Thursday 11th February saw the long-awaited State of the Nation Address being made by President Jacob Zuma and all the reactions that followed it. Of all the important issues raised at the gathering, one that seems to strike the hearts of most listeners was the issue of jobless South African youths which the president was unable to directly touch.
In his State of the Nation Address, President Zuma announced a nine-point plan which his government has been adopting and will possibly still adopt to tackle the sluggish growth of the country. The nine points include:
- Revitalization of the agriculture and agro-processing value-chain;
- Advancing beneficiation adding value to our mineral wealth;
- More effective implementation of a higher impact Industrial Policy Action Plan;
- Unlocking the potential of SMME, co-operatives, township and rural enterprises;
- Resolving the energy challenge;
- Stabilizing the labor market;
- Scaling-up private-sector investment;
- Growing the Ocean Economy;
- Cross-cutting Areas to Reform, Boost and Diversify the Economy which include:
- Science, technology, and innovation
- Water and Sanitation
- Transport and Infrastructure
- Broadband Rollout
- State-owned Companies.
Among the listeners at the event were members of the Democratic Alliance (DA) who were able to quickly alert the public of the unconscious neglect of the youths and the vicious unemployment in the country by saying that the president has once again proven his failure to move the country forward by his neglect of three important aspects – creating Jobs to fight unemployment, fight corruption and to grow the nation’s economy.
According to the party’s leader Mmusi Maimane, the country has over 8.3 million South Africans who are still trapped in the tight grip of unemployment yet the president saw no need to address them.
“Yet he announced no new plan to address our unemployment crisis and create new jobs. It is quite clear that President Zuma is simply unable to kick-start our ailing economy‚ and create hope that we can build a united‚ non-racial South Africa‚ with opportunities for everyone.
“His lack of action in this regard will be another shortcoming to add to the long list that has so aptly characterized his presidency. But‚ more importantly‚ it will leave the 8.3 million jobless without any hope of finding work‚” the DA leader added.
Maimane further alleged that Zuma still blamed the 2008 economic crisis for the current downfall of the nation’s economy instead of blaming his poor economic and government policies. He further pointed out that the president’s nine-point agenda aimed at growing the nation’s economy had in fact done the opposite.
“He Spewed out economic indicators without recognizing that his government’s policies are the very reason for poor performance”.
Moreover‚ he essentially conceded a downgrade to junk status‚ giving up the fight and showing no innovative leadership.”
Yet every year he leads the charge on committing acts of corruption – Nkandla being the gold standard.”
Maimane also presented key areas he thinks the government ought to have looked into to achieve a tremendous economic growth. His five points centered around
- A decisive commitment to avert another credit ratings downgrade by international rating agencies.
- A plan of action to address our disastrous State-Owned Enterprises (SOEs)‚ including South African Airways (SAA)‚ Eskom‚ Post Office and Prasa.
- A comprehensive plan on how the government will raise capital to keep us afloat in 2016 and continue delivering services to South Africa.
- An announcement declaring the drought a national crisis‚ and an explanation as to how he intends to support farming communities to ensure our nation’s food security is protected;
- A proper working plan on Higher Education‚ focusing on how to increase NSFAS funding so that no student is left behind.
Having made these, he made a conclusion of Zuma’s speech by saying that the president has proven that he has no legitimacy when it comes to the economy and is incapable of fighting corruption. Hence that Zuma should have hastened the process by removing himself from office.
“South Africa continues to suffer from a leadership crisis‚ as the president hops from one scandal to the next‚ all to protect himself and his cronies‚
This while our country remains on the verge of economic meltdown due to low economic growth‚ spiraling corruption‚ rising unemployment‚ a nationwide drought‚ rising inflation‚ and failed service delivery.
It cannot continue any longer.
“The president should himself expedite the process of his removal from office by doing the honourable thing and resigning‚” Maimane advised.