South African President, Jacob Zuma is
expected to make his first state of the nation address to parliament in Cape
Town Wednesday. Some South Africans anticipate that President Zuma will come up
with plans to alleviate the economic hardships facing them as he promised
during last April's election.
Recent figures suggest that South Africa's
economy is in recession, due to effects of the global economic meltdown.
Political reporter Tshepo Ikaneng is set to cover Mr.Zuma's maiden presidential
speech to parliament for the South Africa Broadcasting Cooperation. He told VOA that the ordinary South African wants to hear about job
think many people are waiting with anticipation because of the fact that this
is coming on the heels of the election that was held in South Africa," Ikaneng
said there are indications that South African citizens repose confidence in
their newly elected leader.
think many people are hopeful despite the fact that we have this global
recession which has affected South Africa negatively," he said.
said some people want to hear the new administration's plans to address the
recent spike in lost jobs.
people want to hear what the government is going to be saying about creating
jobs. We know that we have had a lot of job shedding in South Africa itself and
many people are unemployed," Ikaneng said.
said others are interested in hearing how the president acknowledges that the
economy is in recession.
people who voted Zuma to power are from a rural background. This is where the hardships are unemployment
… and many people don't understand what the recession is," Ikaneng said.
acknowledged that among those who might not comprehend what a recession is all
about, there are a significant number of the president's supporters.
recession is understood by the elite, is understood by the educated populace of
South Africa, which forms part of a very small percentage of the general
public," he admitted.
than facing up to the news about hard times, Ikaneng observed that President
Zuma's supporters are still brimming with confidence in his ability to deliver.
are seeing hope in Zuma because they are saying, we voted for this man
because... during the election, he said he is going to improve our situation.
So it is going to be a difficult task for Zuma to actually explain to the lay
man on the ground, what I am going to be doing for him," Ikaneng said.
said job creation would be a difficult undertaking for the new president
despite high expectations from his supporters.
people don't care much about the recession. What they care most is to see them
getting more jobs, getting more employment. And that is not going to be
possible in the next two years," he said.
note of Mr. Zuma's intense partisanship, Ikaneng said presidential critics who
say the ruling party is failing to address the challenges facing common people
can expect that the president will tackle them head on.