Zuma under pressure to deliver convincing Sona

The president also faces a challenge from the EFF over his axing of Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene.

President Jacob Zuma. Picture: GCIS.

CAPE TOWN - As he prepares to deliver his State of the Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday, President Jacob Zuma is under pressure to use the opportunity to inspire confidence in the economy and help persuade international ratings agencies not to downgrade South Africa to junk status.

In his Sona last year Zuma acknowledged the economy needed a major push forward and unveiled a nine-point plan to boost growth and create jobs.

But business confidence plummeted like the rand fell after the president's rapid-fire change of finance ministers in December last year.

What Zuma has to say about the economy, growth and jobs, tomorrow will set the tone for Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan when he delivers his Budget speech later this month.

Democratic Alliance finance spokesperson David Maynier said, "The economy and jobs are central to the Sona - unless the president announces significant policy changes that will boost private sector investment and create jobs in South Africa, I think the ratings downgrade is almost inevitable. So so all eyes are on the president tomorrow."

Zuma is also facing a challenge from the Economic Freedom Fighters over his axing of finance minister Nhlanhla Nene when he comes to Parliament tomorrow.