President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday said South Africa was unfairly being compared to other countries on issues such as economic growth and job creation, despite the fact that these nations did not experience apartheid. “Other countries in Africa never had a racially-based economy. Never. We are faced with those kinds of problems today. Our unskilled huge majority is a result of the system. If all South Africans were skilled and normal, I’m sure our position would be totally different,” said Zuma.
“The comparison of South Africa with all other countries – what we always forget is what we are coming from. We are trying to address the legacy of apartheid and it is going to be with us for a long time. In other countries there was no Land Act of 1913.”
He said his government was handling the problems bedeviling the country “in a very calculated way so that they don’t spark problems”.
“What South Africa faces is different from other countries. Other countries had administrators who came to administer colonialism. South Africa was colonised, the major coloniser left and South Africans colonised one another,” said Zuma.
“I wouldn’t say in South Africa there is doom and gloom. I think we can argue what we have done in 21 years … we have policies that are very clear, aligned with the poor people and the working class. In other countries there are no policies aligned whatever.”
Zuma, accompanied by minister in the presidency Jeff Radebe, finance minister Nhlanhla Nene, and rural development minister Gugile Nkwinti, said despite the global sluggish economic growth, South Africa’s economy was expected to expand over the next three years.
“We expect the electricity constraints …our major obstacle, our estimate is that electricity shortages are currently costing the economy close to one percentage point in economic growth,” Zuma said.
Zuma was updating the media on progress made in areas relating to economic growth and job creation since his state-of-the-nation address in February this year.