SONA 2018 promises to be explosive. Will Zuma be allowed to deliver the address? Will we have a repeat of last year’s circus? Time will tell.
Preparations were underway for what could have been Jacob Zuma’s eleventh and final SONA. It was scheduled to go ahead on Thursday, 8 February at 19:00, but for the first time in history, it has been postponed.
Speaker Baleka Mbete announced that it had become clear that it was unlikely that a joint sitting of the two houses would be uneventful. By that, she means the circus has surely rolled into town, and if Zuma were to take the podium on Thursday the tigers would be loosed.
Leaders of the EFF and DA, Julius Malema and Mmusi Maimane respectively, have both requested for the SONA to be postponed. This was largely ignored.
A postponement will allow opposition parties to submit a motion of no confidence and have Zuma removed from office. In a strange turn of events, or perhaps just a rush of deluded over-confidence, Jacob Zuma himselfhas asked for the address to be postponed.
Earlier this week, Zuma was asked by the ANC’s top leadership to step down as President of South Africa, which he has since refused to do. Now, though, some believe a resignation is imminent.
Most people consider it to be a waste of time and money to listen to a corrupt man who, in all likelihood, won’t be around for much longer. The budget set for SONA 2018 is said to be R4.3 million. Keeping his low credibility in mind and the fact that nobody believes a word he utters anymore, it is understandable that they would prefer literally anybody else to deliver the address.
The EFF, for one, have promised to do everything in their power to prevent Zuma from speaking. Things could have gotten messy. Will he still be delivering the address? Probably not. The new date hasn't been set yet - Mbete has said it won't be postponed for more than a week.
By that time, though, Zuma may find himself unemployed.
Last year’s State of the Nation address (SONA) is still fresh in the collective South African memory. It lingers like a bad odour. Scene after scene played out like a reality television show, complete with red carpet fashion, soaring passions and reckless behaviour. The address quickly grew into a spectacle, increasing in intensity as the night wore on.
Last year’s SONA had it all. An unparalleled amount of pandemonium, hurled insults, accusations, threats and foul language. This made the sign language interpreter’s job an interesting one indeed.
The drama kicked off with the DA’s John Steenhuizen requesting a moment of silence for the ninety-four Life Esidimeni psychiatric patients that were murdered by the Gauteng Health Department. Only, Steenhuizen mispronounced the name of the hospital as ‘Edimeni’ and was answered with howls of ‘f***ing racist!’ from the ANC bench.
The request was denied by Madam Speaker, Baleka Mbete.
Following that, the EFF spokesperson and people’s bae, Dr. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi, called on the house to remove the armed guards at the door. He pointed out that a person with a criminal record (Jacob Zuma) cannot run for office, and then referred to the President as a ‘constitutional delinquent.’
Opposition parties refused to listen to what Zuma had to say, with the EFF’s Julius Malema accusing Mbete of slaughtering a cow for her ancestors after rumours emerged that she was the chosen candidate to take over the ANC leadership from JZ.
“He used you and dumped you,” he told Mbete, to the total apoplexy of parliament.
This banter escalated until Mbete was forced to summon the parliament security and have the EFF forcibly and violently removed from the building.
This prompted the DA to walk out of parliament, as well. Then and only then did Zuma begin his address, to which his ministers promptly dozed off.
So, what do we predict will happen at SONA 2018?
Zuma Won't Deliver The Address
Jacob Zuma will likely step down or be ousted as President of South Africa long before his term has come to an end. This may happen sooner than we think, and, holding thumbs, before SONA.
We might know more on Wednesday, 7 February. A special National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting has been called by the ANC’s National Working Committee (NWC) to decide Zuma’s fate.
The NEC is the highest decision making body of the ANC between conferences. It will have to reach a decision fast. At least two opposition parties have pushed for the postponement of the address for the sole reason of having the president removed.
The EFF has even gone on record to state that, should Zuma be at the podium come Thursday, ‘there will be no SONA.’
The opposition parties demand that the motion of no confidence goes ahead first.
Zuma, as deluded as ever, believes the people of South Africa still love him and he will not willingly resign. He also believes that as our president he is constitutionally bound to deliver the State of the Nation address, and will do so accordingly.
Time will tell. If we're lucky, we'll have Cyril Ramaphosa instead.
If Zuma remains in power and delivers the address, as planned…
The EFF Will Wreak Havoc
Though Zuma is still the acting president of our country, at this moment he’s only the leader in name. Nobody wants to hear him discuss the future of our country. A country which he has corrupted, gutted and sold to the highest bidder.
Enter the red berets. Last year the EFF turned SONA into a WrestleMania Royal Rumble.
The potential for an EFF free-for-all is why most people even bother tuning in. The rest is all just boring politics and Zuma giggling at his own jokes. But, this year, there’s something really big at stake. Most South Africans might be able to get behind the EFF wreaking absolute havoc in parliament.Malema had already advised that the EFF were planning to table a motion of no confidence at SONA, and that they’re pretty much only showing up to disrupt parliament and prevent Zuma from speaking.Remarking on how the ANC has failed so dismally to pry Zuma from his executive back-massaging office chair, Malema had this to say;
“Leave him to us. It looks like this guy has defeated you.”
Heroes Will Rise / Villains Will Fall
Where have all the heroes gone?
Parliament certainly houses a number of criminals, delinquents, reptiles and monsters. But, who among them will rise up and save the people of South Africa? Will it be Cyril Ramaphosa, who has already performed a bit of magic on our economy? Will it be the people’s bae and most influential young South African of 2017, Dr. Mbuyiseni Ndlozi?
Or will it be the contender to the people’s bae title, the cool and collected Nqabayomzi Nkwankwa? Then, perhaps this is the year that the DA’s Mmusi Maimane truly rises to the challenge.
Sure, he should probably look at fixing Cape Town’s water crisis before trying to fix our mess of a government, but at least he still manages to be entertaining in the face of our country’s collapse.
“We learnt more about Planet Zuma than the country we live in because, you see, on Planet Zuma there is no jobs crisis.”
Will EFF shenanigans force change, or compel the celebrity guests such as Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Casper Nyovest or Demi-Leigh Nel Peters to flee from the chambers in terror?
It may even be the year that we see those previously cast as villains turn things around.
There is, of course, little hope for the likes of David Van Rooyen, Malusi Gigaba, Faith Muthambi or Mosebenzi Zwane. They have chosen their roles a long time ago.
It’s all up in the air, and only SONA 2018 will decide.