Under President Jacob Zuma the bar for a successful State of the Nation Address had become painfully low. If he was able to complete it without any violence on the floor of the National Assembly, the evening was judged a success. There had been no substantial policy for some time, and the entire adress had come to the point where you almost wondered whether it was necessary. But there was a time when it was worthwhile, when it was the big policy speech of the year, when policy debates were triggered, and when the nation’s different constituencies were united in the same chamber. And during that time, the SONA was an opportunity for leadership, for a person to mediate and lead discussions and help our society to come to a decision. The good news is, those times are back. By STEPHEN GROOTES.