‘State more involved in economy’

Johannesburg - President Jacob Zuma's state-of-the-nation address signified the increasing involvement of the state in the South African economy, AfriSake said on Thursday.

“Escalating spending on state infrastructure and unfair benefits are the main thrusts of the president's address,” said chief executive Cornelius Jansen van Rensburg.

President Jacob Zuma delivers his State of the Nation address at Parliament in Cape Town February 13, 2014. Credit: Reuters

Van Rensburg said the development of the country's infrastructure was crucial for sustainable economic growth.

“Given the current economic climate, the spending on infrastructure will inevitably bring about a sharp rise in taxes and administrative costs,” he said.

Despite this, Van Rensburg said the government did not understand the significant effect that service delivery unrest had on the country.

He said Zuma believed that protests were the result of better access to services, which implied a widening gap between government and ordinary citizens.

“What is the use of having a tap in one's house if mismanagement has dried up the water supply to the town?”

Planned expansions of the empowerment policy would be based on race and only favour a small elite.

Van Rensburg believed that Zuma's address made it clear that his definition of job opportunities differed from those who were unemployed and that he created expectations which the state could not live up to.

“The so-called thousands of “opportunities to find work” created by government during the past year, are not sustainable.”

Van Rensburg did however believe that Zuma's announcement, that the administration and management of the Constitutional Court would be separated from the department of justice and constitutional development, was positive.

“This will be in line with the principle of separation of power,” he said. - Sapa