Opposition parties pan Zuma address

2014-02-13 22:31
(Rodger Bosch, AP)

(Rodger Bosch, AP)

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Mixed reactions to Zuma's speech

2014-02-14 06:53

President Jacob Zuma has taken flak from various opposition parties after his State of the Nation address, especially on the jobs issue.WatchWATCH

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma has taken flak from various opposition parties after his State of the Nation address, especially on the jobs issue.

Helen Zille, leader of the DA, said that Zuma did not do enough to address job shortages in his address.

"Work opportunities are temporary replacements... while very important to relieve poverty, they are not a substitute for real jobs that happen because of economic growth," she said.

She said Zuma's speech mentioned that 500 000 jobs had been created, but said this fell short of his promise of five million.

"Only one out of 20 of those jobs materialised."

Real economic growth was needed to create "real jobs", as opposed to work opportunities, Zille said.

Labour regulations had deteriorated, which could stifle job growth.

On corruption, she said Zuma needed to "put his money where his mouth is".

"[Zuma] refuses to go to court to answer his own charges," she said.

Inkatha Freedom Party leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi said that it was "delusional" to tell people about the extended public works programme which would create six million job opportunities.

The programme created temporary jobs but the country needed sustainable jobs, Buthelezi said.

He said Zuma mentioned a number of things, including the violence during protests.

'Violence ANC's fault'

Buthelezi claimed the violence was the African National Congress's fault.

"That [violence] was taught by the ANC... to make the country ungovernable. Who taught people to make petrol bombs? The ANC did," he said.

Buthelezi called Zuma "Mr Promise".

He said Zuma liked to make promises but did not follow through.

It was "insulting the intelligence of our people" by making these promises.

Meanwhile, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said that Zuma's address misled the public.

Painting a rosy picture

This "misleading" picture needed to be dealt with. Holomisa said Zuma painted a rosy picture of the country, but this was contrary to what was actually seen.

Holomisa said Zuma had no plans to create the number of jobs that he set out to in his address.

"This is an old story, we have heard this noise before," he told reporters.

Zuma did receive praise from ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe, who had only good things to say about Zuma's speech.

It showed the "coherence" of the work government had been doing in the past five years, said Mantashe.

One of the most important topics Zuma touched on was that of violent protests.

"Violence is not acceptable. It is not acceptable that people die at the hands of the police. It is a fundamental right to protest, but it must not lead to death," Mantashe said.

Zuma said government was working on curbing the employment of unqualified people in municipalities.

Mantashe agreed, saying municipalities were the face of government and that quality of services at municipal level needed improvement.

"Do not give any unqualified person a job," said Mantashe.

'Zuma hoodwinked SA'

Congress of the People leader Mosiuoa Lekota said that Zuma hoodwinked the nation during his State of the Nation address, and gave Zuma's speech a one out of ten.

"All the things he said had nothing to do with the reality we know, that we are living in this country," Lekota said.

"How can he say we are winning the battle against corruption when he himself has not even appeared before the courts to account for the many allegations made against him and when he didn't even say anything to us about Nkandla?"

The president failed to mention that poor South Africans were up in arms because of the failures of the ANC-led provinces, he said.

"Maybe the people around him misled him into thinking he can hoodwink the whole nation delivering a speech like that. It's a speech that really insults the intelligence of the people of this country."

'Brag speech'

Freedom Front Plus leader Pieter Mulder labelled the address as a "brag speech" with little focus on the future.

"It was a brag speech focused on the elections, I would have liked to hear more about the future," he said.

He welcomed Zuma's announcement of a central tender board to tackle corruption, but was worried this was motivated by the wish to woo voters ahead of the general elections in May.

"If it's such a good country, why are all the municipalities burning?" he asked.

- SAPA
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