OPINION: #Sona – Actually, a proud moment for SA
As South Africans we should not be embarrassed by the "circus" that unfolded at the State of the Nation Address (Sona).
We should be proud. Proud because opposition parties have made their voices heard, stood their ground and refused to be intimidated.
Had the opposition parties sat there in silence, listened to what President Jacob Zuma had to say, nodded their heads politely and then gone on to the after-party, how would you be feeling this morning? Let down? Disappointed? Helpless? Robbed?
It's OK to be embarrassed by the images broadcast worldwide, from South Africa, the nation boasting the most democratic Constitution of all. Embarrassed by the way in which Members of Parliament conducted themselves, embarrassed by the fact that security removed "trouble makers", "disruptors", "free thinkers", "liberators", call them what you like. But all the embarrassment could have been spared.
I'll admit my limited knowledge of politics. But from what I understand, the president missed the quota for the number of times he is to appear before the National Assembly, to answer the oppositions' questions. And when it appears he continues living, oblivious to what is going on, what choice does the opposition have but to call him to order?
Had the opposition not used Sona to make themselves heard, when would they have been given the chance? When you corner someone and take away their boxing gloves, be prepared for them to come out fighting. And when you jam cellphone signals so that the media cannot practice freedom of speech, then you are not fighting fair.
President Zuma, unless he is so out of touch with his own society, must have been aware of the planned disruptions. Surely security protocol would have briefed the president on an "in case of emergency break glass" situation. And on that night the glass was shattered. However, it was not the president who shattered it, but rather the millions of South Africans represented by the opposition. Inside that "emergency box" should have been a patriotic, win-the-nation-over speech.
President Zuma could have addressed the media first. Apologise for the "signal jammer" and have the signal restored. Move forward. Address the EFF, tell them you have heard and acknowledged their grievances. Set a date for mediating talks. Move on. But sadly he did not.
To proceed as though no media had been silenced and no chaos had erupted, was well #ThatAwkwardMoment. And to chuckle before starting was not the mark of a true leader but instead undermined your own country's concerns - laughing us all off.
I'm not proud of the physical and emotional pain and anger that was caused. But I am proud that someone took a stand.
What was Sona's message?
That unfortunately, came from what the President did NOT say.
Mr President you are not fighting fair.
Cindy Poluta is EWN's Sports Editor in Johannesburg. Follow her on Twitter: _ @CindyPoluta_