Analysts unimpressed by Zuma's speech

South Africa's economy is on the path to recovery but the government will maintain measures to boost jobs and growth, President Jacob Zuma said on Thursday.

  • Gallery: The parade to Parliament

  • Gallery: The opening of Parliament

    Zuma, speaking on the 20th anniversary of the release from prison of Nelson Mandela, said South Africa has changed fundamentally in the past two decades and work should now be done to ensure stronger growth in the future.

    Comments from analysts after the speech

    ZWELINZIMA VAVI, SECRETARY-GENERAL, LABOUR FEDERATION COSATU

    "Overall (on) the issue of jobs, poverty and inequalities, I'm quite disappointed. I would have thought that the president would acknowledge that South Africa was in a crisis, even before the recession.

    "I'm more disappointed that he didn't speak about the labour brokering in the country, that he didn't say specifically that the ANC has made a commitment to prohibit all the extremely exploitative measures associated with the labour brokering industry.

    "He didn't engage with the issue of the macroeconomic strategy.

    "I like the de-emphasising of the macroeconomic strategy because I think that over the past 15 years South Africa overly emphasised and focused on the macroeconomic policies to the exclusion of a growth path and industrial strategy."

    PETER ATTARD MONTALTO, EMERGING MARKETS ECONOMIST, NOMURA

    "Overall, I think the speech was pretty unsurprising and there was little new policy on the economic front with still no real consensus about the need for fundamental economic change in the country and upside risks to budget.

    "We must await the new industrial policy to see what that can deliver."

    NIC BORAIN, INDEPENDENT POLITICAL ANALYST

    "Some excellent stuff about accountability of government, concrete stuff about independent power producers and first-time youth workers ... increased policing (so) all of that is good.

    "A lot more in this state of the nation than one has come to expect from such addresses.

    "I was quite surprised with the claim of job creation ... it just doesn't work with me. It sounds like a massaging of figures."

    SHADRACK GUTTO, UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH AFRICA LAW PROFESSOR

    "It was not inspiring. It was more of a regurgitation of policies, rather than really dealing with what has happened in one year since the last state of the nation, and to that extent it was disappointing.

    "He really tried to avoid areas which are controversial because of his ongoing personal life controversies, like HIV/Aids, government policy and what the message is.

    "And I think that is to be expected of course because he is a human being but he grossly tried to downplay that which was one of the defining differences between his administration and that of the former administration. But because of his personal conduct and behaviour, he couldn't mention it robustly. So I think he has done a lot of damage to that in practice." - Reuters


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