Zuma’s speech was conservative: analyst

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South African President Jacob Zuma. File photo: Neil Baynes

Cape Town - The state-of-the-nation address by President Jacob Zuma on Thursday was conservative, a political analyst said.

The speech was “back to basics” for Zuma, said University of the Witwatersrand Prof Susan Booysen.

“It was very beholden and conservative. He didn't get carried away and he pushed all the right buttons,” she said.

“It was also conservative in that he threatened action against protesters.”

She said this stance could “boomerang” against the African National Congress, because most protesters were from the party.

Zuma warned in the address that action would be taken to prevent violent protests.

“There are some lessons from Marikana and other incidents that we cannot allow to recur in our country,” he said.

“I have instructed the justice, crime prevention, and security cluster to put measures in place, with immediate effect, to ensure that any incidents of violent protest are acted upon, investigated, and prosecuted.”

Booysen said Zuma did not project enough hope on the land issue.

“It (also) wasn't convincing that a crisis like Marikana cannot be repeated.”

Booysen welcomed Zuma's emphasis on women's rights.

“This will help contribute to an anti-abuse culture. It could be seen as a small stepping-stone.” - Sapa


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