2016 State of the Nation Address – SONA might probably end up being the most memorable in South Africa. Three organizations have been permitted to carry out protests during the much-anticipated SONA summit. South Africa’s analysts have insinuated that all may not be rosy for President Zuma during SONA considering the incessant and heavy scrutiny he has faced in the last few months.
Secretary to the Parliament Gengezi Mgidlana said about R3.6m is budgeted for this year’s SONA, a reduction from the 2015 SONA budget of about R4m. Meanwhile, the protest would be held in the central Business District, Cape Town on the day of the presidential address. SONA 2016, like previous submits would host men of timber and caliber, from all walks of life, especially high-ranked South African personalities. Members of Parliament, the Cabinet, trade unions, the judiciary, business leaders, and international visitors are also expected to hear President Zuma out that day.
SONA will take place on Thursday, 11th February. Numerous supporters from three organizations have been officially permitted to protest during the joint parliamentary meeting, their wish was granted after their applications were considered.
The three organizations include: #ZumaMustFall Movement, Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement and the Democratic Alliance- DA. Throwing more light, Cape Town spokesperson Priya Reddy told reporters that 5,000 supporters from the #ZumaMustFall movement are expected to carry out the protest. Ses’Khona People’s Rights Movement is also expected to parade 1500 protesters. The Democratic Alliance will come along with only 500 protesters.
Anyway, DA’s leader had promised that members of his party will not disorganize SONA nor interrupt president Zuma. But, top on its agenda is to know why ex-finance minister was axed last December.
Wide-mouthed Malema of the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) had promised to make SONA unbearable for President Zuma. Malema, last week said that EFF will share SONA time with President Zuma. He said,
“Every time he turns a page we are going to speak. When he goes to the next page, we will speak. If he speaks for 25 minutes there will be an additional 25 minutes for the EFF.”
However, the African National Congress Youth League president has declared war on any individual or group of individuals who would drag President Zuma to the mud that day.
“Those who seek to disrupt the State of the Nation must prepare themselves for a civil war. We want to assure the country that the youth league will attend the State of the Nation of address to defend the nation and the revolution. We wish to inform the Speaker of the parliament not to organise security on that day. The youth league will physically remove wood workers from parliament,” says Maine.
Maine had earlier attacked Malema because of his [Malema] ban on Guptas media last week.
“We are not told that in the top 10 richest South Africans we do not have a family called Guptas. Not even in the top 50. How can we be told South Africa is being colonised by the family in even in the top 70 of richest people in the country. We must be careful of being defocus. The same people who marched to Absa and Barclays a week later they were wined and dined in UK,” said the youth leader.
However, irrespective of the freedom granted to the aforementioned organizations, Priya Reddy said that national forces have been alerted about the protest. Public Order Policing, National Intelligence, the Presidential Protection Services, the SA Police Services and the City of Cape Town’s traffic services and metro police are fully aware of the protest.
Last month, University of South Africa students vowed to disrupt SONA if President Zuma failed to meet their demand. The institution’s workers said in a statement:
“Workers and students have vowed that Jacob Zuma will not be allowed to make the state of nation address until every security worker, cleaners, cafeteria workers, gardening have been given permanent contracts in SA universities and that all students in universities are registered for free.”
A renowned political Analyst Dumisani Hlophe said “the primary thing about the State of the Nation address is to convince society that all is on track.”
“Secondly, it is to inspire confidence in the society, and then thirdly, it is to acknowledge that there are existing challenges but to say to society that we have an existing leadership that is capable to take us out of this society.”
“President Zuma must convince South Africans that we have the necessary leadership. That is the first thing that you do when the country is in distress.”