South Africans woke up this morning to grapple with the events that unfolded at last night’s State of the Nation Address (Sona), and whether opposition parties had a valid point in their behaviour.
The underlying consensus between opposition parties at the Sona is that President Jacob Zuma lost his privilege to address the nation because he has failed to uphold the Constitution.
EFF MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi called him a “constitutional delinquent” and the DA’s John Steenhuisen called him a “dishonourable man who has broken the nation”.
Political analyst Aubrey Matshiqi says Zuma will be faced with the same dilemma at his next Sonas because he doesn’t have a leg to stand on.
“Sadly, Zuma lacks moral authority and cannot impose authority in Parliament and the EFF highlighted the President’s image crisis,” he says.
Matshiqi says South Africans will now have to decide if yesterday was an embarrassment or if opposition parties had a valid point.
“If South Africans believe the EFF is wrong, they will punish them in the 2019 national elections,” he adds. “But if ordinary citizens believe the opposition was right, they will punish the ANC.”
Matshiqi says the mistrust between Zuma and opposition leaders was brought to light, but it also shows that citizens have low levels of confidence in him.
“Baleka Mbete is not only the speaker of the National Assembly, but also a member of the ANC so by refusing the DA’s request to observe a moment of silence for the [94 Life Esidimeni] dead mentally-ill patients, she is showing the ANC is out of touch with citizens,” he adds.
It will be difficult to gage Zuma’s impression of what happened at the Sona after laughing at the turn of events and making jokes about teargas being sprayed inside the National Assembly.
“This shows that he is not perturbed about all that is happening unless he is masking his true feelings.”