POLITICS
05/02/2018 05:59 SAST | Updated 05/02/2018 11:29 SAST

5 Things President Zuma Wants Before He Goes

HuffPost SA has been speaking to people in President Jacob Zuma’s inner-circle.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters
President Jacob Zuma desperately wants to deliver the state of the nation address in Thursday.

1. AN EAR

President Jacob Zuma derives his identity and purpose from the ANC so he will step down if he is asked, but he does want his comrades to hear him out. He is likely to tell them that he still enjoys constitutional power and presidential prerogative. Zuma does not want to feel rushed.

2. TO BID FAREWELL

Zuma wants to bid a formal farewell to the armed forces because he is commander-in-chief. He also wants to take dignified leave of the international stage. Ideally, he wanted to still be president when the BRICS summit of Brazil, Russia, India, and China gather in South Africa in July. Zuma counts South Africa's role in BRICS as a significant part of his presidency. This is unlikely to happen.

3. TO DELIVER THE STATE OF THE NATION ADDRESS

Zuma really wants to deliver Thursday's state of the nation address as it is likely to be his final big opportunity to speak to the country.

4. LEGAL FEES

Zuma knows he faces the spectre of many court appearances even when he leaves office. He wants to know that his legal bills will be covered. They will be, but a confidant said he was concerned about the trend where courts were ordering delinquent politicians to pay their own bills.

5. A WARNING

Zuma wants the ANC to understand that it is setting a bad precedent if it axes him as president. Since former president Thabo Mbeki faced the same fate, the ANC is institutionalising a practice where its presidents do not complete their second terms.