balanced way, urging the police to act lawfully while saying police should not be delegitimised when being held to account.

10. The speech was concluded by saying Nkosi Sikilel’iAfrica, which was almost Obamaesque.

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