14 February 2014

South Africa: Our State of the Nation and the World


As President Jacob Zuma delivered the final State of the Nation address of his current term, J. BROOKS SPECTOR was watching this speech and comparing it in his mind with American President Barack Obama's most recent State of the Union speech, delivered a few weeks ago.

Aside from all the other ways to compare these two efforts, there was also the point that international affairs issues have clearly taken a back seat in public policy statements like these two speeches.

On 13 February, President Jacob Zuma delivered his final SONA speech of his current term of office - although he'll almost certainly have more chances to deliver others once his party wins the 7 May election.

In apparent response to complaints about excessive bling bling spending by government, the budget for this event is said to have been pared down by two million rand or so.

Thus there was no giant, expensive tent for dinner.

Rather, a thousand people went off to the Cape Town International Convention Centre for a (presumably) more restrained, more spartan version of the now-traditional celebratory feed - although they obviously didn't have to get by with box wine and pap and wors.

Purely in visual ...

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