The gap between President Zuma’s words and the reality of what is needed to grow the economy is enormous.
South Africans continue to suffer from increasing unemployment and a stagnating economy, yet President Zuma claims we are “a nation at work”.
We needed decisive action from the President to turn our economy around. Unfortunately his SONA had no new proposals to create jobs and grow the economy.
It is deeply worrying that the President did not directly address the recent downgrading of South Africa’s credit rating by Standard and Poor’s and Fitch. He also did not directly address the shrinking of the economy in the first quarter of this year.
There was no sense of urgency and no clear plan for the NDP’s implementation. The President simply repeated old promises, and recommitted government to tackling problems that should have been overcome long ago.
Examples include promises to eradicate mud schools in the Eastern Cape and open toilets in the Free State. These problems were supposed to have been resolved already. It is an indictment on President Zuma that he must yet again promise to tackle these same issues.
While we welcome President Zuma’s decision to intervene in the devastating platinum belt strike – a measure the DA has repeatedly called for – his late entry when so much could have been done sooner must be questioned.
There was much evidence of the lip-service that the President plays to the NDP and job creation. While he calls for more investment, his party rushes job-killing legislation through Parliament. While he says the NDP is the main plan for SA, his government – through the frustration of ANC alliance partners – fails to implement its proposals.
While our education system continues to record the worst maths and science results in the world, there was no new plan for teacher training, or in fact no direct acknowledgement of the shocking findings that South Africa ranks last in the world in maths and science.
While our justice system lurches towards another crisis, there was no announcement on what will be done about the cloud hanging over the Head of the National Prosecuting Authority.
This government under Jacob Zuma continues to lumber along while people suffer. We today needed fire in Zuma’s belly – a desire for radical reform that grows the economy and create jobs. Yet we just got more of the same – inaction and lack of leadership. President Zuma is simply not in touch with the economic hardship our people face.
Unless we turn around our economy, and do so soon, we will be no closer than we were when Jacob Zuma took office in 2009 to becoming a “nation at work.”
Tags: SONA 2014