11 February 2016

South Africa: Economy Is Buzzword of Zuma's SONA - Minister

Photo: Nardus Engelbrecht/Sapa
Will there be a repeat of the incidents like this one at 2015's State of the Nation address by President Jacob Zuma? Police and army have assured that security will be tight, in measures some have described as "paranoid".

The economy is the buzz word of President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation Address, Sports Minister Fikile Mbalula said at parliament on Thursday.

"The economy, growth, how we are going to create jobs and how we are going to respond to the question on unemployment in the country... that is what most South Africans want to hear from their government - what are they going to do make their lives better."

He dismissed the protests outside Parliament as nothing threatening, saying we live in a democratic country. "If people feel aggrieved... they have the right to protest." On the EFF's threat to disrupt parliament, he said "nothing is going to stop Zuma from finishing his speech here today".

Zuma delivers his SONA to the National Assembly on Thursday night amid mounting public discontent over his leadership and pressure to restore confidence in a weak economy.

Business leaders were spurred into action in December after Zuma fired the respected finance minister Nhlanhla Nene and replaced him with unknown ANC MP David van Rooyen, sending the rand, stocks and debt plunging.

Zuma has since reappointed the respected Pravin Gordhan who headed the portfolio from 2009 to 2014.

Moody's Investors Service cut the outlook on South Africa's Baa2 credit rating, the second-lowest investment grade, to negative in December and fears now persist that South Africa's sovereign credit may be downgraded to junk status.

Source: Fin24

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