13 February 2013

South Africa: Zuma's Sona Record - Big Ideas, Little Detail, No Action

press release

The following statement was distributed at a press conference held in Parliament today by DA Parliamentary Leader, Lindiwe Mazibuko MP, DA Chief Whip, Watty Watson MP and DA Caucus Chairman, Dr Wilmot James MP. The full document can be downloaded here.

The State of the Nation Address is an opportunity for President Zuma to put forward a clear, detailed and implementable plan to tackle the key problems we face: unemployment, violent crime and disparities in the quality of education.

As President Zuma delivers his fourth State of the Nation Address in 2013, many South Africans have little confidence in his ability to deliver on what he promises.

His presidency has been characterised by inaction, political expediency and scandal from the very beginning. Indeed, last year President Zuma continued the defining trend of his presidency: big ideas, little detail, no action.

In 2012, most of his key pledges barely got off the ground or have not been given effect to at all.

This litany of broken promises include:

The Economy:

Develop and integrate rail, road and water infrastructure to facilitate increased mining and stepped-up beneficiation of minerals" - Jacob Zuma (SONA 2012)

1. President Zuma's plan to address the infrastructural backlog through 18 major projects has been slow off the ground, with little progress

"We remain committed to the creation of a favourable and globally competitive mining sector, and to promote the industry to attract investment and achieve both industrial growth and much-needed transformation" - Jacob Zuma (SONA 2012)

2. President Zuma's promise to create a globally competitive mining sector which can attract investment has been totally nullified by his government's policies, ANC aggressive rhetoric and COSATU bullying. The mining sector is now shedding jobs and failing to attract investment. The Marikana Tragedy, unrest across the sector, and recent job cut proposals by AMPLATS prove this

"Progress has been made in amalgamating small business institutions, and a new entity will be launched this year" - Jacob Zuma (SONA 2012)

3. There seems to be no real progress in ensuring SMME's are better able to start and grow in South Africa. South Africa currently ranks 53rd in the world for registering a small business. This is down from the year before. While there have been attempts by government to provide funding to small businesses, removing the numerous bureaucratic and regulatory hurdles to small business growth has not happened, nor has there been any real amalgamation of small business institutions

"As a responsible government, we resolved to address the land reform problem through restitution, redistribution and tenure reform within the confines of the Constitution, informed by the national policy of reconciliation and nation building" - Jacob Zuma (SONA 2012)

4. President Zuma remains more committed to providing more power to traditional authorities than ensuring land tenure and development for those on communal land. This diversion from the goals of the NDP coupled with the total mismanagement of funds by the Department of Rural Development and Land Affairs has meant little progress on achieving land reform targets


"We will continue to invest in producing more teachers who can teach mathematics, science and African languages" and

"Our call to teachers to be in school, in class, on time, teaching for at least seven hours a day remains pivotal to success" - Jacob Zuma (SONA 2012)

5. There has been a failure to properly address the shortage of quality teachers in South Africa, specifically those who teach mathematics, science and African languages

6. President Zuma's call for teachers to be in school, in class, on time, teaching seven hours a day remains a pipe-dream, as he continues to allow himself to be bullied by SADTU. The recent backing down on declaring teaching an essential service is a case in point


"We reiterate our undertaking made in 2009 to combat fraud and corruption in tender processes" - Jacob Zuma (SONA 2012)

7. President Zuma's government has failed to regulate the business interests of state employees. The Draft Public Sector Integrity Framework, apparently before cabinet, has not been adopted, while Chancellor House continues to be allowed to tender for big contracts, despite it being an investment arm of the ANC

Defending the Constitution:

"We reaffirm our firm belief in the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary and of all three arms of the State" and

"We reaffirm our commitment to advance the ideals of our country's Constitution at all times"- Jacob Zuma (SONA 2012)

8. President Zuma's declared commitment to the independence of the judiciary and commitment to the Constitution have been difficult to believe in 2012. His lawyers failure to hand over the spy tapes, the irrational appointment of Menzi Simelane as NDPP, the proposed second transition and review of the judiciary, the marching on Goodman gallery, attacks on FNB and legal action against ZAPIRO, demonstrate a political leader out of tune with the Constitution

If President Zuma was serious about making 2013 a success, then he must do what he has been unable to do to date. He must show leadership, put South Africa's best interests ahead of his political career, provide clear deadlines for implementation, and ensure accountability and transparency so that promises result in action.

