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All eyes on Jacob Zuma for SONA

The president appears to be in a strong political position ahead of this year's elections.

Preparations underway for SONA 2014.  Picture: GCIS

CAPE TOWN - All eyes will be on President Jacob Zuma when he delivers his sixth State of the Nation Address (SONA) in Parliament this evening at 7pm.

Preparations underway for SONA 2014.  Picture: GCIS
Preparations underway for SONA 2014.  Picture: GCIS

Zuma will be reporting back on the progress his government has made and its future plans.

His address will be broadcast live and beamed into millions of people's homes.

It's the first of two State of the Nation Addresses this year.

Tonight's speech marks the end of President Jacob Zuma's first term in government.

The second will come after the elections in May.

Zuma's expected to reassure South Africans that under his leadership more will be achieved.

But his speech will be carefully analysed and next week opposition parties will get their chance to take it apart.

Zuma also appears to be in a strong political position ahead of this year’s general elections. The speech by Zuma is delivered at a joint-sitting of the National Assembly (NA) and the National Council of Provinces (NCOP).

It is one of the rare occasions where the three arms of state, namely the executive, represented by the president, deputy president and ministers, the judiciary, represented by the country’s chief justice and the judge presidents, and the legislature, represented by the Members of Parliament (MPs), assemble in one place.

Preparations underway for SONA 2014.  Picture: GCIS
Preparations underway for SONA 2014.  Picture: GCIS

Zuma knows this is a moment to reassert himself on the national stage after he was booed last year at the FNB Stadium during a memorial for former president Nelson Mandela.

He may also want to use this event to show he is a president for the entire country and not just the ANC.

If he is able to pull that off, it could also boost the ANC's votes during this year's elections.

This is the last big set piece speech of Zuma's first administration and he may want to go through some of his big achievements to show that it's been a success.

The opening of Parliament is marked with much pomp and ceremony.

Politicians are usually seen in a different light, walking the red carpet in the latest fashion designs.

The parliamentary precinct in Cape Town and surrounding streets will be on lockdown ahead of the address.

Meanwhile, despite a new Ipsos survey showing half of South Africans believe that the president and his government are not doing their jobs well, Zuma appears to be in a strong position within the African National Congress (ANC).

But he may also want to reassert himself after he was booed at the FNB Stadium last year.  

As he steps up to the podium tonight, Zuma knows this is a big opportunity to grab the national stage and make his case to be reelected president.

While his position in the ANC doesn't appear to be under any kind of threat, this is a chance to convince those wavering in their vote for the party that they should give him another chance.

As this is really the end of Zuma's first administration, he does appear unlikely to make any big announcements about the future.

But he may want to dwell on the achievements of the ANC over the last 20 years.

To see SONA Cape Town road closures click here.

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