#Sona2015: Opposition hopes Zuma shows strong leadership
Zuma will deliver his 8th Sona despite threats of interruptions by the EFF, load shedding & a stay away.
CAPE TOWN - Opposition parties are hoping President Jacob Zuma will show strong leadership this evening with critical issues including the power crisis and unemployment on the agenda.
Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) leader Julius Malema says his party won't back down from interrupting the president's speech.
"It can't descend into chaos in Parliament. We have to be robust and we have to persuade each other. You cannot be ruled out and then immediately you chicken out."
Freedom Front Plus Chief Whip Corné Mulder says it's a key moment for Zuma.
"We really need strong leadership from the president, to set an example right through to all of the people of South Africa. My concern is we're not going to get that and it's going to be the same that we had last year, which means we'll be going nowhere slowly."
African Christian Democratic Party (ACDP) Member of Parliament (MP) Cheryllyn Dudley says if there is a disruption of proceedings, Parliament has a duty to take action.
"There's actually a responsibility for, not the safety of MPs, but for the safety of everybody. It would be remised of our Parliament to actually not have proper security in place."
Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille says South Africans can expect a speech filled with empty promises and devoid of workable solutions.
"He will give a long list of promises, he will pick certain statistics that suit him, that paint a wrong picture and we will not get a frank Sona, an assessment or any real solutions and we're saying we're tired of this."
NEHAWU STAY AWAY
The chairperson of Parliament's branch of trade union, the National Education Health and Allied Workers Union (Nehawu), says the action has nothing to do with Zuma's address but rather workers' frustration with management.
The union's decision not to work today has put a spanner in the works of Parliament's planning for the prestigious event.
Sona usually means all hands on deck at Parliament, with staff conscripted to act as drivers for guests and dignitaries as ushers and a host of others tasks to ensure the smooth running of the event.
But not this year.
Nehawu branch chairperson Sthembiso Tembe says, "Those who work in the catering, those who volunteer as ushers, the drivers, those who sing in the choirs and other people, many who volunteer in different spheres of the Sona, are not going to be available."
Parliament is however not commenting right now.
Tembe however says protection service staff will be at their posts today.
Meanwhile, the president is expected to focus on policy around the electricity crisis and possibly e-tolls when he speaks tonight.
WATCH: Behind the scenes at Sona
Perhaps the big question this year is what the president will say about load shedding and the electricity crisis.
Eskom clearly needs more money and a more sustainable funding model for the longer term.
With load shedding now a daily occurrence around the country, Zuma will be accused of denialism if he doesn't mention it in his speech tonight.
He may however give some clues to that this evening.
SONA 2015 by numbers
Then there are the e-tolls.
A topic which Zuma may want to find a way to finesse what appears to be differences between the national government he leads and the Gauteng provincial government led by Premier David Makhura.
Zuma has shown he wants to grab the initiative this week.
If there are big policy proposals they could grab the headlines away from any interference in tonight's speech.
Zuma has a date with the nation at 7pm tonight.