‘Fix your broken promises, Mr President’

Democratic Alliance parliamentary leader Lindiwe Mazibuko presented a detailed list of 10 promises broken by President Jacob Zuma since his 2011 State of the Nation address on Wednesday.

These included the stymied 2010 pledge to create a youth wage subsidy, 2011’s so-called “year of the job”, which saw the number of unemployed people increase by 107 000 to over 4.2-million people by the beginning of 2012, and a failure to link social grants to economic activity and community development, as promised.

In a press briefing ahead of the 2012 State of the Nation address on Thursday Mazibuko predicted the president’s speech would lack detail, be ambiguous at times and not reflect on the mistakes of the past.

“I worry that it will be more of the same. I hope it is not, but his record thus far is not promising,” Mazibuko told journalists in Parliament on Wednesday.

During his address last year, Zuma promised to grow the economy and create more jobs in 2011.

“Will he reflect on the mistakes of the last year, gloss over them, or blame it on the eurozone crisis?” asked Mazibuko.

She said the DA wished Zuma would present his vision for the country’s future and, most importantly, outline a concrete strategy of how to get there.

“South Africans want to be inspired and excited about the future. They don’t want to be presented with another bureaucratic check-list of targets and promises. They want the president to be bold and decisive, to put their needs before the internal politics of the tripartite alliance.”

Being honest
Mazibuko said Zuma should start by being honest about his government’s shortcomings.

She urged Zuma to use this Thursday’s address to “reverse the legacy of non-delivery and broken promises” by providing bold solutions to challenges facing South Africans and following through with them.

“If the president is serious about job creation and creating a better life for all South Africans, he should announce a number of key proposals,” she said.

Mazibuko said Zuma must this year bridge the divide between his promises and delivering on them.

“South Africa needs visionary leadership, innovative policies designed to address key challenges facing it, as well as the political will to get things done.

“Promoting economic growth and job creation must be the president’s focus. He must do this by showing bold and decisive leadership… South Africa needs an employed, educated, safe and healthy citizenry if it is to succeed.”

According to the presidency Zuma is likely to focus on “the critical need for our country to move decisively and systematically in the implementation of policies and programmes that so far have helped us withstand the impact of the externally generated impediments to our development agenda”.

The Mail & Guardian reported on Friday that Zuma is likely to look East in his speech. A new focus on infrastructure, similar to the Chinese model of state capitalism, will be the centrepiece.

Worth R1-trillion and aimed at being the catalyst for job creation, the new infrastructure-driven model will overhaul parastatals and place them under one department and take control of strategic assets in the economy to meet the government’s new growth path target of five-million jobs by 2020.

The idea is that the private sector has failed to invest in infrastructure to stimulate economic growth and the state needs to play a more activist role in the economy. Lack of investment in infrastructure over the past years is believed to have stunted South Africa’s growth.

For news and multimedia on the State of the Nation address visit our special report.

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