8.3 million jobless South Africans let down by Zuma again‚ says DA
President Jacob Zuma’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) to Parliament has yet again demonstrated that he cannot be trusted to grow the economy‚ create jobs and fight corruption‚ Democratic Alliance leader Mmusi Maimane says.
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Zuma needed to announce fresh‚ bold and innovative new interventions and plans of action to create jobs for the 8.3 million jobless South Africans trapped in the hopelessness and poverty of unemployment‚ Maimane added.
“Yet he announced no new plan to address our unemployment crisis and create new jobs. It is quite clear that President Zuma is simply unable to kick-start our ailing economy‚ and create hope that we can build a united‚ non-racial South Africa‚ with opportunities for everyone.
“His lack of action in this regard will be another shortcoming to add to the long list that has so aptly characterised his presidency. But‚ more importantly‚ it will leave the 8.3 million jobless without any hope of finding work‚” the DA leader added.
He said the President was still using the 2008 economic crisis as a scapegoat for South Africa’s poor economic performance and failure to create jobs – “spewing out economic indicators without recognising that his government’s policies are the very reason for poor performance”.
“Moreover‚ he essentially conceded a downgrade to junk status‚ giving up the fight and showing no innovative leadership.”
Maimane asserted that every year Zuma said a few meaningless words on fighting corruption and cutting wasteful expenditure.
“Yet every year he leads the charge on committing acts of corruption – Nkandla being the gold standard.
“The bottom line is that President Zuma cannot be trusted to lead the fight against corruption. He lies to the people only to create another red-hearing to distract from his growing list of scandals‚” Maimane charged.
In last year’s SONA‚ he said‚ the President had introduced a 9-point plan to “ignite growth and create jobs” – which had in fact done just the opposite.
At the time‚ National Treasury had predicted economic growth at 2% for 2015. This forecast was downgraded to 1.5% in the Medium Term Budget in October last year.
“One year later‚ and our projected economic growth is at a paltry 0.8%. It is clear than the current plans to ‘ignite growth and create jobs’ are simply not working.
“Yet he desperately tried to reignite this 9-point plan this evening‚ showing his paucity of ideas on the economy.
“The President could have done the following‚ at minimum‚ to address our economic crisis and get South Africans working again:
- A decisive commitment to avert another credit ratings downgrade by international rating agencies. Our fragile economy will struggle to recover from being downgraded to “junk status”‚ and the President must guarantee the country that he will all it takes to prevent this in 2016;
- A plan of action to address our disastrous State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)‚ including South African Airways (SAA)‚ Eskom‚ Post Office and Prasa. Our economy can ill-afford to continue throwing billions of rands in the form of bailouts into the these failing SOEs;
- A comprehensive plan on how government will raise capital to keep us afloat in 2016 and continue delivering services to South Africa. This plan ought to exclude more costly borrowing‚ and without squeezing more tax out of already overburdened taxpayers. The President ought to be particularly bold in this area‚ and should commit to selling off state assets and cutting waste;
- An announcement declaring the drought a national crisis‚ and an explanation as to how he intends to support farming communities to ensure our nation’s food security is protected; and
- A proper working plan on Higher Education‚ focusing on how to increase NSFAS funding so that no student is left behind. Moreover‚ Zuma needs to produce plans on how to improve the schooling of poor‚ predominantly black learners – particularly in our rural areas.”
Maimane said one thing had been made clear on Thursday evening: “President Zuma has not one shred of
legitimacy when it comes to the economy. And without a thriving economy‚ we will never create the millions of jobs we so desperately need.”