No more sweet talk, Mr President

2011-02-09 22:48

Johannesburg - As President Jacob Zuma fine-tunes his third state of the nation address to be delivered at 19:00 on Thursday evening, there is no shortage of advice from other quarters as to what he should say.

Instead of "tinkering around the edges" of the massive failure in the labour market, Zuma should commit his government to five simple new ideas in 2011, the Democratic Alliance's Tim Harris suggested on Wednesday.

"For once the president needs to ignore the narrow, vested interests of his alliance partners and do the right thing by announcing broad and deep reforms of our labour market."

Zuma should put his full political weight behind the youth wage subsidy he announced this time last year, announce drastic reform of the wage bargaining arrangements, the immediate withdrawal of the four proposed labour bills, request parliament to undertake an urgent review of existing labour laws to relieve small businesses of the more onerous provisions, and intervene in the "economic policy standoff developing in the cabinet".

"A cabinet at odds with itself will not be able to preside effectively over the creation of five million jobs," Harris said.

That jobs will take centre stage in Zuma's address was confirmed by ANC secretary general Gwede Mantashe on Tuesday.

"Employment creation is going to be a priority," he told journalists in Johannesburg.

While the content of the state of the nation address was the president's prerogative, he anticipated jobs would feature strongly.

"It will be a priority because it is a priority," Mantashe said.

Harris' parliamentary leader Athol Trollip urged Zuma to take decisive action on the country's problems.

"This is no time for promises too sweeping for their progress to be measured. Nor is it the time for superfluous rhetoric and gesture.

"In the past, President Zuma has used vague concepts - like that of job opportunity - to make meaningless promises, and to claim tenuous successes."

Mixed signals

Zuma should use the opportunity to affect real and meaningful change.

"That change is achievable and involves the implementation of a series of actionable policy measures, the adoption of which would not only improve the quality of life for all South Africans, but would also address some of the most glaring problems that have hampered service delivery and good governance under successive ANC administrations," he said.

The Independent Democrats (ID) agreed the focus of Zuma's address needed to be on the economy and the urgent need to create millions of jobs.

"The ID expects the president to clarify the current mixed signals emanating from the ruling alliance and outline precisely what aspects of the new economic growth path will be implemented.

"The president must give the nation an inspiring vision with practical actions that will be taken to ensure that the... most pressing issues are addressed simultaneously, namely poverty and unemployment," it said.

The Inkatha Freedom Party-aligned SA Democratic Students Movement (Sadesmo) urged Zuma to deal with service delivery and provision of basic needs.

Flowery rhetoric

The president should make concrete pronouncements on how his government would address crime, poverty, unemployment, education, corruption and healthcare, Sadesmo spokesperson Mkhuleko Hlengwa said.

"After two years in office, we seriously are not interested in flowery rhetoric any longer."

The SA Chamber of Commerce and Industry called for clarity in policy direction and implementation on various issues.

These included clarity on the government's programmes to support and develop the small business sector, progress on programmes to reduce red tape for business, and new strategies on addressing corruption.

Others were measures to address skills shortages and improve the education system, implementation of programmes to address the employment problem and youth unemployment in particular, and further clarity on land reform, the green economy strategy, and the current policy thinking on the national health insurance.

  • perciousjackson - 2011-02-10 00:17

    yes and once again the ANC and its puppet will try to ignore whats needed and deliver a speech on demons and devils and all else except speak to the public and advise how they're trust shall be employed.

  • ian - 2011-02-10 07:00

    What the President should do and what he will do are likely to be different. He will once again promise the earth, without any measurable parameters against which ANC success can be gauged. It will once again be meaningless waffle that will impress those without the intellect to evaluate it BUT essentially it will be more promises and less delivery.

  • lamha - 2011-02-10 07:34

    Zuma is only good for flowery rhetoric, he is an empty vessel that makes the most noise. There is no substance to him.

  • Marthin - 2011-02-10 07:35

    What about crime, no one seems to be mentioning crime as an issue???

  • Muneeb - 2011-02-10 07:37

    Telling people you going to create jobs and doing nothing makes it nauseating. We've heard this before already. Do you even know how to run the country?

  • pavlovs dog - 2011-02-10 07:42

    Who cares what or when he makes a speach.Nothing he says ever comes to pass,he is one of the most ineffective "leaders"in world politics.

  • musa - 2011-02-10 07:44

    Mr president must keep his promises , I am from rural areas Nkandla but nothing happening to improve that area I'm in Vungwini , the road is like the way of cows to the deep(sp) and if it has rained we use to leave our cars far away . I spoke to my concellor but he keep promising and nothing done . It's been years now , u know only water we got on 2003 , the schools are too far and we use to take our kids to other areas (preschool kids)because of the situation , think of the weather conditions . We on rural areas it's like our life is not important like for people on urban areas , there malls , hospitals (doctors) nearby , schools with a good education and resources

  • Philip Gray - 2011-02-10 07:47

    President Zuma needs and his government needs to overhaul the entire Labour Act. Until this is done business will not hire people because of: 1) The difficulty in firing people 2) The continual insane strikes by unions 3) The biasness of the Labour Act towards business 4) The attitude of unions towards business hiring temporary staff He needs to give business the insentive to hire more people. Currently it is not worth the hassle. He cannot force business to hire people just because he, his party and the unions want it. There needs to be an attitude change on the part of government and the unions.

