There was nothing ''unusual'' about President Thabo Mbeki's Friday State of the Nation address, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said. ''Contrary to the stated theme of his speech, this was business as usual for the president,'' she said. Independent Democrats leader Patricia de Lille said Mbeki's address was ''another list of promises''.
The government's reaction to the heated national debate on crime is expected to be high on President Thabo Mbeki's agenda during his State of the Nation address on Friday morning. The speech is expected to be upbeat, including a focus on ''the age of hope'' and reference to the challenges posed by South Africa's hosting of the 2010 World Cup.
A week before President Thabo Mbeki's State of the Nation address, his “age of hope”, trumpeted in last year's speech, is at risk. Despite 96 straight months of economic growth his recent dismissal of concerns about of two of South Africa's most pernicious social ills -- crime and corruption -- have undercut public confidence in his presidency.
Thabo Mbeki's intellectual biographer clearly sees it as his job to justify the president's ways to South Africa. He does this not just by parroting his subject and muse but also by sallying forth to yap, Maltese poodle-style, at the president's adversary of the moment.