SONA: No major announcements expected

Political analysts say Jacob Zuma is likely to speak about government's future plans.

Preparations underway for President Jacob Zuma's sixth SONA in Parliament. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - Some political analysts are discounting the possibility of any major announcements during President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address (SONA) this evening.

All eyes will be on Zuma when he delivers his sixth SONA in Parliament this evening at 7pm.

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 SONAs this year.

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

The second will come after the general elections in May.

Analysts say Zuma is more likely to spell out the details of government's future plans when he delivers his second SONA.

Political analyst Steven Friedman says the president has an opportunity to make a bold announcement that shows his government's determination to deal with corruption.

"He could come out and say that there are certain people in positions at the moment who are facing charges before the courts and he is going to make sure they no longer hold public office."

Institute for Security Studies senior associate Judith February says Zuma will have to address the disconnect between government and citizens.

"On the one hand it is about the delivery of services, but on the other hand, its just purely the arrogance of politicians who are disconnected from citizens as well as the corruption, the patronage and the failures of local government. Those are the failures of the ANC-led government."


Meanwhile, despite a new Ipsos survey showing half of South Africans believe 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 during former president Nelson Mandela's memorial service.

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 re-elected 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.

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

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

Meanwhile, 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.

To see SONA Cape Town road closures click here.