Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's state of the nation
speech was disappointing and lacked substance, the Cape Chamber of Commerce
said on Thursday.
"A backslapping speech with little substance. The Cape
Chamber of Commerce is, on the whole, disappointed by the state of the nation
address delivered by the president this evening," said its executive
manager Bronwen Kausch.
"The presidency gave no clear policy direction. While
alluding to very important topics, all the speech did was increase the
frustration of business that the national policy vacuum continues."
Kausch did commend Zuma's call for harsher action against
those who participated in strikes which resulted in damage to property.
"After repeated calls from business... we are heartened
that, in these instances, we have been heard."
Business Unity SA (Busa) welcomed Zuma's speech.
"We also welcome infrastructure projects that have
begun to gain traction, where the president reiterated to fast-track many of
the projects that the Presidential Infrastructural Coordinating Committee had
announced," said Busa CEO Nomaxabiso Majokweni.
Busa also praised the government's commitment to pay small,
micro and medium enterprises within 30 days.
Majokweni said the business community was expecting to see
how the National Development Plan would be financed, as this would be a
challenging task in finding workable solutions to unemployment, poverty and
Scant on detail
Meanwhile an analyst said President Zuma's
state-of-the-nation address covered a wide variety of social issues, but was
scant on detail.
"The president covered a wide range of ground, but
perhaps he lost a bit of focus," said Prof Roger Southall of the
University of the Witwatersrand's sociology department.
He said Zuma mentioned the importance of small business and
government providing support for such entities, but gave "absolutely no
details" of how this might take place.
Southall said Zuma's establishment of a Presidential
Remuneration Commission to review the conditions of service for public servants
was of interest.
Zuma said education needed to be an essential service, but
this would not deprive teachers of their right to strike.
Southall said further details of the implications of this
He said Zuma's remarks that the government would abandon the
"willing-buyer, willing-seller" principle would be welcomed by many.
"I think quite a lot will be made of... (the move
towards) just and equitable compensation for land, in line with the
What was meant by "just and equitable
compensation" had to be seen, Southall said.
"Analysts say the 'willing-buyer, willing-seller'
principle has not been a particular obstacle.
"There has been plenty of land up for sale, but
government has been slow to respond to this."
He acknowledged that it was a "tough job" to
resolve uncertainty about the land issue.
Southall said it was promising that Zuma had spoken about
renewable energy, but said that more money should be allocated to realising
"The amount of money spent on renewable energy (R47bn)
when put against infrastructure spending (R860bn) is rather small, and I think
that is an area of government activity which really needs more attention."
Southall said Zuma's attention on the issue of corruption
was apt, because corruption "is really the Achilles' heel of this
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