Zille challenges Zuma to debate on economy

2014-03-13 14:56

DA leader Helen Zille has again challenged President Jacob Zuma to a live televised debate in front of an audience on the economy and jobs.

At the release of government’s Twenty-Year Review earlier this week, Zuma said employment had increased in the past five years under his presidency.

In an open letter to Zuma today, Zille said the “lived experience of most South Africans and the statistics tell a different story”.

She said she wanted to challenge him to join her in a “nationally televised presidential debate on the state of our country and our economy, particularly jobs, at a time and place of your choosing”.

She said under Zuma, unemployment grew from 30.4% to 34%, using the broad definition.

Since Zuma became president, 1.4 million more South Africans are unemployed, she said.

“I believe very firmly that we should have an opportunity to openly debate these issues together and to answer questions directly from the public.

“Every South African will make a decision in this election between political parties that offer different track records on job creation, corruption and leadership,” she wrote.

She said such a debate would strengthen South Africa’s democracy and is becoming commonplace across Africa in countries like Ghana, Sierra Leone and Kenya.

In the past, Zuma has refused requests from Zille for a televised debate.

ANC spokesperson Jackson Mthembu could not immediately be reached.

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