To put South Africa back on the track to economic growth, job creation and optimism, he must tackle the major challenges of unemployment, crime, a failing education system, corruption, as well as become the key defender of the Constitution. To do this he must:

Job creation:

1. Show an unrelenting commitment to economic growth and remove any obstacles to growth

2. Shift investment away from consumption (hefty public wage agreements) and towards productive investment

3. Increase infrastructure investment to 10%

4. Introduce measures to cut red tape and help small business to grow

5. Announce the introduction of the Youth Wage Subsidy, as outlined by the Treasury, with a clear and urgent deadline

6. Introduce a business voucher support programme to encourage employment opportunities

7. Implement the proposals of the NDP insofar as land reform is concerned, so that the legacy of the devastating 1913 Land Act is undone


8. Get the basics of fighting crime right, by ensuring basic training, adequate resourcing and proper infrastructure

9. Re-establish anti-drug and rural safety units and increase the number of specialised detectives

10. Increase visible policing to the levels South Africa enjoyed during the World Cup in 2010

11. Ensure proper training for public order policing and the demilitarisation of the SAPS to prevent another Marikana Tragedy

12. Ensure that the commitment made yesterday to re-introduce Sexual Offences Courts have clear deadlines for implementation, and proper resources


13. Put the education of South Africa's learners above his relationship with COSATU, and ensure teacher accountability

14. Provide school infrastructure norms and standards

15. Introduce minimum qualifications for school principals

16. Develop and implement holistic recruitment and retention strategy to stem teacher attraction and fill teacher vacancies

17. Guarantee textbooks will be delivered on time, and promise action against those who fail in this regard


18. Ensure full accountability over the growing Nkandlagate scandal by ensuring the Public Works report is published

19. Retract comments made in January that businesses which support the ANC will see their fortunes prosper

20. Announce the tabling of the Public Sector Integrity Framework in Parliament

21. Declare measures to ensure that companies owned by political parties, such as Chancellor House, will not be allowed to do business with the state

22. Put an end to cadre deployment to ensure quality service delivery across the country

23. Appoint the permanent head of the SIU

24. Announce changes to the Ministerial Handbook

Addressing the Mining Crisis:

25. Show support for the amendments to the Labour Relations Act that amend the current closed shop agreements

26. Take immediate steps to include non-COSATU affiliated unions in mine-level labour bargaining

27. Provide policy certainty in the mining sector. This will require ensuring that his Minister of Mineral Resources works with the industry to help create jobs and not destroy them

28. Commit to reconsidering the efficacy of the Mining Charter, as only 7% of ownership transactions in the sector involve employee share equity schemes

29. Reconsider the amendments touted to be in the Mineral and Petroleum Development Act, which would scare further investment away from industry

30. End the childish and attacking language by the ANC and other alliance partners against the industry

31. Endorse the DA's call for a special ad hoc committee to deal with the growing crisis in the mining industry

Defending the Constitution:

32. Re-commit to the key principles of the separation of powers and show unwavering dedication to the Constitution and its bill of rights

33. Respect the Supreme Court of Appeal ruling and announce that he has instructed his legal team to release the controversial spy tapes that led to the dismissal of the corruption case against him

34. Appoint a suitable Director of the National Director of Public Prosecutions

These commitments are not out of line of his stated intention of ensuring that the National Development Plan forms the basis of his SONA this year. Indeed, there are key NDP proposals which should form the basis of his plan in 2013. These include:

1. Introduce an active labour market policies and incentives to grow employment

2. Introduce a tax incentive to employees to reduce costs of hiring young labour market entrants

3. Reduce the costs of regulatory compliance for small and medium enterprises

4. Make economic growth a key focus of job creation

5. Introduce a formalised graduate recruitment programme

6. Ensure the creation of an education accountability chain

7. Commit to clean and honest government

The record of President Zuma speaks for itself. This isn't a President of action and delivery. It is a presidency more concerned with political game-playing and maintaining the support of 4000 ANC delegates.

If President Zuma is serious about turning around the lack of confidence South Africans have in his ability to lead South Africa, he will do everything possible to bridge the gulf between what he promises and what he delivers.

Lindiwe Mazibuko, Parliamentary Leader of the Democratic Alliance

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