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Vol 48 No 4

Published 16th February 2007

South Africa

Raining on the parade

Heated arguments about crime and unemployment draw attention away from the government's economic successes

Cape Town was gripped by a heat wave with temperatures soaring into the high 30s, in the days leading up to the opening of parliament on 9 February and President Thabo Mbeki's state of the nation address. But on the day, the weather changed and it rained heavily on the political fashionistas in all their splendour. Spirits were hardly dampened, least of all those of sacked Deputy President Jacob Zuma, who was given red carpet treatment by Speaker Baleka Mbete of the kind usually accorded to visiting heads of state. As the television cameras zoomed in, Zuma greeted Mbeki with improbable warmth and enthusiasm. Mbeki's speech had some confessional moments, conceding that his government has not made the progress it hoped for in cutting poverty.

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