Agricultural union TLU SA applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call late on Thursday for South Africans to buy local products.

JOHANNESBURG - Agricultural union TLU SA applauded President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call late on Thursday for South Africans to buy local products, saying it could not have come at a better time.

In his state of the nation address in parliament, Ramaphosa urged all South Africans to "deliberately and consistently" buy locally-made goods and drive up demand in the economy, noting that the suit and tie he was wearing were domestic products.

In reaction, TLU SA president Louis Meintjes said South African agricultural products in particular should be supported and consumers should avoid what he called dumped items from other countries.

"If we buy South African agricultural products, it would automatically enhance job creation while giving commercial farmers a chance at survival despite dire climatological challenges they face,” he said.

 But the union said Ramaphosa was not realistic in his vision of two million job new opportunities for young people over the next decade.

"His predecessor’s one million did not even come to light. To reach that goal, he should move away from race-based economic empowerment, and adjust unfriendly labour laws," TLU SA said.

Ramaphosa's speech, while not offering anything new, did offer a bit more enthusiasm than his predecessor Jacob Zuma, Meintjes said, adding however:

"Words have to become deeds, and up to now the ANC-government gave more words than deeds. This government have to show how they are going to be different."

He said Ramaphosa had missed the opportunity to give his support to farmers and condemn farm murders.

Farm lobby groups have long maintained that white farmers are targets of racially-motivated attacks on their properties, but critics reject this claim, saying they are victims of violent crime just like millions of other South Africans of all races.

- African News Agency (ANA)