The Democratic Alliance (DA) members of parliament stayed throughout the State of the Nation Address (SONA) last week not out of respect for President Jacob Zuma but out of respect for his office.

This is according to DA leader Mmusi Maimane who was addressing the National Assembly during the SONA debate.


Maimane also hit hard at Zuma for not dealing with the issue of over 8 million unemployed South Africans.

He also touched on education: “See on Planet Zuma all children have access to a quality education. This must be why the president didn’t mention basic education once.”

Referring to multiple commissions of enquiries President Zuma has established, Maimane said: “… on Planet Zuma every problem can be solved by setting up a committee, a task team or a commission of enquiry.”

Mmusi Maimane
Mmusi Maimane

He said that president lived up to their expectations on Thursday because they had expected the ’empty words of a man out of touch with the people and that is exactly what we got,” he said.

Maimane said they sat through the rest of the speech because that is what South Africans expect of them.

“Let me be clear, we came to listen to the president out of respect for the Constitution and the office he holds but we did not come out of respect for Jacob Zuma.”

Maimane’s debate circled around what he labelled ‘Planet Zuma’. A place in a parallel universe far away from lives of ordinary South Africans, where things like a swimming pool are called firepool.

The official opposition leader hit hard at President Zuma in what has been described as ‘low blow’ on social media.

“Planet Zuma is a place where all continents of the world fit into Africa. It is a place where Finance Minister flies economy class but the president buys himself a R4 billion jet,” said Maimane.

“Planet Zuma is a place where the president can replace an excellent Finance Minister with a back bencher that nobody has ever heard of.

“It is a place honourable members where an international fugitive (Sudan president Omar Al-Bashir) wanted for genocide is welcomed and given refuge.

“Planet Zuma is a place where young people who stand up for their right to learn (#FeesMustFall) are dismissed as part of a third force and charged with treason.

“It is a place where mine workers can be massacred by the police without an apology and without compensation for their families.

“Planet Zuma is a place where our president lives in a galaxy far far away from the lives of ordinary South Africans.”

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