Nation bombards Zuma with issues

Feb 11 2013 22:33

Johannesburg - With President Jacob Zuma scheduled to deliver his State of the Nation address on Thursday, ideas abound on what he should say.

Several groups and organisation voiced their wishes on Monday.

Commercial farmers' union TAU SA suggested that Zuma ban strikes in the agricultural sector.

"What the country needs now is stability, especially agriculture.... [It] should be stabilised after the government made the mistake of rising minimum wages by more than 50%," said TAU SA president Louis Meintjies.

"To protect food security, and to make sure that crucial foreign exchange will not be lost, the events at De Doorns should never be repeated," he said.

He was referring to recent violent strikes by Western Cape farmworkers in demand of an increase in the minimum daily wage to R150 a day from R69 a day.

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant accepted the Employment Conditions Commission’s recommendation of a new minimum wage of R105 a day in the sector.

The National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) said it hoped to be included in Zuma's address.

NYDA CEO Steven Ngubeni said it hoped Zuma would prioritise youth unemployment.

"Firstly, the NYDA is looking forward to finding out about jobs that have been created through the infrastructure development drive, particularly among young people.

"Entrepreneurship definitely plays a key role in creating these jobs and alleviating South Africa’s high unemployment rate, therefore we hope to hear more about a further concerted effort and focus on encouraging a culture of entrepreneurship and creating an enabling environment for aspiring and established entrepreneurs," said Ngubeni.

He said it was also looking forward to hearing Zuma's views on Eskom's proposed 16% tariff hike in each of the next five years.

The NYDA also wanted Zuma to speak about education.

The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) said it hoped to hear President Zuma speak about joint operations with Vietnam and Mozambique to help curb rhino poaching.

WWF CEO Morne du Plessis said it also hoped to hear about how the government planned to minimise the affect of coal mining on water.

He said Zuma should also speak about diversifying the energy base, to create opportunities for alternative energy.

Zuma will deliver the speech during a joint sitting of parliament on Thursday.

The event will be broadcast live at 19:00 on some SABC television and radio channels and on eNCA.

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