Zuma: State of the Nation ‘a huge responsibility’

President Jacob Zuma considers the State of the Nation address to be one of his “most important” speeches, he said in a radio interview ahead of the opening of Parliament on Thursday.

“As you wake up, you know that you are carrying a very huge responsibility,” Zuma said in an interview broadcast on SAfm on Thursday morning.

“The nation puts you here and they are expecting you to report back what you have been doing, but also to say what is it you’re going to do on the tasks before you.

“So, in a sense, you position yourself with an understanding that I am going to be talking to the nation — very important, one of the most important addresses that you can make,” said Zuma.

He has received advice and calls from across the country on matters he should address in his speech on Thursday night, with crime, joblessness, corruption and education problems topping the agenda.

Challenges
This week the Democratic Alliance told Zuma to take decisive action on challenges facing South Africa.

“The president is always very keen to talk about WE, together WE can deliver … but this is a time when the president should be talking about what HE is going to be doing,” DA leader Athol Trollip told a media briefing at Parliament on Monday.

In a statement handed to journalists, he said the time had come for Zuma to talk in specifics.

“This is no time for promises too sweeping for their progress to be measured. Nor is it the time for superfluous rhetoric and gesture.

“In the past, President Zuma has used vague concepts — like that of job opportunity — to make meaningless promises, and to claim tenuous successes.”

The Independent Democrats (ID) said the focus of Zuma’s address needed to be on the economy and the urgent need to create millions of jobs.

“The ID expects the president to clarify the current mixed signals emanating from the ruling alliance and outline precisely what aspects of the new economic growth path will be implemented.

“The president must give the nation an inspiring vision with practical actions that will be taken to ensure that the … most pressing issues are addressed simultaneously, namely poverty and unemployment,” it said.

‘Concrete plans’
The Congress of South African Trade Unions said its expectations from Thursday’s State of the Nation address included major reforms and improvements in job creation, education, health, rural development and land reform, and in the fight against corruption and crime.

“After two years in office, it is essential that the speech should contain concrete plans to translate these commitments into real changes on the ground.

“Last year, we urged the president to pay particular attention to policies to reverse the catastrophic loss of 959 000 jobs in the first nine months of 2009.

“In fact, jobs continued to disappear, bringing the total loss since the start of 2009 until the last quarter of 2010 to 1,17-million,” it said.– Sapa

For the latest news, multimedia and tweets from the State of the Nation Address, see our special report.

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.

Advertisting

Stella set to retain her perks

Communication minister will keep Cabinet perks during her two months of special leave

Not a sweet deal, Mister

Mister Sweet workers say they will not risk their health, and the lives of others, to continue producing and packaging confectionaries

Covid-19 grounds Nigeria’s medical tourists

The country’s elites, including the president, travelled abroad for treatment but now they must use the country’s neglected health system

Nehawu launches urgent court bid over protective gear for health...

The health workers’ union says the government has rebuffed its attempts to meet about mitigating risks to workers

Press Releases

Rahima Moosa Hospital nursing college introduces no-touch facial recognition access system

The new system allows the hospital to enrol people’s faces immediately, using artificial intelligence, and integrates easily with existing access control infrastructure, including card readers and biometrics

Everyone’s talking about it. Even Kentucky

Earlier this year South African fried chicken fast-food chain, Chicken Licken®, launched a campaign for their wallet-friendly EasyBucks® meals, based on the idea of ‘Everyone’s talking about it.’

New energy mix on the cards

REI4P already has and will continue to yield thousands of employment opportunities

The online value of executive education in a Covid-19 world

Executive education courses further develop the skills of leaders in the workplace

Sisa Ntshona urges everyone to stay home, and consider travelling later

Sisa Ntshona has urged everyone to limit their movements in line with government’s request

SAB Zenzele’s special AGM postponed until further notice

An arrangement has been announced for shareholders and retailers to receive a 77.5% cash payout

20th Edition of the National Teaching Awards

Teachers are seldom recognised but they are indispensable to the country's education system

Awards affirm the vital work that teachers do

Government is committed to empowering South Africa’s teachers with skills, knowledge and techniques for a changing world