Take decisive action, DA urges Zuma
Cape Town - Take decisive action on challenges facing South Africa, is the DA's message to Jacob Zuma, ahead of the president delivering his third state of the nation address later this week.
"The president is always very keen to talk about WE, together WE can deliver... but this is a time when the president should be talking about what HE is going to be doing," Democratic Alliance leader Athol Trollip told a media briefing at Parliament on Monday.
In a statement handed to journalists, he said the time had come for Zuma to talk in specifics.
"This is no time for promises too sweeping for their progress to be measured. Nor is it the time for superfluous rhetoric and gesture.
"In the past, President Zuma has used vague concepts - like that of job opportunity - to make meaningless promises, and to claim tenuous successes."
Trollip released a DA document, titled "Jacob Zuma's Broken Promises", listing 50 such promises, ranging across areas such as jobs and job creation, education, health, governance, criminal justice, media freedom, communication and the economy, among others.
It states that in the past, Zuma had failed to follow through on promises he had made.
"We hope that the president will take heed of these serious failures to match words with deed," the document reads.
On job creation, it refers to one promise - made in Zuma's 2008 State of the Nation address - to create half-a-million so-called job opportunities.
"In total, we calculated that the 'job opportunities' referred to by the president equated to the creation of just 87 000 full-time jobs, in a year when ten times as many jobs, 870 000 in total, were lost overall.
"However you do the maths, 500 000 jobs or 'job opportunities' weren't created in 2009," it states.
Earlier, Trollip condemned the controversial remarks made by Zuma at an ANC registration drive in the Eastern Cape at the weekend, when he reportedly told an audience in Mthatha that if one voted for the ruling party, one chose heaven, but a vote for an opposition party meant hell.
"It's blasphemous, and... dividing our nation along the very worst kind of political lines you can imagine, and it is an insult to people who are of the Christian faith," Trollip said.
In a separate statement on Monday, trade union federation Cosatu congratulated Zuma and his government "for their achievements so far".
Cosatu said its expectations from Thursday's State of the Nation address included major reforms and improvements in job creation, education, health, rural development and land reform, and in the fight against corruption and crime.
"After two years in office, it is essential that the speech should contain concrete plans to translate these commitments into real changes on the ground.
"Last year, we urged the president to pay particular attention to policies to reverse the catastrophic loss of 959 000 jobs in the first nine months of 2009.
"In fact, jobs continued to disappear, bringing the total loss since the start of 2009 until the last quarter of 2010, to 1.17 million," it said.
In a statement issued later on Monday, the Independent Democrats said the focus of Zuma's address needed to be on the economy and the urgent need to create millions of jobs.
"The ID expects the president to clarify the current mixed signals emanating from the ruling alliance and outline precisely what aspects of the New Economic Growth Path will be implemented.
"The president must give the nation an inspiring vision with practical actions that will be taken to ensure that the... most pressing issues are addressed simultaneously, namely poverty and unemployment," it said.