Battered by scandal and facing an angry, divided ANC President Jacob Zuma sought on Thursday night to dress his presidency in robes borrowed from his most illustrious predecessor, Nelson Mandela. The elaborately staged State of the Nation address, held in the evening for the first time to catch prime-time television audiences, was scheduled to coincide with the 20th anniversary of Mandelas release and kicked off with a documentary film about the former president playing on large screens in the National Assembly. In a gesture borrowed from Mandela, Zuma made a specific effort to rekindle the ethos of racial reconciliation, recognising for their role in ending apartheid figures like FW de Klerk, PW Botha and former justice minister Kobie Coetsee, as well as liberal icon Helen Suzman and Inkatha leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi. Anger at 'Big Daddy" Zuma grows However, in the plans and promises that Zuma outlined for his next four years in government, it was clear that despite the slight recovery in the economy, he has little to give -- at least in the short term. Zuma promised South Africans better education, roads and healthcare, less crime and more jobs, but warned the these pledges will be fulfilled only in a few years. He did not reflect much on the achievement of his government so far, except to set the record straight on his past undertakings on job creation. These have been roundly criticised in the teeth of the almost a million job losses due to the recession. During the 2009 State of the Nation address, I announced that the expanded public works programme would create 500 000 work opportunities by December 2009, Zuma told Parliament. Turning the corner? Let me reiterate that these are not jobs in the mainstream economy. These are job opportunities created to provide unemployed people with an income, work experience, and training opportunities. We are pleased to announce that by the end of December we had created more than 480 000 public works job opportunities, which is 97% of the target we had set.