Democratic Alliance (Cape Town)

1 April 2014

Africa: EU-Africa Summit - Zuma Puts Mugabe Before Jobs

press release

President Jacob Zuma's decision to shun this week's European Union - Africa Summit in Brussels shows that the ANC is not committed to job creation.

This decision not to attend is seemingly based on a decision to show solidarity with controversial Zimbabwean President, Robert Mugabe - who is boycotting the event. President Zuma said, "I think that time must pass wherein we are looked (on) as subjects, we are told who must come, who must not come."

South Africa's economy cannot continue to face further battering because President Zuma puts President Mugabe before job creation.

Indeed, President Zuma's decision to back out at the last minute is irresponsible and illustrates that he does not take foreign investment seriously.

This follows a similar decision President Zuma took when he failed to attend the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos this year. He cited the upcoming general elections as his reason for missing this important platform that could have been used to attract investment to our country in order to create more jobs for our citizens.

South Africa is already lagging behind economically. Our economy grew at 1.9% last year, whereas other middle-income economies like Peru, Malaysia and Chile had growth rates between 4% and 6%.

With lacklustre growth and increased unemployment, we simply can't afford to jeopardise our trading relationship with our biggest trading partner.

The DA's Economic Policy highlights the importance of trade relations. To achieve stronger trade relations, the DA believes that strategic trade diplomacy can be enhanced by growing the country's presence, and seeking strong economic ties - which can be done by attending events like the above-mentioned summit.

President Zuma's actions with the summit demonstrates that he can't be trusted to make the right judgement calls for our economy and for job creation.

South Africans have a chance to put this right on 7th May and vote for a party that will use its foreign policy to create jobs and boost economic growth.

Wilmot James, Shadow Minister of Trade and Industry

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