Mixed reaction greets Zuma’s speech

2011-02-14 08:09

President Jacob Zuma’s state of the nation address has received mixed reaction from opposition parties and allies of the ANC.

ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and Zwelinzima Vavi, the general secretary of labour federation Cosatu, welcomed Zuma’s speech.

The Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) criticised the government’s “rigid labour laws”, saying they could prove to be a stumbling block in the Zuma administration’s efforts to create jobs.

“He tried to be realistic insofar as the private sector should try to help in creating jobs, but our labour laws are rigid,” IFP leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said.

Although Vavi welcomed the president’s speech, he expressed concern at government inefficiency and under-spending by government departments.

He said the money should be used to help the poor, but was instead returned to the national treasury.

“It should make a big difference,” he said, adding that Zuma’s comments showed commitment from government.

In his address, Zuma announced the establishment of an employment fund of R9 billion to finance job-creation initiatives over the next three years.

In addition, he said, the Industrial Development Corporation had set aside R10 billion over the next five years for investment in economic activities with high job-creation potential.

“It is also my pleasure ... to announce R20 billion in tax allowances or tax breaks to promote investment, expansions and upgrades in the manufacturing sector,” Zuma said.

“While looking to the private sector in particular to help us create most of the jobs, government will certainly play its part,” he said.

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