OPINION

"Zuma's uppercut stings like a bee!" - Sunday Sun

Robert Mazambane says the President came back fighting in his reply to the SONA debate on Thursday

NUMBER ONE'S laugh was the number one thing people talked about the last week.

His opponents complained that he laughed while EFF MPs were dragged out of Parliament by their red collars, and with red faces, and also a lot of people weren't happy when he restarted his speech with that famous chuckle.

But if you were President Jacob Zuma you'd be laughing a lot too.

Why? Because you'd know that no matter how bad things are looking at the moment, or how strong your enemies appear to be, you'll PROBABLY come out on top in the end.

At first the whole State of the Nation mess in Parliament looked like it was bad for Msholozi.

Journalists wrote about how it further damaged the President's reputation, and there was even a lot of praise for the DA's Mmusi Maimane, who delivered a scathing speech against JZ, calling him a broken man with a broken country.

It looked like Zuma was on the ropes. But then it was his turn to speak again on Thursday, and instead of looking like a beaten man, he delivered powerhouse punches left and right.

He took on the FF Plus's Pieter Mulder, who complained about the President's earlier comment that all of Mzansi's problems started when Jan van Riebeeck came to South Africa.

Msholozi delivered a history lesson Mulder won't soon forget. Whether all our problems started with Van Riebeeck or not, there's no doubt that all of Mr Mulder's started in 1652.

He could have been living a quiet life as a farmer in Holland today, instead of being schooled by a man who learned politics on Robben Island.

The President also took on Julius Malema, but not in the way everyone thought he might. Instead of attacking Juju directly, Zuma praised the "Honourable Malema for really dealing with the State of the Nation address".

That's not what Malema was expecting, or would have wanted. Very clever.

Does this mean we can look forward to a reconciliation between Malema and the ANC in the near future?

Probably not, maybe yes: Zuma's shrewd, and Malema loves to cut deals with people in power.

Above all, there's nothing Malema wants more than to be back at Luthuli House.

Anyway, it was a smart way of pouring water on Malema's fiery attacks, and a way for Zuma to show that he doesn't feel threatened by the EFF.

The worst blow was reserved for Maimane, who wasn't even mentioned by name.

IN a message obviously aimed at the DA parliamentary leader, Zuma reminded the opposition to play the ball, and not the man.

This was another smart move designed to make Maimane's comments seem girlishly harsh and emotional, and it worked.

So, after a week of everyone doing their best to pummel Msholozi, it took just one speech for him to head back to the top of the political mountain.

He, of course, knew he'd never actually left it. Come to think about it, Zuma is a lot like another politician known for ending up on top even when it looks like he's been beaten.

Former American president Bill Clinton became so good at it that he was even nicknamed the Comeback Kid.

And Zuma's biographer Jeremy Gordin once called Zuma "The Teflon Man".

Clinton even survived the news that his nyatsi played with his 4-5 while he was doing his job in the Oval Office.

But he could probably still learn a thing or two about political survival (and nyatsis) from our own Msholozi.

Tell Mr Potatoes what you think: mrpotatoes@sundaysun.co.za  

This article first appeared in the Sunday Sun.

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