Sneezing, giggly Zuma underwhelms opposition parties

2017-02-09 23:25
President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly on Thursday night. (Screen grab from SABC)

President Jacob Zuma in the National Assembly on Thursday night. (Screen grab from SABC)

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Cape Town – President Jacob Zuma’s hour and a half long speech left opposition parties underwhelmed and unimpressed while the African National Congress lauded the president’s key points for 2017.

A sneezing, throat-scratching, giggly and confident Zuma delivered a speech to ANC, United Democratic Movement, Inkatha Freedom Party and National Freedom Party MPs.

This after the Economic Freedom Fighters were again forcefully ejected from the National Assembly, guests were pepper sprayed and a walkout by Democratic Alliance and Agang MPs. 

The president’s address was delayed for over an hour by talks of cable ties, injections and soon after by punches and screams.

But this did little to deter Zuma, who even added a cheery “cheers” halfway through the speech.

Vision and future

His speech, which mostly focused on the economy, was pretty much the same, according to IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi.

“I think he touched the right buttons. I didn’t really expect that we will get much surprises on the state of the country and the economy,” Buthelezi said.

But his speech could not be faulted as a statement of intent, the IFP leader said, as it covered his vision and future.

“Especially when it came to land, because it is the most tangible form of investment,” he said.
But there was still a long way to go, Buthelezi said.

NFP chief whip Nhlanhla Khubisa said all the president presented was a report card.

“There was nothing new, the things he said today were the things he said the previous years. For example, he talked about radical economic transformation, to us it’s more of a theory, nothing new is coming up,” he said.

Clear focus on economy 

UDM MP Nqabayomzi Kwankwa said the president reiterated some of what he said the previous year.

“With a few new announcements here and there and most of them were not about the country. The invest SA initiative, he mentioned that last year and they are only getting to it now,” he said.

“It’s almost as if he realised that he mentioned this last year and needed a progress report. But when it comes to issues of the economy for example, we can give him 10 out of 10 for that, they have been trying hard,” Kwankwa said. 

ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe said they were happy that the speech had mostly focused on the economy. 

“Sectors of mining, manufacturing, agriculture. We are also happy with the focus on education, and recommitting ourselves that education must be free for kids from poor households, and working class families, am happy with that,” he said.

Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said he was very excited about the speech, while Water Affairs Minister Nomvula Monkonyane also lauded the speech. 

Read more on:    anc  |  udm  |  nfp  |  ifp  |  jacob zuma  |  parliament 2017  |  politics  |  sona 2017

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