Analysts have slated the ‘evasive’ and ‘bullish’ attitude shown by President Jacob Zuma during Wednesday’s parliamentary Q&A session, where the countries ‘Number 1’ faced questions as to the current state of criminal justice institutions, and the ongoing electricity crisis amongst others. In Zuma’s first parliamentary appearance since the controversial 2015 State of the Nation address, questions around the repayment of monies from the construction of his Nkandla homestead were again brought to the fore.
According to political analyst Andre Duvenhage, the president followed something of a ‘fight back’ approach in the face of opposition pressure.
“There were no clear answers to the problems. He dodged a lot of responsibility, replacing blame to other institutions and making it clear that he would not pay the money unless certain conditions were in place,” he said, adding that this would only be done under the determination of Police Minister, Nathi Nhleko.
Duvenhage’s overall assessment was one of negativity, describing Wednesday’s proceedings as “not a good day for parliament”. That aside, he acknowledged that the session was ‘at least’ better than events at SONA.
“He is following a lot of different angles to get him out of this situation,” he stated.
Despite this, there was some positively in the announcement that there would be five more scheduled opportunities in which the president would be required to answer questions posed by opposition members. And Duvenhage suspected that the topic of Nkandla would be the main focus of proceedings, during at least one of these sittings.
He added that whilst many in the assembly may not have been happy with the sort of responses provided, at least the president was acknowledging and addressing the questions.
Straying from the issue of Nkandla, questions were also raised as to criminal justice institutions, as well as issues with the country’s sole energy provider, Eskom. But whilst the country may not have gotten the kind on answers they were looking for, Duvenhage said the president had at least fared better in addressing those concerns.
“What we need at this point is a strategic vision, and strategic leadership. We can’t keep doing the same again and again and expect new results. That is what Mr. Zuma is basically doing,” he said, adding that the president need stray away from explaining existing framework, and start implementing new methods to tackle the countries woes. VOC