South African President Zuma Ridiculed Before, After And During State Of The Nation Speech

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Several hours ago South African president Jacob Zuma delivered his 2016 State of the Nation Address. Despite the very real need for a publicly declared assessment of South Africa’s current state of affairs, to describe Zuma’s speech as a “highly anticipated” one would be inaccurate. Rather, as the vast majority of the country have come to expect of the head honcho’s leadership, expectations for this year’s State of the Nation were at an all time low. In this regard at least, Zuma did not disappoint.

For an assessment as honest as it is brutal, I’d suggest reading former General Secretary of the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSAU), Zwelenzima Vavi’s mock address, published earlier this week in the Daily Maverick.

To give some context to those of you who have lost touch or don’t follow much of South African News. The World Bank and IMF have cut growth forecasts for the “Not Too Rainbow Nation”, they have suggested South Africa might fall into recession.

Turbulence in China has added to the problems, China is South Africa’s main export partner. Trust in government is at an all time low. Fringe groups such as the EFF are gaining in popularity, even though they still remain a small minority. Their loud rhetoric and energetic and often amusing leader Julius Malema takes up more and more of the press’s column inches.

Much of the country has been dealing with electricity issues, crime and  xenophobia are up, poverty, unemployment and income inequality are all getting worse. And Trevor Noah, now of the Daily Show in New York, is no longer around to comically talk some sense in to the leaders. You see South Africa is not that different from the good old US of A.

In stark contrast to Vavi’s assessment stands the myopic address Zuma delivered earlier. Like the desire to stare at a car crash, for those interested in what went down, here are some of the highlights from #SONA2016 as witnessed first-hand by those at the scene of the accident: South African’s on twitter.

As promised, the first hour of proceedings were mostly taken up by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) and The Congress Of The People (COPE) -yes, they’re still around believe it or not-  point of orders. During most of this time, Zuma barely got a word in edgewise.

Inevitably, following a wimbledon-worthy back and forth between the Madame Speaker and the EFF, the men in red were asked to depart the chamber.

With Malema leading the way, the EFF left parliament chanting “Zupta Must Fall” – a sly portmanteau of el presidente and his favorite family of questionable benefactors, the Guptas. The real entertainment value of this scene though had to be the sign language interpreter having to translate this new-fangled phrase.

Like any good dramatic exit, the EFF made sure to top off theirs with a prophecy:

Following the EFF’s departure the address could get back on track which of course meant for most the realization…

With mic now firmly in paw, Zuma proceeded to spend a great deal of time invoking history’s ghosts. A classic sidestepping tactic him and fellow cronies have long used as a legitimizing tool for their authority.

Finally, following a litany of introductions and acknowledgements, Zuma got to business immediately offering a cursory explanation for the recent poor performance of the rand.

Continuing on a similar note, Zuma went on to offer some practical suggestions like…

Most weren’t buying this though.

Irony is also clearly not something lost on Zuma.

All the while, the real show was continuing outside Parliament as Julius (The Head of the EFF) and co. continued there rallied cries. The fact this warranted more attention than what was happening inside says more about the state of the nation than any speech Zuma could give.

Back in the hotseat, Zuma was still going on about tourism.

Yet still, had little to say regarding unemployment.

Zuma went on to suggest other practical ways of assisting the economy like….

Continuing, Zuma also made the bold declaration of reducing the country’s capitals to just two houses. Zuma really should have known better than to mention that word:

Once again proving his adept ability at irony, Zuma proudly boasted of zero load shedding measures taken since last August. If only even half the things that came out his mouth were true.

Fear not, Zuma assures, nuclear power will save the day – at least as long as there’s a breathable atmosphere to enjoy all that extra energy at least.

In what has become somewhat of a running joke and apotheosis of Zuma’s sheer inability to count, let alone lead, he was once again faced with a number he couldn’t quite get his mouth around. I don’t know what’s more worrying: the fact Zuma had his speech written out for him so boldly and still couldn’t pronounce these number, or that the number referred to the energy produced by the unwarranted nuclear power station he plans to build.

Whether this plan is worth the paper it’s printed on, here a summary of the 9-point plan for the economy, Zuma went on to outline.

By this stage, everyone was beginning to wonder if Zuma was going to address even one of the several elephants in the room.

Eventually, Zuma moved on from the economy deciding to start by addressing an oldie, but a goodie.

Not like necessarily had anything new to say on the matter though…

Finally, Zuma got onto the topic of education, devoting an entire 30 seconds to an issue which brought much of the country to a standstill last year as students of the #feesmustfall movement fought for their right to higher education. Zuma’s easy solution?

In sum, #SONA2016

See Also:

Something for all the South African expatriates around the world. Trevor Noah The Daily Show26 Year ago today on the 11th of February 1990 Nelson Mandela was released from prison.

Posted by XpatNation on Thursday, February 11, 2016

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