Nothing inspiring in Zuma’s speech - Glaser

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Associated Press

President Jacob Zuma (centre rear) and other dignitaries observe a guard of honour at the opening of Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address on Thursday was not inspiring, said Professor Daryl Glaser, the head of the University of the Witwatersrand’s political studies department.

“For a country that is in something of a funk at the moment, he did not offer anything inspiring.

“It was just a long list of achievements and successes... It seemed he was just going through the motions,” said Glaser.

He conceded that Zuma had said some important things about gender violence and equality.

During his address, Zuma said law enforcement agencies had been ordered to prioritise cases of rape and murder against women and children.

He said the gang rape and murder of Bredasdorp teenager Anene Booysen showed that a collective approach was needed in the fight against the scourge.

The 17-year-old was raped and disembowelled on February 1, attracting international attention to the abuse and rape of women and girls in South Africa.

Zuma said the National Council on Gender-Based Violence, which was established last year, should make the campaign to fight violence against women an “everyday campaign”.

While Glaser applauded these points, he said the president lacked personal credibility and was saying nothing new.

“We've heard it all,” he said.

Zuma was continuing the line which emerged at the African National Congress's Mangaung conference and put to bed ideological debates.

He had emphasised that the state should play a more strategic role in the economy, had spent a lot of time on infrastructure, and had reiterated that the mines would not be nationalised.

“Zuma is making use of some of the political capital he earned at Mangaung... It was the more moderate and pragmatic economic approach we heard at Mangaung. There were no radical departures,” said Glaser. - Sapa


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