Everyone was there but not Jacob Zuma. All the ministers, politicians and their wives, former presidents, dignitaries and the media were at Sona.
Who would want to miss the pomp and ceremony of this annual show, the highlight of Parliament?
Everyone must have been wondering where the ANC’s hero was? Too ashamed, embarrassed, ridden with guilt to present himself before the House?
Former president Zuma claims he did nothing wrong. Then why stay away from Sona, especially for a man who likes show, song and dance.
He features prominently in the Zondo Commission of Inquiry and the other commissions. In fact, he is at the heart of the corruption scandal engulfing the nation.
How would he have felt when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that a special crime fighting unit in the NDPP would be established to fight the corrosive effects of corruption and bring to book all the politicians who had been robbing the country of its wealth and stealing the food from the mouths of the poor?
Could we see the return of the Scorpions which was disbanded by Zuma to protect himself and cronies?
As always, at Sona, there is the usual big talk, but little delivery on the pledges and promises. We hoped this time around it would be different and Ramaphosa would deliver on his most important pledges - to eradicate corruption, grow the economy and alleviate poverty and unemployment. He plans to spilt troubled Eskom into three separate entities to make it more efficient. But I am wondering whether this would create more jobs for pals and make Eskom even more bloated.
Five Bosasa officials, including Angelo Agrizzi whose explosive testimony stunned the nation, were charged and arrested. Why not the government ministers and officials who received the bags of money, cars, new homes, security upgrades and cases of alcohol from Bosasa?
Surely there are two parties involved in bribery and corruption?
Hopefully, the new NPA boss Shamila Batohi will overcome her gender and race hurdles and sweep the government clean of its corrupt officials.
Until we see real action and all the rogue ministers and politicians led to court in handcuffs, Sona will, once again, be just that - big talk with no bite.
- THE MERCURY