  • Zeth - 2011-02-10 07:52

    Its all just going to be talk anyway! Bubblegum for the masses. I just hope he has at least read through the speech that others have written for him a few times so that he doesn't completely embarrass us again.

  • Orosman - 2011-02-10 07:58

    The DA and other parties like them push for American style way of running the country. Privitisation being the order of the day. Privitisation creates more money for shareholders and less jobs. Saying this we should have a social system in our country.It works for Japan, China, Russia etc etc.The socialist system can work within a capitilist system.The previous apartheid government ran a socialist style country as they created jobs for the poor whites, fed them and housed them.Along came the americasn, privitised Telkom andshed many many jobs. SAA was another and I can go on. The government should nationalise mines, telekoms, power etc.more jobs, less crime and full bellies make a happy society.

  • pangaman - 2011-02-10 08:06

    Since when does the president takeover the duties of ministers? The President will outline govt programme and direction but details will come from ministers when they present their budgets and action plans. There is no need to try and put the president under pressure, we all know that the president cannot dwell on matters that naturally belongs to line functioneries. If the IFP was in power, we were likely to have the State of the Nation Address lasting a week, 8 hours a day. We don't need that now , do we?

  • charlie - 2011-02-10 08:11

    I think we will get the same speech, promised roses and life will continue as it has, just a little more tax because we don't have any money.

  • fed up - 2011-02-10 08:12

    The president should re concider the bbe policy unemployment is at its wors because of this.

  • Musa - 2011-02-10 08:12

    Musa again from Nkandla , life is horrible in that area , no electricity we still using woods to coock , lighting candles , no toilets , no RDP houses . Kanti thina senzeni singanakiwe

  • Jaco - 2011-02-10 08:13

    No sense in watching the speech. It will be a SABC re-run of the previous two SOTN speeches. All talk followed by no action. The masses need a credible alternative to these bumbling idiots.

  • JA - 2011-02-10 08:14


  • Musa - 2011-02-10 08:15

    Musa again from Nkandla , you know each and every election we vote in a hope for better life but it seems as we are ignored

  • Proudly SA - 2011-02-10 08:16

    This is another opportunity for Mr Zuma to show stateman characteristics and leadership and forget pandering to groups to get support for next ANC elections. He must publically denounce conduct and utterings of ANCYL who are killing all chances of job creation and growth through sheer economic ignorance and populist claptrap.

  • Not Fooled - 2011-02-10 08:18

    Oh please! Gimme a break! You're asking a political party whose leader thinks Party membership guarantees Heaven, whose Youth League spend R100 million on a party, whose membership is debating nationalisation... I could go on and on, to create an environment that will result in massive growth in employment. It's not going to happen. Remember, it's an election year. Many municipalities are under pressure. Expect lots of promises and little action.

  • jerry - 2011-02-10 08:24

    gauranteed all we are going to hear are flowery promises and vague assertions.

  • Neville - 2011-02-10 08:32

    Government should not be promising jobs at all. The task of the ruling party is to create a politically attractive stable platform that propagates foreign investment, job creation and sustainable growth. Nothing more nothing less! Government cannot create jobs! Jobs are created by the self fulfilling process of the factors mentioned above. Zuma's promise is an absolute farce!

  • BernieK - 2011-02-10 08:33

    I think this president is not going to surprise us. He is going to play according to the socialistic forces. I can not see him do otherwise, it will be a miracle. So in short, more promises and more flowery jabbering. That is my forecast....I hope I am wrong, really I hope and pray...

  • Mahomed - 2011-02-10 08:38

    Why is it that the DA's "advice" never seem to involve concrete advise that can be debated. eg. "five simple steps". What 5 steps would the DA suggest? If the anti crime strategy is not working,what does the DA suggest? If the approach to Zimbabwe is correct, what would the DA do? I never seem to come acrocc any answers just whining! Furthermore, why does our media let them get away with this?

  • Clive - 2011-02-10 08:55

    Time for delivering JZ or face a likely Tunisia, Egypt we are tired of your bobbing and weaving, empty promises,lies and corruption !!!!!

  • robin hawkins - 2011-02-10 09:10

    It will be a priority because it is a priority. Now that is super profound.

  • Kurt - 2011-02-10 09:10

    ...and all the opposition parties will state with great vigour and little conviction what is wrong with 'state of the nation' address and ... nothing will happen, change or affected or effected by any manner of means. Politicians - black, white, DA, ANC, old NP, SACP etc, - are by nature windy egotistical individuals, rarely truly caring about their constituents.

