Opposition: Zuma lacks vision for SA

Helen Zile at the State of the Nation address.(David Harrison, M&G)

Helen Zile at the State of the Nation address.(David Harrison, M&G)

Opposition parties have collectively slammed President Jacob Zuma's State of the Nation address in Parliament.

They have labelled it as devoid of vision for South Africa's future.

"South Africa is a great country being let down by a weak President. He is the wrong man for these times," Democratic Alliance (DA) parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko told the national assembly.

Pinpointing Zuma's apparent lack of commitment to fight unemployment, Mazibuko said the president had failed the country's youth.

"How can the Honourable President empathise with the dire circumstance of jobless young South Africans when all he could offer them was vague utterances?" she added.

The DA lauded the president for championing the National Development Plan – which plots a course of action to address South Africa's challenges through to 2030 – but said he was incapable of ensuring it is enacted.

"We are glad you endorsed the national development plan, but I fear its the right plan with the wrong man at the helm," Atholl Trollip, DA spokesperson for Land Reform said.

Scathing response
Congress of the People (Cope) president Mosiuoa Lekota was more scathing about Zuma's speech, claiming the president has done nothing to fight corruption since becoming the country's number one citizen.

"Anyone who is committed to fighting corruption shld stop corruption of paying monthly salaries to useless public servants," he added.

Lekota added the public service was not only inefficient, but a drain on state resources.

"We are wasting money paying for a public service filled woth comrades, friends and concubines," he said.

"We are wasting billions of rands. Billions on comrades, family and friends of a chosen few."

Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) president Mangosuthu Buthelezi echoed Lekota's sentiment, claiming the president did not take a firm stance on any issue.

"Mr President, you speak from both sides of your mouth on many important issues in this country. But where do you actually stand on any substantive issue in South Africa?"

​Buthelezi said the IFP would always commend government on its achievements, but that its failings had now overwhelmed any progress.

"The time has come to replace this first republic with a leadership that is accountable and cares for it's people. You are no longer fit for office," he added.

Although more measured in his criticism, United Democratic Movement president Bantu Holomisa was also critical of Zuma's address.

"The state's reliance on consultants must be addressed with urgency. We spent over R100-billion on them since 2009," he said.

"The national development plan will never be realised if government continues to employ incompetent people."

The parliamentary debate on Zuma's address will continue in parliament on Wednesday, with the president replying to criticism on Thursday.

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