News24

Opposition critical of speech

2010-02-11 22:39

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma's second State of the Nation speech found little favour with most opposition party leaders on Thursday.

Addressing a joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament, Zuma promised accelerated government delivery and a new focus in industrial policy to spur growth and job creation.

"This year, 2010, shall be a year of action. Government must work faster, harder and smarter," Zuma said in the speech coinciding with the 20th anniversary of former president Nelson Mandela's release from prison.

However, Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said Zuma's address had been insubstantial, but included a shift to DA policies.

"It was full of promises, rather vague and certainly insubstantial as to how he plans to do all the things he says he is going to do," she said.

"He said he is going to do some things, like for example wage subsidies for young people. That is straight out of DA policy."

Other examples of DA policy Zuma mentioned included the shift to service sites and services, rather than just top structures, and measuring outputs and outcomes.

This was a gradual adoption by the ANC of practical policies by the DA.

"Now the big challenge is to implement them and make then work.

"But, there was a precious lack of detail. Again, assertions about we will do this and we're committed to that, but frankly, none of the how," Zille said.

Corruption

Congress of the People parliamentary leader Mvume Dandala described the speech as "one of the most disappointing speeches one has heard".

"Firstly it was lacking in vision. At this point what you need is a galvanising speech to galvanise the people."

The speech lacked compassion, notably for crime victims.

"I was thinking the president would at least recognise that damage," Dandala said.

African Christian Democratic Party leader Kenneth Meshoe was blunt, calling Zuma's speech "shallow".

"It did not have depth and we are disappointed that fighting corruption is not one of the five priorities of government," he said.

The United Democratic Movement said it was an "unimpressive" speech laden with "planning".

"How much longer do we need to hear about 'planning' without actual delivery taking place?" party leader Bantu Holomisa said.

The uncertain and hesitant delivery of the speech reflected "uncertain and stuttering attempts" by the government to deliver on its basic obligations.