  • Francois - 2011-02-10 09:14

    Sadly .... he or his speech writers don't have the ability to speak to the real average poor South African - white, black or brown! Prophetic ... no ..... just fact!

  • Dhiren - 2011-02-10 09:20

    What are you smoking man! We will be very lucky even if he addresses any of the burning issues in the country!

  • tony - 2011-02-10 09:44

    dont we all agree---but what will we hear--''nothing''

  • Leigh - 2011-02-10 09:48

    Definitely will be watching tonight ... haven't sent a good fantasy comedy in ages ..... what next, free healthcare for all !!!!

  • mike - 2011-02-10 09:51

    this is like asking a mossie to sing like a nightingale---he just cant do it!!!!!!!!! and to futher destroy any posibilityof some small success he is in bed with cosatuand the sacp no hope here

  • Kiran - 2011-02-10 10:02

    Imagine the ANC been a coporate conglomerate with the croonies as head honcho's and JZ president and CEO. They will going against every rule in the book & overpromising and under delivering. So stop creating factions within the ANC, your own little 'empire building' and start delivering. It is us, the public who voted you in, so start gaining our confidence - at the moment you don't! Remember - it is election time now...

  • honky - 2011-02-10 10:03

    OK, but just put yourself into Zuma's position. He as "deployed" by the leftists like Cosatu, SACP and ANCYL, so he cannot afford to alienate them. Otherwise they would find a way to boot him out, like the did with Mbeki.They would say that he betrayed the workingv class by pandering to white business.They would appoint another figurehead who'd suit their agendas better. Have you ever ridden a tiger and wanted to get off, but coudln't? I actually pity him.Zuma will follow his previous tactic of being vague,trying to refer to more debate and more special parliamentary investigative teams,not taking sides, and using copious struggle slogans and songs. He simply cannot afford to create enemies.

  • Bonzo votes DA - 2011-02-10 10:42

    Two years and all his energy goes into aligning his friends and sidelining his foes, 'unifying' his party, and using party hacks to defend or deny. He can't get it that there is a serious country needing serious attention, beyond the paper walls of his ANC party party and its all-consuming neediness and squabbles. For heaven's sake, vote DA everybody, and force a real change.

  • @ Orosman - 2011-02-10 11:18

    Uhmmmm.......NO. Firstly a socialistic system is based on input = output. In other words what you put in you get out. Fine, I see potential here but only for the few that can. We have an issue in SA regarding what nationalization requires in terms of what the masses can contribute to the bigger picture. It will probably fail and they will be the ones to loose, However state controlled markets and so on means that the Comrades will be rewarded even more than what they are currently. So in short you maybe right to propose a system like this, but I personally do not think the current Government will conduct itself properly and honestly enough for it to succeed.

  • Danny Armstrong - 2011-02-10 13:04

    Trevor Noah and all the other comedians must be rubbing their hands with glee as they await the SOTN address,there will be much material for them to work with, but seriously SA stop complaining and do something about the sad and sorry state of SA. The ANC is not interested in a better life for all,they are only interested in feathering their own nests and jobs for friends who are totally incompetent. How do I do something about it you say, simple, THINK and cast your vote in the right place. Use the power of your vote if you want meaningful change. Come now South Africa THINK we are sinking into a deep abyss very very quickly.

  • MACHUPE - 2011-02-10 13:20


  • MA - 2011-02-10 13:23

    If only a fraction of the money that is stolen through corruption, nepotism, tenderpreneurs, for birthday parties, etc., is rather used for youth employment projects, our problems would be (mostly) solved. Why these pigs flying past my window? I digress. An apprenticeship programme, subsidised by govt and businesses (who would receive tax breaks this) would go a long way to employing thousands and alleviating the skills shortage. BUT, the unions are against apprenticeship programmes, which I don't understand. This would surely mean more future-members for them? They don't give a hoot for the unemployed masses, so why should the unions even have a say? Money & power, and payback. Go figure.

  • FedUp - 2011-02-10 14:39

    @Musa If you keep voting for a better life and are ignored, surely you can learn and stop voting for the same useless party?

  • Hopeful - 2011-02-10 15:54

    To Musa from Nkandla: You say "every election we vote in a hope for better life but it seems as we are ignored". Please learn the lesson, if you vote for ineffective leadership you will always be disappointed. Stop putting your hopes on the ANC. They are only interested in enriching themeselves at the cost of the whole country. Use your power to vote for DA. Look at the change in Cape Town. With effective administration we can achieve a change for the better.

  • @mohamed - 2011-02-10 17:03

    u seem like an anc supporter. SO STOP MOANING AS YOU VOTE THEM INTO POWER BUT THEY DONT PERFORM. obviously the DA can do no more than moan, because their sensible advice is not heeded and they are not making decisions... so duhh u dimwit

  • Mosso - 2011-02-10 18:01

    I firmly think that it's time for a new ruling party in the goverment!!!!

  • pages:
  • 1