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Pretoria hawkers raise their concerns with Zuma

The president made an impromptu visit to Marabastad in Pretoria today.

President Jacob Zuma interacted with hawkers and immigrants on the streets of Marabastad in Pretoria. Picture: Barry Bateman/EWN.

PRETORIA - President Jacob Zuma says he's going to take the complaints he has heard on the streets of Marabastad and address them in his State of the Nation Address (Sona) in Parliament on Thursday.

The president made an impromptu visit to the inner city suburb of Pretoria today, where he spoke to hawkers and immigrants at the Department of Home Affairs.

Zuma has faced tough criticism since he fired former Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene in December last year.

The president spoke casually to hawkers and even bought some vegetables from a trader at the Belle Ombre Station.

He says while most are happy with their conditions, street traders felt victimised by the authorities.

"There are a number of issues that they raised, which we took very seriously. Particularly the hawkers, they need protection and they need to be taken care of. I promised them that I would send the minister of small business development to go and talk to them."

Zuma says he will make special mention of their concerns in Parliament.

Zuma says contrary to media reports, South Africans on the ground are happy with government and his leadership.

"I went to the market, they are very happy, they say they are doing business and everything is going well. They are happy that the government is looking after them; they are happy with the government and the president."

Despite threats of disruptions, the president says he's upbeat about this year's Sona.

'ZUMA IN FOR A ROUGH WEEK'

Zuma will deliver his Sona this week amid tight security, protests and warnings from the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) that there will be ' interruptions'.

The Nkandla matter is also in the Constitutional Court tomorrow after Zuma's offer to pay back a portion of the money spent to upgrade his private home was rejected by the EFF and the Democratic Alliance (DA).

Zuma's speech on Thursday is building up to be a second serving of the chaos that ensued last year.

There is also the potential of drama on the streets of the CBD on the day as the City of Cape Town has granted permission for at least three protest marches to go ahead.

Political analyst Mzukisi Qobo says Zuma is in for a rough week.

"This is going to be a very rough week for the president and a very rough week for National Assembly speaker Baleka Mbete. I think there will be protest marches as the build up to the address and on the day itself."

LISTEN: Malema outlines Sona 2016 plans.

In 2015, EFF Members of Parliament interrupted Zuma's speech to ask him when he would pay back a portion of the money spent on upgrading his Nkandla home.

They were then forcibly removed from the National Assembly chamber.

This year, leader Julius Malema says if Zuma doesn't explain why he fired Nene before he delivers his speech, the EFF will intervene.

"Part of what we're doing is to speak to Zuma's conscience, that we're treating you like this because you've not respected the office of the president."

The 'Zuma Must Fall' movement, DA and the Ses'khona Peoples Rights Movement will hold separate marches on the day.