With the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) promising a fiery session during President Jacob Zuma’s delivery of the State of Nation Address (Sona) on Thursday evening, Zuma says he feels “no pressure” ahead of his speech.
Speaking to SABC News on Wednesday, the president said he did not allow pressure to rule him despite earlier this week deploying 441 soldiers to help the police maintain law and order when parliament formally opens.
“I don’t have pressure because I don’t allow pressure to rule me. I do my work, and I know people take it in different ways. That’s their right as democrats,” he said.
Zuma said MPs had an opportunity to comment on or question his address during a two-day joint sitting to debate the Sona on February 14 and 15. He said South Africans wanted to hear his speech on the challenges facing the country and how government intended to deal with them this year.
“There is a work that should be done for the nation and those, no matter who they are, they must know that the nation is expecting the president to speak. And how you feel about the president is a different matter.
“If you’re a politician you have time to talk. If you’re not a politician ordinary people, you guys visit them [the media], they tell a different story, and I’m happy. There is also one thing that people don’t realise, that an opposition is an opposition.
“There is no opposition that is going to say we agree with you, we think you’re fun, we think you’re right. They must always say there’s something wrong with this one et cetera. It’s the job of the opposition. They don’t do that, they’ll be not an opposition, so to me, that is understood. I think I’ve been a politician, and I know what it means, so it’s no pressure,” he said.
EFF national spokesperson Mbuyiseni Ndlozi on Wednesday was adamant that the red berets would disrupt Zuma’s speech.
Speaking to The Citizen, Ndlozi said their MPs would be inside the National Assembly to hold Zuma accountable, “as we always do”.
“If he is there, he must know he has to be held accountable in terms of the Constitutional Court judgment that says he has broken his oath of office,” he said.
“We are not scared. No amount of physical removal or securitisation is going to stop us from consistently defending the constitution.”